Quarterback Eli Manning hasn’t topped 200 yards passing in any of the team’s past three games

LG Justin Pugh. He has missed the past five games with a knee injury and could really help the struggling offense. Quarterback Eli Manning hasn’t topped 200 yards passing in any of the team’s past three games.

That is where Pugh really comes in handy. He has allowed nine pressures and no sacks in eight games this season, according to Pro Football Focus. He can also provide support for struggling left tackle Ereck Flowers. The Giants offense is looking for anything that can get them on track. Pugh and running back Shane Vereen (concussion) are their best chances.

Their defense dominates again. It’s hard to move the ball against them and even harder to convert yards into points. The Giants have the league’s top red-zone defense. They’ve also come through consistently late in the games this season, and that is where the Lions and quarterback Matthew Stafford have made their living.

Yet it’s an enormous investment of time and money. He estimates it’s an $8,000-$9,000 bill each trip to Cleveland. And for what? This isn’t the Patriots; it’s the Browns. Is it worth it?

“Yes, it’s worth it 100 percent, because this is the thing that has united us as a family,” Serrano said.

Added Edna: “It’s not only to attend the game, but it’s the time to share with family, doing things together, talk. Every time I go there, I like to think we are celebrating life.”

Edna, who once was so surprised to have learned she’d married an NFL fan, said she’s now a “partner in crime” to her husband’s Browns addiction.

The most fervent fan in the family, however, might be Juan Pablo. He admitted it can be frustrating to travel eight or more hours just to see his team lose, but he can’t get enough of being at FirstEnergy Stadium. He tries to get autographs and savor the atmosphere before, during and after games.

NFL playoff odds 2016: Seahawks, Chiefs among Wild Card Weekend favorites

The Seattle Seahawks crushed the Minnesota Vikings when those NFC teams met back in Week 13. The Seahawks will get a chance to beat the Vikings in Minnesota for a second time this season as a road betting favorite when the teams do battle on Wild Card Weekend.

The Seahawks opened as 5-point road favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com against the Vikings for their Wild Card matchup, with Seattle having topped Minnesota 38-7 and easily covering the 3-point spread on the road when they met in early December. Seattle is also coming off a blowout victory, knocking off the Cardinals in Arizona by a 36-6 score to close out their regular season schedule on Sunday afternoon.

After Blair Walsh opened the scoring with a 39-yard field goal, Aaron Rodgers marched the Packers down the field on a 16-play drive that went 70 yards, but the Packers also had to settle for a field goal. Mason Crosby tied things up with a 28-yarder.

Things continued to be a low-scoring affair, with neither team’s defenses giving up much. Teddy Bridgewater set up another scoring opportunity by driving down in the red zone, but the drive stalled out at the 14-yard line and Walsh gave the Vikings the 6-3 lead with another field goal. That would be same lead Minnesota takes into halftime, with Green Bay unable to muster up much of any offense.

The Vikings finally scored the game’s first touchdown in the third quarter, thanks to the superhuman efforts of Adrian Peterson. After driving down to the 2-yard line, Bridgewater handed the ball off to Peterson, who barreled his way through the line and carried a couple of defenders into the end zone.

New York Giants: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
The Giants need an intimidating and effective force up front, and at 6’7, few seem more menacing on the field than Buckner. When you add in his 10.5 sacks and 17 tackles for loss this season, his production matches the expectations his size suggests. Buckner has a good first step for a player his size, and can obviously cover a lot of ground in a hurry.

The White Sox got the absolute maximum return possible in a Chris Sale deal

David Schoenfield’s take: Despite hitting 47 home runs in what could be a career season, Mark Trumbo was worth just 1.6 WAR in 2016, thanks to bad defense and a below-average OBP. The power is nice, but if the rumors of a $75 million contract prove accurate, this could end up being one of the biggest overpayments of the offseason.

The #Mariners continue to maintain a dialogue with Mike Napoli. He remains one of their first base options.

If Betances continues to excel the next three seasons, he will hit free agency after 2019 with Chapman having two years left on his deal. In theory, if Betances stays consistent, he would be due a contract at the same level as Chapman’s. However, it will be too much to pay both relievers. This is a minor point at the moment, but it demonstrates how overpaying in years and money can come back to hurt a team in the future.

