Stephen Maturen/Getty Images North America/TNS

Jim Souhan: Vikings WR Justin Jefferson is a leading NFL MVP candidate, and for good reason

Sports / Football /

MINNEAPOLIS — Warning: This column contains all kinds of biases, including personal, recency, positional and geographical. If I can find a few more along the way, I will toss them in like extra potatoes in a stew.

Following are my picks for the 10 most valuable players in the NFL at this moment — meaning anyone who is injured or playing for...Read more

Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Brad Biggs: Whether Bears pivot to Trevor Siemian or play a banged-up Justin Fields, expect them to throw more against Jets

Sports / Football /

CHICAGO — Don’t worry, Cole Kmet said, Trevor Siemian will not take it as an insult if you say he is unlikely to keep the ball on a zone read and motor 60 yards through the New York Jets defense Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

“Definitely more of a drop-back guy, get the ball out, timing,” Kmet said. “We’re not going to be running QB ...Read more

Luis Santana/Tampa Bay Times/TNS

Bucs' Leonard Fournette out with hip injury Sunday at Cleveland

Sports / Football /

TAMPA, Fla. — Bucs running back Rachaad White will make his second NFL start Sunday at Cleveland. He’s earned it, but this time it’s also by default.

Leonard Fournette on Saturday was downgraded from doubtful to out with a hip injury and will not play against the Browns.

Fournette was injured late in the Bucs’ 21-16 win against the ...Read more

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images North America/TNS

NFL DFS Week 12 optimal lineup

Sports / Football /

Devising the perfect Daily Fantasy Sports strategy for the NFL can be a challenge, which is why I'm here to assist.

On DraftKings, it's important to remember you're playing full-point PPR with bonuses if a player surpasses 300 passing yards, 100 rushing yards or 100 receiving yards.

Here is my optimal lineup for Sunday's $3 million Fantasy ...Read more

Anthony Souffle/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS

Tom Krasovic: NFL San Diego -- Kevin O'Connell, Chris Olave are shining as NFL rookies

Sports / Football /

SAN DIEGO — In a friendlier world, NFL payments would soon reach San Diego zip codes — NFL money serving as a token of appreciation to select local schools.

Led by Kevin O'Connell, the poised graduate of La Costa Canyon High and San Diego State who stands 9-2 as a rookie head coach, San Diegans have lent sparkle to this NFL season.

The ...Read more

Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times/TNS

Matt Calkins: Seahawks have little margin for error when it comes to making playoffs

Sports / Football /

SEATTLE — I wrote last week that success can prompt regret, using the Washington Huskies football team as Exhibit A. Despite having an improbable nine wins thus far — including one on the road against then-No. 6 Oregon — the string of victories had some players lamenting previous losses, particularly the 10-point defeat to Arizona State ...Read more

Carmen Mandato/Getty Images North America/TNS

Mike Preston: With fall of Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, new stars are leading unpredictable NFL

Sports / Football /

BALTIMORE — The quality of play in the NFL has dropped off but, thankfully, it isn’t totally boring.

With marquee quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers — and their respective teams, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Green Bay Packers — slumping, the league is having a slow makeover.

Even the genius of eventual Hall of Fame coach...Read more

Megan Briggs/Getty Images North America/TNS

Greg Cote's Week 12 NFL picks

Sports / Football /

If close counted, I would be at a poker table with Bezos, Buffett and Musk right now — raising. Had the Colts over Eagles in our Upset of the Week last week and Indy led the whole game before losing by one point. Had Falcons winning 27-23; they won 27-24. Had Chiefs winning 31-27; they won 30-27. Still, I’ll take the week: 10-4 straight-up, ...Read more

John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Robert Saleh on Bears QB Justin Fields: 'If he plays, we're going to hit him'

Sports / Football /

NEW YORK — Entering Sunday’s matchup, the Jets aren’t the only team that has some questions at the quarterback position.

Bears quarterback Justin Fields has been limited in practice this week after separating his non-throwing shoulder during last weekend’s 27-24 loss to the Falcons. Although Gang Green has been preparing for both Fields...Read more

Heather Khalifa/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

'We just destroyed you': Eagles' unmatched success with the quarterback sneak is no coincidence

Sports / Football /

The experience for Eagles offensive linemen in the aftermath of a quarterback sneak is a little different for everybody.

