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Oct. 22 loss at Pittsburgh, 176 att

in NEUES AUS DEM AUSLAND 25.10.2019 09:13
von elaine95 | 116 Beiträge

ARLINGTON Sheldrick Redwine Jersey , Texas (AP) — The young Dallas defense stuffed the NFL’s No. 1 rushing offense in a wild-card win over the Seattle Seahawks.Now it’s time for the Cowboys to take on either the league’s all-time leader in yards passing in Drew Brees of New Orleans, or this year’s fifth-best passing offense in Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams. The divisional round game will be next weekend.A group now led by playmaking linebackers Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith, rather than 2016 All-Pro Sean Lee, has been up to the challenge all season. And that included a 13-10 win over Brees that ended the Saints’ 10-game winning streak.“We’ve got to take the same mindset next week … and not get too far ahead of ourselves,” Vander Esch said. “We can be confident, but there’s a difference between being confident and being overly, maybe I should say cocky, if you want to use that word. We do a pretty good job of bringing ourselves back down.”In a 24-22 win that ended what the Elias Sports Bureau said was the Seahawks’ record streak of nine straight victories in playoff openers, the Cowboys held Seattle nearly 100 yards below its league-leading average of 160 yards Saturday night.Chris Carson, who had his first career 100-yard game in a Week 3 win over Dallas that turned Seattle’s season, was limited to a season-low 20 yards on 13 carries. The Seahawks finished with 73 yards rushing, and quarterback Russell Wilson’s legs weren’t the factor they often are.“We take great pride in stopping the run, too,” coach Jason Garrett said. “It’s about discipline. It’s about winning your gap. It’s about setting the edge. It’s about tackling. But it’s also about physical and mental toughness. That’s a really important part of our football team.”The Cowboys believe that applies to defending the pass as well. Although they sacked Brees just twice, there were five quarterback hits in one of his worst games of the season. Dallas has been a top-10 defense most of the season.“The confidence is there, but it’s all about being patient and executing,” said defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, who led the team in sacks for the second straight year with 10½ and made his second consecutive Pro Bowl. “It doesn’t matter about your confidence.”AHEAD OF SCHEDULEThe Seahawks won six of their last seven in the regular season to reach the playoffs a year after missing for the only time in Wilson’s seven seasons. They overhauled the defense and lost one of the mainstays they decided to keep in disgruntled safety Earl Thomas, who broke his leg in Week 4. And they found Wilson a running game without a big name such as Marshawn Lynch.“Nobody thought we were going to be here, so we’re miles ahead of where expectations were,” said coach Pete Carroll, who got a three-year extension through 2021 late in the regular season. “This doesn’t mean anything to me because that’s not my expectations.”COURTING A COACHDallas passing game coordinator and defensive backs coach Kris Richard, who took over play-calling duties from defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli this season, is expected to have a busy Sunday.Owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Miami owner Stephen Ross was one of his guests during the game, and that Ross would interview Richard for the team’s vacant head coaching position before the former Seattle defensive coordinator starts preparations for the divisional round. The Jets are also expected to interview Richard, who was fired by the Seahawks after last season and hired by Dallas.“There are no secrets in the NFL when it comes to people that can help you win football games,” Jones said. “And he’s a winner.”LAST KICK?Sebastian Janikowski didn’t play after injuring his hamstring while missing a 57-yard field goal try on the final play of the first half. The 40-year-old isn’t under contract for next season, and Carroll figured he simply hurt himself trying to kick the ball as hard as he could.The question is whether Seattle, or any other team, will want to take the risk after the Seahawks were left with no good options for an onside kick down two points with 1:18 left. Michael Dickson’s drop-kick went too far and was an easy game-sealing catch for Dallas receiver Cole Beasley. Plus, it was the second time in the last three weeks of the season that Seattle had an injury issue with Janikowski.LEANING ON ELLIOTTNFL rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott was the only skill position player to sit out Dallas’ 36-35 win over the New York Giants in the regular-season finale with the Cowboys already locked in as the NFC’s fourth seed. He was busy again in his return, with 26 carries for 137 yards and four catches for 32 yards. It was his fourth game of at least 30 touches this season. Expect a heavy load again in a week. “I’m glad I took the week off,” he said. “We have bigger things.” Call it ”December Definition.” We’ll learn plenty about the various playoff contenders