This Sunday, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will travel to Minneapolis for a NFC North showdown against a Vikings team with a bit of a quarterback quandary. Sam Bradford struggled in Minnesota’s Monday Night Football game against Chicago, and the Vikings finally found some success on offense after benching him in favor of Case Keenum — leaving a question mark at the position heading into Week 6. The teams meet at 1 p.m. ET. on Fox (livestream).
While Thursday night games weren’t all that great last year, we all got suckered into them anyway because, well, it’s football. So here’s everything you need to know about the change.
Games won’t be able to be viewed on Twitter anymore, and Amazon will now offer the games to its Amazon Prime customers. Amazon Prime is a paid subscription service offered by the company, which provides free shipping and streaming items — which now includes 11 Thursday night NFL games.
Yes. Thursday Night Football will still alternate between CBS, NBC, and NFL Network, just as it did last season. The viewing options will vary by the week, with CBS and NBC carrying five games apiece. NFL Network always airs games that are on NBC or CBS, but will also exclusively broadcast its own games.
The New Orleans pass defense, though? It’s like Pat Swilling and Rickey Jackson are out there all over again. Over the past three games, the Saints have the league’s best opposing Total QBR at just 11.7, with no other team within 15 points. They’re second in the NFL in passer rating allowed (56.7) and sack rate (10.1 percent). They’re giving up 4.4 yards per play on first-and-10, the third-best rate in the league. The defense has forced more takeaways in three games (nine) than it did over the entire second half of 2016 (eight).
He also didn’t shut the door on the possibility of putting his franchise quarterback on injured reserve, which would officially end his season.
“No, not at this time,” Ballard said about Luck potentially going on IR.
Wednesday’s news is the latest twist in two-plus years of ongoing issues with Luck’s shoulder. He originally injured it in Week 3 of the 2015 season, then aggravated it in Week 2 of 2016 and spent at least one day a week on the injury report the rest of the season. He missed all of the team’s offseason workouts, training camp and preseason games.
The kick was also Vinatieri’s 27th career game-winner in his incredible career and the 11th successful field goal in overtime.
Indianapolis came close to winning earlier in overtime with a 46-yard pass from Jacoby Brissett to T.Y. Hilton that set the team up inside the 10-yard line. It was the first possession of overtime, so a field goal wouldn’t have won the game without San Francisco first getting a chance to score, but Brissett threw an interception that negated the scoring chance completely.
After stuffing the 49ers, the Colts got another chance when running back Marlon Mack broke free for 35 yards. While the rest of the drive didn’t go anywhere, it didn’t have to, thanks to the always reliable Vinatieri who boosted the Colts to 2-3 on the year.
The Giants won 23-10, becoming the second 13-point underdog to win outright on Sunday. The Miami Dolphins upset the Atlanta Falcons as 13-point underdogs in the early slate. It’s the first time that multiple 13-point favorites lost in the same day since Dec. 9, 1973 (Week 13), according to ESPN Stats & Information.
The Giants keep Denver out of the end zone on fourth-and-goal. After a Bennie Fowler catch brought the Broncos to within inches of the goal line, C.J. Anderson took a fourth-down handoff and was met by a group of Giants defenders. He was brought down inches shy of the end zone and Denver turned it over on downs.
Broncos receiver Isaiah McKenzie also just left the game with an apparent leg injury.
Another receiver down for the #Broncos. Isaiah McKenzie being carted off the field after an apparent leg injury.
The NFL’s game operations manual says during the national anthem, “players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking.”
There will be no changes to the league’s anthem policy, but the league is also not expected to discipline any players who may not follow the manual’s instructions to the letter.
Los Angeles (2-0-0) will be well rested for the matchup with three days off since its convincing 4-1 road victory against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.
Anze Kopitar registered two goals and Jonathan Quick made 24 saves in the win over their divisional rivals. Coach John Stevens expects his two stars to revert to form after subpar 2016-17 campaigns. Kopitar could never find his stride offensively while Quick was limited to 17 games due to a groin injury. Stevens has installed a new offensive scheme and in the early going the Kings appear to be more aggressive.
Ramirez, who was on the bench to start Game 1, drove in two more runs with a seventh-inning double before Bradley’s homer bounced off Reddick’s glove and into the stands behind the Pesky Pole.
Rizzo blooped a tiebreaking single into left field with two outs in the eighth and the Cubs overcame Max Scherzer’s brilliant performance to beat the Washington Nationals 2-1 on Monday for a 2-1 lead in their NL Division Series.