The Twitterati doesn’t like this. The Mets won 87 games last season with a depleted team, they say. What would make you think they’ll be worse?

A bad shoulder seemed to be an issue for catcher Travis d’Arnaud, whose slugging percentage dropped from .485 to .323 and whose caught-stealing percentage dropped from 26 to 16 percent. Maybe he’ll heal and to get back to what he was. But on a scale of 1-10, how certain do you feel about that?

Astros: Houston is still shopping for top-of-the-rotation arms and trying to be imaginative. But it’s hard to envision the Astros giving up a package remotely comparable to what the Red Sox were willing to trade for Sale. Yet this team’s lineup is so good, it wouldn’t surprise anyone now if the Astros postponed their ace hunt until July.

Rockies: The Ian Desmond signing just doesn’t compute unless it leads to other moves. So the Rockies immediately let clubs know they’d like to deal Charlie Blackmon for rotation upgrades. And there has been some buzzing that they could still sign Mark Trumbo to play first base and shift Desmond back to the outfield. But clearly, there is more to come 5,000 feet above sea level. Has to be. Right?

Steve Smith and Andre Johnson hold annual Christmas shopping sprees for needy kids

Baltimore Ravens receiver Steve Smith and former Houston Texans star Andre Johnson are still doing what they normally do around this time of year: buying Christmas gifts for children in need.

Smith recently hosted the Ravens’ 12th annual Holiday Helpers, an event where the veteran wide receiver and Ravens cheerleaders served as personal shoppers for underserved Baltimore-area children.

“He will be eligible to return to the Colts’ active roster on Monday, January 2 following the team’s January 1 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars,” the statement read.

Jackson leads the Colts defense with 78 tackles so far this season, and he also has one sack and two fumble recoveries.

The Colts are 6-6 and are just behind the 6-6 Houston Texans in the AFC South standings because the Texans hold the advantage in the head-to-head win percentage.

Indianapolis is coming off a big win over the New York Jets on Monday Night Football, which helped improve their postseason chances. The Colts, without Jackson, will face Houston this week in a matchup that could go a long way toward deciding the AFC South.

Through 12 games, Elliott leads all running backs with 1,285 rushing yards, and just trails New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount by one for rushing touchdowns with 12. Elliott also has caught 28 balls for 322 yards and one touchdown, which was a memorable one.

Prescott’s quarterback rating of 108.6 is high enough to rank him behind only Tom Brady (113.1) and Matt Ryan (112.3).

Roethlisberger said playing in Buffalo has a “nostalgia” to it because he grew up watching Buffalo’s K-Gun offense

Roethlisberger said playing in Buffalo has a “nostalgia” to it because he grew up watching Buffalo’s K-Gun offense. But he’s especially excited to see a healthy and happy Kelly in person.

Kelly was deemed cancer-free in late 2014 but eventually underwent a second round of chemo. Kelly’s fight is not completely over, so Roethlisberger will be reminded of the ‘Kelly tough’ mantra that went viral a few years ago.

“It was scary, obviously, for a long time. It still is,” Roethlisberger said. “He still deals with those things. I know he’s in a good place with the Lord and his family, which means a lot. You don’t want to lose a guy like that. We’re glad he’s still here and going strong. I’m blessed to have him as a friend.”

Kelly’s goal was not to play “papa bear” in Roethlisberger’s life, usually opting for friendly jabbing over packaged wisdom. But Roethlisberger said Kelly’s example is a light in his life, and Kelly hopes his light shines in the direction of others.

“Our quarterback coach, Dave Ragone, has helped me tremendously, staying after practice, going through pretty much every script after every day,” Barkley said. “Getting the little things down with me when I wasn’t playing. He’s helped a ton. Learning from Jay Cutler and Brian Hoyer, how they prepare, how they study has helped me grow as an NFL quarterback.”

