NFL Week 9

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New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers Thursday, October 30th, 2014 at 5:25pm Bye Week:
ATL, BUF, CHI, DET, GB, TEN
Washington Redskins at Minnesota Vikings Sunday, November 2nd, 2014 at 10:00am
San Diego Chargers at Miami Dolphins Sunday, November 2nd, 2014 at 10:00am
Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys Sunday, November 2nd, 2014 at 10:00am
Jacksonville Jaguars at Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, November 2nd, 2014 at 10:00am
Philadelphia Eagles at Houston Texans Sunday, November 2nd, 2014 at 10:00am
New York Jets at Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, November 2nd, 2014 at 10:00am
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Cleveland Browns Sunday, November 2nd, 2014 at 10:00am
St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers Sunday, November 2nd, 2014 at 1:05pm
Denver Broncos at New England Patriots Sunday, November 2nd, 2014 at 1:25pm
Oakland Raiders at Seattle Seahawks Sunday, November 2nd, 2014 at 1:25pm
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, November 2nd, 2014 at 5:30pm
Indianapolis Colts at New York Giants Monday, November 3rd, 2014 at 5:30pm

Seahawks Host the (0-7) Raiders

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The Seattle Seahawks might have issues on and off the field, but whatever state they’re in is better than that of the winless Oakland Raiders.

Looking to build on a much-needed victory, the Seahawks try to hand the visiting Raiders a 14th consecutive defeat Sunday.

Still grasping the effects of the Percy Harvin trade and dealing with reports of locker room division, Seattle (4-3) avoided a third straight loss with last Sunday’s 13-9 victory at Carolina. The Seahawks managed only 310 total yards, but 23 came on Russell Wilson’s pass to tight end Luke Willson with 47 seconds left for the game’s only touchdown.

Relieved with a victory, Wilson found it easy to deny any problems after reports surfaced that teammate Marshawn Lynch remains unhappy and might not be in Seattle next season.

”There were no distractions at all,” said Wilson, who combined for 234 yards one week after becoming the first quarterback to pass for at least 300 and run for 100.

”It was people trying to find ways to knock us down, but we just keep swinging and keep believing in each other,” he added. “There is no doubt that we are more together than ever before.”

As reigning Super Bowl champions, the Seahawks and coach Pete Carroll didn’t expect an easy follow-up season.

”We’ve been prepared all year that there would be stuff like this, there would be controversy, there would be storylines that would try to get in between us,” said Carroll, who addressed reports of any internal problems with the team as a whole and individually.

‘We’re fine. That isn’t the adversity.”

It’s uncertain if any problems Lynch is having with the team off the field is a reason for his modest production on it. He’s averaging 62.0 yards and has one rushing TD in six games since he ran for 110 and two scores in the 36-16 Week 1 rout of Green Bay.

The Seahawks allowed their fewest points of the season in Carolina after yielding 58 in consecutive losses to Dallas and St. Louis. Their pass rush also showed some life with three sacks after they recorded four in the previous five contests.

Seattle could get a boost on both sides of the ball if injured cornerback Byron Maxwell (calf) and center Max Unger (foot) return Sunday as it tries to avoid losing two straight at home for the first time since October 2011.

The Seahawks’ fifth-ranked defense (316.1 yards per game) isn’t nearly as dominant as last season’s unit that led the NFL (273.6), but it appears to have enough talent to handle an Oakland offense that ranks 31st in both scoring (15.0 points per game) and total yards (297.6).

Off to their worst start since the 1962 team took the finale for their only win of that 14-game season, the Raiders (0-7) last won 28-23 at Houston on Nov. 17.

”Right now what we can’t get caught doing is letting anybody else define who we are at this point, or what our goals are at this point,” interim coach Tony Sparano said. ”We need to concern ourselves with our own goals for right now, and there should only be one and it should be Seattle at this point.”

Oakland has been competitive in the three games since Sparano replaced the fired Dennis Allen.

The Raiders led late in the fourth quarter of a 31-28 loss to San Diego on Oct. 12 and were within eight points late the next week before falling 24-13 to Arizona. Oakland trailed by three in the second half last Sunday at Cleveland, but fumbles by Darren McFadden and Derek Carr helped the Browns to a 23-13 victory.

”I feel at times it’s Oakland beating Oakland at the wrong times,” receiver Andre Holmes said. “We just have to put it all together.”

The Raiders allow opponents to convert an NFL-high 48.5 percent on third down, but held Cleveland to 2 of 12. They also yielded a season-low 39 rushing yards, but the three turnovers they committed and the single TD they scored for a second straight week limited their overall progression.

”The one thing that has to stop happening for us is we can’t patch one hole up and then find another one,” Sparano said.