Paul Secunda, director, labor and employment law program, Marquette University: “I’ve heard a lot of fans talk about Constitutional rights. There are no First Amendment rights involved here because it’s in the private, not public, sector. But I do believe that this is illegal. Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act allows employees to engage in activities to improve workplace conditions. By telling players they can’t stand for the anthem, Jerry Jones is effectively chilling such expression, which is a violation of the act.”
His girlfriend, Deja Hiott, tweeted and then deleted a declaration of Bryant’s disappointment: “You guys should have seen it coming. Taking him off the field, not giving the ball or the chance to reach his full potential.”
It is likely Bryant and his people saw that the Steelers responded to Antonio Brown’s abuse of a cooler during the Oct. 1 Baltimore game by calling for a long pass down the right sideline to AB on the first play of their next game — then decided he might get similar treatment. Of course, if Bryant had caught the same pass, directed his way on the first play of the game at Chicago, none of this falderol might have been necessary.
That pass glanced off his fingertips.
He would do well to drop fewer balls and less news.
Touchdown. Another huge mistake by Trevor Siemian, another interception, this time returned for a touchdown. Janoris Jenkins made Denver pay for Siemian’s ill-fated pass and returned the pick 43 yards for a score with just 48 seconds left in the first half. Siemian was injured on the play, and backup QB Brock Osweiler entered the game on the Broncos’ next series. 17-3, Giants
Field goal. The Broncos were able to drive all the way to the Giants’ 10-yard line before their drive stalled, and Brandon McManus made a 28-yard field goal to get Denver on the board with 4:21 left in the first half. The key play of the drive was a 40-yard Trevor Siemian pass to Demaryius Thomas. 10-3, Giants
Turnover. Trevor Siemian overthrew a pass intended for Demaryius Thomas, and the ball landed in the arms of Landon Collins, who returned the interception 21 yards to the Giants’ 35-yard line.
The Giants won the coin toss and elected to defer to the second half.
The Broncos took the field for pregame warmups wearing their all-blue uniforms for the first time in 2017. The Giants took the field a few minutes later.
His mobility was quickly on show in Minnesota, with Hundley successful in making a number of throws on the run.
Rodgers’ leadership and composure in the biggest moments, which he showed eight days ago as he led another stunning late game-winning drive to defeat the Cowboys, understandably will be tough for the inexperienced Hundley to replicate.
However, there was reason to be encouraged by the poise Hundley demonstrated against the Vikings, as he showed a willingness to hang in the pocket and the awareness to know when to step up and avoid the pass rush, doing so on his sole touchdown throw to Davante Adams.
To help you set your lineups and avoid starting a player who won’t take the field, we will post fantasy-relevant updates and analysis here as NFL teams release their Sunday inactive lists before kickoff. Any rankings cited in this column come from our ESPN Fantasy staff ranks.
Sean Lee (3:05 p.m.): The Dallas linebacker will miss his second straight game because of a hamstring injury. If you started Aaron Rodgers in fantasy, you’re probably happy with this news.
Only the Colts, who have given up multiple touchdowns off turnovers this season, have given up more points this season than the Patriots. New England’s defense, which gave up the fewest yards in the NFL last season, is giving up the most now. The unit and the coaches will get the benefit of the doubt for quite a while. Jameis Winston and the Bucs’ offense gets Doug Martin back from suspension this week. It’s a short week.
If Cam Newton is back to being Cam Newton, as the win over the Patriots teased, and the defense stays as good as it has been, everyone had better worry about these Panthers. The Lions, though, are still more dangerous than many give them credit for. Problem is they’re tempting the odds by always having to come back in dramatic fashion, led by Matthew Stafford.
With his team trailing 31-28 and 1:13 remaining in the game, Rodgers led Green Bay down the field and into the red zone in under a minute. Then, with 11 seconds to go, he threw a touchdown pass to Davante Adams in the right corner of the end zone to give the Packers a 35-31 road victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
The Colts wore black T-shirts with the words “We Will” on the front and “Stand for equality, justice, unity, respect, dialogue, opportunity” on the back for the second straight week.
Pence tweeted a statement in which he said he would not dignify any event that disrespects soldiers, the flag or the anthem.
In retrospect, Caldwell didn’t get nearly enough credit for guiding a 14-2 team before getting stuck in the 2-14 “Suck for Luck” period. The Lions are thrilled they gave Caldwell a second chance to make an NFL name for himself. His calm demeanor and QB acumen has been critical to all of their success.
There’s been nothing polarizing about Caldwell’s personality, and the players love fighting for him. In a league where everyone is looking for that young hotshot, going cooler and older with Caldwell has been welcomed vs. the past forced fieriness.