Lane Johnson said it feels like being on a submarine. For Jordan Mailata, it is stressful because of the details involved. Guard Landon Dickerson, often involuntarily squished beneath his gargantuan Australian linemate, might...Read more

Carline Jean/South Florida Sun-Sentinel/TNS

The Dolphins defense, 'still evolving,' is ready to adjust to its latest injury

Sports / Football /

The theme of the Dolphins’ defense this season has been evolution.

Evolution sparked by the absence of cornerback Byron Jones and season-ending injuries to safety Brandon Jones and cornerback Nik Needham. The evolution that could take place with the team’s acquisition of outside linebacker Bradley Chubb.

The defense will again seek to ...Read more

Adam Bettcher/Getty Images North America/TNS

Adam Thielen's fourth-quarter touchdown grab caps Vikings' weird, wild 33-26 win over Patriots

Sports / Football /

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Vikings won another weird and wild game, beating the New England Patriots 33-26 on Thursday night to improve to 9-2 in the team's first Thanksgiving home game.

Kirk Cousins hit Adam Thielen with a 15-yard touchdown pass to give the Vikings the lead with 9:34 left on a drive given new life by a running into the punter penalty ...Read more

Megan Briggs/Getty Images North America/TNS

Chris Perkins: Five things to watch for in Dolphins-Texans

Sports / Football /

The Miami Dolphins (7-3) host the Houston Texas, (1-8-1) at 1 p.m. Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium; here are five things to watch for in the game:

Tua and Dolphins’ offense

Let’s see if the Dolphins offense can continue finding different ways to win, a skill that will come in handy down the line. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has been among the ...Read more

Even during a difficult Steelers season, the Alualu family has much to be thankful for

Sports / Football /

When Tyson Alualu went down with a season-ending ankle injury last year, the Steelers lost a nose tackle, but his family lost a chauffeur.

"I'm used to being the one to take care of everything," Alualu was saying last week in the Steelers locker room. "If the kids have something, I'd schedule around being there, or taking them to sporting ...Read more

Sebastian Widmann/Getty Images North America/TNS

Bucs' Rachaad White ready for a bigger role, Byron Leftwich says

Sports / Football /

TAMPA, Fla. — Rachaad White had exciting skills but not the experience he needed to play a complete NFL game when he joined the Bucs as a rookie this season, offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich said Thursday.

But the Bucs finally turned the former Arizona State running back loose against the Seahawks two weeks ago in Germany and he responded...Read more

Bob Wojnowski: Lions battle Bills to final play, can't close the deal

Sports / Football /

DETROIT — This was a fiercely fought game destined to come down to one play, and considering the pedigrees of the teams, it was surprising, even mesmerizing. And ultimately for the Lions, agonizing.

No matter how many plays you make in an NFL game, it doesn’t matter unless you make the last one, a truism the Lions experience as often as any...Read more

Looking back at the rivalry between Seahawks and Raiders

Sports / Football /

RENTON, Wash. — Sunday marks the just second time the Raiders have played a regular-season game in Seattle in 16 years, a fact that only accentuates how visits from the Silver and Black used to be a highlight — if not THE highlight — of every Seahawk season.

"For me, and I think for all of my teammates at the time, that was the game," ...Read more

Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Rams' lack of creating turnovers has become a big problem

Sports / Football /

It qualifies as more than a dry spell, goes well beyond a drought.

The Rams have not intercepted a pass or recovered a fumble in their last four games — all losses. They have forced one turnover in their last eight games.

Safety Nick Scott intercepted a tipped pass in a victory over the Carolina Panthers on Oct. 16.

Since then, zilch for ...Read more

Sam Farmer's NFL Week 12 picks

Sports / Football /

The Los Angeles Times' NFL writer, Sam Farmer, examines this week's matchups. Lines according to FanDuel Sportsbook (O/U = over/under). Last week's record 9-5 (.643); season 98-65-1 (.601). Using point spreads with the scores Farmer predicted, the record against the spread last week would have been 5-8-1 (.385); season 76-84-4 (.475). Times ...Read more

Why Broncos defense is sick of being told they look tired

Sports / Football /

Did they bend? All over the place. Especially late.

But safety Justin Simmons doesn’t buy the argument that the Broncos defense might already be broken from all the weight that it’s had to carry so far this season.

“I wouldn’t say (we’re getting) ‘tired,’” Simmons told The Denver Post during preparations at UCHealth Training ...Read more