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College Football Playoff Faces Tricky Call After Messy Year https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/19/sports/ncaafootball/college-football-playoff.html
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/19/sports/ncaafootball/college-football-playoff.html
<p id=”article-summary” class=”css-w6ymp8 e1wiw3jv0″>An unconvincing win by Ohio State and several odd circumstances during the pandemic have left the College Football Playoff with a jumble to consider.</p><section name=”articleBody” class=”meteredContent css-1r7ky0e”><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>This fiasco of a college football season, in which no amount of coaches’ scheming or testing or contact tracing could keep <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/11/sports/coronavirus-college-sports-football.html” title>the coronavirus from wreaking havoc</a>, stumbled toward an inevitably messy finish on what in a normal year might be celebrated as a championship Saturday.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Instead, as Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://twitter.com/si_ncaafb/status/1340001956631293952?s=20″ title rel=”noopener noreferrer” target=”_blank”>threatened a playoff boycott</a> on Friday, and Ohio State <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://twitter.com/OhioStateFB/status/1340394154598100992?s=20″ title rel=”noopener noreferrer” target=”_blank”>bumbled its way to the Big Ten title</a> on Saturday with 22 players sidelined — many presumably related to the virus — the College Football Playoff committee may have a decision that is not as neat and tidy as it would have wanted.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>In this year, and others, the playoff committee — for all its boasting of football intellect — has been little more than a boxing matchmaker, releasing weekly rankings in November and December as a way to gin up interest (and outrage) before ultimately providing a rather obvious four-team field that will make the television networks happy.</p></div></div><div class=”css-79elbk” data-testid=”photoviewer-wrapper”><div class=”css-z3e15g” data-testid=”photoviewer-wrapper-hidden”></div><div data-testid=”photoviewer-children” class=”css-1a48zt4 ehw59r15″><figure class=”css-s4gkw2 e1g7ppur0″ aria-label=”media” role=”group”><div class=”css-1xdhyk6 erfvjey0″><picture><source media=”(max-width: 599px) and (min-device-pixel-ratio: 3),(max-width: 599px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 3),(max-width: 599px) and (min-resolution: 3dppx),(max-width: 599px) and (min-resolution: 288dpi)” srcset=”https://static01.nyt.com/images/2020/12/19/sports/19colleges-clemson/merlin_181461291_2aff3148-6de6-4110-9444-816950c41730-mobileMasterAt3x.jpg?quality=75&amp;auto=webp&amp;disable=upscale&amp;width=600″><source media=”(max-width: 599px) and (min-device-pixel-ratio: 2),(max-width: 599px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2),(max-width: 599px) and (min-resolution: 2dppx),(max-width: 599px) and (min-resolution: 192dpi)” srcset=”https://static01.nyt.com/images/2020/12/19/sports/19colleges-clemson/merlin_181461291_2aff3148-6de6-4110-9444-816950c41730-mobileMasterAt3x.jpg?quality=75&amp;auto=webp&amp;disable=upscale&amp;width=1200″><source media=”(max-width: 599px) and (min-device-pixel-ratio: 1),(max-width: 599px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 1),(max-width: 599px) and (min-resolution: 1dppx),(max-width: 599px) and (min-resolution: 96dpi)” srcset=”https://static01.nyt.com/images/2020/12/19/sports/19colleges-clemson/merlin_181461291_2aff3148-6de6-4110-9444-816950c41730-mobileMasterAt3x.jpg?quality=75&amp;auto=webp&amp;disable=upscale&amp;width=1800″><img alt=”Amari Rodgers and Clemson raced to a 24-3 halftime lead against Notre Dame.” class=”css-1m50asq” src=”https://static01.nyt.com/images/2020/12/19/sports/19colleges-clemson/merlin_181461291_2aff3148-6de6-4110-9444-816950c41730-articleLarge.jpg?quality=75&amp;auto=webp&amp;disable=upscale” srcset=”https://static01.nyt.com/images/2020/12/19/sports/19colleges-clemson/merlin_181461291_2aff3148-6de6-4110-9444-816950c41730-articleLarge.jpg?quality=90&amp;auto=webp 600w, https://static01.nyt.com/images/2020/12/19/sports/19colleges-clemson/merlin_181461291_2aff3148-6de6-4110-9444-816950c41730-jumbo.jpg?quality=90&amp;auto=webp 1024w, https://static01.nyt.com/images/2020/12/19/sports/19colleges-clemson/merlin_181461291_2aff3148-6de6-4110-9444-816950c41730-superJumbo.jpg?quality=90&amp;auto=webp 2048w” sizes=”((min-width: 600px) and (max-width: 1004px)) 84vw, (min-width: 1005px) 80vw, 100vw” decoding=”async”></picture></div><figcaption class=”css-18crmh6 ewdxa0s0″><span aria-hidden=”true” class=”css-16f3y1r e13ogyst0″>Amari Rodgers and Clemson raced to a 24-3 halftime lead against Notre Dame.</span><span class=”css-cnj6d5 e1z0qqy90″><span>Bob Donnan/USA Today Sports, via Reuters</span></span></figcaption></figure></div></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Now in its seventh season, the committee has never been left with such a jumbled set of circumstances as the one it will have to sort through before Sunday’s announcement of which four teams will play in the Jan. 1 semifinals at the Sugar Bowl and (perhaps) the Rose Bowl.</p></div></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>There are no September nonconference games to use as barometers. There is no common number of results, with Ohio State (6-0) having played five fewer games than the other leading contenders. And what to make of Notre Dame, which won its first 10 games and beat Clemson in double overtime earlier this season when the Tigers were missing Trevor Lawrence? On Saturday, Notre Dame was throttled 34-10 by the Tigers with Lawrence playing.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>After this weekend, the committee also may have to consider the effect of virus test results on a team’s ability to compete.</p></div></div><div></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Among the players missing for Ohio State on Saturday were the star receiver Chris Olave, linebacker Baron Browning and punter Drue Chrisman. Ohio State does not announce whether players have tested positive, but <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://twitter.com/DChrisman91/status/1340327737907699717″ title rel=”noopener noreferrer” target=”_blank”>Chrisman said on Twitter</a> that he had (and that “this virus has not been pleasant”). According to Big Ten rules, players who test positive must sit out for 21 days, raising the possibility that some of the Buckeyes who missed Saturday’s game would also miss a playoff semifinal in less than two weeks.</p></div></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Ohio State, which had valet service to reach the playoff — the Big Ten changed its rules to allow the Buckeyes to play for its championship despite having three games canceled — is seeking further allowances. Coach Ryan Day said after Saturday’s 22-10 win over Northwestern that the Big Ten was looking “very hard” at amending a rule, put in place to ensure the safety of players, that sidelines players for 21 days after they test positive.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>The Buckeyes could use all the help after the way they played on Saturday.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Ohio State did not take the lead for good — or score a touchdown — until late in the third quarter. They got by when Day finally decided it wasn’t such a good idea to let his quarterback Justin Fields keep making scattershot throws and just handed the ball to tailback Trey Sermon, who set a team record with 331 yards rushing on 29 carries.</p></div></div><div class=”css-79elbk” data-testid=”photoviewer-wrapper”><div class=”css-z3e15g” data-testid=”photoviewer-wrapper-hidden”></div><div data-testid=”photoviewer-children” class=”css-1a48zt4 ehw59r15″><figure class=”css-ujjex e1g7ppur0″ aria-label=”media” role=”group”><div class=”css-1xdhyk6 erfvjey0″><div class=”css-zjzyr8″><div data-testid=”lazyimage-container” style=”height:532.9555555555555px”></div></div></div><figcaption class=”css-1l44abu ewdxa0s0″><span aria-hidden=”true” class=”css-16f3y1r e13ogyst0″>Trey Sermon rushed for an Ohio State-record 331 yards against Northwestern.</span><span class=”css-cnj6d5 e1z0qqy90″><span>Adam Cairns/USA Today Sports, via Reuters</span></span></figcaption></figure></div></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>“I kind of knew it was going to go like this today,” said Day, who was also without two assistant coaches, presumably also because of the virus. “It’s just the way this season has gone.”</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>If the Buckeyes have a raft of N.F.L. talent, they also will have to hope the playoff committee continues to give short shrift to their lightweight schedule, which includes relatively narrow wins over No. 11 Indiana and No. 14 Northwestern and four wallopings of teams with losing records.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Texas A&amp;M, which has been anchored in the fifth spot in the playoff rankings, is making its claim as the second-best team in the Southeastern Conference, college football’s marquee league. The Aggies, who are 8-1, dispatched Tennessee on Saturday in a perfunctory manner, 34-13. Their lone loss was a drubbing by top-ranked Alabama, but they do have a victory over Florida, whose only opportunity to enter the playoff conversation entering Saturday was to hope to pull off an upset against the Crimson Tide late Saturday night.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>“Seven straight SEC wins,” Texas A&amp;M Coach Jimbo Fisher said in making his team’s playoff case. “Some schools ain’t even playing seven games.”</p></div></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>If Notre Dame put itself in a precarious position — they have just two wins against teams with a winning record — the Irish do have some history on their side. In 2001, unbeaten Nebraska was given a berth in the old Bowl Championship Series after got clobbered by Colorado, 62-36. And two years later, unbeaten Oklahoma lost to Kansas State by 35-7 but still played for the title.</p></div></div><div class=”css-79elbk” data-testid=”photoviewer-wrapper”><div class=”css-z3e15g” data-testid=”photoviewer-wrapper-hidden”></div><div data-testid=”photoviewer-children” class=”css-1a48zt4 ehw59r15″><figure class=”css-1ef8w8q e1g7ppur0″ aria-label=”media” role=”group”><div class=”css-1xdhyk6 erfvjey0″><div class=”css-zjzyr8″><div data-testid=”lazyimage-container” style=”height:257.77777777777777px”></div></div></div><figcaption class=”css-18crmh6 ewdxa0s0″><span aria-hidden=”true” class=”css-16f3y1r e13ogyst0″>Clemson and Notre Dame both expect to be invited to the College Football Playoff.</span><span class=”css-cnj6d5 e1z0qqy90″><span>Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images</span></span></figcaption></figure></div></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>The championship games began turning sideways before Saturday.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>The Sun Belt title game was canceled Thursday because of a virus outbreak at Coastal Carolina, which was hoping to add to its 11-0 record with a second victory over Louisiana, which had throttled the regular-season Big 12 champion Iowa State in its season opener.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>The Pac-12, the clown car of the Power 5 conferences, had pinned its hopes for sneaking into the playoff for the first time in four years on unbeaten Southern California. When Washington, the North Division champion, had to back out of the title game because of virus cases, the conference chose not to simply declare the Trojans the champions. Instead, it slotted in Oregon — which dumped U.S.C. on Friday night, 31-24.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>As a result, the Pac-12 managed the trick of crowning a champion — and a team it will put in New Year’s Day bowl — that didn’t even win its division.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>It seems likely that Oregon will be headed to the Fiesta Bowl, but even the bowl games are an uncertain proposition. Eleven have been canceled, more than a dozen teams have said they will forgo playing in a one and the playoff executives have been under pressure to move their Rose Bowl semifinal because, under California guidelines, families will not be allowed to attend.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Kelly, the Notre Dame coach, suggested his team might not play if the relatives of his players were not allowed in to watch.</p></div></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>“Please,” Kelly said on Friday. “Somebody has to wake up in that room and figure it out. Or you might as well just call this the professional league.”</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>The way the Irish played on Saturday night, the committee may relieve Kelly of that problem.</p></div></div><div></div></section><p><strong><a href=”https://blockads.fivefilters.org”></a></strong> <a href=”https://blockads.fivefilters.org/acceptable.html”>(Why?)</a></p> Sun, 20 Dec 2020 02:35:13 +0000 Billy Witz
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https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/19/sports/ncaafootball/college-football-playoff.html
Football (College)
College Football Playoff National Championship
University of Notre Dame
Clemson University
Ohio State University
University of Alabama
Day, Ryan (1979- )
Lawrence, Trevor (1999- )



