Associated Press Athlete health Athlete injuries By BARRY WILNER California Cincinnati Cleveland Dallas Florida Football Green Bay Illinois Indiana Jacksonville Los Angeles Minnesota National Sports New York News NFL football North America Oakland Ohio Pennsylvania Philadelphia Pittsburgh Professional football Seattle Sports Tampa Texas United States Washington Wisconsin

Eagles, Vikings stage NFC championship rematch

Associated Press Photo

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Associated Press Photo

On this Dec. 17, 2017, file photograph, the Los Angeles Rams’ bench reacts as operating again Todd Gurley runs for his third landing within the first half of an NFL soccer recreation towards the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle. The Rams gained 42-7. Lower than a yr later, the Rams are extra than simply the favorites of their division. 1 / 4 of the best way by way of the season, they will be the prohibitive Tremendous Bowl favorites. The Rams (Four-Zero) make their annual journey to Seattle on Sunday trying to take management of the division simply 5 weeks into the season. (AP Photograph/Elaine Thompson, File)

When final they met, the Eagles and Vikings have been vying for a spot within the Tremendous Bowl.

Now they’re looking for consistency.

“Each week — and (Eagles defensive coordinator) Jim Schwartz mentioned it and it’s true,” Philadelphia coach Doug Pederson says, “you’re two plays away from maybe being 0-4 and two plays away from being 4-0. That’s how tight this thing really is.”

Coming off its championship season Philly has gained twice at house and fallen twice on the street, final week blowing a 14-point result in lose in extra time at Tennessee. The protection stays stout a lot of the time, however fell aside in key spots on the Titans, particularly in OT.

“Therefore, with that being said,” Pederson provides, “as coaches we got to make sure we’re doing our part to prepare our players and get them ready for those situations.”

Minnesota’s dilemma is deeper. Whereas the Eagles are only a half-game out of the NFC East lead, the Vikings are 1-2-1 and path Chicago and Inexperienced Bay within the NFC North.

Most essential, Minnesota should discover a operating recreation, rating final. If Dalvin Prepare dinner can get wholesome, it will be an enormous assist.

“It has been difficult,” coach Mike Zimmer says. “We have to be patient with it, No. 1. Honestly, a little bit has been dictated with some of the scores throughout the last couple ballgames. It’s important for us to have balance. It keeps the defensive line from pinning their ears back all the time. I think it helps the football team overall. We just have to do a better job.”

The weekend started Thursday night time with New England’s 38-24 residence victory over Indianapolis.

Tom Brady reached 500 landing passes and New England (Three-2) gained its second straight after a mediocre begin to the season Brady additionally tied Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri, a former teammate, for many NFL victories with 226. Indianapolis dropped to 1-Four.

Off are Tampa Bay (2-2) and Chicago (Three-1).

Los Angeles Rams (Four-Zero) at Seattle (2-2)

The Seahawks’ former Legion of Growth may need given LA’s booming attacking matches. This group, whereas nicely coached and aggressive, figures to wrestle with an offense that comes with 10 days off and has three wideouts who eclipsed 100 yards receiving final recreation: Brandin Cooks, Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. Plus, the Rams are not any slouches on protection.

Seattle’s season, regardless of two straight wins, acquired messier when it misplaced star security Earl Thomas (damaged leg) and tight finish Will Dissly (patellar tendon) for the yr. Thomas’s parting gesture to the Seahawks sideline was not fairly complimentary.

Miami (Three-1) at Cincinnati (Three-1)

Regardless of some terrible statistics together with being outgained by 435 yards and outscored 90-82, Miami leads the AFC East. In fact, it was routed in New England final weekend. The Dolphins do lead the league with 9 interceptions.

Additionally on prime of their division, tied with Baltimore within the AFC North, the Bengals are struggling on protection, too. They rank final on third downs, permitting opponents to transform 57 %. However the offense has sizzled, particularly within the purple zone: Cincinnati has scored in its previous 34 journeys, the longest lively streak within the NFL.

Baltimore (Three-1) at Cleveland (1-2-1)

Right here’s a matchup the previous staff from Cleveland loves. Baltimore has gained 5 straight and 18 of the previous 20 conferences beneath coach John Harbaugh.

Whereas protection all the time is the calling card for the Ravens, Joe Flacco has eight TD passes, solely two interceptions, and Justin Tucker might make area objectives Sunday kicking from Lake Erie.

Oddly, that is the ultimate intradivision street recreation for the Ravens, who beat Pittsburgh and misplaced to Cincinnati.

Cleveland can play some D, too. It has a league-high 13 takeaways and DE Myles Garrett, the highest general selection within the 2017 draft, has Four half sacks this season and 11 half in 15 video games. He made a career-best 9 tackles final week in an OT loss in Oakland.

Jacksonville (Three-1) at Kansas Metropolis (Four-Zero)

A matchup of elite AFC groups through which Kansas Metropolis’s highly effective offense led by rising star quarterback Patrick Mahomes (14 TD passes, no interceptions, NFL-best 15 passes of at the very least 25 yards) faces the league’s greatest protection. Jacksonville excels notably in cross protection, and the attitude matchup of cornerback Jalen Ramsey vs. wideout Tyreek Hill is a juicy one.

The Jaguars haven’t allowed an opponent to attain on its opening possession this season. The Chiefs have scored 52 factors in first quarters.

