Green Bay Packers

Eagles still have plenty to play for on Christmas

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Eagles still have plenty to play for on Christmas

The Eagles still have something to play for on Monday night. 

Because the Vikings beat the Packers, 16-0, Saturday night, the Eagles still haven't clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. 

If the Eagles win Monday against the Raiders, they'll clinch that top spot for the first time since the 2004 season. Even if they don't win on Christmas, either a Vikings' loss or a win against the Cowboys in the regular season finale would be enough to get the No. 1 seed, which is pretty important (see story)

Head coach Doug Pederson claimed the plan for Monday's game wasn't going to change even if the Vikings lost. The Eagles were always going to play to win against the Raiders. 

"Win the game," Pederson said Saturday morning about his plan for Monday's game. "To play our best players and win. I think it's important that they continue to play. If we're in that position, if we're fortunate enough to be in that position to rest, I'll make a decision at that time. But I think it's important in these next couple of games to continue to play."

But if the Eagles win on Christmas Day, the last game of the regular season against Cowboys would be meaningless. Pederson in the last week has talked about the fine line of resting players but making sure they don't lose their edge heading into the playoffs. 

The interesting part of it is that Nick Foles could definitely use more time with the starting offense, especially his skill players. But the Eagles would ideally like to get backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld his first NFL reps before the playoffs begin. 

Panthers star LB suspended 2 games for hit

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Panthers star LB suspended 2 games for hit

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis has been suspended for two games by the NFL following his helmet-to-helmet hit on Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams.

The league announced the decision Monday.

Adams left Sunday's 31-24 loss to Carolina in the third quarter with a concussion after being blindsided by Davis following a Carolina interception. Davis was penalized 15 yards, but not ejected.

Davis, the 2015 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year, was visibly upset on the sideline after the play.

Adams, who has suffered two concussions this season, took to social media on Monday to criticize Davis, saying there is no room in the game for hits like that.

"We supposed to be in this together n look out for one another not mess with a mans livelihood and hand out unnecessary concussions," Adams said on Twitter. "We all got mouths to feed what if I did that to him and his kids can't eat."

Adams also Tweeted: "I'll never understand it. Game is already dangerous enough and we got Pro Bowl players out here head hunting and saying they "didn't mean to harm me"

Davis responded to Adams on Twitter, offering an apology.

"I understand your frustration and I do apologize for the hit! In no way was I trying to hurt you," Davis tweeted. "My first instinct was turn and make a block. In all sincerity I do apologize. I truly respect you as a player and I made a mistake!"

Davis has three days to appeal (see story).

Panthers: Becker promoted, to run day-to-day operations
The Panthers have announced Tina Becker has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer and been given full control of the day-to-day management of the organization.

The move comes after the NFL launched an investigation into alleged sexual and racist misconduct by longtime owner Jerry Richardson. The 81-year-old is stepping away from the daily operation of the team and will focus on the pending sale of the franchise.

"These have been some of the most difficult days of my 19 years with the Panthers, but I am lifted up by the strong resolve and the commitment our employees have shown to this organization," Becker said in a news release Monday. "Our team on the field is performing at a very high level, and I believe is bound for the Super Bowl.

"My immediate focus will be to ensure the corporate side of the organization performs at the same high level, while addressing the real concerns that have been raised in recent days."

Team president Danny Morrison had resigned earlier in the year, and there was no COO before, or after, his resignation (see full story).

Texans: O'Brien emphatically says he'll never resign
HOUSTON -- Coach Bill O'Brien was emphatic on Monday about his desire to remain with the Houston Texans, a day after the team dropped to 4-10 with an embarrassing 45-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"I will never quit as the head football coach of the Houston Texans," he said. "Ever."

O'Brien, who has one more season left on his contract, was asked if he had thought about resigning after the Texans complete what will be the first losing season in his time with the team.

"I'm not a quitter," he said. "I was raised in a family that believed in family, faith, education and never quit. So, I never will."