However, Barkley faces a step up in competition on Sunday. The Lions (8-4) have won seven of eight and desperately need a victory over the Bears to maintain their lead in the NFC North. The last time Barkley played on the road, he went 6-of-15 for 81 yards and two interceptions in emergency duty after Hoyer suffered a season-ending injury at Lambeau Field on Oct. 20.

Barkley has grown considerably since his Bears’ debut, but questions remain about how he’ll fare in a hostile environment versus a playoff-caliber team.

“They have some different guys back that have definitely made their defense better,” Barkley said. “Some guys are out. But I’m confident in what we have prepared for them. It will be a challenge, no doubt about that. But I think if we’re consistent and we stick to what we do and move the ball just like we have been then we’ll have things open.”

Cowboys DE Jeremy Mincey says Greg Hardy is ‘misunderstood’ but also caused tension

Cowboys defensive end Jeremy Mincey thinks the Cowboys should think twice before bringing back Greg Hardy. Of course, part of that is because Mincey and Hardy play the same position and like Hardy, Mincey is a free agent. But in an interview with KDFW 4 in Dallas, Mincey shed some light on how Hardy joining the Cowboys changed the dynamic around the team.

“You talk about a team that was so close knit and tight and all of a sudden it was just different,” Mincey said in the interview, via the Dallas Morning News. “I wouldn’t say that he’s the reason for that happening, but sometimes change, sometimes if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. You know what I mean? And sometimes with change, the team is different.”

Hardy signed a one-year, $11.3 million deal with the Cowboys last March after his former team, the Carolina Panthers, elected to let him walk in the wake of a domestic abuse accusation. He was suspended for the first four games — it was reduced from 10 following an appeal — of the season and made his Cowboys debut in Week 5 against the New England Patriots. He finished the season with six sacks and 35 tackles but Dallas went just 2-10 in games he played.

But Campbell, who according to Salguero was “a combination of angry and bitterly disappointed” about getting passed over, wanted to pursue opportunities elsewhere. He needed the franchise to grant his release because he was under contract.

Campbell took over after Joe Philbin was fired following a Week 4 loss to the New York Jets that dropped the Dolphins to 1-3.

Miami, however, dropped four of its next five games. Campbell won just five of his 12 games and the Dolphins finished the season 6-10.

Campbell joined the Dolphins as a coaching intern in 2010 and was promoted to tight ends coach in 2011. He served in that role until he was named the interim head coach after Philbin’s ousting.

Cowboys defensive end Jeremy Mincey thinks the Cowboys should think twice before bringing back Greg Hardy. Of course, part of that is because Mincey and Hardy play the same position and like Hardy, Mincey is a free agent. But in an interview with KDFW 4 in Dallas, Mincey shed some light on how Hardy joining the Cowboys changed the dynamic around the team.

“You talk about a team that was so close knit and tight and all of a sudden it was just different,” Mincey said in the interview, via the Dallas Morning News. “I wouldn’t say that he’s the reason for that happening, but sometimes change, sometimes if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. You know what I mean? And sometimes with change, the team is different.”

Hardy signed a one-year, $11.3 million deal with the Cowboys last March after his former team, the Carolina Panthers, elected to let him walk in the wake of a domestic abuse accusation. He was suspended for the first four games — it was reduced from 10 following an appeal — of the season and made his Cowboys debut in Week 5 against the New England Patriots. He finished the season with six sacks and 35 tackles but Dallas went just 2-10 in games he played.

But Campbell, who according to Salguero was “a combination of angry and bitterly disappointed” about getting passed over, wanted to pursue opportunities elsewhere. He needed the franchise to grant his release because he was under contract.

Campbell took over after Joe Philbin was fired following a Week 4 loss to the New York Jets that dropped the Dolphins to 1-3.

Miami, however, dropped four of its next five games. Campbell won just five of his 12 games and the Dolphins finished the season 6-10.

Campbell joined the Dolphins as a coaching intern in 2010 and was promoted to tight ends coach in 2011. He served in that role until he was named the interim head coach after Philbin’s ousting.

