When you cut it to eight points, you never know what can happen

There is a narrative that Jeter was doing Steinbrenner and the Yankees a favor with the lopsided trade, but that’s not accurate. Stanton, because of his right to veto destinations, controlled the trade board. After he knocked the Giants and Cardinals off the table, the Dodgers passed on first crack, leaving Jeter desperate — and the Yankees pounced.

Since this is the most unpredictable NFL season in a while, bet on this ending up as the most entertaining game of the holiday. Yes, the odds are long. The Giants managed to not wow anybody even while beating the Chiefs last week. Washington’s collapse in the final minutes in New Orleans made their fans (again) question their will to live. Signs are growing that a national audience will be witnessing a lot of empty seats at FedEx Field. Of the two teams that can’t be trusted, the Giants can’t be trusted more.

“I like the way we competed,” Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “I thought Damian did a nice job of leading that group … they all competed, led by Dame. It was good to get back into the game.”

He was flown by medical helicopter from Cincinnati on Wednesday afternoon, and his family flew by private jet to Pittsburgh at around the same time, unidentified sources told ESPN.

“We again want to thank the doctors and staff at UC Health’s University of Cincinnati Medical Center for the excellent care Ryan received while at that facility,” the Steelers said in a statement Wednesday announcing that Shazier’s treatment would continue at the UPMC.chargers_027-180x180

Red Sox still looking for a big bat as powerful Yankees get even stronger

Dombrowski said reports that the Red Sox have made Bradley available in trades are “false.” He also said the Sox are in the market for only one hitter, rather than trying to double up with, say, Martinez and a second-tier free agent such as first basemen Carlos Santana or Logan Morrison.

“I don’t know where we’d play these two bats. I’m trying to figure that one out,” Dombrowski said. “But I would say we’d be more limited to probably one bat.”

If they fall short …: The Lions will have wasted another season of Stafford in his prime by not having upgraded at running back or pass rush during the 2017 offseason.

Tonight’s opponent is the Bulls, owners of the fourth-worst defense, the ninth-worst rebound rate and no real inside/outside type of defender to matchup with Horford. He seems like a lock to achieve value tonight, so the question is just how high is his ceiling in this good spot?

But at some point, Bortles may be forced to show he can provide difference-making plays in the passing game when the Jags face quality opponents on a consistent basis. A preview of that scenario in the playoffs could happen Sunday against Seattle.

The Jaguars have a chance of securing a postseason berth depending on the outcome of their game and five others in Week 14. Jacksonville is still likely playoff-bound regardless for the first time since the heyday of David Garrard, Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew.

But losing to the Seahawks will paint the Jaguars as a strong one-and-done candidate considering the relatively soft schedule they’ve played this season. Only two of Jacksonville’s eight wins have come against opponents that currently have winning records (the Steelers and Ravens).nike_chargers_543-180x180

Jimmy Garoppolo is 2-0 as the 49ers’ starter.

Mayfield gave Oklahoma its sixth Heisman winner, which moves the Sooners into a tie with USC for the third-most all time (not including Reggie Bush’s vacated 2005 Heisman). Alongside Heisman winners Billy Vessels, Steve Owens, Billy Sims, Jason White and Bradford, Oklahoma will soon erect a statue of Mayfield in its Heisman Park, which sits just to the east of Oklahoma’s Memorial Stadium.

There’s no reason to think he won’t have a third straight prolific game, as Kyle Shanahan has found his play-calling groove with all of the team’s versatile weapons, even without a healthy Pierre Garcon. Marcus Mariota is more banged up and less effective. The Titans have lost their grip on the AFC South, and now a playoff berth is in serious danger.

But Paul’s value to the Rockets goes beyond his fantasy implications because he completely changes both the potency and the robustness of the team offense while making a tangible contribution to the team defense. The Rockets team was built — yes, largely using analytics — around the concept of a central ball handler creating offense with four high-efficiency finishers around him at all times. Most of those finishers are spot-up 3-point shooters, but the center slot can also be manned by athletic bigs who can dive to the rim off the pick-and-roll.

Using this approach in the D’Antoni system, with a single gifted lead guard, can create an offense that is often oppressive to opponents because of how difficult it is to face the barrage of high efficiency — often 3-point shots — that is produced.

Too bad they can’t be ranked higher than this after three consecutive 28-point victories. Carson Wentz and the defense have kept them rolling. They’ll get some good tests with back-to-back long road trips to the NFC West.lakers_008

Offense-needy NFL teams could plunder Vikings’ Shurmur in 2018

Keenum also hasn’t had to carry the offensive load himself thanks to Jerrick McKinnon and Latavius Murray stepping up to fill the void in the running game created by Cook’s absence. The Vikings are averaging more rushing yards in the past eight games (130.2) than when Cook was in the backfield (108).