With 17 receptions for 298 yards and four TDs in the last four games, Holmes continues to be the Raiders’ most consistent option on an offense that’s been held to 14 or fewer points in all but one game.

McFadden ran for 111 yards and Lynch was held to seven on nine carries during Oakland’s 33-3 home victory when these teams last met in 2010.

Spurs Get Their Bling

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No Leonard, no Tiago Splitter, no Patty Mills—no problem for the San Antonio Spurs. Especially if Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili are still around to save the day.

The Spurs’ grizzled Big Three combined for 57 points and Chandler Parsons’ potential game-winning shot clanged off the rim, as San Antonio earned a 101-100 home victory over the Dallas Mavericks Tuesday night.

Down by one with under a minute remaining, the Mavericks swung the ball around the perimeter beautifully for an open shot for Parsons, their high-profile offseason acquisition. The former Houston Rocket clanged the ball off the rim to end a dispiriting Mavericks debut as Duncan snared the rebound to cap off a double-double night (14 points, 13 rebounds).

Parker accounted for a team-high 23 points, looking in midseason form as he slashed into the paint. Ginobili scored 14 of his 20 points in the second half, including nine in a critical third-quarter run. The Spurs and Mavericks were playing for the first time since their epic seven-game first-round series, which was easily the most San Antonio was tested on its 2013-14 title run.

The Spurs hung their fifth banner at a ceremony before the game. NBA commissioner Adam Silver was on hand and presented each player with their ring, with the typically stoic franchise at times displaying uncharacteristic emotions.

Seahawks Slip Past Panthers

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Russell Wilson walked into the huddle with his team down a field goal and less than five minutes remaining. He started laughing, sensing the familiarity of the situation.

Then he looked around at his teammates and said, ”We’ve been here two years in row – let’s go do it.”

And the Seahawks did it.

Wilson connected on a 23-yard touchdown pass to Luke Willson with 47 seconds left to cap a nine-play, 80-yard drive, lifting Seattle to a 13-9 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

It’s the third straight year Wilson has brought the Seahawks (4-3) back from a second-half deficit to beat the Panthers on this same field. In the previous two seasons, Wilson threw TD passes to Jermaine Kearse and Golden Tate to win tight defensive games.

”Man, I’m telling you, it’s just the Achilles’ heel, man,” Panthers cornerback Josh Norman said. ”They keep nagging us. They end up making one more play than us, every single time.”

Carolina’s defense came into the game having allowed at least 37 points in four of its last five games. But it held Wilson and the Seahawks to a pair of field goals before he took the field with 4:47 left on the clock.

Wilson methodically marched the Seahawks down the field, going 4 of 4 for 53 yards and running twice for 11 yards. He completed short, precise tosses to unheralded receivers Cooper Helfet, Kevin Norwood and Paul Richardson before connecting with Wilson on a seam route for the winning touchdown.

”We believed we were going to go down the field and make the plays and win the game,” Wilson said. ”There was no doubt.”

Wilson finished 20 of 32 for 199 yards and had one interception.

”He truly is an extraordinary player in the fourth quarter,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. ”He finds a way to make the play that we need to make.”

The victory snapped Seattle’s two-game losing streak and Carroll hopes it eliminated any talk of the Seahawks lacking focus following the Percy Harvin trade.

”If you think there are distractions, you are wrong,” Carroll said.

It was another struggle for Cam Newton.

Newton was 12 of 27 for 121 yards with an interception and a fumble for the Panthers (3-4-1). In three games against the Seahawks, Newton has only thrown for 437 yards and one touchdown while being sacked eight times. It ended when Newton bounced a pass in front of running back Jonathan Stewart on fourth-and-25.

”Sometimes with a team like this you get pressure,” Newton said. ”Being pressured you have to be willing to take chances. When you make plays you know you’re labeled a genius. When you don’t (make plays) – and a lot of times we didn’t today – it looks bad. It looks real bad.”

Carolina had a chance after the touchdown, but Seattle’s pass rush turned up the heat and the Panthers couldn’t manage a first down.

Marshawn Lynch ran for 62 yards and Doug Baldwin had six catches for 61 yards for the Seahawks.

It was a game of missed opportunities for both teams.

Huskies Stink it Up

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Arizona State’s Jordan Simone bristled at talk about the Sun Devils being bowl eligible.

”We have way bigger goals,” the safety said.

The 14th-ranked Sun Devils remained in control of the race in the Pac-12 South behind Taylor Kelly’s two touchdown passes and a stingy defensive effort in a 24-10 victory over Washington on a blustery Saturday night.

Playing in strong swirling wind with waves of heavy rain blowing in sideways, the guys from the desert managed the difficult conditions for their ninth straight win over Washington. The win set up a huge matchup next week in Tempe with Arizona State (6-1, 4-1) hosting Utah.

