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Steelers injury report Saturday: James Harrison ‘questionable’

11.13.10 at 3:34 pm ET
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The Steelers have added linebacker James Harrison to their injury report and is now being listed as questionable for Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh. According to the Steelers twitter page, Harrison – who has played in all eight games this season – complained of back spasms Saturday morning. 

Harrison leads the Steelers with seven sacks this season, four of which came in his last four games.

Steelers defensive end Aaron Smith will miss his third straight game Sunday night with a triceps injury while another defensive end – Brett Keisel – and left guard Chris Kemoeatu are doubtful with hamstring and knee injuries, respectively.

Steelers Injury Report for Saturday:
LB James Harrison (back spasms) Questionable
DE Brett Keisel (hamstring) Doubtful
G Chris Kemoeatu (knee/ankle) Doubtful
DE Aaron Smith (triceps) OUT
TE Heath Miller (knee) Probable
RB Mewelde Moore (concussion) Probable
S Will Allen (concussion/illness) Probable
RB Isaac Redman (concussion) Probable

Read More: James Harrison, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers,

Wes Welker knows where he ‘makes his dough’

11.12.10 at 6:54 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Wes Welker isn’t about to let a little contact from a game back in late November of 2008 keep him from going over the middle again against Pittsburgh free safety Ryan Clark.

Everyone who was there not only had the chance to see it. They couldn’t help but HEAR it, too.

On Friday, Welker said if he needs to go over the middle again, he will – whether or not Clark is patrolling the turf.

“No, not at all,” Welker said when asked if that one hit will cause him to adjust his approach over the middle. “That’s where I make my dough so I’m not going to shy away from it at all.”

“They’re definitely up there. They’re a physical, tough team. We have to be physical and tough team right back and make sure we’re not backing down and being a physical team right back.”

Ryan Clark, of course, isn’t the most acclaimed of Pittsburgh’s two starting safeties. Troy Polamalu gets moved all over the place by Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. Sunday should be no different.

“You never know what he’s going to do. He’s in one coverage and it seems like he uses his instincts to fly right into the ball and go where you think the ball might be. He does a great job of being in the right place and nine times out of 10, he’s right.”

Everyone is talking about the fact that the Steelers are allowing only 58.9 yards a game on the ground. But the Steelers are only average on pass defense, with opponents throwing for 248 yards per contest. But a good passing game against the Steelers begins up front protecting Tom Brady from the likes of Casey Hampton, James Farrior, Lamarr Woodley and James Harrison.

‘€œI think it has a lot to do with pass rush and being able to get to the quarterback,” Welker said. “They do a great job of that. And they have a lot of instinctive guys back there that fly around to the football, that make plays and are always around the action. So you have to make sure you’€™re running good routes and getting to open spots and getting open quick and able to move the ball down the field.’€

So, in short, Welker believer there are chances to take advantage of the always aggressive Steelers – that is if you can protect the quarterback long enough to get open.

‘€œIf you’€™re running good routes and you block well and hold them up up front and run good routes, at the end of the day, yeah, there are always openings in every defense,” Welker said. “We’€™ve just got to make sure we’€™re staying on top of that and make sure we’€™re getting open and making plays.’€

Read More: James Farrior, James Harrison, Lamarr Woodley, New England Patriots

Vic Carucci on The Big Show: Pats don’t get enough pressure

11.12.10 at 6:36 pm ET
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NFL.com and NFL Network analyst Vic Carucci joined The Big Show to talk about an upcoming slate of NFL games and whether the Patriots can make an impact on the Steelers’ banged up offensive line. “The bigger thing to me is does [Rashard] Mendenhall or does this running game get rolling? If that happens, good night nurse. Because I really think it will be a huge problem for the Patriots.”

To hear the interview, visit The Big Show audio on demand page here. Here are some more highlights:

On this weekend’€™s games:

I was in Philly last week and got a good look at [Michael] Vick and DeSean Jackson and just that duo alone, it’€™s a jaw dropping experience to watch these two play. To watch the speed and what they force defenses to do. Like misdirection plays, it’€™s almost impossible to defend that because of the worry that you have the second that the ball is in Vick’€™s hand or the second it might end up in DeSean Jackson’€™s.

And against Washington, whose defense has just been horrendous, I’€™m not liking that matchup for them. The [Donovan] McNabb story has been interesting, I think it has been so poorly handled by Mike Shanahan. His M.O. usually doesn’€™t take you down that road. For whatever reason, this thing looks like it’€™s been botched.

[On the Dolphins switching quarterbacks], I saw this move coming. I thought it was eventually going to happen. I just saw a downward spiral with Chad Henne and it looked like he made huge strides in that Sunday night loss to the Jets in Miami and it went downhill from there. And now to go to [Chad] Pennington at this point in the season, I think you have crushed it with Henne. I don’€™t think there’€™s any coming back from that.