“It’s on me. I dropped it,” Diggs said. “I dropped the ball, and I gave it to them. It’s on us. All the plays we have the opportunity to make, we have to make. We left a lot of plays out there.”

The strengths, discipline and fundamentals Minnesota is known for let the team down. Keenum did not.

Everything was caving in on Keenum, but he hung tough and improvised to keep the Vikings in the game. The pressure the Panthers could apply against a one-dimensional attack was just too much to overcome in the end.

Eli Manning would inherit two good starting wide receivers in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, and possibly a special young left tackle in Garett Bolles. He can still get the ball out quickly to limit sacks and turnovers, which would be a big help to a Broncos defense that is still strong, but less dominant than it was when it helped Peyton ride off with a second ring.

Beyond the convenient storyline of deja vu, there’s some sense to Eli getting a Mile High to finish his career.

The Bengals took control of the AFC North with a victory at Heinz Field, a game in which wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh scored two touchdowns. Housh, however, made his biggest statement by wiping his cleats on a Steelers “Terrible Towel” before heading to the locker room. “It used to be Pittsburgh’s time,” fellow Bengals receiver Chad Johnson said afterward in this Cincy Jungle article. “Now it’s Cincinnati’s time.”

Shazier remains in a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center hospital after undergoing spinal stabilization surgery Wednesday.

“His actions after the hit are more disturbing than the hit itself. Often times plays like that are teachable moments,” Tomlin said. “He’s a better sportsman than he displayed after the block.”

“You give that guy the game ball because we know his heart is in it,” Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward said. “And he deserves it.”

“We are going to give him the hat and T-shirt tonight,” linebacker Vince Williams said of the Steelers’ commemerative gear to mark their AFC North title, which they clinched with the win.

Buzz around the NFL has former Panthers GM Dave Gettleman as the most likely candidate for the open general manager job with Giants, Pro Football Talk reports.

Giants co-owner John Mara fired GM Jerry Reese, along with coach Ben McAdoo, Monday, a day after the team dropped to 2-10 on the season with a loss to the Raiders. Mara said he wants to hire a new GM before bringing aboard a new coach.

Former Chiefs GM John Dorsey, Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio, Falcons assistant GM Scott Pioli (the son-in-law of legendary Giants coach Bill Parcells), Packers director of football operations Eliot Wolf, Seahawks co-director of player personnel Scott Fitterer and Vikings assistant GM George Paton are also mentioned as possibilities.royals_009

Brett Brown: I treat film study with Markelle Fultz like a ‘college classroom’

“That’s a slippery slope at times,” Brown said. “He’s had a great motor in trying to grow his conditioning in that regard, doing the same thing in the weight room. Picking the areas that you can continue to develop really an amazing basketball body.”

Troy has a productive offense as well, led by senior quarterback Brandon Silvers. The four-year starter enters the New Orleans Bowl having thrown for more than 10,000 yards in his career. Silvers has passed for 2,985 yards and 13 touchdowns with just six interceptions this season.

North Texas running back Jeffery Wilson, who has produced 1,215 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns this season, is doubtful for the bowl game because of a foot injury, according to Littrell. If he doesn’t play, he would finish his career ranked third in Mean Green history in rushing touchdowns (32) and fourth in rushing yards (3,205).

Steelers LB Ryan Shazier was transported to the hospital after a scary back injury on an attempted tackle in the first quarter. Late in the game, Vontaze Burfict was taken off the field with a head injury after an illegal crackback block by Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.

While the injury to Shazier was unintentional, Smith-Schuster was called for two penalties for his hit on Burfict — one for unnecessary roughness and one for taunting as he stood over the injured Burfict.

“I don’t have any intentions to hurt anyone when I play football,” Smith-Schuster said. “I didn’t mean to hurt Vontez Burfict, I just wanted to throw a block for my teammate. I apologize for standing over him and that isn’t me. Praying he gets better.”panthers_015

Tom Brady threw for 266 yards and three touchdowns

Because of that, MLB voided the contracts of nine players the Braves would have been ineligible to sign: Venezuelan infielder Kevin Maitan ($4.25 million signing bonus), Venezuelan catcher Abrahan Gutierrez ($3.53 million), Dominican shortstop Yunior Severino ($1.9 million), Dominican right-hander Juan Contreras ($1.2 million), Dominican shortstop Yenci Pe?a ($1.05 million), Dominican right-hander Yefri del Rosario ($1 million), Cuban outfielder Juan Carlos Negret ($1 million), Venezuelan shortstop Livan Soto ($1 million) and Colombian right-hander Guillermo Zuniga ($350,000).

Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama — The 6-1, 190-pound senior caught five passes for 171 yards, including a 31-yard reception on Alabama’s final drive to set up the game-winning 26-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts to freshman receiver DeVonta Smith for the 31-24 win. Ridley continues to be one of the best big-play receivers in the country.

Tom Brady threw for 266 yards and three touchdowns, while Dion Lewis added two total scores, including a 103-yard kickoff return, for New England. Emmanuel Sanders recorded six catches for 137 yards for Denver in the losing effort.

Field goal, Seahawks. Seattle drives down the field but it’s kept out of the end zone when Tyler Lockett is called for offensive pass interference on third down. Wilson throws an incomplete pass on the following play and the Seahawks are forced to settle for a field goal that cuts their deficit to 21-10.

The Vikings would love nothing more to stay at home for the entire postseason.

They took one step closer to clinching a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs with a convincing 24-7 win over the Rams.

The Chargers’ defense has an advantage on paper as it attacks a Cowboys’ offensive front that is struggling in Smith’s absence. Los Angeles is third in the NFL in sacks with 30, led by defensive end Joey Bosa (10.5) and Ingram (8.5), both of whom rank in the top 10 in the NFL so far this season. Meanwhile, Dallas has given up 11 sacks in the last two contests.

That gives Los Angeles a chance to continue Dallas’ frustration on offense. The Cowboys didn’t score a touchdown on Sunday night versus the Eagles and have reached the end zone just once in the last two games.

Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon tipped C.J. Beathard’s pass to himself and intercepted it at his own 25-yard line. The 49ers had driven 54 yards into Giants territory before the pick.

Giants tackle Justin Pugh was ruled questionable to return with a back injury.

49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard found tight end Garrett Celek for a 47-yard touchdown, yet another big play from the Sean Francisco offense. Robbie Gould made the PAT. 17-13, 49ers

Eli Manning found tight end Evan Engram for a 9-yard touchdown pass to cap a 10-play, 75-yard drive and take the lead back for the Giants. Aldrick Rosas made the PAT. 13-10, Giants

Washington’s best possible finish is 10-6. The Redskins haven’t reached 11 wins since 1991.

“I thought we were over that,” he said, adding, “Here we are on this losing streak. And, you know, I don’t want to believe it’s culture; I really don’t. And I’m around these guys every day. But at the same time we have lost four in a row; you can’t hide from that.”

Since starting out 8-5 last season, the Bucs are 3-8. The Saints loss was their fifth straight, and the only teams in the NFL with worse records in 2017 are the winless Browns and 49ers, plus the one-win Giants. Koetter and the Giants’ Ben McAdoo ought to relate well to each other — second-year coaches given credit for quick turnarounds after questionable firings of their predecessors, with steep plunges the next year.

“We are all terribly saddened by this news of his passing,” Jones said. Too young and too soon. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his loved ones and all of the people who were touched by his life.”

They also were both touted as offensive gurus who aren’t living up to the hype. The ceiling for Winston was considered extremely high, in their defense, but the notion that he’s on a treadmill in Year 3 is powerful.

The fact that the defense has downright regressed this season despite the Bucs loading up on that side of the ball over the last two years in the draft and free agency doesn’t help. Neither do the well-documented kicking woes. And neither does the fact that the general manager, Jason Licht, spanned Smith’s and Koetter’s tenures.

The AFC can boast having produced the past three Super Bowl winners.

And as a conference, that’s about it.

The AFC features six teams with winning records through the season’s first 10 weeks compared to 10 such squads in the NFC.

“The Kobe IXs are my favorite basketball shoe overall,” Fox said. “The IV is when he started the low-tops, and I’ll definitely try to get my hands on those.”

In a fun coincidence, the rookie charged with helping to lead Nike’s Kobe series isn’t “the new face of the Lakers,” as Magic Johnson dubbed Ball, but rather Fox, who plays for a Kings team that once had famous playoff battles with Bryant’s Lakers.

As part of an agreement between MLB and the players’ association, a club can use money from either its 2017-18 or 2018-19 signing bonus pool to sign a player but can’t combine money from both pools in one contract. The first $200,000 of a signing bonus will not count against a team’s limit, but the $300,000 maximum remains for teams subject to the penalty for exceeding their pool under the previous labor contract.

DeShon Elliott, S, Texas — Not only did Elliott begin Saturday as the nation’s leader with six interceptions, the Texas junior has ideal size at 6-2, 210 pounds. He didn’t hve an interception during Saturday’s 42-27 win over Kansas, but did have seven tackles and a forced fumble with a pass defensed.

Then it depends on how you like to cook the salmon. I sear it because I like it a little more rare. Four minutes on each side … flip it once, throw the sauce on, and it’s delicious.nike_bills-051