It appears that both Chicago and Ottawa’s windows to win are either closed or only open a crack.


When we hear analysts refer to teams’ “window to win,” it can mean one of two things: Franchise players are in their prime or a good-not-great club has all of its best players peaking at once.

For example, the Chicago Blackhawks routinely traded their early-round draft picks at the deadline for role players while superstars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were at the height of their powers. Last season, we saw the Ottawa Senators ride a hot streak to the Eastern Conference Final — only to have a predictable slide backward this season.

And once that window slams shut, it’s rebuilding time.

At the end of last season, the Los Angeles Kings’ window looked like it was closed, locked and boarded up. They finished 2016-17 with 86 standings points and scored the fourth fewest even-strength goals in the NHL behind three franchises building from scratch (Colorado, New Jersey, Buffalo).

Lacking the cap room to make a big free-agent splash and with few exciting prospects coming through the system, the Kings seemed to be on the cusp of fading to the back of the Pacific Division.

The Celtics are hoping that Marc Gasol and Mike Conley will be past their primes by 2019. If the Grizzlies pick in the top eight then, the pick becomes top-six protected in 2020 and completely unprotected in 2021.

This trade was one of the more puzzling ones from the 2016 draft. The Celtics traded Deyonta Davis (the No. 31 pick) and the rights to the No. 35 overall pick (someone named Rade Zagorac) to Memphis for a top-14 protected first round pick in 2019.

The Grizzlies got this pick when the Clippers traded Lance Stephenson for Jeff Green in Feb. 2016. Jeff Green: the gift that keeps on giving.

One thing about the Steelers: They tend to play much closer games than they should. Based on talent alone, they probably are the NFL’s most skilled squad.

Here comes Jacksonville, following an offensive stinker in beating outmanned Buffalo. Logic says this should be a rout.

Forget logic and remember that Ben Roethlisberger was so victimized in a MLB Jerseys China 30-9 Week 5 loss to the Jaguars that he had one of the worst games of his career.

There’s also the Antonio Brown factor: How healthy is the unanimous All-Pro receiver, who was injured in Week 15?

Jacksonville has a staunch defense with a terrific pass rush, too. Its New Nike NFL Jerseys secondary is among the league’s best.

It doesn’t happen all the time, which is what makes it so great when it does.


Sports are at their best when they remind us we don’t know what to expect. Remember next year, if your team enters Week 17 with a 13 percent chance of making the playoffs as the Bills did Sunday: As long as that percentage is above zero, it’s worth watching. Just in case.

Of the 12 playoff teams this year, eight were not in the playoffs last year, including all four NFC division winners. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that ties for the most new playoff teams from one season to the next since the NFL went to a 12-team playoff format in 1990 (there were also eight new playoff teams in 2003). It’s the first time since the league expanded to eight divisions in 2002 that one conference had four division champions that weren’t playoff teams the year before.

And this isn’t a parity-means-mediocrity issue, either. Five of the six NFC playoff teams won at least 11 games, and the sixth was last year’s conference champion. These are high-quality teams and a field from which it’s tough to predict a winner. (I think I’m taking the New Orleans Saints, for example, but their first game is against a team they already beat twice, and it’s hard to beat the same team three times, so how the heck do I know?)

Roethlisberger’s thrown multiple touchdown passes in seven straight games and the Steelers ended the season with a 9-1 sprint, the lone setback a loss to New England on Dec. 17 in which his only mistake came on a poorly executed fake spike that resulted in a game-ending pick.

What’s working? Nearly everything.

Having two of the top skill position players in the league in wide NFL Jerseys Cheap receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell helps. So does the continued Wholesale NFL Jerseys China evolution of rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster and Martavis Bryant’s immersion into the offense following an ill-advised trade demand.

Yet Pittsburgh’s offense will only go as far over the next month as Roethlisberger can take it. Though he downplayed looking for payback after the Jaguars shut him down in ways that few teams have in recent years, not everyone is buying it.

The Timberwolves have now lost a couple games in a row and three of their last five.