Are they really built for Pennington? Because I think they were supposed to be built for a big-armed, young, strong quarterback to throw deep. And yeah, they are getting yards. They are not getting into the end zone. But Pennington is not going to be necessarily as good of a fit. He’€™s a manager, right? The turnover thing will decline. But they are supposed to be built for big plays. I think that is going to be an issue. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: donovan mcnabb, Jason Garrett, Jerry Jones,

Steelers injury report Friday: Aaron Smith ruled out

11.12.10 at 4:27 pm ET
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Steelers defensive end Aaron Smith will miss his third straight game Sunday night with a triceps injury while another defensive end – Brett Keisel – and left guard Chris Kemoeatu are doubtful with hamstring and knee injuries, respectively.

Steelers Injury Report for Friday:
Did Not Participate

DE Brett Keisel (hamstring) Doubtful
G Chris Kemoeatu (knee/ankle) Doubtful
DE Aaron Smith (triceps) OUT

Full Participation
TE Heath Miller (knee) Probable
RB Mewelde Moore (concussion) Probable
S Will Allen (concussion/illness) Probable
RB Isaac Redman (concussion) Probable

Read More: Brett Keisel, New England Patriots, nfl, Pittsburgh Steelers

Peter King on D&H: The Ravens got jobbed

11.12.10 at 4:26 pm ET
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Sports Illustrated’s Peter King joined the Dale and Holley Show on Friday to talk about the controversial Thursday night win for former Boston College standout Matt Ryan and the Falcons, who the best teams are in the NFL and some of the league’s surprising storylines.

To hear the interview, visit the Dale and Holley Show audio on demand page here.

King also addressed Cleveland’s win over the Patriots last week.  “I just will say this about Cleveland and Oakland,” King said. “I know this is weird, but it reminds me of Kevin Millar when it’s 3-0 in 2004: You better not let us win this one, this one game. And it’€™s almost like the Browns and the Raiders. You better not let us in the playoff because we’€™re going to beat somebody.”

Here are some more highlights from the conversation:

Lots of great sporting events including an incredible football game last night:

I can’€™t help but feel that the Baltimore Ravens really got jobbed. In two ways: Number one, the facemask call on Terrell Suggs. Well I don’€™t know that I’€™ve ever seen a guy get his facemask grabbed, and then there’€™s a facemask call and it goes against the guy who got his facemask grabbed. So that was one.

And then, look, I mean we can talk about how incidental contact, how refs should throw the flag away on the last series of the game or whatever do it like an NBA game but the fact is, the NFL has talked adamantly that a foul in the final 40 seconds of the game is the same as a foul in the first 40 seconds of the game.

And that was no if, ands or buts offensive pass interference on Roddy White for pushing down Josh Wilson and it was just a terrible, terrible call. Now, having said that, I still think that they would have been in position to kick a field goal to win the game. So I’€™m not saying it cost them the game but the fact is they still would have had to make that field goal to win the game and I just thought both of those calls at key moments, particularly the second one, were horrible calls. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Chad Henne, Chad Pennington, Matt Ryan, Peter King

Pats injury report Friday: Tom Brady ‘probable’

11.12.10 at 4:18 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is listed as probable for this Sunday night’s game in Pittsburgh against the Steelers. Brady was limited for the second straight day in practice after missing Wednesday’s practice with a foot injury. Safety Jarrad Page (calf) is the only active player ruled out for this weekend. Defensive lineman Myron Pryor (back) is questionable.

Patriots Injury Report for Friday:
Injured Reserve

K Stephen Gostkowski (thigh) OUT

Did Not Participate
S Jarrad Page (calf) OUT
DL Myron Pryor (back) Questionable

Limited Participation
QB Tom Brady (right shoulder/foot) Probable
DL Mike Wright (groin) Questionable
S Patrick Chung (knee) Questionable
RB Fred Taylor (toe) Questionable
RG Stephen Neal (shoulder) Questionable

Read More: New England Patriots, nfl, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tom Brady

Nuggetpalooza’s NFL Week 10 Preview!

11.12.10 at 3:34 pm ET
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Folks, there’s a lot of stuff here. Much of it I’m pretty sure you won’t see anywhere else. So study hard! There’ll be a quiz after.

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Jets at Browns

* – The Jets are figuring it out: After starting the season allowing first down success (i.e. gains of four or more yards) 49 percent of the time (66-for-135), they’ve improved to 38 percent (33-for-88) over the last four weeks, the league’s best mark in that span.

* – The Jets now lead the NFL in kickoff returns (28.6) while the Browns lead the league in defending kickoff returns (16.7). Cleveland hasn’t allowed a return of 30 or more yards over the last four weeks.

* – Cleveland went 7-for-10 on third-and-5 or less last Sunday and are second in the league for the season (66 percent). The Jets have allowed just 39 percent conversions on those, the second best defense in the league.

* – The Jets have allowed 16 conversions on third-and-long (10 yards or more), the most in the league.

* – The Jets have not thrown a touchdown pass to a running back in their last 29 games, the longest current streak in the league:

29 – Jets
22 – Ravens
22 – Bills

* – One more reason the Jets were lucky to escape in overtime last week: They fumbled five times, but lost only one of them.