Fight for Washington N.F.L. Team Could Tighten Snyder’s Grip on It https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/19/sports/football/washington-nfl-daniel-snyder.html
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/19/sports/football/washington-nfl-daniel-snyder.html
<p id=”article-summary” class=”css-w6ymp8 e1wiw3jv0″>Washington’s owner, Daniel Snyder, is working to buy out three minority partners, including one he has accused of running a smear campaign against him.</p><section name=”articleBody” class=”meteredContent css-1r7ky0e”><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>By the end of this summer, Daniel Snyder, the majority owner of the N.F.L.’s Washington Football Team, was facing fire from many sides. Fans had long blamed him for the team’s abysmal performance. Now civil rights groups were criticizing Snyder for waiting so long to jettison a team name and logo that they considered racist, and women’s activists were aghast after news media reports detailed a culture of sexual harassment in the team’s front office.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>In a normal corporate setting, any one of these troubles might have led to a leader’s ouster. Instead, Snyder, a member of the N.F.L.’s cozy club of billionaire owners, may emerge from months of crisis with an even tighter hold on one of the most lucrative franchises in the league. Snyder is in talks to buy out three of his partners, and the sale price may be 40 percent less than they were asking in June.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>According to three people familiar with the plan who were not authorized to speak publicly about it, Snyder would pay up to $900 million for the 40 percent of the club owned by the three partners: Frederick W. Smith, the chairman of FedEx; the financier Robert Rothman; and Dwight Schar, a real estate developer. The deal must be approved by the league.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Representatives for Snyder and the partners’ banker declined to comment on the talks. The N.F.L. did not respond to a request seeking comment.</p></div></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>The deal, if completed and approved, would end one of the more nasty and tangled ownership battles in the league in years, a bitter divorce that has included accusations of bad faith, malfeasance and mudslinging in a league that prefers such infighting be kept behind closed doors.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Sales of shares in N.F.L. teams are normally cloaked in secrecy, with information tightly guarded by the principals and their lawyers and bankers. The boardroom battle in Washington, though, spilled into courts from California to Virginia and even New Delhi before finally landing in the lap of an arbitrator appointed by the N.F.L. to sort out the mess.</p></div></div><div></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>The court papers in the various lawsuits that have been filed offer an unusual look at an eight-month dispute that has included the use of burner phones, profane text messages, accusations of leaks of credible and fabricated information to the news media, and threats of extortion, according to transcripts of phone calls, text messages and emails found in court filings and other documents reviewed by The New York Times.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>The fight over the team began in the spring, when the limited partners accused Snyder of mismanagement of the team he has owned since 1999, including improperly throwing them off the board, making financial transactions without their approval and trying to block the sale of their shares to outside investors.</p></div></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Snyder claims, in court filings, that Schar, in retribution, schemed to leak to the news media negative information about Snyder’s personal life and operation of the team in the hope that it would be damaging enough to compel him to sell it. The sale of the entire team — not only Snyder’s share but also the stakes owned by Schar, Smith and Rothman — would significantly inflate the value of the nonvoting shares the three minority partners have been trying to sell since this spring.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>A lawyer for Schar did not respond to a request for comment.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>The team, 6-7 but on track for a playoff spot, has been playing better this season under a new coach. It is at the top of its chaotic division with three games left in the regular season.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Yet Snyder has been trailed by controversy, including accusations from cheerleaders that they were <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/27/sports/nfl-cheerleaders-redskins.html” title>sexually harassed and intimidated on the job</a> by <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/02/sports/redskins-cheerleaders-nfl.html” title>well-heeled supporters</a> and <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2020/08/26/redskins-cheerleaders-video-daniel-snyder-washington/?arc404=true” title rel=”noopener noreferrer” target=”_blank”>team employees</a>, and the allegations of widespread sexual harassment in the team’s front office that remain under investigation by the league.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>But, according to people with knowledge of the negotiations, N.F.L. owners believe Schar crossed a line in seeking to publicly malign Snyder. Even so, kicking out an owner or part owner is seen as a rare, last resort, and so they are pushing for a settlement in which Snyder would buy out the partners.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Under the plan representatives for the partners are working out, Schar’s proceeds would be reduced by millions of dollars as a penalty for trying to publicly undermine Snyder, according to three people aware of the potential penalties. Even then, he will walk away with hundreds of millions of dollars.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>“The most important thing for the league is its image,” said Upton Bell, a longtime team executive and the son of the former N.F.L. commissioner Bert Bell, speaking generally about ownership disputes. “They want to make it look like it’s Disney World when it’s not. It’s business, it’s not a moral universe.”</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>The fight, at heart, is over money.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>The limited partners grew disenchanted in May when, during the height of the coronavirus pandemic that was threatening the coming N.F.L. season, Snyder halted the payment of annual dividends to Schar, Rothman, Smith and other limited partners. He did not explain the decision, but it was consistent with similar steps taken by other owners.</p></div></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>In a letter reviewed by The Times, Schar’s representative then asked Snyder for the team’s financial records for the past two years, including cost-cutting measures. In early June, Snyder was told that Schar and Rothman had joined Smith, who had been trying to sell his shares for about a year, in putting their stakes on the market. This created a 40 percent block that Rothman argued in a letter to Snyder’s banker was worth $1.5 billion, based on the team’s total valuation.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Angered that his longtime partners were shopping their shares, Snyder threw them off the board of the team’s holding company in June. The partners asked the N.F.L. to settle the dispute, claiming that Snyder failed to hold board meetings and did not get proper approval for financial transactions. The league appointed an arbitrator to the case at the end of June.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Amid the crossfire of letters between lawyers, Snyder asserted that Schar began a long-shot smear campaign designed to embarrass him and force him to sell the entire team. Snyder has long insisted that he intends to leave his controlling share to his children.