O'Brien's job security has become a topic of discussion in recent weeks as injuries and inconsistent quarterback play have led to four straight losses, one win in the last eight games. He spent a sizable chunk of his media availability Monday discussing his future, his relationship with general manager Rick Smith, and whether he would like to sign an extension to remain with the Texans (see full story).

Bengals: Lewis noncommittal about next year
CINCINNATI -- Marvin Lewis went to sit in his customary chair for his Monday media availability and discovered that it had been adjusted to a lower setting.

He laughed after discovering that his seat at the front of the room no longer fit.

The Bengals' coach will finish his 15th season in Cincinnati amid a full-blown discussion about whom the chair will fit in a few weeks. Lewis said Monday that he hasn't talked to owner Mike Brown about his contract, which ends after this season.

Although he emphatically denies a report that he's decided to leave, Lewis was noncommittal Monday about what happens next.

Asked if he wants to be back in Cincinnati next year, he replied by saying only, "I want to coach football." Asked again if he wants to coach in Cincinnati next year, he simply said, "Sure" (see full story).

Aaron Rodgers is back to ruin everything

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Aaron Rodgers is back to ruin everything

Derrick Gunn makes his Week 15 NFL picks.

Eagles at Giants, Sunday, 1 p.m. on FOX
What a mess the Giants are right now. GM Jerry Reese fired! Head coach Ben McAdoo fired! Future Hall of Fame QB Eli Manning sits for a game and then resumes his starting role. Their offense can't score (15.3 points per game — which is 31st in the league), and their defense, which was the heart of this team in 2016, is nothing more than a distant memory. The Giants' D is 32nd overall in yards allowed, 31st in passing yards allowed, 31st in run defense, and 27th in points allowed. 

The Eagles are quickly getting over the loss of Carson Wentz, who was having an MVP season. This should be a walk in the park for the Birds even without Wentz, but you won't hear the players say that. They have a lot of respect for their wounded division foe, and as that old saying goes, "On any given Sunday." If Dallas was able to put up 30 points on the G-men, then surely the Birds can do that. You should be able to go holiday shopping by halftime.

Pick: Eagles 34, Giants 13

Bears at Lions, Saturday, 4:30 p.m. on NFL Network
It's hard to believe the Bears are actually seventh in the league in rushing (124.5 yards per game,) but when they get the ground game going, it's pretty special. Just ask Cincinnati. The Lions are fighting for their playoff lives but the right side of their O-line is banged up. Matthew Stafford's air game vs. the Bears' ground attack. I'm going with the Lions through the air.

Pick: Lions

Chargers at Chiefs, Saturday, 8:25 p.m. on NFL Network
A showdown in the AFC West. The Chiefs knocked the Raiders off their perch to snap a four-game slide, but the Chargers are a different story. Philip Rivers and company are hot, winners of four in a row. Both teams have big-play capabilities. CB Marcus Peters is back from his one-game suspension to help the back end of the Chiefs' defense. Winner takes control of the division. Big Red's army will be ready.

Pick: Chiefs

Dolphins at Bills, Sunday, 1 p.m. on CBS
The Dolphins put a smackdown on New England but that was in the warm confines of South Florida. Now the Fins head to the arctic blast that is Buffalo. The Bills currently hold the sixth seed in the AFC. Miami is one game behind them. LeSean McCoy needs only 39 yards to become the 30th player to rush for 10,000 in a career. Shady gets his, and the Bills get a win.

Pick: Bills

Ravens at Browns, Sunday, 1 p.m. on CBS
The Ravens are still seething about how they let a win slip by in Pittsburgh. The Browns continue to find new ways to lose games. The Ravens' defense leads the league with 20 interceptions and it should add to that total because the Browns' revolving door of QBs has served up a league-high 23 INTs. The Ravens stay in the thick of the playoff race. The Browns continue to secure the No. 1 pick in next year's draft.

Pick: Ravens

Bengals at Vikings, Sunday, 1 p.m. on CBS
It's bad enough the Bengals got steamrolled by the lowly Bears, now they have to face a ticked-off group of Vikings. The Vikings didn't play their best game against Carolina and it cost them. They will not make the same mistakes against the Bengals on their turf.

