Aaron Rodgers

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

Let's start making the real comparisons with Carson Wentz

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Let's start making the real comparisons with Carson Wentz

It’s time to stop comparing Carson Wentz to other “young quarterbacks.” It’s time to stop comparing him to Dak Prescott or other current rivals. It’s time to stop comparing him to Donovan McNabb or any other Eagles quarterback from the distant past.

Because with Wentz, it’s no longer about how he stacks up to other Eagles QBs or other young QBs. It’s about how he stacks up with Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning.

I’ve seen enough.

I’ve seen enough after 27 career games and 11 games this year to safely conclude that Wentz, provided of course he stays healthy, will go down as an all-time great.  

I know, I know. Crazy, right?

This isn't to say he's as accomplished as those guys, just that if you project his current level of play over an entire career, he's right there.

Just 15 months ago, Wentz was the Eagles’ third-stringer behind Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel, and it looked like he wasn’t even going to play.

Now? He’s putting up numbers that very, very few quarterbacks have ever put up at any point of their career.

Think I’m nuts? Think this is premature? That’s fine. Feel free. But the numbers don’t lie. The eye test doesn’t lie. The body of work doesn’t lie.

Let’s just start with 28 touchdowns and five interceptions. Do you know how rare it is for a quarterback to have 28 or more touchdowns and five or fewer interceptions at this point of a season?

Brady has done it twice, Rodgers has done it twice and Wentz has now done it once. And that’s it.

And Brady first accomplished it in his eighth season as a 30-year-old and Rodgers in his seventh season as a 27-year-old.

Wentz is 24.

What about 22 touchdowns in a seven-game span, which Wentz has done over the last seven games? He's one of nine guys in NFL history to do that over any seven-game span but one of only five who's thrown three or fewer interceptions along the way.

One of the most impressive things about Wentz is his consistency. Since that Ravens loss last December in Baltimore, the Eagles are 12-1, and Wentz hasn't experienced anything remotely resembling a bad game. At his worst, he's been very good. At his best, he's been dazzling.

In fact, Wentz has strung together 12 consecutive games with a passer rating of 83 or higher.

Who's had longer streaks in NFL history? Manning, Brady, Rodgers, Steve Young and Troy Aikman. All are or will be Hall of Famers.

Still not buying in? Still not convinced?

OK, how about this:

Wentz is on pace to throw an interception every 70 pass attempts this year and a touchdown every 12½ attempts. There've been only two seasons in NFL history in which a quarterback threw touchdown passes that frequently and interceptions that infrequently. Rodgers in 2011 and Brady in 2007.

Now, the one thing obviously separating Wentz from Brady, Rodgers, Manning, Drew Brees and other all-time great quarterbacks is that he hasn't done it year after year after year, and he hasn't won a Super Bowl. Hasn't even made the playoffs yet.

But he's not going anywhere. All that stuff will come.

I won't be shocked if it comes this year. Honestly, I would be surprised if Wentz doesn't win at least two Lombardis by the time he hangs 'em up.

If you aren't convinced yet that he's capable of it, please raise your hand. Anybody? Didn't think so.

There will be slumps. There will be bad games. There will be challenges along the way.

But you know with his work ethic, determination, approach to practice and the way he takes care of himself, he's only going to get better. Even if he never improves and simply maintains his current level of play over a period of years, we’re still looking at one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time.

Just based on pure skill, pure ability to carry a football team, he's there.

Wentz has played 27 regular-season NFL games, and we're having this conversation.

Wentz's next touchdown pass will be his 29th.

Brady didn't throw 29 touchdown passes until his eighth season.

And if you want to say, "The Eagles haven't beaten anybody this year," keep in mind that Wentz has faced the No. 4, No. 6 and No. 12 pass defenses in the league and threw at least three touchdowns with no interceptions against each one.

What about McNabb? Don't misjudge all this for any sort of knock on No. 5. It isn't. He was an all-time great Eagle. The best quarterback in Eagles' history. He won nine playoff games for this franchise and reached a Super Bowl.

Wentz doesn't have a postseason résumé yet, but that will come in time.

He's already doing things no quarterback this young has ever done, things that very few quarterbacks of any age have done.

He's your quarterback. And he will be for a very long time.

NFL Notes: Raiders' Marshawn Lynch suspended one game for shoving official

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NFL Notes: Raiders' Marshawn Lynch suspended one game for shoving official

NEW YORK — Oakland running back Marshawn Lynch was suspended for one game without pay by the NFL on Friday for shoving a game official during the Raiders' victory over Kansas City on Thursday night.

Lynch was ejected from the game after he shoved line judge Julian Mapp.

The scuffle started when Oakland quarterback Derek Carr was hit late on a run by Kansas City's Marcus Peters midway through the second quarter. Raiders offensive linemen Kelechi Osemele and Donald Penn immediately confronted Peters, and Lynch sprinted onto the field from the bench to join the fray. Mapp tried to break up the fight, but Lynch pushed him and grabbed his jersey. Lynch also got a personal foul.

NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan wrote a letter to Lynch, saying:

"You made deliberate physical contact with one of our game officials as he was diffusing an active confrontation between players. You were disqualified for your inappropriate and unsportsmanlike actions. Your conduct included pushing the game official and grabbing his jersey. ... You were not directly involved in the active confrontation that the game official was attempting to diffuse, nor were you a participant in the play that initiated the confrontation. You were the only player from either team who ran from the sideline to midfield to insert himself into a situation in which he was not directly involved."

Lynch will be eligible to return to Oakland's active roster on Oct. 30, the day after the Raiders' game against the Buffalo Bills (see full story). 

Packers place QB Aaron Rodgers on injured reserve
GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Green Bay Packers placed Aaron Rodgers on injured reserve Friday after the quarterback had surgery on his broken collarbone.

Rodgers would be eligible to return from injured reserve after eight weeks and able to return to practice after six weeks. But coach Mike McCarthy has said that there is no timeline for Rodgers' return, and that the two-time NFL MVP might miss the rest of the season.

"Everything went very well is my understanding talking with (team doctor Pat McKenzie), and he's recovering," McCarthy said Friday morning. The Packers did not practice Friday.

The procedure on Rodgers was done Thursday outside of Green Bay. He was hurt in the first quarter in a 23-10 loss last weekend to the Minnesota Vikings.

Rodgers posted an Instagram message early Friday thanking well-wishers for their "love, support, thoughts and prayers" in a photo of himself in a hospital bed (see full story).

Injured QB Jameis Winston will start against Bills
TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay's Jameis Winston tested his injured throwing shoulder in practice and will start Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills.

Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter made the announcement Friday after the third-year quarterback worked with the first-team offense for the first time since spraining his right shoulder during last week's 38-33 loss at Arizona.

Winston was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday, taking "mental reps" while backup Ryan Fitzpatrick prepared to face the Bills.

"Jameis threw the ball well today," Koetter said following the team's hour-long practice at One Buccaneer Place. "Jameis is our starter. He will be out there."

Winston has made 37 consecutive starts after entering the NFL as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft (see full story).