</p></div></div><div class=”css-79elbk” data-testid=”photoviewer-wrapper”><div class=”css-z3e15g” data-testid=”photoviewer-wrapper-hidden”></div><div data-testid=”photoviewer-children” class=”css-1a48zt4 ehw59r15″><figure class=”css-ujjex e1g7ppur0″ aria-label=”media” role=”group”><div class=”css-1xdhyk6 erfvjey0″><picture><source media=”(max-width: 599px) and (min-device-pixel-ratio: 3),(max-width: 599px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 3),(max-width: 599px) and (min-resolution: 3dppx),(max-width: 599px) and (min-resolution: 288dpi)” srcset=”https://static01.nyt.com/images/2020/12/18/sports/18nfl-washington2/18nfl-washington2-mobileMasterAt3x.jpg?quality=75&amp;auto=webp&amp;disable=upscale&amp;width=600″><source media=”(max-width: 599px) and (min-device-pixel-ratio: 2),(max-width: 599px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2),(max-width: 599px) and (min-resolution: 2dppx),(max-width: 599px) and (min-resolution: 192dpi)” srcset=”https://static01.nyt.com/images/2020/12/18/sports/18nfl-washington2/18nfl-washington2-mobileMasterAt3x.jpg?quality=75&amp;auto=webp&amp;disable=upscale&amp;width=1200″><source media=”(max-width: 599px) and (min-device-pixel-ratio: 1),(max-width: 599px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 1),(max-width: 599px) and (min-resolution: 1dppx),(max-width: 599px) and (min-resolution: 96dpi)” srcset=”https://static01.nyt.com/images/2020/12/18/sports/18nfl-washington2/18nfl-washington2-mobileMasterAt3x.jpg?quality=75&amp;auto=webp&amp;disable=upscale&amp;width=1800″><img alt=”Dwight Schar, a limited partner in the team, could be bought out.&nbsp;&nbsp;” class=”css-1m50asq” src=”https://static01.nyt.com/images/2020/12/18/sports/18nfl-washington2/18nfl-washington2-articleLarge.jpg?quality=75&amp;auto=webp&amp;disable=upscale” srcset=”https://static01.nyt.com/images/2020/12/18/sports/18nfl-washington2/18nfl-washington2-articleLarge.jpg?quality=90&amp;auto=webp 600w, https://static01.nyt.com/images/2020/12/18/sports/18nfl-washington2/18nfl-washington2-jumbo.jpg?quality=90&amp;auto=webp 820w, https://static01.nyt.com/images/2020/12/18/sports/18nfl-washington2/18nfl-washington2-superJumbo.jpg?quality=90&amp;auto=webp 1639w” sizes=”((min-width: 600px) and (max-width: 1004px)) 84vw, (min-width: 1005px) 60vw, 100vw” decoding=”async”></picture></div><figcaption class=”css-1l44abu ewdxa0s0″><span aria-hidden=”true” class=”css-16f3y1r e13ogyst0″>Dwight Schar, a limited partner in the team, could be bought out.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span class=”css-cnj6d5 e1z0qqy90″><span>George Gojkovich/Getty Images</span></span></figcaption></figure></div></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Key to the scheme, court filings show, was Mary Ellen Blair. She was an executive assistant to him until 2017 who, at the behest of Schar, helped pass negative information about Snyder to the news media. Between July and October, Blair and Schar spoke 157 times on the phone, for a combined 11.6 hours, according to phone records obtained by Snyder’s lawyers and filed in court.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>During that same period, Blair dialed or received 123 calls from telephone numbers associated with The Washington Post, according to court filings. There were text messages, too, Snyder said. “Call me ASAP Mr Schar just called me great news for u call me ASAP please,” she wrote in one of several texts to a journalist at The Post who contributed to a blockbuster <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2020/07/16/redskins-sexual-harassment-larry-michael-alex-santos/?arc404=true” title rel=”noopener noreferrer” target=”_blank”>article</a> in which 15 female former team employees revealed rampant, longstanding harassment of women employees. (“The idea is to force Snyder to sell,” Blair texted to a friend.)</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>The Post article in July did not directly connect Snyder to the harassment claims. But he <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/16/sports/football/washington-sexual-assault-harassment-dan-snyder.html” title>hired</a> a Washington-based law firm, Wilkinson Walsh, to look into the allegations. The N.F.L. took over the investigation, which is continuing.</p></div></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>“While I was unaware of these allegations until they surfaced in the media, I take full responsibility for the culture of our organization,” Snyder said in a <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://twitter.com/AdamSchefter/status/1298700885418278912″ title rel=”noopener noreferrer” target=”_blank”>statement</a> after <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2020/10/16/washington-cheerleaders-video-lawsuit/” title rel=”noopener noreferrer” target=”_blank”>a second article</a> by The Washington Post linked to him to two allegations of harassment, both of which he denied.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>As the substantiated reporting got people talking on social media, less reputable outlets tried to capitalize on online interest in Snyder. The day The Post published its first report of chaos in the front office, a website owned by an Indian company, Media Arts Entertainment WorldWide, published two items about Snyder. One falsely linked him to the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Representatives for Media Arts Entertainment admitted they had relied on sources including a Reddit post, and removed the two items from their website. But Snyder sued the publication for defamation in August in India. (The case is ongoing.)</p></div></div><div></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Snyder used the suit filed in New Delhi to search for ties to Schar. His lawyers filed a string of discovery motions in federal court in the United States and obtained Blair’s phone records and text messages, which showed her communications with Schar and his daughter, Tracy, who, records show, made or received 44 calls to or from Blair. The records also showed that Tracy Schar bought Blair a burner phone to escape detection. </p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>When Snyder’s lawyers confronted Blair about her phone records late this fall, she gave a sworn declaration that has been reviewed by The Times. In it, she said she and Dwight Schar discussed an allegation that Snyder had sexually harassed a former female team employee in 2009.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>“Schar knew I would take that information about that employee’s sexual harassment claim to the Washington Post, and Schar was encouraging me to share the information with the Washington Post,” Blair said in the declaration.</p></div></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>It is unclear if she shared the information. A spokeswoman for The Post declined to comment.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Two investigations conducted in 2009, one by the team and another by an outside law firm<strong class=”css-8qgvsz ebyp5n10″> </strong>hired by the team, said they were unable to substantiate the woman’s claim that Snyder had accosted her in April 2009 on a flight to Washington from Las Vegas. The team fired the woman because it said she lied to the team’s lawyers.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>To avoid any potential negative publicity if the woman sued Snyder, the team paid her a financial settlement and five people, including Snyder and the accuser, signed nondisclosure agreements, according to a person with knowledge of the arrangement who was not authorized to discuss it publicly.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>A spokesman for Snyder declined to discuss the settlement.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Even so, Schar tried to use the settlement against Snyder. In late July, he called Norman Chirite, one of Snyder’s lawyers, and said that “the story was out” about the 2009 settlement and its public disclosure is “going to kill Dan,” according to Chirite, who gave a signed declaration that was reviewed by The Times.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Schar said Snyder would have a “horrible existence” when the settlement was made public. “Dan should just sell the team,” Chirite recalled Schar’s saying. “He won’t have a choice.”</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Now, the reverse may happen: Snyder will not only keep the team, but possibly tighten his grip on it.</p></div></div><div></div></section><p><strong><a href=”https://blockads.fivefilters.org”></a></strong> <a href=”https://blockads.fivefilters.org/acceptable.html”>(Why?)</a></p> Sun, 20 Dec 2020 01:52:25 +0000 Ken Belson and Katherine Rosman
en
text/html
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/19/sports/football/washington-nfl-daniel-snyder.html
Football
Sexual Harassment
National Football League
Washington Redskins
Snyder, Daniel M
Schar, Dwight C
Smith, Frederick W
Rothman, Robert (1953- )



