Quick Links

Texans beat Bengals, Packers rout Vikings


Texans beat Bengals, Packers rout Vikings

More rematches ahead.

After Green Bay routed Minnesota 24-10 Saturday night, it set up a trip to San Francisco. The 49ers beat the Packers at Lambeau Field to open the season.

The Packers didn't let 2,000-yard rusher Adrian Peterson run over them again. Indeed, Packers fullback John Kuhn had a bigger impact with two touchdowns.

And the Houston Texans are heading back to New England, where their season began to unravel. A 19-13 win over Cincinnati on Saturday in the wild-card round means the Texans have a date next Sunday in Foxborough. Arian Foster, the catalyst in the victory against the Bengals, isn't fazed by facing the AFC East champions, who routed Houston 42-14 last month.

Houston (13-4) lost three of its last four games to blow home-field advantage in the conference, slipping to third overall.

New England (12-4) is a 9 1/2-point favorite.

``I'm not a big believer in momentum,'' Foster said. ``Every Sunday you have to come out and bring your best or you can get beat on any day.''

Adrian Peterson and the Vikings didn't bring their best to Green Bay. One week after Peterson rushed for 199 yards to lift Minnesota into the playoffs, the 2,000-yard runner was held to 99. And Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder was sidelined by an elbow injury; backup Joe Webb couldn't manufacture much offense.

On Sunday, the Beltway will be buzzing. First, AFC North champion Baltimore hosts Indianapolis. Then NFC East winner Washington plays Seattle.

While Houston heads to Foxborough next weekend, AFC West winner Denver (13-3) will host either Baltimore or Indianapolis next Saturday. NFC South champ Atlanta (13-3) gets either the Redskins or Seahawks next Sunday.

Packers 24, Vikings 10

Ten receivers caught passes from Aaron Rodgers, tying a playoff record, with Kuhn scoring on a 9-yarder. DeJuan Harris also had a 9-yard TD run, and Green Bay kept Peterson in check. It was a turnaround from what the star running back did in his last trip to Lambeau, when he rushed for 210 yards.

It was Rodgers' first home playoff victory.

Minnesota's late touchdown was a 50-yard pass to Michael Jenkins.

Next, the Packers get the Niners (11-4-1), who won 30-22 at Lambeau to start the season. San Francisco is a 3-point favorite.

``They're different as well,'' Rodgers said. ``They're a great defense. Very talented offense as well. It's going to be a very tough challenge for us.''

Texans 19, Bengals 13

Foster gained 140 yards, becoming the first player with at least 100 yards rushing in his first three postseason games. He scored on a 1-yard run and also had eight receptions.

``It only takes one week to turn things around in the NFL and we did that,'' said Foster, whose team lost to Minnesota and Indianapolis to slip to the AFC's third seed.

Cincinnati (10-7) gained only 198 yards and had 12 first downs. Its touchdown came on Leon Hall's interception return.

``It's hard to put it into words,'' Hall said. ``It's disappointing. I mean, we had a good year, but it didn't end how we wanted it to and how we planned it to. At the end of the day, they made the plays that won the game for them.''

With a second straight wild-card loss in Houston, the Bengals extended one of the NFL's longest playoff droughts. They haven't won a postseason game since the 1990 season.

They got two field goals from Josh Brown, and Andy Dalton overthrew an open A.J. Green in the end zone late in the fourth quarter.

Along with Foster's touchdown, the Texans got four field goals from Shayne Graham.

Colts (11-5) at Ravens (10-6)

From Ray Lewis' pending retirement to Chuck Pagano's return to Baltimore to the history of these two franchises, this game has all kinds of intriguing story lines.

Lewis announced this week he will end his 17-year career as one of the NFL's premier players, let alone linebackers, after the playoffs. He's hoping for a long run duplicating the 2000 season, when he was Defensive Player of the Year and Super Bowl MVP.

``That moment I walk out of that tunnel Sunday, every person that was a Ravens fan - 1996 to this day - we will all enjoy that moment,'' he said. ``It will probably be one of the glorious moments in my life.''

Pagano spent four seasons coaching defense in Baltimore, then landed the head coaching job in Indy. He missed 12 games while undergoing treatments for leukemia and came back last week in a win over Houston.

Now he's back in Baltimore.

And he knows all about the history of the Colts leaving for Indianapolis in Mayflower moving vans in the middle of the night in 1984.

``Yeah, because when this opportunity presented itself, I remember seeing the paper when I left town,'' Pagano joked. ``I was driving a Mayflower out of town, so I fully understand. They had me in the cab, if I remember right.''

Seahawks (11-5) at Redskins (10-6)

Two streaking teams with sensational rookie quarterbacks, making it three such starters in action Sunday; Andrew Luck leads the Colts.

Washington took its final seven games to grab its division title. QB Robert Griffin III (102.4) had the best single-season rookie passer rating in NFL history; Seattle's Russell Wilson was next at 100.0. Griffin also set a league mark for yards rushing by a rookie QB (815).

Wilson threw 26 TD passes, tying Peyton Manning's NFL rookie record set in 1998.

``He's a playmaker. He's a football player. He makes plays running around, like a video game, buying time for the receivers, taking off with the football himself,'' Redskins veteran linebacker London Fletcher said.

He was talking about Wilson; could have been about Griffin, as well.


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

Quick Links

Will Breshad Perriman give the Ravens more production after the bye?

Will Breshad Perriman give the Ravens more production after the bye?

OWINGS MILLS – Will wide receiver Breshad Perriman give the Ravens more production after the bye?

The Ravens need more impact from Perriman, still looking for his first NFL touchdown with just 14 catches for 183 yards in seven games. He was a first-round pick (26th overall) in 2015, but missed his entire rookie season with a knee injury. Finally able to play, Perriman entered this season with high expectations, yet he has struggled for consistency, just like the team’s entire offense.