Not so much. See, while the proliferation of calculated win probabilities as part of football analysis can be helpful and make for cool-looking graphs (like the wild one above), it also can lead to fan complacency. That 97 percent is a comforting number, but what it means is that, three times out of a hundred, the outcome is not the one it appears to ensure. Three times out of a hundred isn’t impossible. It’s not even all that crazy. By rights, the Ravens should have been fine Sunday. But that ball isn’t round, and sometimes it bounces funny.

The stunning turnaround at the end of the Bengals-Ravens game, as Bills players and the city of Buffalo watched with what they well knew was the slimmest of hope, is a reminder of why we watch these games. Sports are at their best not when they confirm our expectations, but when they reset them. We watch these games to be dazzled, and Andy Dalton’s 49-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd on fourth-and-12 with 44 seconds left in the season was the “oh my God” moment of Week 17.

If somebody had told you right before that play that there was a 3 percent chance the Bengals were scoring, you’d have thought their estimate high. But you had to watch, just in case. That play, that moment, were the answer to, “In case of what?” If you’re a Bills fan, it was the best kind of unexpected joy. If you were a Ravens fan, it was that familiar kind of sports-inflicted pain. If you didn’t care who won but were just watching to see something amazing, you got your reward.

It’s harder to get points against the Boston Celtics than any other team in the Baseball Jerseys league, but still, the Minnesota Timberwolves made scoring look absolutely painful on Friday in a 91-84 defeat. It was the fewest points that Minnesota` scored in a game all season, and it came Wholesale NFL Jerseys Supply with 37-percent shooting from the field.

It’s not a concerning trend in an up-and-down NBA season, but Minnesota still isn’t making their basketball look easy. Sometimes, their three-headed blend of Karl-Anthony Towns, Jimmy Butler, and Andrew Wiggins looks divine, but just as often, like Friday, it looks like it still isn’t fitting together well.

Against Boston, Towns recorded his fourth 20-20 game with 25 points and a monstrous 23 rebounds. However, Butler and Wiggins both shot 3-of-12 from the field, a continuation of Wiggins’ worst season as a pro. He’s averaging slightly more points on a slightly lower field goal percentage than his rookie year, while his rebounding and assists are both down. The former No. 1 draft pick’s inability to consistently hit outside shots continues to hurt him, especially with another isolation-heavy wing joining him.

The one inspiring the most optimism is Trubisky.


The Bears demolished the Bengals 33-7, breaking an increasingly ugly five-game losing streak that may well have put the nail in the coffin of coach John Fox or general manager Ryan Pace, or both. There’s no reason for optimism with the franchise except the handful of young players that have arrived NHL Hockey Jerseys the last couple of years.

It’s a wary optimism, considering the bleak history at that position with the Bears and the downward spiral the last four seasons. Plus, there’s the history of potential that takes a minute to be realized, a history repeating itself with him now.

Now, though, says center Cody Whitehair, who has bonded with the man to whom he’s been snapping from the beginning, it’s being realized.

I’ve never really played with young guys before; they’ve always been older players, Whitehair said, noting that in his two seasons his quarterbacks have included Jay Cutler, Brian Hoyer, Matt Barkley and Mike Glennon. But for Mitch to just come in, to not really know what to expect — the biggest thing about him Wholesale Jerseys is the way he carries himself, the confidence he’s had.

On Jan. 8, Georgia will play Alabama for its first national title in 37 years in the College Football Playoff National Championship presented by AT&T in Atlanta. Regardless of what happens there, the Bulldogs will never forget what they experienced in their first Rose Bowl victory since 1943.

If it was a measure of heart attack, I’d be on the Richter scale pretty high, Georgia coach Kirby Smart said.

We’ve had too many forgettable games in CFP semifinals the past two seasons. Alabama and Clemson might have produced two memorable national championship games, but the lopsided semifinals left many of us turning away.

We were afraid to blink during the Rose Bowl on Monday. It had everything: the biggest comeback and first overtime in the storied game’s history, plenty of star power, divergent styles and two wildly different halves.