this week when the Eagles visit the Rams Kaleb McGary Jersey , the Vikings take on the Panthers, the Seahawks meet the Jaguars, the Raiders play at the Chiefs, and the Ravens head to Pittsburgh. The Eagles, Rams, Jaguars, Vikings and Steelers all have ways of clinching postseason berths. So do the Patriots, who visit Miami. Most intriguing might be Philadelphia (10-2) at Los Angeles (9-3). The Eagles had their nine-game winning streak snapped at Seattle, then stayed out west trying to figure out why an offense that had been dominant was shut down. Now they take on the Rams, with an equally dangerous offense and, like Philly, a division leader. ”I think sometimes … winning can kind of cover up or mask some things, some deficiencies,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. ”A little chink in your armor, if there is any. And coaches and players fall into the same boat sometimes. We need games where we get hit in the mouth and we have to fight and battle and scratch. … You just have to understand that there’s no substitute for the preparation and the hard work.” The coolest of matchups has Rams QB Jared Goff , the top selection in the 2016 draft, against Eagles QB Carson Wentz, who went second overall that year. Both have matured rapidly, sparking turnarounds that could lead to, well, the Super Bowl. A Philadelphia win gives it the NFC East title. So does a Dallas loss. Should the Rams win, a complicated formula gives them a playoff spot. The pivotal week began Thursday night with the Atlanta Falcons’ 20-17 victory over the New Orleans Saints that set up a three-way race for the NFC South title. Deion Jones made a leaping interception in the end zone with 1:25 remaining for the Falcons (8-5) after Drew Brees drove the Saints (9-4) to the Atlanta 11. Minnesota (10-2) at Carolina (8-4) The Vikings haven’t gotten to the top of the NFC the easy way. They’ve already played New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Atlanta, Green Bay and the Rams – none of which has a losing record. Most of those teams will make the playoffs. Now, a trip to Carolina, which also is in the NFC mix. A victory in Charlotte, with Cincinnati, Green Bay and Chicago remaining, would stamp the Vikings as a conference favorite. And remember, the Super Bowl will be played in Minneapolis in February. The Panthers must improve late in games: Carolina has been outscored 75-58 in fourth quarter. They are hopeful that standout tight end Greg Olsen can contribute more in his return from a broken foot. Baltimore (7-5) at Pittsburgh (10-2) Pittsburgh’s victory over Cincinnati on Monday night was brutal, marred by malicious hits Kendall Sheffield Jersey , launching and taunting on both sides. Now, the Steelers get their biggest rival in what always has been a physical affair. ”When you play Baltimore you are going to get your head knocked off, they’re going to knock your head off, you’re going to try to knock theirs off, but you’re going to help them up and respect it, and say `Hey great job, let’s go at it again,” Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger says. The Steelers need to step up their game, despite having won seven in a row. They are barely getting by inferior opponents, and the Ravens – no matter the situation – are always dangerous for Pittsburgh. Preventing the Steelers from winning the AFC North is almost as prime a goal for Baltimore as remaining in front for a wild-card berth. Seattle (8-4) at Jacksonville (8-4) Tennessee (8-4) at Arizona (5-7) The AFC South race, with a huge dose of NFC West. Tennessee holds the tiebreaker right now over Jacksonville, but the teams finish off the schedule against each other. The Titans are the only franchise never to have played at University of Phoenix Stadium. In their visit Sunday, they bring a potent running game of DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry, who’s coming off his second career 100-yard rushing game, including a 75-yard run against Houston. Tennessee hasn’t allowed an opponent to run for more than 100 yards in eight straight games, the longest streak in NFL this season, which doesn’t bode well for Arizona’s Adrian Peterson. Jacksonville has a much tougher task, even at home. Although Seattle has some key injuries in its secondary, the defense has stepped up and shut down Philadelphia last week. The offense, as sensational QB Russell Wilson states his case for league MVP, has been dynamic, particularly now that TE Jimmy Graham has become a major force. With a series of occurrences, the Jags can clinch a playoff spot. Oakland (6-6) at Kansas City (6-6) Washington (5-7) at Los Angeles Chargers (6-6) If it’s not the best rivalry in pro football, Raiders-Chiefs is top three. That it has so much meaning Sunday is like adding a tasty dessert to some delicious Kansas City BBQ. Raiders coach Jack Del Rio explains the AFC West situation best. ”There’s a better feel when you’re winning and doing things well. For us, it’s about the next game,” Del Rio says. ”We went through, we had our stretch. … The Chargers had theirs the first four games. We had ours, four in a row after winning two. The Chiefs have had a little bit of a spell. Yet we