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Archive for December 6th, 2018

NFL welcomes in Week 14




There are only four weeks remaining in the regular season to decide who advances to the playoffs for a chance at a trip to Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta.

As the league enters the final quarter of the regular season, there are 19 teams either in or within one game of a playoff spot, including 10 teams that did not advance to the postseason in 2017. Since the 12-team playoff format began in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

Entering Week 14, one team – the NFC West champion LOS ANGELES RAMS (11-1) – has clinched a playoff berth as the battle for the remaining spots forges ahead. Three additional teams – the HOUSTON TEXANS (9-3), NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (9-3) and NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (10-2) – can clinch a division title this week.

Two teams that finished in or tied for last place in their division in 2017 – the CHICAGO BEARS (NFC North) and Houston Texans (AFC South) – are currently in first place in their respective divisions this season. In 14 of the past 15 seasons, at least one team finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place. Of the 46 teams in league history to go from “worst-to-first,” 23 of them have done so in the past 15 years (2003-17), including an NFL-record three such teams in 2005 and 2006.

With four weeks remaining on the schedule, much is still to be decided. Thirty of the league’s 32 teams remain in contention as the NFL enters Week 14.

Seven divisional matchups highlight an exciting slate of games in Week 14:

On Sunday afternoon, the Houston Texans welcome the Indianapolis Colts to NRG Stadium (1:00 PM ET, CBS) in an AFC South battle. The Texans (9-3) lead the Colts (6-6) and the Titans (6-6) by three games in the division and look to extend their league-leading nine game winning streak. Since entering the league in 2017, Houston quarterback DESHAUN WATSON is one of two NFL quarterbacks (RUSSELL WILSON) with a 100+ passer rating (101.8) and at least 500 rushing yards (644). Colts quarterback ANDREW LUCK has thrown at least three touchdown passes in eight of his past nine games and ranks second in the league with 32 touchdown passes this season.

The New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins square off on Sunday afternoon (1:00 PM ET, CBS) at Hard Rock Stadium. The Patriots look to clinch their 10th consecutive AFC East title and extend the longest streak of consecutive division titles in NFL history. New England quarterback TOM BRADY (579 touchdown passes, including the postseason) needs one touchdown pass to surpass PEYTON MANNING for the most in NFL history. Dolphins cornerback XAVIEN HOWARD had two interceptions in Week 13 and has three games with multiple interceptions in 2018, the most in the NFL.

Baltimore rookie quarterback LAMAR JACKSON leads the Ravens into Arrowhead Stadium to take on PATRICK MAHOMES and the Kansas City Chiefs (1:00 PM ET, CBS). Winners of three consecutive games, the Ravens (7-5) look to maintain their place in the thick of the AFC postseason race, while the Chiefs (10-2) aim to stay atop the AFC West. Jackson, who has won each of his first three starts, is the first rookie quarterback in league history to rush for at least 70 yards in three consecutive games. Mahomes, who leads the NFL with 41 touchdown passes and ranks second with 3,923 passing yards, can become the third first-or-second year quarterback in league annals to throw for at least 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns in a single season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers DAN MARINO (1984) and KURT WARNER (1999). Both Marino and Warner were named Associated Press Most Valuable Player in those seasons.

A battle of first-place teams in the NFC takes center stage as the Los Angeles Rams and Chicago Bears square off at Soldier Field on NBC’s Sunday Night Football (8:20 PM ET). Rams defensive tackle AARON DONALD leads the NFL with 16.5 sacks this season and has recorded at least two sacks in each of his past three games. Rams running back TODD GURLEY leads the NFL with 19 touchdowns this season and quarterback JARED GOFF ranks second in the NFL with 3,754 passing yards. The duo can make the Rams just the sixth team in league history to have a quarterback with at least 4,000 passing yards and a player with 20+ scrimmage touchdowns in a single season. Bears safety EDDIE JACKSON has an interception-return touchdown in two of his past three games and leads the NFL with three defensive touchdowns this season.

Week 14 closes on Monday night as the Minnesota Vikings travel to Seattle to take on the Seahawks in a key NFC matchup (8:15 PM ET, ESPN). Minnesota quarterback KIRK COUSINS ranks second in the league with a 71.3 completion percentage (minimum 200 attempts) and is one of three quarterbacks (DREW BREES and MATT RYAN) with a 70+ completion percentage and at least 3,000 passing yards (3,490) this season. Seahawks quarterback RUSSELL WILSON ranks third in the league with a 5.8 touchdown-to-interception ratio (29 touchdowns and five interceptions) and is one of four NFL quarterbacks with a passer rating of at least 115 this season (115.5).