It’s a helluva college football game, Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said. You know, an epic Rose Bowl.

He’ll have to prove he can make that throw to truly give NFL teams something to drool over.


Bobby Wagner, LB, Seattle Seahawks: Wagner exited the game during the third quarter because of a hamstring injury and was declared questionable to return. The Jaguars subsequently scored two touchdowns with Wagner sidelined.

Josh McCown, QB, New York Jets: After an apparent back injury knocked McCown out briefly earlier in the game, the QB suffered a left hand or wrist injury during the third quarter and was taken back to the locker room for further evaluation. He was declared questionable to return and replaced in the lineup by Bryce Petty. He was later downgraded to out with a broken left hand.

Finally for Lock, he has not shown repeatedly an ability to throw the types of NFL throws scouts look for like the 18-yard out to the far hash, or the 14-yard dig that takes as much guts as arm strength to deliver at the NFL level. That’s not to say he can’t do that, but he hasn’t been seen doing it yet.

“I had to grow and learn that maybe there were reasons why I shouldn’t be in,” Morris said. “I didn’t grow up learning the analytics that are in the game today. None of it was part of it. I always found it puzzling to wonder why I’m being judged on a criteria that didn’t even exist when we played.”

Morris was already in Orlando when he received the call Sunday that he’d finally made the Hall. Because the announcement was going to be broadcast nationally, he was asked to keep the information to himself for another half hour after he got the news. He lasted about 10 minutes.

After last Sunday’s win over the Browns, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers Basketball Jerseys Custom took a moment to reflect upon how far his team has come since a disastrous 0-4 start.

“I didn’t know 6-6 could feel that good,” Rivers said in his Cheap NFL Jerseys China postgame news conference.

Broncos face uncertainty at quarterback following third straight loss


Broncos coach Vance Joseph would not commit to Trevor Siemian as the team’s quarterback moving forward.

You can’t make mistakes against this Patriots team and expect to pull out a win in Foxborough. The tone of this contest shifted when Benjamin fielded a punt at his 11-yard line, only to cycle backward dangerously into the end zone, where he was tossed to the godless turf by Brandon King for a safety that put the Patriots up 9-7. Benjamin bounced back with the fourth-quarter score, but his gaffe headlined a sloppy special-teams performance by L.A.

Took care of that practically by himself.

Antetokounmpo scored 33 points, Khris Middleton had 27 and the Bucks cruised to a 117-106 victory over the outmanned Atlanta Hawks on Sunday.

Antetokounmpo also had 11 rebounds and five assists. He went 14 for 21 from the field, scoring from all over the floor while helping Milwaukee to its third win in its last four games.

He began the game with 175 points, 53 rebounds and 28 assists, the Cheap Lions Jerseys best start by a player in NBA history through his first five games.

“We came out, and Giannis was really aggressive,” Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon Cheap Knock Off Jerseys said. “He got us off to a good start offensively and on the defensive end. We followed his lead.”

NFL trade deadline: Jimmy Garoppolo trade the biggest risk of Bill Belichick’s career


The Patriots stunned the NFL by trading Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers, placing complete faith in Tom Brady’s extraordinary ability to stave off Father Time.

New England received a second-round pick from the 49ers for Garoppolo, who had been seen as the heir apparent to Brady after being selected by the Patriots in round two of the 2014 draft and significantly impressing in the two starts he made last season when their future Hall of Fame starter was suspended.

Indiana second-year forward Domantas Sabonis, coming off a personal-best 22 points and 12 rebounds on Sunday, had a double-double in the first half with 10 points and 12 Cheap Kids Jerseys NBA rebounds. He finished with a career-high 16 rebounds in addition to 12 points and five assists.

Sabonis was actually sick the previous day.

“I laid in bed and tried to recover and get ready for today,” he said. “I’m just coming out there and proving to people that I can play.”

Pacers coach Nate McMillan was particularly pleased with his team meeting the per game goal of 25 assists.

