Russell Westbrook's experience has not smoothed out

Despite last week's wins, Westbrook's giveaways are too obvious to ignore (Yazar: Gardener)

Russell Westbrook'sLos Angeles Lakers guardian Russell Westbrook (0) goes to the basket Monday under pressure from Minnesota Timberwolves striker Jaden McDaniels (3) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Sunday Jan. 2, 2022 , January 3rd edition of the Purple & Bold Lakers newsletter from reporter Kyle Goon. In the Hunger Games NBA, every win counts. The Lakers defeated a Houston team that took less than a week to break into locker room fights, a Portland team without three key starters, and a Timberwolves team without their all-star Big Man who bullied L Days, and the Lakers (with their own depth problems) can certainly not be picky. In a week in which the Lakers beat up smaller opponents to get back to .500: The Lakers (19-19) are No. 7 in the Western Conference standings, 10.5 games behind the first-placed Golden State Warriors (28- 7). HIGHEST POINT: The 33-point win over Portland (at least the team the Trail Blazers managed to field) was impressive on several fronts, not least a 43-point, 14-rebound, and 0-turnover game in just 29 Greyhound minutes from LeBron James the day after his 37th birthday. The Lakers have seen few blowouts this season, and ahead of everyone's New Years plans, it was a timely evening for an easy win. LOW POINT: The last 16 minutes of the Lakers' defeat in Memphis will burn for a while, not only because Ja Morant brought the defense into town with 41 points, but because the Lakers only scored 16 points in the fourth quarter and a lots of chances to catch up with the grizzlies. Notably, James and Russell Westbrook seemed to end the evening pointing their fingers in different directions, with James citing the need to work on sales while Westbrook felt the shot selection was screwed up late in the game. TRENDING TOPIC: Though the Lakers won last week, Russell Westbrook's funky season subplot is gaining in volume due to extremely obvious flaws. In the last week alone, Westbrook had 25 sales in just four games (the rest of the team had 30 along with no player in the double digits). These are harbingers of troubling trends in Westbrook's season numbers as the Lakers near halftime. Not only does he top the NBA in total sales, but stats Cleaning the Glass says his revenue share is 17.8%, which is by far the highest of his career (his previous high as a rookie was 16%). This happens despite the fact that he handles the ball less than usual as he shares the duties with James. His field goal percentage on the edge also drops from 65% to 58%, although he gets there more often than last season and his short medium-range shot has dropped to 32%. There are possessions that look like Westbrook misjudges his ability to jump to get to the edge, which may explain the missed dunks in particular. After his nine-player game against Minnesota, he said, “My game is not based on shots or when I turn the ball. For example, I miss a couple of shots, it's part of the game. I'm allowed to miss shots. Like any other player, I can do that. It's all part of the game. ”READ THE WEEK: LeBron turned 37 last week while he was in the middle of his best scoring stretch of over 30-point games since 2013. I wrote a reflection on how he physically kept Father Time in check, but like his greatest challenge, the mental hurdle might be staying engaged as he ventures further towards middle age. HEAT UP: Well worth taking a step back and appreciating how far Avery Bradley has come in his second stint on the team. Bradley returned to the starting XI after his protocol stint, averaging 10 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.8 steals while showing a strong one-on-one tone on defense and playmakers like James and Westbrook made clever cuts to get simple baskets. Critics will point out that Bradley is no longer an elite defender, but that's not really the point. He carries out plans the way the Lakers coaching staff want them to go, and he makes chemistry games on offense while shooting 40% from deep. COOLING DOWN: It's just devastating that neither Dwight Howard nor DeAndre Jordan got in on Sunday night when Naz Reid continued to field Stanley Johnson and took advantage of the missing rim protection for 23 points. Howard doesn't do rebounding, scoring, or shot blocking at the same level as it did in his 2019-20 magical season; Jordan couldn't function in schemes with Westbrook and Anthony Davis and never conformed to the Lakers' defensive mentality. Now the coaching staff let James run in the center every night instead of playing against either of their two traditional greats. It provokes a natural question: will both of them finish the season on the squad? If Davis is likely to come back and likely start in the middle himself, does that even make sense? INJURY REPORT: The Lakers have no players on the COVID-19 log system ... as of Sunday night. Now that it's 2022, the Lakers are hoping Anthony Davis will return from an MCL sprain in his left knee by the end of this month. There was no recent update on Kendrick Nunn's bruise on his right knee bone; So far he has not played the whole season. Rondo Rajon is officially listed as remanufactured, but is on track to be traded. Darren Collison and Stanley Johnson are expected to expire their 10-day contracts on Monday - unless the Lakers can close the trade and use a roster slot for one of them. Collison seems unlikely as he has been inactive in his last two games. QUOTEABLE: This quote from Westbrook stuck in my mind all week, which speaks for his self-confidence: "Everyone wants me to do certain things - Fiz, Frank, everyone - wants me to do that, but then they don't want me to that I do do that. In all honesty, I've been through the whole situation with what everyone else wants me to do and what they think I should do. And I'm going to go out there and just play and do what I do best and that is to measure myself, compete to win games and make my teammates better, like I've done for many, many years. And honestly, I think I was fine. I don't know what, for example, the conversation was strong about how I play and what I do, but I think people expect me to be (expletive) 25, 15 and 15 which is not so normal. Everyone needs to understand that this is not a normal thing that people do all the time. I know I've been doing it for the past five years or so, whatever that may be. People say, "Let Russ be Russ." I don't think anyone understands what that means. I think people just say it - "Let Russ be Russ" - but nobody but me knows what that means. AHEAD OF THE CURVE: I'm very, very excited to see what the Lakers do with their squad because there are some important dates coming up this month. The team will release a duty roster slot when the Rondo trade becomes official. Stanley Johnson has started three of the last five games, making him a natural candidate to be picked up on the wing as a defensive specialist for the remainder of the year. For the next week or so, Avery Bradley has a guarantee deadline for the remainder of his contract. The Lakers can do without him beforehand, but he has launched 24 games this season and is entrenched by Frank Vogel at this point. If the Lakers can't keep winning, Rob Pelinka can do a lot of tinkering (or at least snooping around) until close of trading on Feb.10. Editor's Note: Thank you for reading reporter Kyle Goon's Purple & Bold Lakers newsletter.


