Wizards

Peyton will pick apart Raiders

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Peyton will pick apart Raiders

Leave it to the Oakland Raiders to ruin the renewal of a great rivalry.

The Raiders have done so this year by being, well, awful. They've dropped five in a row, four of them admittedly to decent teams. But they were outplayed by Cleveland in Oakland last Sunday, a true indication of how far they've fallen.

Now the Broncos head to the Black Hole on Thursday night, already owning the AFC West title, but not likely to pull back any against the team Denver fans (and some players) always have loved to hate.

``It's tough,'' Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey said. ``Their fans are probably the rowdiest fans you'll see anywhere. It's tough, but you've got to go in there and block that out some kind of way, and the best way to do that is win the game or get up on them.

``I like it. I like playing on the road because I like people to boo us and I like to make them shut up, so to speak. That's just the way it is. I like winning on the road.''

Denver (No. 4 in the AP Pro32) is on a seven-game winning streak, longest in the league, and is a 10-point favorite to handle the Raiders (No. 31, AP Pro32).

Oakland struggles against any sort of dangerous offense, and with Peyton Manning getting more comfortable each week with his receivers, runners and blockers, the Broncos certainly rate as a threat anytime they have the ball.

They will have the ball a lot, particularly in the end zone.

BRONCOS, 38-13

No. 29 Philadelphia (plus 7 1/2) at No. 15 Tampa Bay

Eagles playing for next year and beyond, Bucs playing for a playoff berth.

BEST BET: BUCCANEERS, 30-13

No. 9 Chicago (minus 3) at No. 18 Minnesota

Bears banged-up and Adrian Peterson is running wild.

UPSET SPECIAL: VIKINGS, 16-14

No. 1 Houston (plus 4 1/2) at No. 2 New England, Monday night

Texans would prove a lot with a win here. Won't happen.

PATRIOTS, 28-22

No. 6 Baltimore (pick-em) at No. 14 Washington

Beltway Bowl. Ravens overcome headaches thinking about RG3.

RAVENS, 24-23

No. 20 Miami (plus 10) at No. 5 San Francisco

Jim Harbaugh's QB decision needs to pay dividends here.

49ERS, 23-14

No. 17 New Orleans (plus 5) at No. 8 New York Giants

If this game was in Superdome, choice would be reversed.

GIANTS, 30-27

No. 22 Detroit (plus 6 1/2) at No. 7 Green Bay

Packers are inconsistent, but Lions are consistently mediocre and undisciplined.

PACKERS, 33-19

No. 28 Arizona (plus 10) at No. 12 Seattle

First of three divisional games at home for Seahawks, who are 5-0 in Seattle.

SEAHAWKS, 27-10

No. 26 Tennessee (plus 5 1/2) at No. 10 Indianapolis

Another step toward the postseason for Andrew Luck and Colts.

COLTS, 28-17

No. 23 New York Jets (minus 2 1/2) at No. 32 Jacksonville

And the Jets are favored why, exactly?

JAGUARS, 10-9

No. 2 Atlanta (minus 3 1/2) at No. 27 Carolina

Falcons desperately want to stay home for entire playoffs.

FALCONS, 33-23

No. 16 Dallas (plus 3) at No. 13 Cincinnati

This one is easy: Bengals are the better team - by more than a field goal.

BENGALS, 23-16

No. 19 St. Louis (plus 3) at No. 21 Buffalo

After handling Niners, Rams should flatten Bills, right? Nope.

BILLS, 21-20

No. 30 Kansas City (plus 5) at No. 25 Cleveland

Browns starting to show enough to maybe save Shurmur's job.

BROWNS, 20-10

No. 24 San Diego (OFF) at No. 11 Pittsburgh

Could be a rout if Ben Roethlisberger plays for Steelers. Even if not ...

STEELERS, 20-13

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2012 RECORD:

Against spread: 5-8-1 (78-99-7). Straight up: 11-5 (120-70-1)

Best Bet: 6-5-2 against spread, 10-3 straight up.