(All times eastern)

Thursday, December 6 Sunday, December 9 (cont’d)
Jacksonville at Tennessee, 8:20 PM (FOX/NFLN/Amazon) New York Giants at Washington, 1:00 PM
Cincinnati at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 PM
Sunday, December 9 Denver at San Francisco, 4:05 PM
New York Jets at Buffalo, 1:00 PM Detroit at Arizona, 4:25 PM
Carolina at Cleveland, 1:00 PM Philadelphia at Dallas, 4:25 PM
Atlanta at Green Bay, 1:00 PM Pittsburgh at Oakland, 4:25 PM
Indianapolis at Houston, 1:00 PM Los Angeles Rams at Chicago, 8:20 PM (NBC)
Baltimore at Kansas City, 1:00 PM  
New England at Miami, 1:00 PM Monday, December 10
New Orleans at Tampa Bay, 1:00 PM


Minnesota at Seattle, 8:15 PM (ESPN)


Thursday Night Feature Game to open Week 14, Jaguars at the Titans












Week 14 gets underway on Thursday, December 6 (8:20 PM ET, FOX/NFL Network/Amazon Prime) with an AFC South showdown between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Thursday marks the 49th meeting between the two teams (including the postseason), with Tennessee leading the all-time series, 28-20. In the Week 3 meeting between the two teams, Tennessee linebacker WESLEY WOODYARD had 12 tackles and one sack and kicker RYAN SUCCOP converted three field-goal attempts, including the game-winning 28-yard yarder with 4:06 remaining in the fourth quarter in the Titans’ 9-6 victory at Jacksonville.

Last week, Jacksonville’s defense, led by cornerback JALEN RAMSEY (six tackles, two passes defensed) and linebacker TELVIN SMITH (12 tackles, one forced fumble), held Indianapolis to 265 total yards and kicker JOSH LAMBO converted both of his field-goal attempts in the Jaguars’ 6-0 victory over the Colts. Since joining the team in 2017, defensive end CALAIS CAMPBELL is one of three players in the NFL (DEMARCUS LAWRENCE and JASON PIERRE-PAUL) with at least 100 tackles (120) and 20 sacks (21.5). Running back LEONARD FOURNETTE has 100+ scrimmage yards and at least one touchdown in each of his past three games.

In Week 13, Titans quarterback MARCUS MARIOTA passed for 282 yards with two touchdowns and wide receiver TAYWAN TAYLOR led the team with 104 receiving yards, his first-career 100-yard game, in Tennessee’s 26-22 victory over the New York Jets. Tennessee linebacker JAYON BROWN is one of two NFL players (DARIUS LEONARD) with at least 70 tackles (70) and six sacks (six) in 2018. Wide receiver COREY DAVIS, who leads the team with 52 catches and 744 receiving yards this season, joins Kansas City’s TYREEK HILL (17.0 yards per catch average) and Indianapolis’ T.Y. HILTON (14.8) as the only players in the AFC averaging at least 40 yards per catch (minimum 50 catches).

For the Week 14 Jacksonville-Tennessee capsule, click here​.


NHL suspends Detroit’s Bertuzzi for roughing, unsportsmanlike conduct




Tyler Bertuzzi

NEW YORK (Dec. 3, 2018) – Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi has been suspended for two games, without pay, for roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct against Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Calvert during NHL Game No. 410 in Detroit on Sunday, Dec. 2, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.


The incident occurred at 12:45 of the third period.


Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Bertuzzi will forfeit $15,053.76. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.


For a full explanation of the decision, complete with video, please click on the following link:


NHL names ‘Three Stars’ of the Week: Jets’ Scheifele, Coyotes’ Hill and Panthers’ Huberdeau


Mark Scheifele Winnipeg Jets skating 2014 photo By Lisa Gansky from New York, NY, USA - IMG_6232, CC BY-SA 2.0, https

Adin Hill Arizona Coyotes (courtesy NHL PR)














Jonathan Huberdeau Florida Panthers (courtesy NHL PR)

NEW YORK (Dec. 3, 2018) – Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele, Arizona Coyotes goaltender Adin Hill and Florida Panthers left wing Jonathan Huberdeau have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Dec. 2.