”We expect to be great and part of being great is winning,” Simone said. ”Obviously we are bowl eligible now but we have bigger goals than that.”

Kelly threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Jaelen Strong in the first half, but was at his best on Arizona State’s final drive. On second-and-goal at the Washington 7, Kelly got his pass off as he was being pulled down by Washington’s Hau’oli Kikaha. Gary Chambers made the adjustment on the throw and hauled in his only catch of the night for the go-ahead touchdown.

Kelly was 14 of 25 for 180 yards, but was 3 of 3 for 36 yards and ran for another 12 yards on Arizona State’s final drive.

Armand Perry provided the capper, returning an interception 61 yards for a touchdown with 52 seconds left when Washington’s Troy Williams attempted a desperation throw on fourth-and-25.

”Something clicked and we believe in our system, we believe in our coaches and we believe in the guy next to us and that’s what good defenses, great defenses have got to do,” Simone said.

Kelly made his first appearance since suffering a foot injury on Sept. 13 against Colorado. Mike Bercovici filled in more than admirably with Kelly on the sidelines leading the Sun Devils to back-to-back wins over ranked opponents – USC and Stanford – for the first time since 1997.

The good in Kelly’s return outweighed some inconsistency early and mistakes in the second half.

John Timu intercepted Kelly’s pass and returned it 63 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter after Washington had done little offensively to that point. Arizona State also twice failed to come away with points in the second half after having the ball inside the Washington 10.

”I thought (Taylor) showed great courage, it being his first game back,” Arizona State coach Todd Graham said. ”Obviously, the one thing that we always emphasis is 100 percent ball security so that’s the one deal and then the turnover on downs, that’s almost like a turnover.”

Washington (5-3, 1-3) suffered its second straight loss to a ranked opponent. It’s the first time a Chris Petersen-coached team has lost consecutive games since the end of the 2007 season when Boise State lost at Hawaii and then to East Carolina in the bowl game.

Shaq Thompson moved almost exclusively to running back with injuries thinning the Huskies ball carries. The linebacker finished with 98 yards rushing on 21 carries. Williams was 18 of 26 passing for 139 yards.

”The wind was hard. It was hard,” Petersen said. ”You’re going against a really good defense anyway first and foremost and then to have to deal with that was obviously too much.

Time for Hawks to Handle Business in Carolina

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As rough as things have gone recently for the Seattle Seahawks, the NFC South-leading Carolina Panthers might be in worse shape mentally than the reigning Super Bowl champions.

Trying to avoid their first three-game, single-season skid in three years, the visiting Seahawks look for a fourth consecutive victory over the frustrated Panthers on Sunday.

Seattle (3-3) is ready to move on from a rough eight-day span that started with a 30-23 loss to Dallas at home, followed by the surprising trade of versatile receiver Percy Harvin to the New York Jets and concluded with a 28-26 loss at St. Louis last Sunday.

The Seahawks haven’t dropped three in a row in the same season since Oct. 23-Nov. 6, 2011.

“(There are) dudes with a lot of heart in here,” linebacker Bruce Irvin said. “Like anywhere else, when you face adversity it’s how you respond.”

Amid their frustration, the Seahawks intend to focus on the positive strides made while nearly overcoming a 21-3 deficit at St. Louis. Seattle scored touchdowns on their final three possessions, each covering at least 80 yards.

Russell Wilson threw for 313 yards and rushed for 106 to become the first quarterback to pass for at least 300 and run for 100. Without Harvin, Doug Baldwin caught seven passes for 123 yards and TD as the Seahawks outgained the Rams 463-272.

However, Seattle allowed a 90-yard punt return for a touchdown, a 75-yard kickoff return that set up a Rams’ touchdown and a fake punt late in the fourth that allowed St. Louis to run out the clock.

“We’ve got work to do, we’ve got work to do to get consistent,” coach Pete Carroll said.

A Seahawks team ranked first in total defense (273.6 yards per game) and points allowed (14.4) last season had yielded at least 300 in the four games prior to facing the Rams and ranks 19th giving up 23.5 points per contest.

Injuries haven’t helped, but Carroll is optimistic cornerbacks Byron Maxwell (calf) and defensive tackle Jordan Hill (ankle) could play Sunday.

Wilson, meanwhile, ranks among the league leaders completing 65.7 percent of his passes while throwing 10 TDs, two interceptions and posting a 101.9 passer rating. Though he’s rushed for more than 100 yards in two of the last three contests, Wilson would rather succeed with his arm than his legs.

”I really don’t want to run, to be honest with you,” he said. ”I’m trying to throw it all the time and keep my eyes down the field.”