Upset special: 9-4 against spread, 7-6 straight up.

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Wizards' second pre-draft workout highlights quest for shooting, raises question at point guard

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USA Today Sports Images

Wizards' second pre-draft workout highlights quest for shooting, raises question at point guard


The Wizards held their second pre-draft workout at Capital One Arena on Wednesday and the theme of this session was shooting. They hosted six players, four of which shot 40 percent or better for their college careers. Not 40 percent for their final season, like they developed a shot over the years, 40 percent for their careers.

Those four would be Aaron Holiday of UCLA, a likely first-round pick, plus likely second-round picks Devonte' Graham and Sviatoslave Mykhailiuk of Kansas, and Zach Thomas of Bucknell who may go undrafted.

One of the outliers was Moe Wagner of Michigan, who shot 39.4 percent as a junior. The other was Johnathan Williams, who shot 33.3 percent from long range in college, but impressed in the workout by knocking down more shots than expected.

Wizards executives raved about the amount of made shots in this workout and the players they chose to host help demonstrate that shooting is a need the Wizards are hoping to address. Head coach Scott Brooks said as much in his final meeting with the media following their playoff loss.

Here are some notes on the players that addressed reporters on Wednesday...

Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA

 - The brother of NBA players Jrue and Justin, Holiday said he is aiming to find the same success as them at the professional level. Both are good defensive players and Holiday said that is a big part of his game: 

"No pressure at all. I'm here to make my own name for myself... We all like to play defense... I just try to watch how they read guys and force guys into bad plays."

Holiday was informed his brother, Jrue, had just been named All-Defense. He was happy for him, of course.

"That's awesome. That's actually really good. I thought he would do it, too. Obviously, he's a great defender. Both of my brothers do well."

 - Bringing in Holiday was interesting because he is expected to be a first round pick and plays point guard. The Wizards, of course, already have an All-Star point guard in John Wall. Holiday acknowledged that fact, but believes he can play with both Wall and All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal:

"It was obviously a question of why they would want me, but at the same time I know they need help on the backend, coming off the bench and playing high minutes and producing while John and them aren't on the court. Or, even playing with John Wall out there... with John and Bradley Beal out there, I could space the court pretty well for them."

Holiday would have no problem beginning his career as a bench player, if that's what happens:

"If the coach tells me to come off the bench, play a lot of minutes and get other people involved, that's what I will do. I also can play off the ball as well. I think I fit pretty good."

The Wizards taking a point guard in the first round is not that crazy of an idea. They have long been in need of a viable backup point guard and Fred VanVleet of the Raptors showed how much a really good backup can help.

Moritz Wagner, C, Michigan

 - Wagner worked out with the Bulls first and has the Nets up next. He said the Wizards workout was more intense than the Bulls, which is something we heard from many prospects last year. Washington apparently puts a greater emphasis on physical conditioning than other teams.

 - A native of Germany, and a seven-footer who shoots threes, naturally Wagner grew up a big fan of Mavs great Dirk Nowitzki:

"He was kind of our MJ. He was my MJ. He kind of shows you 'okay, this is possible and this is doable.' It's just basketball. He's from where I'm from, too. It gives you a lot of hope. It gives you a lot of belief and motivation."

 - Questions for Wagner surround his defense and whether he can protect the rim, as he wasn't a shot-blocker in college. Wagner said he is hoping to show teams how his mobility can help on that end of the floor:

"I think the most important thing that I wasn't able to show in college is that I'm able to switch the ball-screen. Especially with the way the league is going; switch on everything and stay in front of guards as a big guy."

Devonte' Graham, G, Kansas

 - Graham also worked out with the Bulls first. He has the Suns, Hawks, Rockets and Grizzlies up next. He expects to work out for 13 or 14 teams in total.

 - Graham is from Raleigh, just like Wall who was in attendance. Wall and Graham sat next to each other to chat after the workout was over:

"We're from the [area code] 919 and we all stick together. I hit him up last night."

