Everything you need to know
Cincinnati has knocked off perennial powerhouses in Green Bay, New England and Pittsburgh, yet fumbled away a winnable game in the Windy City and looked lethargic against the Browns. Andy Dalton's stability, or lack thereof, will dictate which side of the spectrum the Bengals fall this Sunday.
Speaking of volatility, Thad Lewis is starting for the Bills! For those not familiar with the football stylings of Lewis, the 25 year old hails from Duke and has been cut by the Lions, Rams and Browns. On the bright side, he's not Jeff Tuel. Spiller and Fred Jackson against a solid Bengals front seven. Green their leading prerogative, Cincinnati's complementary pieces will become more vital to its offensive fruition. In this regard, rookie tight end Tyler Eifert should see increased action. Buffalo is stout over the middle, but Eifert is coming off his best game of his young career (five catches, 53 yards), and should see further assimilation in Week 6.
TV: CBS 1:00 PM EST
The Bills win if. Spiller and Jackson control the clock, Dalton continues his rich man's Matt Schaub impersonation.
The Bengals win if. You do realize THAD LEWIS is the Bills starting QB, right?
Prediction: Bengals 23, Bills 17
Detroit Lions (3 2) at Cleveland Browns (3 2)
The lowdown: Both teams rock Wholesale NFL Jerseys winning records, a proposition that seemed far fetched six weeks ago. Unfortunately, Brandon Weeden's back and Calvin Johnson is a game time decision, meaning this might not be the most aesthetically pleasing of watches.
Not to say this game is without its spotlights. The Cleveland defense is holding adversaries to 18.8 points per game thanks to an unyielding secondary (207.6 pass yards per contest, fourth lowest in the AFC). This flies in direct antagonism to Matthew Stafford and the Lions air assault, a company that's posting over 290 yards per outing. Even if Johnson is unable to suit up, Detroit has more than enough ammo to replicate such feats.
Key injuries: DET WR Calvin Johnson Knee (Questionable); CLE QB Brian Hoyer Knee (Out), CLE LB Quentin Groves Ankle (Questionable)
Line: Detroit 2.5, 44 points
Fantasy impact: If Johnson can't go, fantasy owners should look the way of Ryan Broyles. The second year man has burned owners since returning from injury, hauling in a meager five receptions on the season. Nevertheless, coordinator Scott Linehan proclaimed Broyles is ready to be activated on full time duty versus the snap count confinement he's faced the past three weeks. As a flex or WR3, Broyles has potential.
TV: FOX 1:00 PM EST
The Lions win if. The Detroit defensive line hassles Weeden, Reggie Bush is a factor is receiving arena.
The Browns win if. Willis McGahee goes nuts on defense giving up 124.6 rushing yards per game, Stafford struggles without Johnson.
Prediction: Lions Wholesale NFL Jerseys 24, Browns 23
Oakland Raiders (2 3) at Kansas City Chiefs (5 0)
The lowdown: At first glance, this game may have the markings of a blowout, but the Raiders proved last week in its win against the Chargers that they are far from a pushover.
Alex Smith and Andy Reid are credited for this franchise's turnaround, and the duo certainly deserves a share of the accolades, specifically Smith's steady hand under center. However, the true foundation for Kansas City has been the backfield virtuosity of Jamaal Charles (397 rushing yards, 250 receiving yards) and a defense that's suffocating challengers to a league low 11.6 points per contest. At the risk of sounding delirious, it's a combo that could translate to a prosperous playoff run.
As for the Raiders, Darren McFadden's back, but the real news is the release of Matt Flynn. Most are making fun at Flynn's expense, but he's pulled in $15 million from 30 minutes of work TWO YEARS AGO! Man's a hero in my book.
Key injuries: Entire Raiders RB stable Hamstring/Knee (Questionable); KC RB Jamaal Charles Toe (Probable), KC WR Donnie Avery Shoulder (Questionable)
DEVOUT QB COULD MAKE
TAMPA, Fla. There are two very good reasons why chi hair tools Kurt Warner doesn fear the Steelers; why he doesn cower at the thought of a black and gold wave of doom closing in on him play after play, down after down; why James Harrison hasn invaded his dreams at night, and likely won before Sunday.
One of them is easy enough for anyone to root for, because Warner is nothing if not resilient, he is nothing if not a study in old fashioned persistence and stubborn self belief and relentless re invention. He used to stock shelves, remember. He was given up for dead in St. Louis, East Rutherford and even Phoenix, for a time.