LeBron James defeats Naz Reid late and drives Lakers to win Timberwolves

LeBron James finishes on 26 points and leads the lead in the fourth quarter of the Lakers' 108-103 victory by keeping Minnesota's Naz Reid goalless. (Yazar: Gardener)

LeBron JamesLakers striker LeBron James, center, drives between Minnesota Timberwolves center Naz Reid (11) and Jarred Vanderbilt (8) in the first half of Sunday's Lakers win. This was the test of whether what the Lakers did was a reaction or a determined, direct action to be the kind of basketball team they wanted to be. After the team has already been badly beaten twice by the Minnesota Timberwolves, they could really move forward without a big man - even if Karl-Anthony Towns has not been released for play. Even with him (and with point guard D'Angelo Russell unavailable) and forcing the Timberwolves to play backups, the challenge persisted. When Towns' backup, Naz Reid, beat up the Lakers' inner possessions one by one, the Lakers' 10-point lead completely vanished, Frank Vogel paced up and down the sidelines. With an inside player they couldn't stop the Lakers, would the Lakers keep playing small and sticking to their first truly successful identity that they found this year? And who the Lakers are, above all, is a team that relies on LeBron James to find out. With Minnesota physically dominating the game, James moved to the Timberwolves Young Center and changed the game just enough for the Lakers to come back down to .500 inches. While his seven-game streak was abandoned by 30-point games, James provided the Lakers with enough internal presence to survive in a 108-103 win that nearly outpaced them two-to-one. James scored 26 hits with seven rebounds and five assists in the Lakers' second straight win. James was one of the main reasons Reid didn't get any of his 23 points in the fourth quarter. James said this was always part of his "goal" - to accept matchups when they are needed. He played 39 minutes on Sunday but said after the game he was happy with the workload required. The Lakers also need to familiarize themselves with the impact Russell Westbrook has in games, either when he's recording triple doubles or battling double-digit sales. As of Sunday, Westbrook had 19 positive plus / minus ratings - a metric that simply measures whether your team outperforms the opponent with you on the ground. In those positive games the team is 15-4, and in the 11 games he was plus eight or better they are unbeaten. But on the flip side, that usually means the Lakers do it when he's in trouble - the team goes 3-15 when his plus / minus is negative. Even for one of the NBA's top sales leaders, Westbrook was particularly sloppy, turning him around ten times. It is the second time this season that he has 10 sales. Westbrook finished the game minus two. Thankfully, however, the Lakers managed to get through those minutes due to strong offensive nights from Malik Monk, Avery Bradley and Carmelo Anthony - the kind of balance the Lakers lacked for so many nights playing with a makeshift squad. Monk has cemented himself as one of the Lakers' key players - scoring 22, giving them another offensive creator on a team that only really has them high on the list. Anthony hit huge shots from the bench, including a four-point game in the fourth that sealed the win. And Bradley, who was responsible for slowing Anthony Edwards, scored 14 points, including a fadeaway to hit the shot clock deep in the fourth. It was all extra because it mainly featured Edwards, the former No. 1 pick that kept him at 18 points while forcing him to eight turnovers on his own. The Lakers scored 21 points on 24 Minnesota sales, helping them cover the 56:28 outrebound. Despite the recovering shortcomings, the Lakers chose to leave DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard on the bench, the team pledging to play that way now (and once Anthony Davis returns, with a version of it in the future). "I had to resist," said Vogel about his big performance. And security guard Darren Collison, nearing the end of his 10-day contract signed when the Lakers were in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak, has been inactive for the second game in a row. "Our decision will be up to Rob and up, but he did a great job and I think we saw who Stanley is," Vogel said ahead of the game. But whatever they decide, they'll do it with a better understanding of who they are - a team that is shrunk in size and at least has a plan without winning it.