Wilson went 25 of 33 for 320 yards during last season’s 12-7 victory at Carolina. He connected with Jermaine Kearse on a 43-yard scoring play early in the fourth quarter for the decisive touchdown.

Cam Newton completed 53.8 percent of his passes for 266 yards with a TD and was sacked five times as Seattle has held the Panthers to 19 points in winning the last two meetings in as many seasons.

Newton threw for 284 yards with two TDs and ran for 107 with another score in the 37-all tie at Cincinnati on Oct. 12, but was held to 246 total yards in last Sunday’s 38-17 loss at Green Bay.

The Panthers (3-3-1), who lead the South only because no other team in the division has more than two wins, trailed 28-0 before Graham Gano’s 33-yard field goal ended the first half.

”We’re number one in the division right now, but if we continue to play the way we have it won’t last long,” linebacker Thomas Davis said.

The reigning South champions ranked just behind Seattle allowing 15.1 points per contest last season when they gave up 30 or more once. Ranked 29th in scoring defense (27.9) this season, Carolina has given up an average of 34.8 points its last five games since allowing 21 total in consecutive wins over Tampa Bay and Detroit to start the season.

“What are we going to do? Quit? Absolutely not,” Newton said. “We have to keep going, keep fighting and we’ll figure out a way to get out of this.”

Carolina will have linebacker and reigning defensive player of the year Luke Kuechly on the field after he was ejected but not fined for making contact with back judge Steve Freeman in the third quarter at Green Bay. Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Wednesday the NFL informed him that Kuechly was wrongfully ejected.

Running back DeAngelo Williams could be back after missing the last three games with an ankle injury, but it’s uncertain how the offensive line will look.

Rookie guard Trai Turner is out with a sprained knee and ankle while the statuses of tackle Byron Bell (elbow) and guard Amini Silatolu (calf) remain uncertain.

NFL Week 8

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Sunday, Oct. 26
Game Time/Score TV Location/Tickets
Detroit at Atlanta 6:30 am FOX Wembley Stadium -
St. Louis at Kansas City 10:00 am FOX Arrowhead Stadium -
Chicago at New England 10:00 am FOX Gillette Stadium -
Buffalo at N.Y. Jets 10:00 am CBS MetLife Stadium -
Miami at Jacksonville 10:00 am CBS EverBank Field -
Seattle at Carolina 10:00 am CBS Bank of America Stadium -
Minnesota at Tampa Bay 10:00 am FOX Raymond James Stadium -
Baltimore at Cincinnati 10:00 am CBS Paul Brown Stadium -
Houston at Tennessee 10:00 am FOX LP Field -
Philadelphia at Arizona 1:05 pm FOX University of Phoenix Stadium -
Indianapolis at Pittsburgh 1:25 pm CBS Heinz Field -
Oakland at Cleveland 1:25 pm CBS FirstEnergy Stadium -
Green Bay at New Orleans 5:30 pm NBC Mercedes-Benz Superdome -
Monday, Oct. 27
Game Time/Score TV Location/Tickets
Washington at Dallas 5:30 pm ESPN AT&T Stadium -

Dawgs may have a “Devil” of a time Saturday……..

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Arizona State took a big step by beating Stanford, knocking off the team that had become a nemesis of sorts.

But there’s no time to let up now. In what may be the deepest and most dangerous conference in football, the Sun Devils have plenty more hurdles still to get past if they want to play for the Pac-12 Championship for a second straight season.

”We need to move forward from here,” Arizona State coach Todd Graham said.

Beating the Cardinal last week was a big step for the 14th-ranked Sun Devils, though another potentially tough test lies ahead Saturday night when they visit Washington.

Arizona State was roughed up by Stanford twice last season, including a disheartening defeat in the desert to prevent the Sun Devils from getting back to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1997.

That, in part, is what made last Saturday night’s 26-10 win so sweet. Not only did the Sun Devils finally get past Stanford, they did it by dominating in the way the Cardinal had done to them in the past, controlling the line of scrimmage, making big plays on special teams, shutting down their offense.

”To turn the tables and beat a team like that and dominate them physically the way we did, because of the respect we have for their program, that one meant more to me personally than any win we have had,” Graham said.

The confidence-boosting win keeps Arizona State (5-1, 3-1 Pac-12) right in the thick of the Pac-12 South race.

The defending South champions, the Sun Devils are a half-game behind Southern California, though would hold the tiebreaker advantage after knocking off the Trojans on a Hail Mary. They’re also a half-game ahead of Arizona and Utah in the South, and still have both teams left on their schedule.

Arizona State also has games left against Notre Dame, Oregon State and Washington State.

But before the Sun Devils get to those, they must first get past a difficult road game at Washington.