It would be one thing, after all, to have risen from obscurity once; he done it twice. It would be one thing to have gotten to the Super Bowl with the Rams, who went 45 99 in the nine years before he led them to glory; it is something else to do the same with the Cardinals, who essentially gone 0 for the nuclear age before he showed up. chi straightener
think the perception around the league about me was that I couldn play anymore, Warner said yesterday, recalling his long walk through the wilderness following the Rams Super Bowl loss to the Patriots seven years ago. thought, no more football left in him, and he basically just trying to survive. He laughed.
Cardinals won win, and Kurt Warner can really play, he said, I chi hair straightener guess it was a fine mix. So that is a large segment of Warner armor, the belief that no matter what
happens from here, no matter how much the Steelers want to hit him and pound him and send him limping off into the night this weekend, he already known the hardest of hard times. He already seen the abyss. Twice. That strengthens him. And people can root for that.
The other part . Well, that the one that makes some people squirm, the part where he lifts up his Bible and gives praise and thanks to his Savior and does it gladly and gleefully. People can tolerate a quarterback praising his offensive line for protection; they are less forgiving to hear that it was Jesus who delivered instead of a left tackle.
He is unabashed about that, about all of it. Yesterday morning, during a 60 minute interview session, he was asked four questions specific to the Steelers. He was asked five questions specific to Jesus Christ. And he was more than willing to give full, thoughtful answers on both subjects.
know, when it comes to faith, you believe what you believe, he said. believe in Jesus. It makes all the difference in my life. Everything I do, everywhere I go, I trying to live up to or to represent Jesus. Having the faith that I have, believing what I believe, it the first and foremost thing in my life.
know some people get tired of hearing it, say, does it relate to football? It is who I am, and it will always be who I am, and it the most important thing in my life. So more times than not, it going to be the first thing I talk about. The irony is, in our sporting culture now, someone like Warner puts himself at far greater risk than chi straighteners someone like, say Adam Jones, to pull one skell name out of a hat. With Jones, the bar is set low, same as with Warner understudy, Matt Leinart who engaged in some in character knuckleheadedness yesterday, turning his own movie camera on himself and his interviewers whenever those interviewers wore high heels and a skirt.
But Warner . well, there are certain folks who waited for years to see him be exposed as a hypocrite or a heretic, to see him wind up in places and situations that God fearing husbands and fathers of seven shouldn wind up in. They waited for this to all be an act, a front, a fraud. There were an army of cynics watching him during his year in New York, waiting. All of them waiting still.
don claim to be anything special, Warner said. a guy who gotten a lot of . breaks. He wanted to say but held back. No use in making people squirm more than they have to.
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Bowl season kicks off, East Carolina clobbers OhioBowl season kicks off, East Carolina clobbers OhioUpdated: Monday, December 23 2013 6:00 PM EST2013 12 23 23:00:50 GMT(RNN) Warm up the couch and put fresh batteries in the remote control. A college ramsauthenticofficial.com/Aaron_Donald_Jersey_Rams football tradition that is as excessive as the rest of the holiday season kicks off Saturday when the first of 35 post seasonMore >>Check out the timeline for the latest updates on all 35 of the college football bowl games that take place this holiday season.More Aaron Donald 4XL Jersey >>Mayor: Huntsville Stars run by 'absentee owner'Mayor: Huntsville Stars run by 'absentee owner'Updated: Friday, December 20 2013 8:37 PM EST2013 12 21 01:37:48 GMTMayor Tommy Battle said the Stars have not told him whether or not they gone after next season. Biscuits Manager Billy Gardner Jr., is moving up to the Triple A level but not with the Tampa Bay Rays Organization. of AlabamaFmr Tide football player accused of robbery will re enroll at Univ. of AlabamaUpdated: Friday, December 20 2013 4:49 PM EST2013 12 20 21:49:01 GMTIt time for Fever 2013! Vote each week and at the end of the season, we invite each of the winners to the WSFA 12 News studios in Montgomery for a special celebration and a Hardees Thick Burger!
BIG PLAY BREAKS TITANS
On the play, Warner was brownsnflofficialonline.com/Terrance_West_Jersey_Browns pressured by Titans rookie Jevon Kearse, who pushed Rams LT Fred Miller into the quarterback. Subsequently, Warner pass was underthrown.