First look at the lines of week 18 with a big showdown between Raiders and Chargers

NFL betting, odds: first look at the lines of week 18 with a big showdown between Raiders and Chargers (Yazar: Gardener)

ChargersOnce the NFL schedule is in place, there is never any guarantee of a winner-take-all game in the final week of the season. While there are many moving parts in the AFC Wildcard Race, we know that this week's Los Angeles Chargers-Las Vegas Raiders game winner will receive an AFC Wildcard seat. The Indianapolis Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Baltimore Ravens are all still alive with only one game to go in week 17. If the Colts beat the Jacksonville Jaguars, the winner will go to the playoffs and the loser will go home in the Chargers-Raiders game. There's still a lot at stake in the final week of the season, and here's a first look at Week 18 lines at BetMGM: Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr takes on the Chargers in a huge Week 18 game. The Chiefs probably screwed up their shot to get the # 1 in the AFC. But they have to play it if the Titans lose to the Texans. When Green Bay won on Sunday night, it secured number 1 for the Packers and a playoff spot for the Eagles, so neither team has much to offer in a Saturday prime-time game. The Saints are there when they beat the Falcons and lose the 49ers. That gives them a lot to play against against a Falcons team that are trying not to lose 10 games this season. The bills win and are AFC East champions. In praise of the Jets, they played tough against the Buccaneers before losing in the final seconds of week 17. This could have been a huge game, but the Bengals claimed the AFC North title with a win over the Chiefs. The Patriots still have a slight hope of winning the AFC East, though it depends on winning and losing the Bills to the Jets. The Dolphins, eliminated from the playoffs on Sunday, defeated New England in their first week. We'll see if they can stand up to play a meaningless week 18 game. The Buccaneers won on Sunday but saw Antonio Brown drop out of the team mid-game. With the number 1 out of the game, the Buccaneers could let their starters rest. The Colts must win in week 18 to secure a playoff spot. This isn't good news for the Jaguars who lost 50:10 in Week 17 in New England. On Monday night, the Steelers and Ravens were still alive for the playoffs. The Steelers must win Monday night to stay alive. With a win over the Texans, the Titans will be the unlikely # 1 in the AFC and get the bye, which will give Derrick Henry another week to get well. The 49ers could see each other outside of the playoffs. If the 49ers lose to the Rams, who haven't won NFC West yet, they'll miss the playoffs if the Saints win. The Cardinals still have a chance at NFC West, so they'll give it their all. The Chargers defeated the Raiders in the teams' first meeting. The winner of this game is guaranteed a playoff spot.


3 lessons learned from winning Raiders' Week 17

The Las Vegas Raiders did it again. On Sunday, for the third time in as many weeks, Las Vegas came close to losing to win and keep its playoff hopes alive. (Yazar: Gardener)

RaidersOn Sunday, for the third time in as many weeks, Las Vegas came close to losing to win and keep its playoff hopes alive. Last time it was a win over a Denver Broncos team that lacks quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. The win on Sunday was different. While the Indianapolis Colts only activated quarterback Carson Wentz from the Reserve / COVID-19 list on Sunday, their starter was on the field. Indianapolis running back Jonathan Taylor beat up the Raiders for 108 yards and a touchdown. A Colts team that had beaten the New England Patriots and Arizona Cardinals in their last two games took the lead in the late fourth quarter. But the Raiders fought back and proved that they deserve to be in the AFC playoff field. Here's what we learned from the Las Vegas 23:20 win in Week 17. The Raiders can rely on Derek Carr's Los Angeles Chargers for Las Vegas in week 18 to crack his ticket to the playoffs. As long as the Raiders can hold the ball, they should be comfortable putting the ball in Derek Carr's hands at the end of the fourth quarter. Carr was far from perfect against the Colts. Las Vegas took over with just under two minutes left and Carr drove the Raiders down the field to score a 33-yard field goal from Daniel Carlson and the win at Hunter Renfrow in 3rd and 10th place from just above midfield. It was the 29th win in Carr's career, according to Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Carr will have to limit his mistakes better in Week 18 - and into the postseason when the Raiders make it far. However, the Raiders should trust his ability to deliver at the end of the game. Carr wasn't the only player to shine with that winning drive. Renfrow made a great catch with Carr on the move and almost got the ball into the end zone for a game-winning touchdown instead of setting up the field goal. Carr said of Renfrow, via Raiders Wire's Levi Damien. It wasn't Renfrow's only big game of the game or the season. Renfrow finished the game on Sunday with seven catches for 76 yards and one touchdown. For the season he has 1,025 yards with seven touchdowns. While Renfrow isn't consistently named among the game's best young receivers, it has become a popular destination in Las Vegas. He's often the player Carr looks to when the game crashes like it did on 3rd and 10th. Darren Waller will likely be the top reception option in Las Vegas if and when he returns - he was ruled out with back and knee injuries and is now on the Reserve / COVID-19 list - but Renfrow has turned himself into a playmaker. If there's one thing we've learned in the past few weeks, it's that interim coach Rich Bisaccia figured out how to lead the Raiders. When Bisaccia took over in early October, the Raiders were 3-2. They move to 5-2 before falling to 5-5 and later to 6-7. But instead of collapsing, Las Vegas has recovered. It's won three in a row to set up a win-and-in scenario for Week 18, and guarantees the Raiders' first winning season since 2016. Bisaccia helped tackle Jon Gruden's resignation, the arrest of Henry Ruggs III in the Death and the publications of Ruggs and cornerback Damon Arnette. It's been a busy season both on and off the field, but Las Vegas is still on the edge of a playoff spot. While Bisaccia - who started coaching back in 1983 - may not have pulled the temporary label off his title, he at least deserves it. "If the Raiders make the playoffs, there's an argument to keep Bisaccia head coach," wrote Bonsignore. "However, Mark Davis, who owns both the Las Vegas Aces and the Raiders, isn't shy about taking a swing when it comes to being the leader of his franchises." We'll find out soon if Bisaccia can quit, leading Las Vegas to only its second playoff appearance since 2002.