NFL Week 15 Predictions: Our Picks Against the Spread https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/17/sports/football/nfl-picks-week-15.html
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/17/sports/football/nfl-picks-week-15.html
<p id=”article-summary” class=”css-w6ymp8 e1wiw3jv0″>Saturday games return, but this week is dominated by a potential Super Bowl preview between the Saints and the Chiefs.</p><section name=”articleBody” class=”meteredContent css-1r7ky0e”><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>A <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/17/sports/football/nfl-picks-week-15.html#link-c5ef1ec” title>Thursday matchup</a> that needed overtime to be decided. A pair of entertaining games on Saturday. A potential Super Bowl preview on Sunday. This is shaping up to be an excellent week of football, and we dug in on each team’s playoff chances using <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/upshot/nfl-playoff-picture.html” title>The Upshot’s playoff simulator</a>.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Here is a look at N.F.L. Week 15, with all picks made against the spread.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>Last week’s record: </em><a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/10/sports/football/nfl-picks-week-14.html” title><em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>8-8</em></a></p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>Overall record: 102-101-5</em></p></div></div><div class=”css-19qgada”><h3 class=”css-tpfacb e1gnsphs0″>A look ahead at Week 15:</h3><ul class=”css-1gfen40 ez3869y0″><li class=”css-1b7vn5h eoqvrfo0″><a href=”https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/17/sports/football/nfl-picks-week-15.html#link-61962113″>Sunday’s Best Games</a></li><li class=”css-1b7vn5h eoqvrfo0″><a href=”https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/17/sports/football/nfl-picks-week-15.html#link-5fbb2b83″>Complete or Incomplete?</a></li><li class=”css-1b7vn5h eoqvrfo0″><a href=”https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/17/sports/football/nfl-picks-week-15.html#link-2f9ac4ba”>Saturday’s Matchups</a></li><li class=”css-1b7vn5h eoqvrfo0″><a href=”https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/17/sports/football/nfl-picks-week-15.html#link-3686a3df”>Sunday’s Other Games</a></li><li class=”css-1b7vn5h eoqvrfo0″><a href=”https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/17/sports/football/nfl-picks-week-15.html#link-62ecbbaa”>Monday’s Matchup</a></li><li class=”css-1b7vn5h eoqvrfo0″><a href=”https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/17/sports/football/nfl-picks-week-15.html#link-c5ef1ec”>Thursday’s Matchup: Chargers 30, Raiders 27</a></li><li class=”css-1b7vn5h eoqvrfo0″><a href=”https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/17/sports/football/nfl-picks-week-15.html#link-ac6f3a7″>How Betting Lines Work</a></li></ul></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><h2 class=”css-ow6j0y eoo0vm40″ id=”link-61962113″>Sunday’s Best Games</h2><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><strong class=”css-8qgvsz ebyp5n10″>Kansas City Chiefs at New Orleans Saints</strong>, <em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>4:25 p.m., CBS</em></p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>Line: Chiefs -3 | Total: 51.5</em></p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>New Orleans should be extremely happy with the job <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/25/sports/football/new-orleans-saints-taysom-hill-alvin-kamara.html” title>Taysom Hill has done filling in for the injured Drew Brees</a>, but last week’s loss to Philadelphia — which knocked New Orleans out of the top spot in the N.F.C. playoff seedings — illustrated how much the team needs Brees back if it wants to compete for a championship.</p></div></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>The Saints (10-3) are hopeful that Brees, who hasn’t played since Week 10, can make his triumphant return this week so he can lead them in a potential Super Bowl preview against the Chiefs (12-1). The Upshot gives the Chiefs a <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/upshot/kansas-city-chiefs-nfl-playoff-picture.html” title>23 percent</a> chance of repeating as champions, while the Saints, at <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/upshot/new-orleans-saints-nfl-playoff-picture.html” title>16 percent</a>, are considered the most likely winner out of the N.F.C.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>At their best, both teams have explosive offenses and opportunistic defenses. If the Chiefs have a fatal flaw, it is their boredom, but a road game against a top competitor should keep their attention.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>So where does that leave this game? It depends on Brees’s health. If he plays, and is close to 100 percent, you have to give the Saints a decent chance of an upset. Anything less than that, and a motivated Chiefs team could romp. <strong class=”css-8qgvsz ebyp5n10″>Pick:</strong> Chiefs -3</p></div></div><div></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><strong class=”css-8qgvsz ebyp5n10″>Seattle Seahawks at Washington Football Team</strong>, <em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>1 p.m., Fox</em></p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>Line: Seahawks -6 | Total: 44.5</em></p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>If you were to go back to Week 6 and explain to the 5-0 Seahawks and the 1-5 Footballers that they’d be meeting in Week 15 with Washington (<a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/upshot/washington-football-team-nfl-playoff-picture.html” title>62 percent</a>) having a better chance of winning its division than Seattle (<a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/upshot/seattle-seahawks-nfl-playoff-picture.html” title>39 percent</a>), few would believe you. But the Seahawks (9-4) have leveled out, and were caught from behind by the Rams in the N.F.C. West, while the Footballers (6-7) have improved by leaps and bounds <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/08/sports/football/washington-steelers-alex-smith-upset.html” title>since installing Alex Smith at quarterback</a> and are alone in first atop the N.F.C. East.</p></div></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Seattle has a 99 percent chance of making the playoffs, regardless of whether it wins the division, and on the Seahawks’ best days — such as last Sunday, when they throttled the Jets — it’s easy to envision them as Super Bowl contenders. Washington’s defense is on the way up, and at full strength this might have had upset potential. But with reports on Friday that Smith will miss the game because of a calf injury, and Dwayne Haskins expected to start, the balance in this game tips heavily toward the Seahawks. <strong class=”css-8qgvsz ebyp5n10″>Pick:</strong> Seahawks -6</p></div></div><div class=”css-79elbk” data-testid=”photoviewer-wrapper”><div class=”css-z3e15g” data-testid=”photoviewer-wrapper-hidden”></div><div data-testid=”photoviewer-children” class=”css-1a48zt4 ehw59r15″><figure class=”css-1ef8w8q e1g7ppur0″ aria-label=”media” role=”group”><div class=”css-1xdhyk6 erfvjey0″><picture><source media=”(max-width: 599px) and (min-device-pixel-ratio: 3),(max-width: 599px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 3),(max-width: 599px) and (min-resolution: 3dppx),(max-width: 599px) and (min-resolution: 288dpi)” srcset=”https://static01.nyt.com/images/2020/12/17/sports/17nfl-matchups-bucs/merlin_181204833_742a6aea-07bb-4cbd-9fe5-79ad1237d99d-mobileMasterAt3x.jpg?quality=75&amp;auto=webp&amp;disable=upscale&amp;width=600″><source media=”(max-width: 599px) and (min-device-pixel-ratio: 2),(max-width: 599px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2),(max-width: 599px) and (min-resolution: 2dppx),(max-width: 599px) and (min-resolution: 192dpi)” srcset=”https://static01.nyt.com/images/2020/12/17/sports/17nfl-matchups-bucs/merlin_181204833_742a6aea-07bb-4cbd-9fe5-79ad1237d99d-mobileMasterAt3x.jpg?quality=75&amp;auto=webp&amp;disable=upscale&amp;width=1200″><source media=”(max-width: 599px) and (min-device-pixel-ratio: 1),(max-width: 599px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 1),(max-width: 599px) and (min-resolution: 1dppx),(max-width: 599px) and (min-resolution: 96dpi)” srcset=”https://static01.nyt.com/images/2020/12/17/sports/17nfl-matchups-bucs/merlin_181204833_742a6aea-07bb-4cbd-9fe5-79ad1237d99d-mobileMasterAt3x.jpg?quality=75&amp;auto=webp&amp;disable=upscale&amp;width=1800″><img alt=”Ndamukong Suh and the Tampa Bay defense put pressure on Kirk Cousins last week. The Buccaneers finished the day with six sacks and 12 quarterback hits.” class=”css-1m50asq” src=”https://static01.nyt.com/images/2020/12/17/sports/17nfl-matchups-bucs/merlin_181204833_742a6aea-07bb-4cbd-9fe5-79ad1237d99d-articleLarge.jpg?quality=75&amp;auto=webp&amp;disable=upscale” srcset=”https://static01.nyt.com/images/2020/12/17/sports/17nfl-matchups-bucs/merlin_181204833_742a6aea-07bb-4cbd-9fe5-79ad1237d99d-articleLarge.jpg?quality=90&amp;auto=webp 600w, https://static01.nyt.com/images/2020/12/17/sports/17nfl-matchups-bucs/merlin_181204833_742a6aea-07bb-4cbd-9fe5-79ad1237d99d-jumbo.jpg?quality=90&amp;auto=webp 1024w, https://static01.nyt.com/images/2020/12/17/sports/17nfl-matchups-bucs/merlin_181204833_742a6aea-07bb-4cbd-9fe5-79ad1237d99d-superJumbo.jpg?quality=90&amp;auto=webp 2048w” sizes=”((min-width: 600px) and (max-width: 1004px)) 84vw, (min-width: 1005px) 80vw, 100vw” decoding=”async”></picture></div><figcaption class=”css-18crmh6 ewdxa0s0″><span aria-hidden=”true” class=”css-16f3y1r e13ogyst0″>Ndamukong Suh and the Tampa Bay defense put pressure on Kirk Cousins last week. The Buccaneers finished the day with six sacks and 12 quarterback hits.