Following the Ravens’ fourth-straight loss Sunday against the Jets, Perriman was visibly dejected in the locker room, talking with teammate Mike Wallace after catching just one pass for 11 yards. Two passes intended for Perriman were intercepted, and it was clear quarterback Joe Flacco and Perriman weren’t always on the same page during Perriman’s routes.

Asked what he was thinking after that game, Perriman said, “What could I have potentially done better to stop that from happening? The fact that we lost, honestly, made it worse.”

There is no doubt Perriman cares deeply, and the beginning of his career has been far from easy. Is Perriman pressing, or beginning to lose confidence? Ravens wide receivers coach Bobby Engram works with Perriman daily, and doesn’t see it that way.

“I think he’s mentally strong,” Engram said. “I think all good players beat themselves up pretty good when they make mistakes, but I don’t see any carryover or lingering in terms of his work in the classroom. He’s just a different personality. I think he’s hard on himself, and I think that’s a good thing. Mentally, he’s fine.”

However, Perriman has looked raw running routes at times, which has telegraphed his intentions, and made it harder for him to burn defensive backs with his speed.

“He is starting to understand how to really run routes,” Engram said. “He hasn’t played a lot of football in this league, but he has a great foundation here in terms of this offense and being around these guys and being in the building.”

However, for Perriman to blossom in November and December, he will have to improve quickly. The Ravens don’t have the greatest history drafting wide receivers, but with Perriman, they strongly believe he has both the skill, and the will, to become an impact receiver.

“He is very determined, he really wants to be good,” said Ravens coach John Harbaugh. “He and I talk a lot. I told him, ‘I just am impatient. You have all this talent, and there is a lot to learn, but I just want to speed the curve up.’ Obviously, he said he could not agree more. We just have to keep chasing it. It is going to happen, and let’s try to make it happen sooner rather than later.”  

MORE RAVENS: Suggs vows to play through torn biceps

Quick Links

Fantasy Football: Week 7 Waiver Wire

Fantasy Football: Week 7 Waiver Wire

Whether you're in bye week hell wth six teams off, dealing with umpteen injuries or just always in the hunt for more fantasy football help, here's a look at some likely free agent options for Week 8.

Quarterbacks – Because Eli Manning is hanging on Peyton's couch this week and Ben Roethlisberger is hurt.

1.  Ryan Fitzpatrick, NYJ
2.  Alex Smith, KC
3.  Ryan Tannehill, MIA
4.  Landry Jones, PIT

* It's reasonable to be like the Jets organization and show Fitzpatrick no love, but there's plenty to like in a matchup against a Browns defense that has allowed at least 17 touchdown passes in seven games and at least two each week. This option is so tempting that Philip Rivers (at San Diego) owners could consider going with the New York guy and just hope he's more FitzMagic than FitzTragic. 

Running Backs Because Le'Veon Bell and Jay Ajayi are on byes and you're not sure what to think of the Bears backfield.

1.  Chris Thompson, WAS
2.  Matt Asiata, MIN
3.  Dion Lewis, NE
4.  Ka'Deem Carey, CHI
5.  Wendell Smallwood, PHI
6.  Don Jackson, GB
7.  Justin Forsett, DET
8.  Zach Zenner, DET

* Don't expect a planned heavy workload for Thompson despite his impressive efficiency (113 yards from scrimmage on 19 touches), but he's the main man if Washington trails Cincinnati. With so many teams on byes, PPR leagues can view the scatback as a low-end RB2. ... Lewis could return soon from his injury. While James White is making plays as Tom Brady's pass-catching back, the oomph Lewis provided last season makes him a strong sign-and-stash option.

Wide Receivers – Because Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham are on byes and you didn't plan for that reality.

1.  Davante Adams, GB
2.  Jamison Crowder, WAS
3.  Corey Coleman, CLE
4.  Marquise Goodwin, BUF
5.  Marqise Lee, JAC
6.  Tajae Sharpe, TEN
7.  Russell Shepard, TB
8.  Victor Cruz, NYG
9.  Anquan Boldin, DET
10.  Brian Quick, LA
11.  Kenny Stills, MIA
12.  Brandon LaFell, CIN
13.  Cordarrelle Patterson, MIN
14.  Darrius Heyward-Bey, PIT
15.  Kamar Aiken, BAL
16.  Rishard Matthews, TEN

* Adams is my overall No. 1 free agent this week. Here's what  wrote on the matter for FantasyPros.com:

“Davante Adams had a severe case of the drops last season, but the talent was apparent. Now he’s putting it together and most of all, the opportunities are coming his way. With the Packers run game a mess, more passes from Aaron Rodgers seems logical, which means more pass catching opportunities. Adams tops Jamison Crowder among receivers because his weekly role is clearer, though the Redskins’ slot threat continues to standout.”

Tight Ends  Because Dennis Pitta is on a bye and you're starting to wonder if Travis Kelce will get going

1.  Jack Doyle, IND
2.  Vernon Davis, WAS
3.  Ladarius Green, PIT
4.  Jacob Tamme, ATL

Here's a tweet about that stunning Doyle machine.

Though his matchup against Kansas City isn't great, Doyle is the top option here based on the big picture. Davis has the better matchup (Bengals 25th against fantasy tight ends), but it's possible Jordan Reed (concussion) returns this week. ...Green (ankle) begins practicing this week after starting the season on the PUP list. Before the injury, the ex-Charger screamed top-10 option. Don't expect that version in his first game next week against a Ravens defense that's allowed the third fewest points to fantasy tight ends, but the upside is real.* 

Defenses – Because you stream this position

1. Jets (at Browns)

2. Titans (vs. Jaguars)

3. Browns (vs. Jets)