Raiders winners and losers in beating Colts

The Raiders traveled to Indianapolis on Sunday for their season, beating the Colts 23:20 after a Daniel Carlson field goal at the last second sealed the deal. Getting there wasn't easy for Las Vegas, however. (Yazar: Gardener)

ColtsCLEVELAND, OHIO - DECEMBER 20: Zay Jones # 7 of the Las Vegas Raiders intercepts a pass in the third quarter of the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 20, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Raiders traveled to Indianapolis on Sunday for their season, beating the Colts 23:20 after a Daniel Carlson field goal at the last second sealed the deal. After dominating the early part of the game and taking a 10-0 lead, the Colts were able to get back into the game due to mistakes by the Raiders. Indianapolis eventually took advantage of a 17-13 lead, but Las Vegas didn't give up and secured its first winning season since 2016. If Las Vegas win this game, they'll make the playoffs. Raiders wide receiver Hunter Renfrow had his fingerprints on this big win. He started off with a 41 yard punt return and receiving touchdown that put the Raiders 20-17 ahead. It was a 4 and 2 play and Renfrow broke into the end zone with masterly skill which made his job look easy. Renfrow was also very well received in the Raiders' groundbreaking ride. For a second it appeared like he'd scored a 48-yard touchdown, but he was on the ground through contact. The game, however, put the Raiders within reach for Carlson's winning blow. Renfrow also passed 1,000 yard for the season, the first 1,000 yard campaign of his young career. Speaking of premieres, WR Zay Jones scored the first 100-yard game of his career. He finished the game with eight grabs for 120 yards, including a 42-yard haul that initiated Renfrow's touchdown. Jones made several other clutch receptacles, but his 42-yard catch was huge - both within that game and for the Raiders' identity, which required long distances for much of the year. If Las Vegas can have more big games next week it would dramatically increase their chances of making the playoffs. Carr had two interceptions in that game, but he stood firm and did the job late and survived a number of raiders' mistakes. He was only sacked twice, but Carr struggled for his football life multiple times, including the Raiders' big 4th and 2nd touchdowns against Renfrow. He ended his day with 255 yards on a 24-31 pass, a touchdown, and those two picks. Kicker Daniel Carlson scored the game-winning kick, but for a moment it seemed that it could be the main reason Las Vegas lost it. Carlson was part of the Raiders' chain of errors to end the first half and begin the second. After Alex Leatherwood ruined a 3rd-and-1 attempt in the red zone by a false start with offensive tackle, Carlson scored one of his three field goals that day. The Colts took advantage of the good field position and drove to the touchdown just before half-time, which reduced Vegas' lead to 13-10. It seems the Raiders made a great decision to sign him for a contract extension earlier this season. Leatherwood has had a season of ups and downs for the Raiders, not uncommon or unexpected for a rookie who is instantly pushed into the starting XI. But as the season progresses, it is a "win" for Leatherwood to simply play flawless football. The Raiders had an opportunity to take control of the game and take a 17-3 lead with a touchdown in the second half, but his Presnap penalty resulted in Carlson's field goal. The mistake caused the Raiders to slide from which they fortunately recovered. Safety Tre'von Moehrig and the entire Raiders defense had their hands full when Colts Jonathan Taylor ran back. It took Taylor a while to get going, however, despite covering more than 100 yards that day. A little later Moehrig got hold of Taylor, but was unable to bring him down. Moehrig also collided with cornerback Casey Hayward Jr. on the Colts' first drive of the second half, with the game resulting in a touchdown from Colts QB Carson Wentz to WR T. There were more good games than bad for the Raiders, however. Las Vegas has now won three straight after it looked like their annual late-season slide was underway. Luck may be on their side; They've lost the sales battle on each of their last three wins, with Carlson kicks in the last second making the difference in two of the triumphs. Winning the playoffs at home against a conference opponent - after a regular season of adversity - would make this performance even more enjoyable for Las Vegas. Raiders activate several starting defenders from reserve / COVID-19 before taking on Colts


Carr, Raiders beat Colts 23-20 to advance to the playoff spot

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Derek Carr and Las Vegas lost a late touchdown on one replay ... (Yazar: Gardener)