</span><span class=”css-cnj6d5 e1z0qqy90″><span>Mark Lomoglio/Associated Press</span></span></figcaption></figure></div></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><strong class=”css-8qgvsz ebyp5n10″>Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons</strong>, <em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>1 p.m., Fox</em></p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>Line: Buccaneers -6 | Total: 50.5</em></p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>In a convincing win over Minnesota last week, the Buccaneers (8-5) showed how effective their pass rush can be in creating the disruptions necessary to win tough games. Kirk Cousins was under pressure all game, and even though the Vikings moved the ball well, they couldn’t punch the ball into the end zone. A similar script could play out against the Falcons (4-9), who are a threat in any home game but are prone to problems against Tampa Bay’s pass rush because of quarterback Matt Ryan’s lack of mobility.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>The Buccaneers are up to a <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/upshot/tampa-bay-buccaneers-nfl-playoff-picture.html” title>94 percent</a> chance of ending their 12-season playoff drought, but the line may be too aggressive this week. <strong class=”css-8qgvsz ebyp5n10″>Pick:</strong> Falcons +6</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><strong class=”css-8qgvsz ebyp5n10″>Cleveland Browns at Giants</strong>, <em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>8:20 p.m., NBC</em></p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>Line: Browns -4 | Total: 45.5</em></p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Even with last week’s heartbreaking loss to Baltimore, the Browns (9-4) have matched the franchise’s best 13-game start since 1994, when Coach Bill Belichick led them to an 11-5 record and a trip to the divisional round of the playoffs. On the strength of its record, Cleveland has an <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/upshot/cleveland-browns-nfl-playoff-picture.html” title>84 percent</a> chance of making the playoffs for the first time since 2007. While the Giants (5-8) have made a <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/01/sports/football/giants-bengals.html” title>remarkable turnaround</a> from earlier this season, and have a <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/upshot/new-york-giants-nfl-playoff-picture.html” title>25 percent</a> chance of winning the N.F.C. East, they are overmatched in this one. <strong class=”css-8qgvsz ebyp5n10″>Pick:</strong> Browns -4</p></div></div><div></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><h2 class=”css-ow6j0y eoo0vm40″ id=”link-5fbb2b83″>Complete or Incomplete?</h2></div></div><div class=”css-79elbk” data-testid=”photoviewer-wrapper”><div class=”css-z3e15g” data-testid=”photoviewer-wrapper-hidden”></div><div data-testid=”photoviewer-children” class=”css-1a48zt4 ehw59r15″><figure class=”css-1ef8w8q e1g7ppur0″ aria-label=”media” role=”group”><div class=”css-1xdhyk6 erfvjey0″><div class=”css-zjzyr8″><div data-testid=”lazyimage-container” style=”height:257.77777777777777px”></div></div></div><figcaption class=”css-18crmh6 ewdxa0s0″><span class=”css-cnj6d5 e1z0qqy90″><span>Elsa/Getty Images</span></span></figcaption></figure></div></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Catching a pass, no matter how open you are, and no matter how long you’ve been doing it, is no easy task. So we devised <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/12/18/sports/complete-or-incomplete-nfl-catch-game.html” title>a game</a> where you can guess if N.F.L. receivers caught the ball or whether it fell incomplete.</p></div></div><div></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><h2 class=”css-ow6j0y eoo0vm40″ id=”link-2f9ac4ba”>Saturday’s Matchups</h2></div></div><div class=”css-79elbk” data-testid=”photoviewer-wrapper”><div class=”css-z3e15g” data-testid=”photoviewer-wrapper-hidden”></div><div data-testid=”photoviewer-children” class=”css-1a48zt4 ehw59r15″><figure class=”css-1ef8w8q e1g7ppur0″ aria-label=”media” role=”group”><div class=”css-1xdhyk6 erfvjey0″><div class=”css-zjzyr8″><div data-testid=”lazyimage-container” style=”height:257.77777777777777px”></div></div></div><figcaption class=”css-18crmh6 ewdxa0s0″><span aria-hidden=”true” class=”css-16f3y1r e13ogyst0″>Green Bay’s Davante Adams is leading the N.F.L. in receiving touchdowns and receiving yards per game. With three regular-season games remaining, he is on a pace for career highs in every major receiving category.</span><span class=”css-cnj6d5 e1z0qqy90″><span>Gregory Shamus/Getty Images</span></span></figcaption></figure></div></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><strong class=”css-8qgvsz ebyp5n10″>Carolina Panthers at Green Bay Packers</strong>, <em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>8:15 p.m., NFL Network</em></p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>Line: Packers -8.5 | Total: 51.5</em></p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Carolina’s defense just got shredded by Denver’s Drew Lock, so it’s hard to imagine the pain Aaron Rodgers and the Packers (10-3) could inflict on the Panthers (4-9) if they were to go all-out. After New Orleans’s loss last week, Green Bay, which had already clinched the N.F.C. North, is in <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/upshot/green-bay-packers-nfl-playoff-picture.html” title>the driver’s seat for a first-round bye</a>. This game has the potential to be a trap, with the Packers looking ahead to a tougher matchup in Week 16 against Tennessee, but Rodgers has been locked in and may trail only Patrick Mahomes in the race for league most valuable player. <strong class=”css-8qgvsz ebyp5n10″>Pick:</strong> Packers -8.5</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><strong class=”css-8qgvsz ebyp5n10″>Buffalo Bills at Denver Broncos</strong>, <em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>4:30 p.m., NFL Network</em></p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>Line: Bills -6.5 | Total: 50</em></p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>It’s hard to know how the Broncos (5-8) will play from week to week, but a road game in Denver is tough for any opponent, even one as good as the Bills (10-3). Add that the Bills can relax a little considering their <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/upshot/buffalo-bills-nfl-playoff-picture.html” title>98 percent</a> chance of winning the A.F.C. East (but just a 1 percent chance at a first-round bye), and this game could be closer than oddsmakers are predicting. <strong class=”css-8qgvsz ebyp5n10″>Pick:</strong> Broncos +6.5</p></div></div><div></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><h2 class=”css-ow6j0y eoo0vm40″ id=”link-3686a3df”>Sunday’s Other Games</h2></div></div><div class=”css-79elbk” data-testid=”photoviewer-wrapper”><div class=”css-z3e15g” data-testid=”photoviewer-wrapper-hidden”></div><div data-testid=”photoviewer-children” class=”css-1a48zt4 ehw59r15″><figure class=”css-1ef8w8q e1g7ppur0″ aria-label=”media” role=”group”><div class=”css-1xdhyk6 erfvjey0″><div class=”css-zjzyr8″><div data-testid=”lazyimage-container” style=”height:257.77777777777777px”></div></div></div><figcaption class=”css-18crmh6 ewdxa0s0″><span aria-hidden=”true” class=”css-16f3y1r e13ogyst0″>Quarterback Lamar Jackson and cornerback Marlon Humphrey sprinted onto the field to celebrate with kicker Justin Tucker last week after Tucker won the game for Baltimore with a 55-yard field goal.