Pick: Vikings

Jets at Saints, Sunday, 1 p.m. on CBS
The Jets are the Jekyll and Hyde of the NFL. They beat teams like Jacksonville and Kansas City, but lose to the likes of Tampa Bay and Denver. Drew Brees and the Saints will be ready for them down in the bayou. The Saints share the NFC South lead with Carolina, and Atlanta is one game back. There is no room for error. The Saints go marching to a W.

Pick: Saints

Cardinals at Redskins, Sunday, 1 p.m. on FOX
There's trouble in Redskinsville. The team is losing and players are grumbling. To make matters worse, TE Jordan Reed has been placed on IR. The 'Skins now have 18 players on IR. The Cards still have faint playoff hopes but I don't think Blaine Gabbert can outduel Kirk Cousins.

Pick: Redskins

Packers at Panthers, Sunday, 1 p.m. on FOX
The fact that Aaron Rodgers has missed seven games and the Packers are still talking playoffs is amazing in itself. Now, Packers nation is really buzzing because ARod posted on his Instagram page that he has been medically cleared to return to action and is expecting to start against the Panthers. Carolina is coming off a huge win over Minnesota and will have to bring its A-game for this one. How rusty will Rodgers be remains to be seen. Rodgers will give the Packers' offense a much-needed jolt, but I don't have faith in their defense stopping Cam Newton and company. 

Pick: Panthers

Texans at Jaguars, Sunday, 1 p.m. on CBS
In case you didn't know, there's a new bully on the block and its name is Jacksonville. The Jaguars took a major step towards respectability by out-muscling Seattle. The Jags control the AFC South. Their athleticism and physicality on both sides of the ball is impressive. Meanwhile, as if the Texans' QB situation isn't unstable enough, starter Tom Savage is in the concussion protocol. It's going to be a long day for Houston.

Pick: Jaguars

Rams at Seahawks, Sunday, 4:05 p.m. on FOX
The Rams have no one to blame but themselves for their loss to Eagles. The Seahawks are one game behind the Rams in the NFC West and must shake off the cobwebs after getting roughed up by Jacksonville. The 'Hawks beat the Rams earlier this season. Seattle continues to hurt on defense. The heart of its D, linebackers Bobby Wagner (hamstring) and K.J. Wright (concussion), are questionable for this huge showdown. The Rams know what's at stake and they haven't lost two in a row all season. The boys from SoCal get their revenge.

Pick: Rams

Patriots at Steelers, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
This could be a preview of the AFC Championship. The Patriots were off their game in Miami, but now it's game on for top seeding in the conference. The Steelers are stoked to have this one in their backyard. The loss of LB Ryan Shazier is huge for the 'Burgh. Big Ben vs. the G.O.A.T. is always a special treat. Advantage: Steelers at home.

Pick: Steelers

Titans at 49ers, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
The Titans have a lot at stake, still chasing Jacksonville in the AFC South. The Niners are playing for pride. It looks like a mismatch on paper, but not so fast, as Niners QB Jimmy Garoppolo is 2-0 as a starter. Titans QB Marcus Mariota has been way off his game. In his last four outings, he's been picked off eight times, while tossing just three TDs. I don't know if Garoppolo has been the Niners' missing link or not, but I gotta believe the Titans' ground game can bail them out.

Pick: Titans

Cowboys at Raiders, Sunday, 8:30 p.m. on NBC
The Cowboys are riding a two-game winning streak and talking playoff run. While not officially eliminated yet, the Raiders are in trouble. Oakland's loss to the Chiefs put it in a deep hole. There's a lot at stake for both teams in this one. Can Dallas survive one more game until the return of Ezekiel Elliott? I think it can.

Pick: Cowboys

Falcons at Buccaneers, Monday, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN
The Falcons are coming off extended rest after a must-win over the Saints. The Bucs have been one of the more disappointing teams in the league this season. The Falcons are currently the six seed in the NFC and can still win the NFC South if they run the table. The Dirty Birds should run right through Tampa Bay.

Pick: Falcons