 - Graham also knows Wizards forward Kelly Oubre, Jr. very well. They were roommates as freshmen at Kansas:

"He was a goofy dude. That was my boy, though."

 - Graham said he has been talking to Jazz star rookie Donovan Mitchell about the draft process, as he and Mitchell share the same agent.

MORE WIZARDS: 

- Diallo visits: Is the Kentucky star a good fit?
- Turgeon talks: Maryland coach talks 2018 draft
- NBA mock draft: Post combine edition

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Redskins OTA practice report—QB Alex Smith sharp

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Associated Press

Redskins OTA practice report—QB Alex Smith sharp

Even though it was a bright, warm Wednesday in Ashburn the Redskins held their OTA session in the practice bubble because recent rains have left their outdoor fields to soggy to use. Here are my observations from the practice:

—A few Redskins were not present and a few who were there were not participating in the drills. Jay Gruden said that OT Trent Williams is rehabbing in Texas and that LB Zach Brown is in the process of relocating to the Washington area. RB Chris Thompson and OT Morgan Moses were present, but both were spectators. 

— It should be noted that even though Moses didn’t practice and is still rehabbing after ankle surgery, he still participated in the sideline-to-sideline running the team does at the end of practice.

—At rookie camp, RB Derrius Guice was first in line to do every drill. Today, he gave way to the veterans to all take their reps and then he went first among the rookies. 

— “Fat Rob” Kelley never really was fat but he is now lean and mean. He also seems to be a half step quicker than he was in the past. Added competition in the form of second- and fourth-round picks being added at your position will do that to a player. 

—The “starting” offensive line from left to right was Geron Christian, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, and John Kling. The interior could well start the season; the tackle position awaits the returns of Williams, Moses, and Ty Nsekhe. 

—RB Byron Marshall, who was on the team briefly last year before getting injured, looked very quick with good acceleration.

—CB Josh Norman was back with the group fielding punts. I seriously doubt that he will handle any kicks in games, even preseason games, but perhaps with DeAngelo Hall being gone he wants to be available as an emergency option. Also back with the punt returners were CB Danny Johnson, CB Greg Stroman, WR Maurice Harris, WR De’Mornay Pierson-El, and, of course, WR Jamison Crowder.

—S D.J. Swearinger spent most of the special teams practice on the sideline working on catching passes with his hands extended away from his body. A little while later, he had a chance to make an interception with his arms extended. Of course, he dropped it. 

—It seems like QB Alex Smith and Crowder have some good rapport built already. Once on the right sideline and a few minutes later on the left, Smith threw a well-placed ball into Crowder, who was well covered on both occasions. 

—Eventually, CB Orlando Scandrick caught on and he swatted down a quick out to Crowder. 

—With Brown out, Josh Harvey-Clemons was with the first unit at inside linebacker. He’s still skinny but less so than he was last year. The second-year player was impressive in coverage, staying with Crowder step for step on a deep pass down the middle.

—The play of the day was a deep pass down the right side from Smith to WR Paul Richardson. Stroman was with the receiver step for step on the 9 route but Smith laid the ball out perfectly and Richardson made a lunging catch. Even though it doesn’t have to under the new rule, the catch did survive the ground. 

—WR Cam Sims had a few impressive plays. On one, QB Colt McCoy lofted one high in the air down the right side. Sims kept his focus on the ball while two defenders lost it and made the catch. 

—WR Trey Quinn had his moments. He made a good grab while being bumped by Scandrick. But a while later he dropped a fairly easy one. 

—The running backs all looked good but Guice looked the best of all of them. He had an ability to cut and maintain his speed that not many have. With the warning that they were playing with no pads with no contact and not at full speed, Guice’s vision appeared to be outstanding. 

More 2018 Redskins

- 53-man roster: Player one-liners, offense
- Tandler’s Take: Best- and worst-case scenarios for 2018
- The draft: Redskins should get 4 additional picks in 2019 draft
- Schedule series: Gotta beat the Cowboys

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.