</span><span class=”css-cnj6d5 e1z0qqy90″><span>Kirk Irwin/Associated Press</span></span></figcaption></figure></div></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><strong class=”css-8qgvsz ebyp5n10″>Jacksonville Jaguars at Baltimore Ravens</strong>, <em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>1 p.m., CBS</em></p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>Line: Ravens -14 | Total: 47.5</em></p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>There were so many jokes. Lamar Jackson engineered one of the wildest wins in recent N.F.L. history, completing a 44-yard touchdown to Marquise Brown on fourth-and-5 with less than two minutes left in the game, then watching Cleveland tie the score, and then taking the Ravens far enough for Justin Tucker to kick a game-winning, 55-yard field goal. But all anyone wanted to talk about was Jackson’s brief absence and how it looked as if he might have taken a bathroom break.</p></div></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Laugh all you want — Jackson swears he was receiving fluids to alleviate cramping — but the win was a welcome change in what had been a difficult period for the Ravens (8-5). Jackson finally looked like himself, and the Ravens, with a <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/upshot/baltimore-ravens-nfl-playoff-picture.html” title>74 percent</a> chance of making the playoffs, no longer seemed like a team in peril.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>This game does not figure to be nearly as entertaining. The Jaguars (1-12) haven’t won a game since Week 1, and struggle on both sides of the ball. Having Baltimore as a two-touchdown favorite when you consider the team’s recent defensive struggles seems like a bit too much. <strong class=”css-8qgvsz ebyp5n10″>Pick:</strong> Jaguars +14</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><strong class=”css-8qgvsz ebyp5n10″>Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts</strong>, <em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>1 p.m., CBS</em></p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>Line: Colts -7 | Total: 52.5</em></p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>In most years, this would be a key A.F.C. South matchup, but the Texans (4-9) have been eliminated from playoff contention and the Colts (9-4) have an <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/upshot/indianapolis-colts-nfl-playoff-picture.html” title>82 percent</a> chance of making the playoffs and a 36 percent chance of winning their division. Houston’s Deshaun Watson will be the best player on the field, but the Texans have done a shameful job of keeping talent around him. Indianapolis, on the other hand, made crucial personnel moves in the off-season that have taken the team from mediocre to top 10 in offense and defense. <strong class=”css-8qgvsz ebyp5n10″>Pick:</strong> Colts -7</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><strong class=”css-8qgvsz ebyp5n10″>Detroit Lions at Tennessee Titans</strong>, <em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>1 p.m., CBS</em></p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>Line: Titans -10.5 | Total: 51.5</em></p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>There are situations in which the Lions (5-8) could hold their own against the Titans (9-4), but most of them involve locking Tennessee’s Derrick Henry in a well-guarded room and insisting nobody knows where he is. Barring high jinks, Detroit seems remarkably overmatched, especially if Matthew Stafford misses the game with the rib injury he sustained last week. Tennessee is in a tough fight with Indianapolis for the A.F.C. South crown, and has a <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/upshot/tennessee-titans-nfl-playoff-picture.html” title>64 percent</a> chance of holding off the Colts, so the Titans certainly have motivation to keep winning. <strong class=”css-8qgvsz ebyp5n10″>Pick:</strong> Titans -10.5</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><strong class=”css-8qgvsz ebyp5n10″>Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings</strong>, <em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>1 p.m., Fox</em></p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>Line: Vikings -3 | Total: 46</em></p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Both teams are on the outside looking in, but the <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/upshot/chicago-bears-nfl-playoff-picture.html” title>Bears</a> (6-7) and the <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/upshot/minnesota-vikings-nfl-playoff-picture.html” title>Vikings</a> (6-7) are still alive, and both have at least a 20 percent chance of a playoff spot despite Chicago’s recent struggles and Minnesota’s rough start. Assuming the Bears’ offensive resurgence last week was more than a blip would probably be generous, but they certainly have looked their best with Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback. Even accounting for that, Minnesota should be fine, provided the team gives quarterback Kirk Cousins more time to work than he had in a loss to Tampa Bay. <strong class=”css-8qgvsz ebyp5n10″>Pick:</strong> Vikings -3</p></div></div><div class=”css-79elbk” data-testid=”photoviewer-wrapper”><div class=”css-z3e15g” data-testid=”photoviewer-wrapper-hidden”></div><div data-testid=”photoviewer-children” class=”css-1a48zt4 ehw59r15″><figure class=”css-1viisko e1g7ppur0″ aria-label=”media” role=”group”><div class=”css-1xdhyk6 erfvjey0″><div class=”css-zjzyr8″><div data-testid=”lazyimage-container” style=”height:465.28888888888895px”></div></div></div><figcaption class=”css-18crmh6 ewdxa0s0″><span aria-hidden=”true” class=”css-16f3y1r e13ogyst0″>Odell who? Miami’s Xavien Howard stepped in front of Kansas City’s Tyreek Hill to make an incredible one-handed interception last week.&nbsp;</span><span class=”css-cnj6d5 e1z0qqy90″><span>Mark Brown/Getty Images</span></span></figcaption></figure></div></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><strong class=”css-8qgvsz ebyp5n10″>New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins</strong>, <em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>1 p.m., CBS</em></p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>Line: Dolphins -2.5 | Total: 41.5</em></p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>The Patriots (6-7) have missed the playoffs just twice since 2001, but even with a recent hot streak they are down to a <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/upshot/new-england-patriots-nfl-playoff-picture.html” title>4 percent</a> chance at qualifying this year, and that number will drop to zero with a loss to the Dolphins (8-5), who have a <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/upshot/miami-dolphins-nfl-playoff-picture.html” title>43 percent</a> chance at a wild card. The tables appear to have turned in this rivalry, with New England being the scrappy underdog that could spoil things for the seemingly superior team. Miami’s style of play doesn’t lead to many mistakes, so unless Coach Bill Belichick has something up his sleeve, the Patriots can start making vacation plans for early January. <strong class=”css-8qgvsz ebyp5n10″>Pick:</strong> Dolphins -2.5</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><strong class=”css-8qgvsz ebyp5n10″>Jets at Los Angeles Rams</strong>, <em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>4:05 p.m., Fox</em></p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>Line: Rams -17 | Total: 44</em></p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Sam Darnold feels like the Darkest Timeline version of Jared Goff. Instead of developing under the tutelage of an <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/31/sports/sean-mcvay-los-angeles-rams-super-bowl-liii.html” title>era-defining offensive genius</a> like Coach Sean McVay, Darnold has been <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/02/sports/football/adam-gase-jets-playcalling.html” title>saddled with Coach Adam Gase</a>, and the Jets (0-13) seem to have little chance of avoiding a winless season. The talent imbalance in this game — reflected accurately in the point spread — is extreme, and a win for Los Angeles (9-4) should help the team increase its <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/upshot/los-angeles-rams-nfl-playoff-picture.html” title>60 percent</a> chance of winning the competitive N.F.C. West. A 17-point spread is absurd, but so are the Jets. <strong class=”css-8qgvsz ebyp5n10″>Pick:</strong> Rams -17</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><strong class=”css-8qgvsz ebyp5n10″>San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys</strong>, <em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>1 p.m., CBS</em></p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>Line: 