Bruce, who was covered by CB Denard Walker, slowed up along the right sideline, caught the pass and made a cut Christian Kirksey 4XL Jersey inside that sprung him for the electric game winner in the thrilling 23 16 Rams win.
was a lucky throw and a lucky catch, Terrance West XXXXL Jersey Kearse said.
was a great throw and catch, Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. (Rolle) usually makes those plays (tackling), but he got tripped up and lost the ball. The Rams have done that all year. We made those plays all year. On that particular play, though, we didn credit Kurt Warner on the big play or it a different game. Titans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said the defense was in its usual man coverage on the fateful play.
got a late break on the brownsnflofficialonline.com/Christian_Kirksey_Jersey_Browns ball, Williams lamented. Walker really did a good job of overrunning and getting on top. If the ball was thrown well, (Walker) probably picks it. As he lost stride with the ball, Isaac Bruce made a nice play coming underneath.
played well all year long, Williams went on. don want our guys to have their heads down, because this is our style and we played it well.
10 Things You Probably Don't Know About Vince Lombardi
1) Lombardi, symbol of bedrock Midwest values, was a New Yorker. The Italian American Catholic, who won his greatest fame on the frozen tundra of Green Bay's Lambeau Field, was a Brooklyn boy who was born and raised in Brooklyn's Sheepshead Bay neighborhood. He graduated from Fordham University in the Bronx where he earned fame as one of the "Seven Blocks of Granite." Much of his coaching career, from St. Military Academy at West Point to offensive coordinator for the New York Giants, were in the Tri State area. "As far as Midwestern values, I always thought of Vince Lombardi as kind of reflecting the nation's values. He seems very American to me. Not in a Midwestern way but just in a general American way."
2) He was a late bloomer who served as an NFL head coach for only 10 seasons. The long time assistant coach despaired of ever becoming a head coach before finally landing the Packers job at age 45. Once installed in Green Bay, he ripped off 5 NFL titles and 2 Super Bowls in only 9 seasons. He stepped down from coaching in 1968, then returned with the Washington Redskins in 1969 before dying of colon cancer at age 57 in 1970. He never had a losing season. "He just kept at it. He never stopped working and he never stopped making himself a better coach. During the 1950's, the Giants had both Lombardi and Tom Landry as assistants under head coach Jim Lee Howell. Lombardi ran the offense. Landry, who went on to capture two Super Bowls of his own with Dallas Cowboys, ran the defense. The two helped the Giants win the title in 1956. But the Giants lost in overtime to Johnny Unitas and Baltimore Colts in the 1958 "Greatest Game Ever Played" championship game. "It's one of those interesting pieces of trivia: two of the greatest coaches in the NFL were assistant coaches on the same team. Amazing."
4) His first head coaching job was basketball coach at St. Cecilia where he also taught Latin and physics. "Apparently, he was not a bad (basketball coach). That's the thing about Lombardi, he was a leader. He distilled everything to its simplest principles."
5) To relax, he liked to clean out closets at home and read cookbooks. "He was human. And he didn't cook."
6) President Richard Nixon briefly considered him as a VP candidate. That changed when Nixon found out Lombardi was a Democrat. "I don't know where David dug that up. But I trust it."
7) A dying Lombardi had stern advice for New York Jets QB Joe Namath. While the dying Lombardi lay sleeping in his hospital bed, he startled his wife one night by shouting, "Joe Namath. You're not bigger than football! Remember that!!" He's also said to have predicted that Namath's AFL champion Jets would upset the NFL Joel Bitonio XXXXL Jersey champion Colts in Super Bowl III.
8) Had a brownsnflofficialonline.com/Johnny_Manziel_Jersey_Browns gay brother, Harold Lombardi. "He was never disparaging in any way about his brother. "He and a couple of other coaches for Army went there and taught football."
10) He used to screen Army game films for General Douglas MacArthur, a huge fan of Army football. "He had friends in high places."
Reid Cherner has been with USA TODAY since brownsnflofficialonline.com/Joel_Bitonio_Jersey_Browns 1982 and written Game On! since March 2008.
He has covered everything from high schools to horse racing to the college and the pros. The only thing he likes more than his own voice is the sound of readers Johnny Manziel 4XL Jersey telling him when he's right and wrong.
Michael Hiestand has covered sports media and marketing for USA TODAY, tackling the sports biz ranging from what's behind mega events such as the Olympics and Super Bowl to the sometimes hidden numbers behind the sports world's bottom line.
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