Washington (2-1) at New Orleans (Three-1), Monday night time

A serious check for the Redskins, coming off a bye and alone atop their division. The Saints confirmed towards the Giants that they will win with out Drew Brees placing on an aerial spectacular as Alvin Kamara scored three TDs dashing, Wil Lutz kicked 4 subject objectives, and the protection principally befuddled New York.

Washington’s protection has been surprisingly efficient, rating third general. It should sluggish Brees, who has 71,740 yards passing, needing 201 to maneuver forward of Peyton Manning for the profession lead. He’s handed for eight touchdowns with no interceptions, and has rushed for 2 TDs.

Atlanta (1-Three) at Pittsburgh (1-2-1)

Which of those supposed contenders has been extra disappointing?

The Falcons have been hammered by accidents on protection, down three starters already, putting an additional burden on the offense. Principally, Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and firm have come via — Atlanta has scored 116 factors however allowed 122; solely Tampa Bay and Oakland have been extra beneficiant.

Pittsburgh’s points appear to run deeper than a porous D and too many turnovers, a league-worst 9 (tied with the Bucs). The Steelers are runaway leaders in penalties, are lacking star RB Le’Veon Bell in a contract dispute and are enveloped in far an excessive amount of drama.

Oakland (1-Three) at Los Angeles Chargers (2-2)

Each groups can transfer the ball and are weak on protection, so a shootout could be within the offing.

Derek Carr is fourth within the league in completions (120) and completion price (71.Zero %), and the Raiders are considered one of three groups with a 100-yard receiver in each recreation this season.

Los Angeles is extra balanced. Melvin Gordon leads the AFC in yards from scrimmage (475) and first downs (25), and backup RB Austin Ekeler is averaging eight.6 scrimmage yards, tops for his place. Philip Rivers likes dealing with the Silver and Black having thrown 41 TDs vs. the Raiders, tied with Denver for his most towards any opponent.

New York Giants (1-Three) at Carolina (2-1)

Search for the Panthers to get off to a operating begin coming off their bye. They’re No. 1 in dashing offense and the Giants are No. 29 in run protection. Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey is coming off a 28-carry, 184-yard efficiency towards Cincinnati.

New York doesn’t rating a lot regardless of two dynamic performers — WR Odell Beckham Jr. and second general draft selection RB Saquon Barkley. However the rookie can develop into the third NFL participant with at the least 100 yards from scrimmage in his first 5 video games, becoming a member of Adrian Peterson and Kareem Hunt.

Inexperienced Bay (2-1-1) at Detroit (1-Three)

Aaron Rodgers is 13-Three towards Detroit, however to win this one he may flip to his operating recreation together with his backfield banged up. The Lions rank final towards the run, and Inexperienced Bay has a three-pronged assault.

Though rookie Kerryon Johnson has spurred an honest operating recreation for the Lions, they in all probability will consider Matthew Stafford throwing to WRs Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay — the primary trio of NFL teammates with 50-plus yards receiving every in 5 straight video games performed collectively.

Tennessee (Three-1) at Buffalo (1-Three)

Coming off a spectacular rally to beat defending Tremendous Bowl champion Philadelphia, the Titans are driving excessive. Anticipated to be potent dashing the ball, they’ve been so-so. However Marcus Mariota completed 30 of 43 for 344 yards and two touchdowns, plus a TD dashing towards the Eagles, and Tennessee transformed three fourth-down performs, one by penalty in additional time.

The Payments acquired again to wanting inept at Inexperienced Bay after that surprising win at Minnesota. They have been shut out for first time since 2008 and had 145 yards offense, matching their fewest since a 40-7 loss at Chicago in 2006.

Dallas (2-2) at Houston (1-Three)

Not precisely Santa Anna vs. Davy Crockett on the Alamo, this Texas showdown seems to be extra like a skirmish.

The Texans have been ballyhooed as a membership able to rise as they obtained again the likes of J.J. Watt and Deshaun Watson. The primary time they rose was final Sunday at Indianapolis, they usually wanted additional time and a chance by Colts coach Frank Reich that backfired to get their lone victory.

Dallas received its offense on monitor in beating Detroit and faces a mediocre move protection. Drawback is, the Cowboys rank 30th in passing and workhorse operating again Zeke Elliott may be their main receiver, too.

Because the Texans gained their NFL debut towards the Cowboys in 2002, Dallas has taken the subsequent three conferences.

Denver (2-2) at New York Jets (1-Three)

Each side acquired off to good begins in 2018 and now are struggling.

New York has little offensive aptitude behind rookie QB Sam Darnold, which was to be anticipated. He’ll face one other troublesome protection that may strain the quarterback: Denver has 10 sacks, 4 by All-Professional Von Miller.

The Broncos can run the ball with a pair of strong rookies, Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman, however Case Keenum has three landing passes and twice as many picks.

Arizona (Zero-Four) at San Francisco (1-Three)

This would appear a great spot for the Cardinals to remove that zero within the win column, the one group proudly owning one. However the Niners, regardless of dropping QB Jimmy Garoppolo, confirmed loads of battle of their loss to the extra gifted Chargers.

Whereas the general league is scoring at a document tempo, Arizona has 37 factors. By means of 4 weeks, 13 groups had scored at the least 37 factors in a recreation.

___

Extra AP NFL: https://apnews.com/tag/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Categories