Scheifele shared the League lead with five goals and ranked second overall with eight points in four games (5-3—8) as the Jets (16-8-2, 34 points) picked up three wins to move into third place in the Central Division. Scheifele potted two goals in a 4-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins Nov. 27. He then matched a career high with three assists in a 6-5 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks Nov. 29. Scheifele capped the week with back-to-back decisive goals, scoring twice (including his fifth career overtime tally) in a 4-3 triumph against the New Jersey Devils Dec. 1 and then recording one goal in regulation as well as his fifth career shootout winner in a 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers Dec. 2. The latter completed a three-goal, third-period comeback for Winnipeg, the sixth such win in franchise history (and first since Oct. 19, 2016 vs. TOR). The 25-year-old Kitchener, Ont., native ranks 11th in the NHL with 16-16—32 in 26 contests this season, including 19 points in his past 12 games (10-9—19).



Hill stopped 59 of the 60 shots he faced, compiling a 3-0-0 record with a 0.43 goals-against average, .983 save percentage and one shutout to lift the Coyotes (12‑11‑2, 26 points) to a perfect week. Hill turned aside all five shots he faced in 20 minutes of relief, guiding Arizona to a 4-3 comeback win over the Minnesota Wild Nov. 27. He then registered his first career shutout, making 29 saves in a 3-0 triumph against the Nashville Predators Nov. 29. Hill finished the week with 25 stops in a 6-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues Dec. 1. The 22-year-old Comox, B.C., native – who made his season debut Nov. 25 – owns a 4-3-0 record in eight career NHL appearances (2.27 GAA, .921 SV%, 1 SO).



Huberdeau topped the NHL with 2-7—9 in four outings to power the Panthers (10-10-5, 25 points) to five out of eight possible standings points. He collected 1-2—3, including an assist on the overtime winner, in a 4-3 triumph against the New Jersey Devils Nov. 26. Huberdeau then picked up two assists in both a 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks Nov. 28 and a 3-2 overtime victory against the Buffalo Sabres Nov. 30. He added 1-1—2 in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning Dec. 1. The 25-year-old Saint-Jerome, Que., native – who leads Florida with 6-22—28 in 25 contests this season – has posted multiple points in five consecutive games (2-9—11), two shy of the franchise record set by Pavel Bure from March 11-23, 2001 (13-4—17 in 7 GP).


Update on 2018-19 NHL Coach’s Challenge Tracker



A list of all challenges through Sunday, Dec. 2

82 Coach’s Challenges | 57 upheld | 25 overturned

· 52 for goalie interference | 42 upheld | 10 overturned (10 to “no goal” / 0 to “goal”)

· 5 initiated by Situation Room for goalie interference | 5 upheld | 0 overturned

· 25 for offside | 10 upheld | 15 overturned (all to “no goal”)

· 0 initiated by Situation Room for offside | 0 upheld | 0 overturned (all to “no goal”)


Team Requested Opposing Team Requested Opposing
Boston 2 4 Carolina   4
Buffalo 2 6 Columbus 2 2
Detroit 6 5 New Jersey 3 6
Florida 3   NY Islanders 1 3
Montreal 3 4 NY Rangers 2 3
Ottawa 2 6 Philadelphia 3  
Toronto 2   Pittsburgh 3 4
Tampa Bay 3 3 Washington 2 1


Team Requested Opposing Team Requested Opposing
Chicago   2 Anaheim 4 1
Colorado 2 8 Arizona 7 4
Dallas 1 3 Calgary 2 2
Minnesota 3 1 Edmonton 1 1
Nashville 2 1 Los Angeles 5 1
St. Louis 1   San Jose 1 1
Winnipeg 2 1 Vancouver 3 1
      Vegas 4 4

*Requested column does not include challenges initiated by Situation Room



In the final minute of play in the third period and at any point in overtime (regular season and playoffs), Hockey Operations initiates the review of any scenario that would otherwise be subject to a Coach’s Challenge. This process has been initiated for the following teams:


Atlantic: Detroit, Ottawa

Metropolitan: NY Islanders


Pacific: Calgary, Vegas



Teams to either have their goal taken down or counted based on a challenge of any sort.


Call changed from “goal” to “no goal” – 25
Atlantic: Boston (3), Buffalo, Detroit (3), Montreal (2), Ottawa (2)

Metropolitan: NY Islanders (2), Pittsburgh

Central: Chicago, Colorado (3)

Pacific: Arizona, Calgary, Los Angeles, San Jose, Vegas (3)



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