49ers -2.5 | Total: 45</em></p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>When the schedule came out, this was supposed to showcase Jimmy Garoppolo leading the defending N.F.C. champions into Dak Prescott’s house to rekindle a classic rivalry. Backup quarterback Nick Mullens facing off against Andy Dalton doesn’t really live up to that advanced billing. Technically, neither team has been eliminated from playoff contention, with the 49ers (5-8) having a <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/upshot/san-francisco-49ers-nfl-playoff-picture.html” title>9 percent</a> chance at a wild-card spot and the Cowboys (4-9) having a <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/upshot/dallas-cowboys-nfl-playoff-picture.html” title>1 percent</a> chance of winning the N.F.C. East. With San Francisco running back Raheem Mostert uncertain to play and wide receiver Deebo Samuel expected to be out, the Cowboys have a decent chance at a second straight win. <strong class=”css-8qgvsz ebyp5n10″>Pick:</strong> Cowboys +2.5</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><strong class=”css-8qgvsz ebyp5n10″>Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals</strong>, <em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>4:05 p.m., Fox</em></p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>Line: Cardinals -6.5 | Total: 49.5</em></p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Oklahoma Coach <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/27356228/how-lincoln-riley-became-football-unlikeliest-qb-guru” title rel=”noopener noreferrer” target=”_blank”>Lincoln Riley will love this one</a>. Kyler Murray of the Cardinals (7-6) transferred to Oklahoma to play for Riley in 2017 and won the Heisman Trophy in 2018. Jalen Hurts of the Eagles (4-8-1) transferred to Oklahoma to play for Riley in 2019 and was a Heisman finalist. Hurts’s promotion to starting quarterback for Philadelphia last week set up this matchup between two of Riley’s star pupils, and while the over-under on this game isn’t particularly high, you can expect plenty of highlight reel plays. Hurts has a chance to keep following in Murray’s formidable footsteps, but right now Murray is a more complete player and the Cardinals are a better team. With Arizona’s chance at a wild card around <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/upshot/arizona-cardinals-nfl-playoff-picture.html” title>50 percent</a>, the team should be motivated to win at home. <strong class=”css-8qgvsz ebyp5n10″>Pick:</strong> Cardinals -6.5</p><h2 class=”css-ow6j0y eoo0vm40″ id=”link-62ecbbaa”>Monday’s Matchup</h2></div></div><div class=”css-79elbk” data-testid=”photoviewer-wrapper”><div class=”css-z3e15g” data-testid=”photoviewer-wrapper-hidden”></div><div data-testid=”photoviewer-children” class=”css-1a48zt4 ehw59r15″><figure class=”css-1ef8w8q e1g7ppur0″ aria-label=”media” role=”group”><div class=”css-1xdhyk6 erfvjey0″><div class=”css-zjzyr8″><div data-testid=”lazyimage-container” style=”height:258.4222222222222px”></div></div></div><figcaption class=”css-18crmh6 ewdxa0s0″><span aria-hidden=”true” class=”css-16f3y1r e13ogyst0″>Mike Hilton contributed an interception for Pittsburgh last week, but injuries to that team’s defense have helped lead to two straight losses.</span><span class=”css-cnj6d5 e1z0qqy90″><span>Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press</span></span></figcaption></figure></div></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><strong class=”css-8qgvsz ebyp5n10″>Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals</strong>, <em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>8:15 p.m., ESPN</em></p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″><em class=”css-2fg4z9 e1gzwzxm0″>Line: Steelers -11.5 | Total: 40.5</em></p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Be it injuries, an offensive slump or regression to the mean, the Steelers (11-2) went from 11 straight wins to <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/14/sports/football/bills-steelers.html” title>two consecutive losses</a>. There was a sense, particularly toward the end of the win streak, that Pittsburgh was overrated, but the shift in circumstances has been extreme, especially when you consider it has dropped to the No. 2 seed in the A.F.C., with just an <a class=”css-1g7m0tk” href=”https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/upshot/pittsburgh-steelers-nfl-playoff-picture.html” title>11 percent chance</a> of overtaking Kansas City for a first-round bye, according to The Upshot.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>The Bengals (2-10-1), who have been eliminated from playoff contention, are likely to bear the brunt of Pittsburgh’s frustration. It is not that a blowout win over a bad, injury-riddled team would do much for the Steelers’ fortunes, but it might help them wash away the bad taste in their mouths from the last few weeks.</p></div></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>There should be no surprises in this one, even if the point spread is a bit large for a team that is struggling offensively. <strong class=”css-8qgvsz ebyp5n10″>Pick:</strong> Bengals +11.5</p><h2 class=”css-ow6j0y eoo0vm40″ id=”link-c5ef1ec”>Thursday’s Matchup: Chargers 30, Raiders 27</h2></div></div><div class=”css-79elbk” data-testid=”photoviewer-wrapper”><div class=”css-z3e15g” data-testid=”photoviewer-wrapper-hidden”></div><div data-testid=”photoviewer-children” class=”css-1a48zt4 ehw59r15″><figure class=”css-1ef8w8q e1g7ppur0″ aria-label=”media” role=”group”><div class=”css-1xdhyk6 erfvjey0″><div class=”css-zjzyr8″><div data-testid=”lazyimage-container” style=”height:259.7111111111111px”></div></div></div><figcaption class=”css-18crmh6 ewdxa0s0″><span aria-hidden=”true” class=”css-16f3y1r e13ogyst0″>Justin Herbert of the Chargers dominated in overtime, completing a 53-yard pass and diving into the end zone for a 1-yard game-winning touchdown.&nbsp;</span><span class=”css-cnj6d5 e1z0qqy90″><span>Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports, via Reuters</span></span></figcaption></figure></div></div><div class=”css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn”><div class=”css-53u6y8″><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Things got complicated for Las Vegas when quarterback Derek Carr was removed from the game in the second quarter with a groin injury. But his backup, Marcus Mariota, put on quite a show. The No. 2 pick in the 2015 draft threw for 226 yards and a touchdown while running for 88 yards and another score.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>That was good enough to keep pace with Los Angeles throughout regulation — with some help from Chargers kicker Michael Badgley, who missed go-ahead field goal attempts from 47 and 51 yards late in the fourth quarter. But all the Raiders could manage in overtime was a field goal, and that gave Justin Herbert his opening.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Herbert, a rookie quarterback who has tantalized with his arm strength all season, showed off his aggressiveness by throwing deep to Jalen Guyton on the third play of his team’s possession for a 53-yard gain that put Los Angeles on the Raiders’ 2-yard line. It took a few tries, but Herbert eventually pushed the ball over the goal line on a 1-yard keeper to secure the 30-27 win.</p><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>We picked Chargers +3.5 based on the team finally having ended a game well last week. This week’s ending was even better.</p><h2 class=”css-ow6j0y eoo0vm40″ id=”link-ac6f3a7″>How Betting Lines Work</h2><p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>A quick primer for those who are not familiar with betting lines: Favorites are listed next to a negative number that represents how many points they must win by to cover the spread. Dolphins -2.5, for example, means that Miami must beat New England by at least 3 points for its backers to win their bet. Gamblers can also bet on the total score, or whether the teams’ combined score in the game is over or under a preselected number of points.</p><p class=”css-pncxxs etfikam0″>All times are Eastern.</p></div></div><div></div></section><p><strong><a href=”https://blockads.fivefilters.org”></a></strong> <a href=”https://blockads.fivefilters.org/acceptable.html”>(Why?)</a></p> Fri, 18 Dec 2020 22:46:06 +0000 Benjamin Hoffman
en
text/html
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/17/sports/football/nfl-picks-week-15.html
Football
Kansas City Chiefs
New Orleans Saints
Mahomes, Patrick (1995- )
Brees, Drew
Seattle Seahawks
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Atlanta Falcons
Cleveland Browns
Los Angeles Chargers
Las Vegas Raiders
Baltimore Ravens
Jackson, Lamar (1997- )
Washington Redskins