CarrLas Vegas Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson (2) celebrates after scoring a 33-yard field goal in the final game of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, January 2, 2022 in Indianapolis. Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Hunter Renfrow (13) intercepts a pass to cornerback Kenny Moore II (23) of Indianapolis Colts during the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, January 2, 2022 in Indianapolis. Las Vegas Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson (2) runs off the field after an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis on Sunday, January 2, 2022. The Raiders won 23-20. The Raiders won 23-20. Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Hunter Renfrow (13) celebrates in front of the security of Indianapolis Colts George Odum (30) after an 11-yard touchdown in the second half of an NFL football game in Indianapolis on Sunday, January 2, 2022 -Passport had caught. Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Hunter Renfrow (13) catches an 11-yard touchdown pass in front of Indianapolis Colts cornerback Kenny Moore II (23) during the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, January 2, 2022 in Indianapolis . Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) is attacked by Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby (98) and linebacker Divine Deablo (5) during the second half of an NFL football game in Indianapolis on Sunday, January 2, 2022. INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Derek Carr and Las Vegas lost a late touchdown on a replay reversal. Welcome to another highlight of a roller coaster season for the Raiders. Carr directed Las Vegas when time ran out for Daniel Carlson's 33-yard field goal, and the Raiders beat Jonathan Taylor and the Indianapolis Colts 11:20 PM on Sunday to get one step closer to an AFC wildcard. After an embarrassing email scandal that led to the resignation of coach Jon Gruden, the Raiders (9: 7) collected their third win in a row. "We find a way to do that because we have the right people," said Carr, "and there was never a doubt, there was never a hint, you know, this or that, and this coach isn't. " there, and all that kind ... After Michael Badgley scored a 41-yard field goal for Indianapolis with 1:56 remaining, Carr and the Raiders got the ball after a touchback back to their 25th. Carr found Hunter Renfrow for 24 yards on the third and 10 in the last minute, setting the stage for Carlson's fourth game-winning field goal of the season. When a replay review showed he had landed, "I'm glad I did," said Renfrow, "because then we could turn the clock down and give Daniel another game-winning field goal." Carr threw two interceptions, earning him a career high of 14 for the season, but he also had 255 yards and an air touchdown. Zay Jones had eight receptions for 120 yards and Renfrow finished with seven grabs for 76 yards. I'm just so wired, my mind, my heart, just like that, to love these moments, "said Carr. Indianapolis (9-7) had three in Episode and won eight out of 10 to remove a win from a post-season spot. But it's “Disappointing loss, really disappointed that we didn't do what we had to do in front of our home fans and got ourselves a place in the playoffs "Said coach Frank Reich finished with 20 carries for 108 yards and a touchdown. The NFL's leading rusher broke Edgerrin James' single-season franchise record of 1,709 yards of rushing on a 9-yard carry in mid-third quarter. He left 1,734 yards with one game in the league's first season of 17 games. Carson Wentz was 16 of 27 for 148 yards and a touchdown, shaking off a slow start after spending much of the week on the COVID-19 reserve list had spent. "Definitely one of the weirdest weeks of my NFL career, if not the weirdest," said Wentz. Wentz got his touchdown pass after a lucky jump for Indianapolis on first possession of the second half. At the first and 10 at Las Vegas 45, a crawling Wentz tossed the ball into a crowd on the goal line. Wide receivers Ashton Dulin and defensive backs Casey Hayward and Tre'von Moehrig all played a game, and the ball surfaced before landing in the arms of T. Hilton, bowing in the end zone after what is perhaps the easiest of his 53 career receives Touchdowns. The Raiders took the lead again on Carr's 11-yard touchdown pass to take Renfrow in 4th and 2nd place at 11:18 in the fourth game. Carr scrambled right before throwing an open Renfrow in the end zone. "I can't say enough about the chemistry between him and Derek," said interim Raiders coach Rich Bisaccia, "and his ability to understand the field and move into open positions." Las Vegas led 10-3 towards the end of the first half when a couple of mistakes helped keep the Colts in play. Rookie guard Alex Leatherwood was marked for a false start and Carlson kicked off, resulting in Taylor's 1-yard TD run with 1 second remaining. The Raiders played with a little "JM" sticker on the back of their helmets to honor Hall of Famer John Madden, who died this week at the age of 85. Madden trained the Raiders to a Super Bowl 11 victory before becoming the league's most influential broadcaster. Colts: Complete the regular season in Jacksonville next Sunday. Jay Cohen can be reached at More AP NFL: and and https: // twitter. com / AP_NFL


Top Seed Packers are NFC's best team and could get even more scary

The Green Bay Packers are already the best team in the NFL after expanding their record to 13-3 with their dominating 37-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. However, the Packers have not yet peaked ... (Yazar: Gardener)