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Vikings at Bears

* – The Vikings have allowed a touchdown in their last 55 games, the longest current streak in the league:

55 – Vikings
43 – Jaguars
34 – Buccaneers

* – The Bears were successful on first down a league low 15 percent of the time last week (4-of-27). For the season, Minnesota has been sixth best at preventing first down success (43 percent).

* – After going 9-for-70 on third downs in their last six games (13 percent), the Bears went 7-for-12 against Buffalo last Sunday (58 percent).

* – Minnesota is the only team in the league that has not stopped a third-and-one try (10-for-10), while Chicago has been the league’s second worst offense at converting third-and-one (4-for-12, 33 percent).

* – The Bears have not allowed a touchdown pass to an opposing tight end this season after allowing 10 last year. This is their first eight game streak without allowing one since they went 26 in a row in ’05-’06.

* – Over the last four weeks, the Vikings have ranked first in net starting field position (+10.9) while the Bears have ranked 29th in that span (-8.0).

* – The Bears have forced a league high 20 fumbles. They’ve recovered nine.

* – While the Bears have been bad at converting third downs in the red zone (3-for-13, 23 percent), the Vikings defense has been the worst in the league in those situations (8-for-14, 57 percent).

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Bengals at Colts

* – The Colts have allowed 2.8 points per possession on their opponents’ opening drive of either half (16 drives, ranked 30th). The Bengals offense has averaged just 1.1 such points on their 16 drives (26th).

* – Bengals’ opponents have been in goal-to-go 12 times and have scored 11 touchdowns and a field goal for an average of 6.7 points, the worst mark in the league. Indy’s offense? 12 touchdowns and four field goals in 16 tries (6.0 average, ranked sixth).

* – The Bengals allowed points on 26 percent of opponents’ drives in their first five games, but that’s ballooned to 46 percent over their last three. For the season, Indianapolis leads the NFL on offense, scoring on 42 percent of possessions.

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Cowboys at Giants

* – The Giants have scored 40 or more points in consecutive games within the same season for the first time since at least 1970. They did it in the final week of the 1986 season and the first week of the 1987 season though, if you want to count that. They also are the first team in 2010 to break 40 points twice.

* – The Cowboys have allowed 35 or more points in each of their last three games, their longest streak since they allowed 45, 38, 41 in their third, fourth, and fifth games of existence in 1960.

* – New York scored three first quarter touchdowns last week. It was the first time they’ve done that since at least 1996.

* – In the Giants’ eight “first possessions” this year, they have committed five turnovers.

* – The Cowboys are last in the league in defending kickoff returns (28.1) and have allowed eight returns of 30 or more yards. The Giants, however, are last in kickoff returns (17.5) with just two thirty-plus returns all season.

* – Dallas and Chicago are the only two NFL teams with two punt return touchdowns this season. The Giants rank 30th in punt return defense (14.8 average). What’s gonna give?

* – The Giants held an opponent without a single third down conversion twice in October. Prior to that they did it twice… since 1991.

* – The Giants now lead the NFL in first down efficency (gaining four or more yards over 55 percent of the time). They also lead the league in lowest percentage of first down successes allowed (39 percent).

* – Once inside the Giants’ 10-yard-line, Giants’ opponents have completed just 2-of-12 passes (17 percent).

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Titans at Dolphins

* – Can Tennessee continue their goal-to-go mastery? In 11 goal-to-go situations, the Titans have averaged 6.3 points, the highest in the league. But Miami’s defense has done well at limiting the damage in those situations, allowing a league best average of 3.7 points, including zero points allowed twice.

* – Only 33 percent of Miami’s pass yards have come on plays of 20 or more yards (30th). Only 34 percent of pass yards ALLOWED by the Titans have come on those big plays (fifth best).

* – Tennessee has allowed 10 or more third down conversions in each of their last two games. Prior to that, they hadn’t allowed double-figure conversions in any of their previous 40. For the record, no team has allowed 10+ conversions in three straight since San Diego in 2003.

* – After a slow start (Tennessee scored on 23 of their first 63 possessions, 35 percent), they’ve cranked up the offense lately, scoring on 16 of their last 34 (47 percent).

* – Miami is the least-penalized team in the league (32 penalties for 241 yards), while the Titans have drawn lots of flags (65, fourth most) for lots of yards (558, fifth most).

* – Tennessee has committed 18 turnovers this year but has not allowed a touchdown following any of them. Their 1.38 average points allowed following turnovers ranks fourth. On offense, Miami averages just 0.86 points following turnovers, the second worst mark in the NFL.

* – The Dolphins have allowed a league high 7.0 average YAC on catches made more than 10 yards downfield this season. Only one other team is allowing an average above 6.0 (Giants, 6.2).

* – The Titans average a league best 6.7 yards when running left this season. Compare that to their 2.8 average going right (31st).

—————————————————————————————————————————– Read the rest of this entry »

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