December 2016


Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin left the team Wednesday to enter a treatment facility after announcing he violated the league's performance-enhancing drug policy and will serve a four-game suspension. The 27-year-old Martin signed a five-year, $35.75 million contract, with $15 million guaranteed, in the offseason after finishing second in the NFL in rushing in 2015 with 1,402 yards. -- The Buccaneers placed running back Charles Sims on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury, ending his season.
Carson Palmer turned 37 years old on Tuesday. ''It was a work day, unfortunately,'' the Arizona Cardinals quarterback said Wednesday. Maybe skipping major birthday indulgences and all of those ''normal'' Tuesdays - typically the day off for NFL players each week - are one reason Palmer continues to play at a high level in his 14th season.
There are more important things for the Washington Redskins and New York Giants to worry about than the usually entertaining matchup between cornerback Josh Norman and receiver Odell Beckham Jr. No doubt the Redskins' defender and the Giants' playmaker are going to mix it and get in each other's face during Sunday's regular-season finale in Landover, Maryland. The Redskins (8-6-1) need to win to get into the playoffs.
DeSean Jackson turned 30 and turned his game up to another level. For the first time in nine NFL seasons, Jackson recorded 100-plus receiving yards in three consecutive games and is hitting his stride just in time for the playoff-hopeful Washington Redskins. New York Giants cornerback Eli Apple called Jackson ''probably the best deep threat in the league,'' a declaration the numbers back up.
Indianapolis Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton knows the title chase is on. Hilton also understands the champion probably won't be known until Sunday night, after the Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars finish their early afternoon game and his two nearest competitors - Beckham of the Giants and Atlanta's Julio Jones - complete their late-afternoon games. ''There's no need to watch it,'' Hilton said Wednesday.
The Houston Texans' decision to break the bank for Brock Osweiler was among the worst calls of 2016, aside from Jacksonville's color rush mustard yellow jerseys , of course. The Texans soon realized that just because you pay a quarterback $18 million a year on average doesn't mean you have an $18 million quarterback, but maybe just an average one. Osweiler is a backup heading into the playoffs, just like last year, when he was supplanted by Peyton Manning in Denver.
Week 17 always is a tough one for Pro Picks. Some teams have nothing to gain as they prepare for the playoffs, wanting to merely stay as healthy as possible.
Detroit coach Jim Caldwell is looking on the bright side - the Lions have a chance this weekend to win their first division title since 1993. Never mind the fact that their NFC North lead has vanished, and if Detroit loses to the surging Green Bay Packers, the Lions could end up out of the postseason entirely. ''I'm glad to be right where we are,'' Caldwell said Tuesday.
The Buffalo Bills announced Tuesday that coach Rex Ryan and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan have been fired. Offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn, who replaced Greg Roman in Week 3, will take over as the interim coach of the Bills (7-8). - - - Ryan Fitzpatrick will be the New York Jets' starting quarterback for the final game against the Bills, Jets coach Todd Bowles announced.
Fantasy football leagues that play right through the end of the NFL schedule can be very tricky. There are NFL teams that have nothing to play for, so it's hard to predict how they will use their players.

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