Williams has not yet returned to practice since undergoing knee surgery and remains inactive this week

Trevor Siemian, Denver Broncos, foot: Siemian has a foot sprain that will sideline him this week. He spent the better part of the week in a walking boot and was unable to do enough when testing it Friday to convince the medical staff he should play. He has been fit with an orthotic device for his cleats, but that won’t matter for this week. Paxton Lynch is expected to start in his place.

Robert Woods, Buffalo Bills, knee: Woods remains out with a knee injury, but he is off crutches and told reporters this week he hopes to return before the end of the season.

DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh Steelers, knee: Williams has not yet returned to practice since undergoing knee surgery and remains inactive this week.

Darrius Heyward-Bey, Pittsburgh Steelers, foot: Heyward-Bey was still not able to practice at all this week due to his injured foot and has already been ruled out for Sunday. This will be his fourth consecutive missed game.

Be sure to check out Fantasy Football Now, Sundays on ESPN2 at 11:00 a.m. ET for last-minute inactives, rankings, injury impact and more!

I don’t see Denver coming into Jacksonville and blowing the Jags out to the point of having a huge lead (taking away junk-time scoring), but certainly this will be tough. The Broncos have held opposing wide receivers to fewer than nine points in five of their past nine games and while, yes, Hill had himself a day last week and yes, Robinson is capable of going off at any moment, given what we’ve seen of both the Denver secondary and the Bortles/Robinson connection this season, A-Rob is merely a WR3 for me this week, not the WR1 he was drafted as.

Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos: See, here’s some love, Jags fans. The best defense in the NFL the past four games in terms of passing yards allowed per game belongs to the Jaguars, and they have allowed the second-fewest pass plays of 20-plus yards this season. It’s hard to get a big pass play on them, their corners are playing pretty well this season and while Sanders had the huge game last week against Kansas City, that was his first score since Week 4. Since Week 5, the Jags have allowed just five wide receiver touchdowns and, as of this writing (early Thursday morning), Trevor Siemian missed practice and is banged-up. Maybe he plays, but there’s a chance he does so at less than 100 percent, which doesn’t help either. On the road at Jacksonville, I expect a run-heavy game script for the Broncos, making Sanders just a WR3 for me this week.

Todd Gurley, Rams: A rookie quarterback making his third start ever on the road in Foxboro, Massachusetts — what could go wrong? Expect the Patriots to stack the box to stop Gurley, as teams have done all season. Gurley is averaging just 1.63 yards before first contact per carry this season (third worst in the NFL), and wouldn’t you know it, the Patriots are allowing the third-fewest yards before first contact per carry this season. Also, they have not allowed a running back to rush for a score in eight of their past nine games.

Team Rice Pro Bowl 2016 roster: Odell Beckham Jr., Adrian Peterson headline offense-heavy team

The Pro Bowl kicks off Sunday and it features teams crafted by Hall of Fame wide receivers Michael Irvin and Jerry Rice.

In the most declined Pro Bowl ever, a total of 133 players were selected for a game that will have just 86 players in action. On Team Rice, all three quarterbacks are replacements for players that dropped out, as only Team Irvin’s Russell Wilson actually made it when the teams were first announced.

After it was played in Glendale, Ariz. in 2015, the Pro Bowl is back in Hawaii in 2016 and set to air at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN 2. Below we take a look at the roster of Team Rice.

While Michael Irvin followed two offensive picks with three straight defensive picks, Jerry Rice addressed defense with just one of his first five picks. Instead, he added two quarterbacks and two wide receivers in the first five picks, adding them to a roster that already featured Odell Beckham Jr. as captain.

In a game where defense isn’t taken very seriously, the decision to target passers and receivers early is probably a sound one for Rice, who also snagged the first running back off the board by taking Adrian Peterson with his seventh selection.

Eli Manning, 35, was Rice’s first selection, and he is the only quarterback in the game who is older than 27, so his veteran leadership might be especially helpful Sunday.

Team Rice has an interesting blend of veterans participating in a Pro Bowl for possibly the last time and young players who have long careers ahead of them. With his second pick, Rice picked second-year pass rusher Khalil Mack, but in a game where defensive backs often make the difference, he’ll have young players like Marcus Peters and Jason Verrett mixed in with veterans like Brent Grimes and Charles Woodson.