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The Farmers Insurance Open is always circled on Jon Rahm’s calendar. Torrey Pines was the site of his first PGA TOUR victory and he...

Zack Scott Elevated to Acting General Manager of the Mets

On the same day the Mets settled their turbulent front office, the team’s former G.M., Brodie Van Wagenen, found a new home.The Mets elevated...

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A Hall of Fame Poll Allows the Players to Vote

Results of an annual poll suggest players largely agree with writers on Baseball Hall of Fame voting. They differ on Curt Schilling, Todd Helton...

Power Rankings: Farmers Insurance Open

Tuesday’s Fantasy Insider will include Brooks Koepka, Rickie Fowler, Adam Scott, Matthew Wolff and Jordan Spieth among other notables. Torrey Pines South already is a...

Brooks Koepka splits with longtime swing coach Harmon

Brooks Koepka has split with longtime swing coach Claude Harmon III, according to a report in Golfweek. The pair had been working together since 2013. “I...

Think Americans Would Never Wager on Russian Ping-Pong? Care to Bet?

The obscure, low-tech competitions grew popular during the pandemic. Interest remains strong among gamblers.They play the matches in quiet, sparsely decorated rooms in Moscow,...

Brady, Mahomes, Kaepernick: Quarterbacks Who Deserve the Stage Now

The N.F.L. has tried to move on from the controversy over Colin Kaepernick, but recent events suggest his critique of America’s racial climate has...

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