O’Brien was criticized after his postgame news conference for deflecting blame for the fact Savage stayed in the game.

Case Keenum deserves to be in the MVP conversation — Keenum is not just managing the game well, he’s making incredible plays. He was 21 of 30 for 282 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a 9-yard score.

It was the type of throw an MVP-caliber quarterback makes. After having just three games with at least three touchdowns over the last five years, Keenum now has three such games this season. He’s thrown 14 touchdown passes to just five interceptions this season to not only earn the right to start, but to be in the MVP conversation.

Clearly, the illegal market dwarfs the numbers taken in by legal books; the AGA estimates $200 million was legally gambled on Super Bowl 51, versus $4.5 billion in illegal wagering.

The Panthers need to go 2-2 or worse in their other four games, and/or the Falcons need to go 1-2 after beating the Saints to give the Packers a chance over either South team.

Carolina goes to Atlanta in Week 17. Before, in addition to hosting Green Bay, it also hosts Minnesota and plays at Tampa Bay. Atlanta travels to Tampa Bay and New Orleans before closing vs. Carolina.

On Monday, he defended his comments, saying he’s “not passing the buck” for what occurred.

In an interview that aired as part of NBC’s pregame show ahead of the Steelers’ comeback win over the Packers on Sunday, the Pittsburgh coach said he couldn’t deny the suspense ahead of the upcoming showdown that could determine home-field advantage down the road in the playoffs.

Nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters, return specialist/running back Darren Sproles, star linebacker Jordan Hicks and special-teams captain Chris Maragos already went down for the season.royals_002

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