The special teams weren’t actually selected during the Pro Bowl Draft by Rice and were pre-determined Tuesday, one day before Irvin and Rice picked teams. While kickers and punters typically don’t make much impact on Pro Bowls (unless they’re getting crushed by Sean Taylor), the addition of Tyler Lockett could be a big one for Team Rice. The rookie is as dangerous as any player with the ball in his hands and will likely get offensive touches as kickoff returns aren’t allowed by Pro Bowl rules.

NFL Combine 2015 results: 40-yard dash times for defensive backs

The defensive backs were the last group to participate in the 40-yard dash at the 2015 NFL Combine, wrapping up the performances in the Combine’s most popular drill Monday.

Highlighting the group of defensive backs were Washington’s Marcus Peters, Alabama’s Landon Collins and Michigan State’s Trae Waynes. But it was a different Collins who stole the show early in the morning.

LSU’s Jalen Collins is one of the biggest cornerbacks in the 2015 NFL Draft class at 6’1, 203 pounds, yet still managed to have one of the top times among the defensive backs. His 4.48 time topped most of the other participants in the drill, although it was Waynes who wound up setting the top time of 4.31 seconds. Mississippi State’s Justin Cox wasn’t far behind at 4.36 seconds, and Florida State’s Ronald Darby was right behind him with a time of 4.38 seconds. Peters managed to post a time of 4.53 seconds.

Jean Francois also reported interest from both the Seattle Seahawks and his former team, the 49ers. In fact, Jean Francois was in Seattle for a visit on Thursday, according to another tweet from Rapoport. Seattle has one of the best defenses in the league and is preparing for the departure of its own free agents. Washington has struggled big time in recent seasons, though, and Jean Francois will get every opportunity to start and make a difference.

Jean Francois played in all 16 games this past season, putting up 28 tackles, three sacks and a fumble recovery to go along with six passes defensed. The defensive line is one of Washington’s biggest needs this offseason, with Jason Hatcher struggling (after being a marquee free agent signing in 2014) and multiple injuries along the line, namely to Stephen Bowen and Barry Cofield.

“This is a victory for the rule of law, due process and fairness. Our collective bargaining agreement has rules for implementation of the personal conduct policy and when those rules are violated, our union always stands up to protect our players’ rights. This is yet another example why neutral arbitration is good for our players, good for the owners and good for our game.”

Cam Newton draws his 1st roughing the passer call since 2014

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has taken a lot of hits this season, and the refs finally called roughing the passer for one of them.

Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Stacy McGee initiated contact after the ball left Newton’s hand, then he drove the quarterback into the ground. It’s a clear roughing the passer penalty, though Newton usually doesn’t get the benefit of those calls.

This wasn’t just the first time officials have called roughing the passer in Newton’s favor this season.

Officials did call roughing the passer against the Broncos in Week 1 for a hit on Newton, but it was not enforced because of an offsetting penalty called on the Panthers.

The Broncos couldn’t overcome their own mistakes to get a win. Denver allowed a safety to Justin Houston, and immediately allowed an 86-yard return touchdown from Tyreek Hill on the ensuing kick.

Denver’s return specialist, Jordan Norwood, muffed two punts, and one of those was recovered by the Chiefs. Norwood’s teammate, Aqib Talib, wasn’t happy about the muffed punts.

The Chiefs tried to mount a comeback as time ticked away in regulation, scoring a touchdown that was initially not called a touchdown, but the ruling was changed upon review. That narrowed the Broncos’ lead to 24-22, and the two-point conversion was successful, tying the game at 24.

Denver and Kansas City traded field goals on their first possessions of overtime, but a miss from Denver later on gave the Chiefs a shot to win it with a field goal.

With the win, Kansas City improves to 8-3 and improves its standing in the AFC West. The Broncos fall to 7-4, placing them a full game behind the Chiefs and two games behind the division-leading Oakland Raiders. For the Chiefs, the Sunday Night Football win also means they improve to 11-18 in primetime games since 2004.

The NFL acknowledged that Campbell should have been penalized for roughing the passer, and Campbell was fined roughly $18,000 for the hit.