Joe Flacco and EJ Manuel is the QB matchup nobody wanted to see this season, so here it is. The Black Hole is a tough trip for the falling black birds. Khalil Mack makes up for Derek Carr’s absence as Oakland’s defense out-slugs that of Baltimore in an ugly game.
Mitchell Trubisky draws his first career start against a tough Vikings defense, and Minnesota might very well get Sam Bradford back. Chicago will still lean heavily on its young backs, while Bradford, without Dalvin Cook, will help open things up again to Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and Kyle Rudolph. More aggressive trumps more conservative on MNF.
Davante Adams wore a backpack as he stood against a locker room wall and looked like he had just finished a leisurely walk to the neighborhood bookstore. Other than a scratch above his left eye, the Green Bay Packers receiver revealed no hint of the occupational hazards he is paid to navigate on a weekly basis.
We’ve reached the two-minute warning. Dallas has the ball in the red zone, trailing by four with exactly two minutes to go.
After review, Beasley is ruled down a half-yard short and the Cowboys elect to go for it on fourth down. On the play, Ezekiel Elliott takes a handoff and appears to be brought down short of the first down marker. But, following review, the ruling on the field is overturned and Dallas’ drive continues.
Prescott hits Cole Beasley on a third-and-5 right near the marker. Beasley is originally ruled to have picked up the first down, but the play is under review.
Dallas moves the chains after the holding penalty. The Cowboys now have it at the Green Bay 29 with a fresh set of downs.
The Cowboys cross midfield and move into Green Bay territory, but they are called for a holding penalty. Dallas now faces a second-and-10 from its own 48, trailing by four with 6:24 to go.
Touchdown Packers. Green Bay retakes the lead on a pick-6. Prescott throws a pass intended for Terrance Williams. But the ball bounces off Williams’ hands and into the arms of cornerback Damarious Randall, who returns it into the end zone for a 21-yard score. Green Bay goes for two but doesn’t convert and it now leads 28-24.
The NFL has fought doggedly to preserve the six-game suspension Roger Goodell issued to Ezekiel Elliott. The latest step in that lengthy process is appealing the decision of a federal court in Texas to grant an injunction that will let Elliott play until his lawsuit against the NFL is completed. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the league took that step Monday morning.
In its motion, the NFL said that if the court didn’t issue a ruling by the close of business on Thursday, it would appeal to a higher court. No decision came on Thursday, and the league filed another appeal with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in Texas on Friday morning, according to sports and gaming attorney Daniel Wallach.
Vaccaro admitted he didn’t play his best in Week 1 but said he was surprised that he was benched.
Watkins, to the delight of Rams fans as well as his fantasy owners, lit up the stat sheet with six catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns, but as he crossed the goal line for his second score, he took a helmet-to-helmet hit. He was taken into the medical tent on the team’s sideline before going back to the locker room.
Austin didn’t catch a pass but rushed for 14 yards on three carries. He left the game around the same time as Watkins.
While the NFL’s policy mandates that players be cleared by an independent doctor before returning to practice or competition after sustaining a concussion, Watkins and Austin have 10 days to get healthy ahead of the Rams’ next game, Oct. 1 at the Cowboys.
The injury bug has bitten the Patriots early in their Super Bowl title defense, as linebacker Dont’a Hightower (knee) and wide receiver Danny Amendola have been ruled out of Sunday’s game at the Saints, CBS Boston reports.
Both absences were expected, as neither Hightower nor Amendola practiced this week. Both players were injured in New England’s Week 1 loss to the Chiefs.
One person close to Revis said this weekend that the cornerback is still expected to play in 2017, even though he has not visited any teams yet. Revis has been training in Florida and is still interested in a return to the NFL.
The Chargers made contact with Revis before they placed Jason Verrett on injured reserve Saturday, which made it official that they are in need of help at cornerback. Verrett decided to undergo season-ending surgery on his left knee, a source told Schefter.
Revis has 29 interceptions over his 10-year career, including three touchdown returns. He also has made 483 tackles, two sacks, six forced fumbles and 11 fumble recoveries.
Trade Review: If you know and trust everyone in your league, you can skip trade reviews altogether. That way, when you make a trade minutes before a game starts, you can immediately insert those new players into your lineups. Otherwise, it is wise to give your fellow owners a day or two to vote on whether to veto a trade. It’s important to note that a trade should not be vetoed simply because you feel it may be lopsided. Quite often such trades turn out to be just fine or the owners had good reason to make the deal, even if it seems one-sided. Vetoes should be reserved for when collusion or blatant tanking is involved and will affect the integrity of the league.