“We want that ball moving,” he said. “What we’re trying to do is create other opportunities to where we get open looks as opposed to contested shots. If we’re dishing out Cheap Jonathan Toews Jerseys 25 assists or more, everybody is touching the ball and it’s very difficult to defend that type of movement.”

Maurkice Pouncey rips Lions’ D-line for breaking unwritten rule


The Detroit Lions’ defensive line broke an unwritten NFL rule Sunday when it fired off the ball on a kneel-down play, said Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey, who was incensed by the play one day after Pittsburgh’s 20-15 victory at Ford Field.

Browns cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun left in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury and did not return, and running back Duke Johnson exited late and was evaluated for a concussion, but was cleared.

Cleveland was missing three starters due to injury, including top overall draft pick Myles Garrett (concussion).

Robinson reports that the quarterback’s legal team will be seeking discovery to look for evidence of Kaepernick-related communications between team owners, as well as communications between owners and the president.

Specific targets for discovery mentioned by Robinson include Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, as well as officials with the Seahawks, Titans and Ravens.

“It will be a vast group, both broad and specific,” a source told Yahoo Sports.

Kaepernick’s legal team also will reportedly bring up Trump’s comments on the issue of national anthem protests. For example, in a March 20 speech in Louisville, Ky., Trump told Cheap Jerseys Shop a crowd, “It was reported that NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want Cheap Jerseys Team to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump. Do you believe that? I just saw that. I just saw that.”

Booker scores 32, Suns rally late to beat Nets 122-114


When Brooklyn ran off 17 straight points to erase an 18-point deficit in the third quarter, Phoenix guard Devin Booker thought back to last season, when his teammates often bickered among themselves when they faced huge deficits.

This time, the Suns remained steady.

“I’m going to watch the film [Monday] night and [Tuesday], like most coaches would do, and see,” Joseph said. “[Monday] our defense played winning football in my opinion, our offensive line blocked, we ran the ball for 177 [yards] and the pass pro was better. It all fell back to turning the ball over five times, that’s insane.”

The Chicago Bulls, who visit the Heat on Wednesday night, are 1-4. The Bulls signed Wade as a free agent, but he lasted just one season before taking a buyout and bolting to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Miami is hoping to get center Hassan Whiteside back in the lineup. After posting 26 points and 22 rebounds in Miami’s season-opener, he has missed five consecutive games due to a bruised left knee.

“I don’t think they get enough credit defensively. It’s amazing,” said Clippers coach Doc Rivers. “Whenever we talk about Golden State, we only talk about their offense. And I think their defense is what sets them apart.”

Though the Clippers try to run their offense through Blake Griffin, the Cheap Jerseys USing Paypal power forward was quickly doubled whenever he touched the ball down low and Cheap Jerseys Wholesale Site struggled to get his shot off.

NFL agrees to streaming package with Verizon


The deal will begin in January 2018 and goes through 2022. Fans will be able to stream the playoffs from Yahoo, Yahoo Sports, Verizon’s video platform go90, and the NFL Mobile app.

Although terms of the deal were not disclosed, Sports Business Journal estimates Cheap Jerseys Good that the contract is worth $500 million per year.

That same labor deal gives the commissioner unilateral power over personal conduct matters and anything else that falls into the category of “protecting the integrity of the game.”

League commissioners have always had that kind of power. But it’s been Goodell’s signature issue.

Surprise: Unchecked power in the hands of one person leads to problems. The examples cited above turned into drawn-out court battles because of the arbitrary nature of the punishments doled out and the flimsy evidence used to justify it.

CBS and Dish Network reached a multi-year agreement Thursday after millions of customers were unable to watch the Cowboys-Chargers game on Thanksgiving Day.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but the deal ended a two-day blackout that affected major markets such as Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco Cheap Jerseys In Toronto and Atlanta.

“We are pleased we have reached a deal with Dish, who recognizes the value that the number one Network brings to viewers in these markets,” Ray Hopkins, president of television networks distribution for CBS, said in a statement. “Dish customers will continue to get CBS’ must-have content, while we are also able to achieve our short and long-term economic and strategic goals.”