all sit here at 6-6 with an opportunity. ”Which team takes the most advantage of that opportunity is sitting there?” Lately, that team has looked like LA. And they get perhaps the most injury-ruined squad in the league in the Redskins, who have lost five of seven. The Chargers have racked up more than 400 yards in three straight games while outscoring opponents 101-40. Philip Rivers has completed 72 percent of his passes for 1,029 yards, six TDs, no interceptions in the past three weeks. Keenan Allen became the first player in NFL history with 10-plus catches for 100-plus yards and at least one TD in three straight games. New England (10-2) at Miami (5-7) John Cominsky Jersey , Monday night If the Patriots haven’t secured their ninth straight AFC East crown by kickoff time – a Buffalo loss does the trick on Sunday – they are heavily favored to get the clincher here. One main reason: the Patriots are plus-9 in turnover differential, fourth best in the NFL. The Dolphins are minus-10, third worst. The Patriots have won eight games in a row, and though Rob Gronkowski will be serving a one-game suspension for a late, gratuitous hit to the head of Bills defensive back Tre’Davious White, Tom Brady isn’t likely to miss him much. Miami RB Kenyan Drake had a breakout game last week with 120 yards rushing, and New England is allowing 5.1 yards per rush, worst in the league. Green Bay (6-6) at Cleveland (0-12) The house-cleaning has begun in Cleveland with the firing on Thursday of vice president Sashi Brown. There’s little reason to think that – or anything else – will lead to a Browns victory against a Packers team holding out hope of reach wild-card status. Green Bay should get back star quarterback Aaron Rodgers (collarbone) next week, and if it doesn’t stumble here, the team will give Cheeseheads some hope for the final three weeks. Indianapolis (3-9) at Buffalo (6-6) Two banged-up teams whose best remaining options are their running backs. Indeed, Indy’s Frank Gore and Buffalo’s LeSean McCoy are worthy of top billing. Gore leads the active list and last weekend moved into fifth place overall with 13,697 yards rushing. McCoy is third on the active list and 31st overall with 9,805 yards. With Bills QB Tyrod Taylor (bruised left knee) uncertain, rookie Nate Peterman could get his second start. All anyone needs to know about his first one: Peterman threw five interceptions in the first half. Dallas (6-6) at New York Giants (2-10) A classic matchup with little significance this year. Dallas finally won without suspended star running back Ezekiel Elliott when it beat Washington, but making a playoff push is a long shot in the rugged NFC. A loss would cap a bad week for owner Jerry Jones, whose fight to delay Commissioner Roger Goodell’s new contract was fruitless. Eli Manning gets his job back – how insulting was the way his starting string ended? – now that Steve Spagnuolo has replaced the fired Ben McAdoo as coach. Big days for tight ends Jason Witten of Dallas and rookie Evan Engram of New York could be on tap. Detroit (6-6) at Tampa Bay (4-8) Opponents can pass on Tampa Bay, and that’s about all the Lions can do. But with QB Matthew Stafford’s health (hand) uncertain, counting on Detroit’s attack makes little sense. Detroit has won three of the past four meetings. Key matchup figures to be Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans against cornerback Darius Slay, who is tied for the NFC lead with 15 passes defensed. Evans has been better at home than on the road recently with 696 receiving yards and seven TDs over his past nine at Raymond James Stadium. New York Jets (5-7) at Denver (3-9) Denver has been on a Rocky Mountain low for two months, dropping eight consecutive games. With an inept offense, the defense has gotten worn down, but it does get back CB Aqib Talib from a one-game suspension. The Jets play everyone tough, and will have a say in the AFC West outcome. They defeated Kansas City last Sunday and still must play the Chargers. Chicago (3-9) at Cincinnati (5-7) Other than Cleveland, the Bears might be the NFL’s worst side. They have the NFL’s lowest-ranked offense, have lost five in a row – they haven’t dropped more than five straight since a 2002 eight-game slide – and John Fox has a12-32 record for a franchise-worst .273 winning percentage, in three seasons coaching the Bears. After the Bengals blew a game they led most of the way on Monday night to Pittsburgh, their postseason chances appear gone. Not that they have been playing poorly lately. Consider that Andy Dalton hasn’t thrown an interception since an Oct. 22 loss at Pittsburgh, 176 attempts. San Francisco (2-10) at Houston (4-8) Only the fourth meeting of these clubs, and it has little meaning. San Francisco has won two of its past three, and has its likely future QB, Jimmy Garoppolo, running things. He threw for 293 yards last week to set a franchise record for most yards passing in a first start with the team. The one guy who’s fun to watch in this is Houston WR DeAndre Hopkins. He’s tied for the NFL lead with nine TD receptions and has a TD catch in six straight home games. —

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