NFCThe Green Bay Packers are already the best team in the NFL after expanding their record to 13-3 with their dominant 37-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. They should get better once the postseason starts rolling as a handful of key contributors could potentially be back on the line, and the offense thrives if quarterback Aaron Rodgers takes full advantage of all the weapons at his disposal. Either way, Rodgers was his normal, extraordinary self, as evidenced by his 288 yards, two touchdowns against the Vikings. In fact, the 38-year-old quarterback has thrown an interception since week 5. Tonight was his sixth straight game with two or more touchdowns and no picks, making it the second longest streak in NFL history, according to ESPN Stats & Info. To better understand how amazing Rodgers' accuracy is, he could end this season with four or fewer interceptions for the third time in his career, despite 500 or more passes. The New Year should also bring a lot of goodies after it got the No. 1 NFC seed and with it the goodbye in the first round to start the postseason. But it's comforting to know we can count on it because we're pretty insane, "wide receiver Davante Adams told reporters. As good as Rodgers is, he's one of the best quarterbacks to be inducted into the Hall of Fame have ever played the game - benefiting from his supporting cast, which has been amorphous this season thanks to numerous injuries. But the line-up could solidify early in the postseason. Obviously the offense is flowing through Adams. The wide receiver canceled the Packers single. Season record for the second year in a row with 117 receptions The Rodgers-Adams connection is one of the best in NFL history, but they need help getting Green Bay to finally strike the right balance under the supervision of Matt LaFleur at the Super Bowl find, an all-time great quote from college trainer Mike Leach applies: "With 50 percent running, 50 percent passing, there's nothing balanced because that 50 percent stupid, "Leach told reporters when he was serving as Washington State Cougar's head coach. Sunday's attempt also showed better run-to-pass ratio, with Aaron Jones and AJ Dillion combining 139 yards on 22 carries. The two backs averaged 6.3 yards per carry. The duo should get the ball, however, because they are high quality offensive threats, not just running backs to hit yards because it's supposedly too cold to pass the pigskin. Jones is both a slashing runner and a viable threat from the backcourt. The duality of his ability to make a difference keeps the defense on their heels as he can burn opponents in any way. At 247 pounds, the second year ball carrier can punish opponents, especially in situations with short distances or red zones. This doesn't mean that Dillion is unable to play big games or even catch the ball - he just brings a different dynamic on the offensive. Dillon doesn't have to be a workhorse, but he can certainly be closer than he was against the Vikings. Adams will get the ball. In all fairness, no one can stop the game's leading wide receiver. It's everyone else around Rodgers who can improve the offensive. The running backs and their uses have already been mentioned, but the wide receiver corps beyond Adams should receive a significant boost. Marquez Valdes-Scantling made a comeback after being on the Reserve / COVID-19 list. He only caught a pass for three yards against the Vikings. Randall Cobb is also expected despite being injured after a core muscle operation. "He said, 'Don't worry, I'll be back,'" Packers receiver coach Jason Vrable told reporters of Cobb's response to the injury. "And for some people it might have been the end of the season. He doesn't want to miss this playoff opportunity and is just happy about it." A full complement of wide receivers is only part of the potential effective returns. David Bakhtiari's return has long been rumored and could have been saved for that particular point in the season. The Packers took their time to recover after Bakhtiari tore his cruciate ligament in December 2020. When he's healthy, Bakhtiari is an elite left tackle that no one is considered a better pure pass blocker. He's doing everything he can, "said LaFleur two weeks ago. The top five of the Packers have done well this season even without their two best players Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins, who is in reserve with a cruciate ligament injury The extra boost from Bakhtiari, who takes on the blindside, could solidify and improve the whole unit if the three-time Pro Bowl selections return this season. Similar expectations are on the defensive side of the ball. Za'Darius Smith is a candidate for NFL Defensive Player of the Year if he's healthy. Unfortunately he still has to deal with a back surgery he needed in September. On the other hand, Jaire Alexander's recovery from shoulder surgery that season still has him on the shelf. The team activated the 24-year-old defensive back from the injured reserve on Wednesday. Alexander is arguably the best pure cover corner of the game, when he's operating at full speed. He may not be the same. Player in the playoffs but he can definitely extend the bench and offer a much lower secondary level during the key point of the season. With the win on Sunday, the Packers became the first team in NFL history to win 13 games in three consecutive seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Info. Historically, the squad was very good during LaFleur's tenure, but the previous two seasons ended in loss in the NFC championship game. To change that, the proper distribution between Rodgers and all of his guns, as well as some random medical examinations, could easily pull the Packers past everyone else in the conference.


Packers prove they have come a long way in the 6 weeks since their defeat in Minnesota

A Green Bay team that hasn't always won nicely still has a nice record - the best in the NFL - and several people deserve credit for that (Yazar: Gardener)

