Best of NFL: Vikings extend winning streak to 8 games

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Best of NFL: Vikings extend winning streak to 8 games

ATLANTA — The Vikings frustrated Matt Ryan, blanketed Julio Jones and kept the Atlanta Falcons out of the end zone.

Minnesota's eighth straight victory was all about defense.

Case Keenum threw a pair of touchdown passes, including the go-ahead score on the first play of the fourth quarter, but the guys on the other side of the line were largely responsible for the Vikings extending their winning streak to eight in a row Sunday with a grind-it-out, 14-9 victory over the Falcons.

"It was a hard one," coach Mike Zimmer said. "We've got a good bunch of fighters on this football team, and I think maybe they really believe now."

Keenum strengthened his hold on the starting job by going 25 of 30 for 227 yards. He hooked up with Jerick McKinnon on a 2-yard scoring play in the second quarter and went to Kyle Rudolph for a 6-yard touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter, capping an 89-yard drive that consumed more than 8 minutes (see full recap).

Saints alone atop NFC South after win over Panthers
NEW ORLEANS — Rookie sensation Alvin Kamara scored two tackle-shedding touchdowns, New Orleans took advantage of a pair of Carolina special teams gaffes, and the Saints reclaimed sole possession of first place in the NFC South with a 31-21 victory over the Panthers on Sunday.

Mark Ingram rushed for 85 yards and a touchdown for the Saints (9-3), who own the head-to-head tie-breaker over Carolina (8-4) with four games to go.

Drew Brees passed for 269 yards, including a 10-yard TD to Michael Thomas a few plays after a botched Panthers punt gave New Orleans the ball on the Carolina 31.

In the fourth quarter, a fumble by Panthers punt returner Kaelin Clay near midfield set up Wil Lutz's 31-yard field goal to give New Orleans a 31-14 lead (see full recap).

Aaron Jones' TD run gives Packers OT win over Bucs
GREEN BAY, Wis. — It's hard to remember the last time that the Green Bay Packers won a game with only 84 yards passing.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers might be able to spice up the offense again soon, as long as the running game keeps churning out yards and the defense gets sacks in victories to stay in the playoff race.

Aaron Jones' 20-yard scoring run on his only carry , with 5:59 left in overtime, gave Green Bay a 26-20 win Sunday over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

With the passing game struggling, the Packers (6-6) wore down the Buccaneers on the ground. Rodgers' replacement, Brett Hundley, had runs of 18 and 7 yards on the drive to start overtime (see full recap).

McCown, Chiefs' poor discipline lead Jets to wild win
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Brutal start, wild finish and quite an impressive victory for the New York Jets. As for Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs, this one surely stings.

Josh McCown scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak with 2:15 left , and the Jets bounced back from an early deficit Sunday and held on for a wacky 38-31 win that was filled with big plays, bad penalties and lots of lead changes.

"When you see it go back and forth, it's hard, because eventually one team gives in," McCown said. "We just stayed together."

Chandler Catanzaro kicked a 21-yard field goal to put the Jets (5-7) ahead with 3:55 left. But Kansas City's Bennie Logan was called for a personal foul for hitting long snapper Thomas Hennessy in the head on the play. That gave the Jets the ball at the 1 with a new set of downs (see full recap).

Eagles agree to deal with WR Mike Wallace

Eagles agree to deal with WR Mike Wallace

The Eagles have found their replacement for Torrey Smith. 

Heck, they found an upgrade. 

On Thursday, the Birds agreed to terms with veteran speedy receiver Mike Wallace on a one-year deal. The deal is worth $2.5 million, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. 

This signing makes a ton of sense for the Eagles, especially if they weren’t ready to hand Mack Hollins the starting spot Smith left. Hollins can now split time with Wallace. Even if the Eagles didn’t trade Smith, they weren’t going to keep him at his price tag, so adding Wallace gives the Eagles a veteran with speed at a cheaper cost. 

Wallace, 31, is coming off a season in which he caught 52 passes for 748 yards (14.4 yards per reception) and four touchdowns. For comparison, in 2017, Smith caught 36 passes for 430 yards (11.9) and two touchdowns. And Smith dropped seven passes, while Wallace dropped just three, according to ProFootballFocus. In fact, Wallace's numbers weren't far off from Alshon Jeffery's stats last year (57 receptions, 789 yards, 9 touchdowns). 

While Wallace isn’t coming off his best season in 2017, he went over 1,000 yards in 2016 and has averaged 15.0 yards per reception during his nine-year NFL career. The Eagles hope he'll be the deep threat they thought they were getting in Smith. 

Since he entered the NFL in 2009, Wallace is second in the league in 40-yard receptions and in 50-yard receptions. He has 43 receptions of 40-plus yards (behind DeSean Jackson's 56) and 26 receptions of 50-plus yards (behind Jackson's 36). 

If that's not recent enough for you, the Eagles had seven pass plays of 50-plus yards in 2017; Wallace had three on his own. He can still stretch the field. 

The Eagles can now start Alshon Jeffery and Wallace on the outside, which will allow them to keep Nelson Agholor in the slot, where he was great last season. Then they’ll still have Hollins and Shelton Gibson (both draft picks from 2017) off the bench. Not bad. 

Wallace will turn 32 before the season starts, so the Eagles have added another veteran player, something they’ve done plenty this season. They already added Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata. It’s pretty clear the Eagles see the need to maximize their window of opportunity and getting players to join them is probably easier coming off a Super Bowl win. 

Signing veterans on one-year deals certainly worked well for the Eagles last season and if this one works out too, they will have found a good fit for the 2018 season.  

Eagles' Super Bowl odds changed by free agency

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Eagles' Super Bowl odds changed by free agency

The Eagles pulled off trades and signed a few free agents after the new league year began on March 14 ... and it's shortened their Super Bowl odds. 

The Eagles' odds to win Super Bowl LIII improved from 9/1 to 17/2 between Feb. 5 and March 22, according to Bovada. Despite beating them in Super Bowl LII less than two months ago, the Eagles still trail the Patriots, who stood pat at 5/1. 

Here's the full top 10: 

1. Patriots: 5/1
2. Eagles: 17/2
3. Vikings: 9/1
4. Steelers: 12/1
5. Packers: 14/1
5. Rams: 14/1
7. Saints: 18/1
8. Falcons: 20/1
9. Texans: 22/1
9. Jaguars: 22/1
9. Raiders: 22/1

As for the rest of the teams in the NFC East, the next closest to the Eagles are the Cowboys, but their inactivity this offseason gave them longer odds, going from 18/1 to 28/1. The Giants' odds stayed at 50/1, while the Redskins' odds went from 50/1 to 66/1. 

And here's a fun prop bet: The over/under for Michael Bennett sacks in 2018 is set at 8. Last season, he had 8½ with the Seahawks. Now, he's playing on a dynamic defensive line but also figures to play less because of the Eagles' rotation.