the 6 weeksPlease register or log in to read further. Stay logged in to skip the polls. You are the owner of this item. You are authorized to edit this article. Jim Polzin: Packers Prove They've Come a Long Way in the 6 Weeks Since they lost in Minnesota Jim Polzin: The Packers Prove they've come a long way in the 6 weeks since they lost at Minnesota S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis have where the hosts Minnesota Vikings had just beaten the Green Bay Packers with a walk-off field goal. When Vikings radio play-by-play announcers were preparing to launch their post-game show "Between the Lines" for the team's website, an unknown The Packers trainer apparently walked by and told him he was " better not speak into that microphone and pay tribute to your team ". but eventually he let his emotions get the best out of him at the end of an opening speech in which he commended the Packers for being 8-3 at t. were hat tip despite so many injuries. "So good luck the rest of the way, and in all honesty, I hope you lose every single damn game for the rest of the year." the Packers haven't lost every single damn game since exactly six weeks ago that afternoon. In fact, they have won every single damn game and secured number 1 5-0 in the NFC playoffs. The pole position blast came Sunday night at Lambeau Field, where Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams took the lead, the Packers humiliated the Vikings 37-10 to improve their record to 13-3. Allen wasn't the only one speaking early that day in Minneapolis. The irony is that my biggest takeaway from that defeat was that it was another sign that something was missing from this Green Bay squad. heavy NFC, giving the organization its first Super Bowl seat in more than a decade. At least I think it is. It's hard to be sure that this team can be special because the season is 11 weeks old and the Packers haven't written those kind of full gigs that make you think, yes, this group has what it takes to win one Championship. Six weeks later, my melody changed. This is by no means a prediction, but this group has proven that they absolutely have what it takes to win a championship. It has been easy to drill holes in the Packers' performance this season, even when most of them are with Matt. LaFleur's team ended up at the front of the scoreboard. A team that hasn't always won nicely still has a nice record - the best in the NFL - and several people deserve credit for that achievement. Top of my list, in alphabetical order: Davante Adams, who catches 11 for 136 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings and now has 117 receptions - breaking his own franchise record - for a career high of 1,498 yards during the season. General Manager Brian Gutekunst, who already built one of the NFL's strongest squads and made several key additions during the season to help the team weather a number of injuries to key players. LaFleur, who is now 39-9 in the regular season and 15-2 against NFC North during his three seasons at Titletown. He led the Packers to this point despite a challenging schedule and a list that changed every week. And of course Rodgers, who was almost flawless this season. He went 29 of 38 for 288 yards with two touchdowns on Sunday, giving him 35 in the season with just four interceptions. It's too early to engrave his name on the NFL MVP Awards trophy, which would be his second in a row and fourth overall, but at this point he has to lose. The biggest challenge for LaFleur now is figuring out how to handle it next three weeks before the Packers' next meaningful game. Is he sitting up stars like Rodgers, Adams and running back Aaron Jones next week so they're fresh for every NFC team - Tampa Bay? Will any of them get a limited number of replays next week in Detroit? What is clear is that LaFleur will have a team that moves into the playoffs that has seen a lot in the regular season. The Packers won two games (and lost one) in the last game of the game and four more victories were unsecured until the last minute. Green Bay won double digits in Chicago in October, but that game was dubious until Rodgers battled for a touchdown with less than 5 minutes left. Three more double-digit wins were also deceiving: The Packers were behind at halftime in two of them and led with three into the fourth quarter of another Allen Lazard for touchdowns in a big second quarter that helped them build a 20-3 half-time lead over the Vikings . The game was over and, oddly enough, it was exactly the kind of full performance that six weeks ago seemed elusive, our most complete game in all three phases, "said LaFleur," and that's what we need for the future. "But please take the High Road, Packers fans, and take it easy with Paul Allen. He went through every single damn minute of that defeat while calling up a game for a team that will follow this postseason from home. Your notification has been saved. There was a problem saving your notification. Email notifications are only sent once a day and only when there are new matching articles. Please log in to use this feature. Log In The Green Bay Packers have secured first place in the NFC and the lone playoff bye bye of the conference after sailing to a 37:10 win… Goodbye, which comes after a 37-10 win over rival Vikings at Lambeau Field. Packers' Aaron Rodgers wants his fourth NFL MVP - and could get him in 'one of my favorite years of football' "I really feel like he's the best player I've ever played with," said the Green quarterback Bay Packers on his star-wide receiver of the 24-22 Christmas win over the Cleveland Browns. While Randall Cobb is unlikely to be activated for Sunday night's game against Minnesota, he seems well on his way to returning for the playoffs - or maybe even for the regular season finale on January 9th in Detroit. Former Packers star LeRoy Butler again finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Former Green Bay Packers star LeRoy Butler is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the third time. While Aaron Rodgers is "enjoying this year," he says happily, promising a "quick decision" about the future, be it at Packers or elsewhere, in a detailed answer to whether he's ruled out retiring after this season and will definitely play - be it in Green Bay or elsewhere - in 2022, Aaron Rodgers said on Wednesday that everything is on the table. Jim Polzin: Aaron Rodgers shows once again why the Packers would be wise to postpone the Jordan Love era quarterback when the 2022 season rolls in. Packers' rating: Round victory over the Vikings brings Green Bay solid grades across the board. You have no notifications. Get the latest news straight to your device.


Chelsea and Liverpool are still enthusiastic, even if the title is a given

The 2-2 draw between Chelsea and Liverpool provided the drama the Premier League is known for, but the result means the title is now only Man City's. (Yazar: Gardener)

LiverpoolFrank Leboeuf thanks Chelsea and Liverpool for an exciting clash in the Premier League, although neither team was able to catch up with Man City. Frank Leboeuf thanks Chelsea and Liverpool for an exciting clash in the Premier League, although neither team was able to catch up with Man City. LONDON - Manchester City have shown they are in a league of their own so the Premier League should be grateful that Chelsea and Liverpool can still keep us all entertained. Sunday's 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge didn't help any team and only cemented City's vise-like grip on top, but football is about danger, risk and making mistakes and when it all comes together you get one unforgettable game like this one. Even before City was 11 points ahead of the top of the table with a 2-1 win at Arsenal on Saturday, this game between two and three was always a case in which both sides had to win in order to maintain the weak hopes of Pep Guardiola's winning machine catch. City's victory in the Emirates was the eleventh consecutive Premier League win, and they were all won with such monotonous ease, scoring 33 goals and conceding just seven that all three points are now inevitable with a shrug. Barring an unlikely collapse in the second half of the season, City will win their fourth league title in five years and you will have a hard time counting on the fingers of one hand the number of times they had to dig deep to face the odds during that time overcome period. Guardiola built one of the greatest teams of all time in English football history during his six years at Etihad, but they may just be too good to contribute to games like this. Chelsea and Liverpool gave us such a vibrant encounter because they both have weaknesses that their opponents can exploit. Chelsea, with three wins out of their last eight in the league, have been without £ 97.5m striker Romelu Lukaku, who coached Thomas Tuchel for a frank interview about his failure at Stamford Bridge since his return from Internazionale The summer was canceled in the club. In contrast, City have had a remarkably quiet streak since losing to Crystal Palace in October, which is why they run free to another title. But the Premier League is considered to be the most exciting in world football because of games like this and teams like Chelsea and Liverpool and the drama they create. From the minute Sadio Mane was lucky enough to avoid a red card by slapping Cesar Azpilicueta in the face with his elbow after just 14 seconds, the game was full of incidents. Azpilicueta later said it was a "clear red card" when interviewed after the game. Christian Pulisic, who played central in the absence of Lukaku, missed a golden chance to take the opening goal in the seventh minute when he was only defeated by substitute keeper Caoimhin Kelleher, undecided and let the youngster choke the ball. It proved a costly miss two minutes later when Mane took advantage of his lucky escape after being sent off, pouncing on a Trevoh Chalobah mistake to score. Chelsea were in a mess and Liverpool looked like the team that won the title in 2019. As Mohamed Salah in the 26th Chelsea, the kind of hammers they gave Manchester United during a 5-0 win at Old Trafford earlier this season. Liverpool failed to score a third, however, and two Chelsea goals within three minutes at the end of the first half turned the game upside down. When Kelleher cleared Alonso's free kick in the 42nd minute, the keeper seemed to have done well to fend off the Chelsea defender. It was a spectacular technical demonstration by the former Real Madrid player that brought Chelsea back into the game. And it took them just three minutes to level as Pulisic made up for his earlier miss by clinging to N'Golo Kant's pass before beating Kelleher with an accurate left-foot shot at the Republican international. With the chaos on the pitch, Mason nearly gave Mount Chelsea a 3-2 lead in first-half stoppage time with a worn volley that bounced just wide of the post. When a game is so eventful in the first half, it rarely delivers a second half of the same quality because coaches plug the holes that created the earlier excitement. Salah forced a decisive save from Edouard Mendy with a 25-yard praise in the 57th minute, and Mane also failed at the Chelsea keeper. Unsurpassed Kelleher then put on a stunning save to keep Pulisic from scoring his second goal. "It was a pretty good game for the outside world but we came here to take three points and not take them," said Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk. Even if one team had done enough to take all three points, it's hard to imagine that they could have closed the gap on City, who are destined for another title. And the challenge for both chasing clubs will be even greater next month as Salah (Egypt), Mendy and Mane (both Senegal) are now traveling to the Africa Cup in Cameroon. But the Premier League still knows how to inspire, even if the title is already a matter of course.


Barcelona find a way to win is a good omen for 2022

A brave appearance at the start of the year for Xavi's men (Yazar: Gardener)

BarcelonaNothing has been easy for Xavi and Barcelona this season and the challenges continued at the start of the new year. Something this Barcelona team wasn't always good at. The heroes in this game were two players who desperately needed the fresh start that a new year can bring. Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Luuk de Jong took a much-needed victory and with it a confidence boost that they will hopefully be able to drive with the change of calendar. Luuk was like a fish out of water in a Blaugrana shirt, but in a game that depended more on combat than usual Barca tactics, he was ready to do his part by showing his strengths. De Jong may not be in Barcelona for long but the fans will be grateful for the crucial contribution he made in this game. It took MATS even more time to show off its brilliance. The second half was torture as Mallorca grew in confidence and determined to smash the door and take advantage of a weakened Barcelona side. A goalkeeper earns his streak the moment the game is at stake and a save is required to ensure victory. Ter Stegen did just that in stoppage time. After another failure of his defenders, the German was faced with an attacker at close range, but he didn't flinch. With a chance to save the day and in a position where no one would blame him for getting beaten, MATS was his classic self and a world-class savior. It wasn't nice for Barcelona, ​​but it was a team win and it was deserved. A display of mental strength and a willingness to suffer for a result that was untypical throughout the game. Give credit to players like Ronald Araujo who keep making things work out of position. Let's be grateful for the best academy system in the world and the fearlessness of these teenagers who keep facing the situation. Ferran Jutgla, who played on the left side for the first time in the first team, proves his worth time and again with diligence and movement away from the ball. Iliad wasn't spectacular, but he was involved from kick-off, making sure he found a way to do his part. Last but not least, to start this new year, I am still grateful that Xavi is the manager. It would be impossible to face all of these adversities without a positive leader who refuses to apologize for these players. Barcelona are now in fifth place and have the opportunity to gain momentum against the bottom of the table in January. It's time to start things right and stick to the winning mentality theme. With the league leaders stalled, there's no better time to climb the table than now. Let's hope 2022 is the year a new Barcelona is made.