NFL players send sharply worded meeting invite to Bob McNair, Roger Goodell, Colin Kaepernick

A group of 11 NFL players, including Malcolm Jenkins and Anquan Boldin, has invited Texans owner Bob McNair, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick to a meeting in Philadelphia Monday, reports.

There’s no word yet on whether the invitations will be accepted.

Update: Monday’s meeting has been called off, but the sides are looking to set one for a later date, ESPN’s Jim Trotter reported Sunday.

The sharply worded letter continued, “Regardless of our views, our disappointment and our frustration, we believe dialogue remains the only path forward, though our patience is being continually disrespected and is wearing thin.”

“My father got released yesterday. He is feeling so much better,” Alvin Attles III said in a text message to The Associated Press. “He says thank you for the well wishes. You will see him at the next home game.”

While details of Attles’ condition weren’t made public, his son said it wasn’t anything serious, an illness or life-threatening, just that “he’s dealing with being 80, it’s just wear and tear of being 80.”

“Liberty National views this new partnership with Roush Fenway Racing as the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Liberty National President, Steve DiChiaro. “We look forward to cheering on Trevor Bayne as he drives the Liberty National car to Victory Lane in 2017.” Liberty National joins anchor partner AdvoCare in supporting Trevor Bayne and the #6 Roush Fenway Cup team.blues-014

Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster sends reminder to doubters on Twitter

Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has taken full advantage of his opportunities this season. The 20-year-old is coming off the best game of his young career, catching seven passes for 193 yards and a touchdown in a 20-15 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday night.

His most explosive play came on a deep pass from Ben Roethlisberger late in the third quarter, with Smith-Schuster outrunning defenders for a 97-yard score.

Following the game, he made it known on Twitter that he does have a little more speed than what he gets credit for — and sent a shoutout to teammate Antonio Brown in the process.

Ricky Rubio led the way in that two-game stretch, averaging 20.5 points on 50 percent shooting from the field. He also is making it easier for teammates to find shots and get into a rhythm with his passing abilities.

The chance of rain is almost 100 percent during three games, the Falcons at Jets, 49ers at Eagles, and Cowboys at Redskins. Washington, D.C., is expected to have 20 mph winds, and strong winds are likely in Philadelphia and East Rutherford, N.J. Rain and wind is also expected to be a factor for the Jets at Patriots game in Foxborough, Mass., and the Raiders-Bills game in Buffalo.

According to the National Weather Service as of Saturday at 1 p.m., “A powerful coastal storm with strong winds and heavy rain will impact the East Coast beginning later this weekend, potentially resulting in tree damage, power outages and flooding. A significant wind event is possible Sunday or Monday.”

Here is the mid-game forecast for all of the above games. Obvious fantasy football alert: If you’re planning to start a marginal quarterback or wide receiver when rain and strong winds are forecast, be prepared for disappointment. And if you’re traveling to or from these games in bad conditions, take care.chargers_128

The Cowboys needed a rebound game in their NFC Championship rematch against the Packers on Sunday.

Dallas took a 21-12 lead into the half, but the Packers surged back in the second half, dropping the Cowboys to 2-3.

It was the type of classic Packers-Cowboys games that have become a recent tradition between these two teams. There were four fourth quarter lead changes, not to mention the thrilling last-minute win.

Dak Prescott got things moving in the fourth quarter, leading a drive that took almost nine minutes off the clock. It looked like Green Bay stuffed Elliott on a fourth-and-1 attempt, but that was overturned on review. The drive continued, and Prescott got into the end zone on an 11-yard run to take a 31-28 lead with just over a minute remaining.

The Texans are hoping to get Kevin Johnson back after this week’s bye. The 2015 first-round pick sprained his MCL in Week 3, but coach Bill O’Brien said the cornerback is “close” to returning to practice. The Texans have had success with veterans Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson in Johnson’s absence, but his return could allow Houston to move Jackson around in the secondary. — Sarah Barshop

The news of Andrew Luck being shut down from practice for at least the rest of week due to soreness in his right shoulder was a big surprise, but the quarterback wasn’t going to play against Jacksonville anyway. The Colts will have to change their running back rotation now that Robert Turbin is out with an elbow injury. Turbin, who was injured in Monday’s loss at Tennessee, has been the team’s primary third-down running back. The Colts will use starter Frank Gore and rookie Marlon Mack on third down, depending on the situation. — Mike Wells

Rams’ Aaron Donald added to roster, will start vs. Redskins

Aaron Donald is officially back.

The Rams defensive tackle has been added to the team’s active roster and is expected to start Sunday against the Redskins in Los Angeles.

Donald, who ended his contract holdout last weekend, reported to the team facility and passed his physical after missing all of training camp and preseason. According to defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, Donald won’t be an every-down player in his first game back.

Elliott had never been held to less than 50 yards in a game, and the last time he was held to fewer than 80 yards on the ground was in his first game of his rookie season.

The Broncos are known for their vaunted pass defense as they have been top 5 in the NFL each of the last two seasons, but their rush defense held Elliott and the Cowboys to 40 yards on 14 carries in the blowout.

In the meantime, while Elliott was having trouble finding room to run quarterback Dak Prescott struggled mightily in the loss. He finished the day 30 of 50 for 238 yards, but he threw two interceptions and had less than 150 passing yards well into the fourth quarter of the loss.

Prescott only had four interceptions in his career coming into this game, but this was the second multi-interception game of his career. He threw two INTs in the Cowboys Week 13 loss to the Giants in 2016.
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Odell Beckham Jr. active, will play Monday against Lions

Odell Beckham Jr. will play Monday against the Lions.

The Giants receiver was a game-time decision, but felt good enough during warmups to be listed as active.

Beckham, who injured his ankle in the Giants’ second preseason game against the Browns, has not played since and has seen limited practice time through the first two weeks of the regular season.

Beckham, who caught 101 passes for 1,367 yards and 10 touchdowns last season, was bouncing around the field at MetLife Stadium Monday. He was able to run, stop and start during warmups.

Beckham’s injury occurred when Browns cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun hit him just above the right knee as Beckham leaped in an attempt to catch a high pass from quarterback Eli Manning.

Terrelle Pryor Sr., WR, Redskins: His Redskins career hasn’t begun quite as well as his fantasy owners had hoped, as he managed just 3.9 PPR fantasy points on Sunday Night Football, his worst single-game score since 2016 Week 14 (1.3) and second worst since the beginning of the 2016 season. Pryor was started in 69.3 percent of ESPN leagues, and as his point production continues to slide, so soon will his start rate. That might well be true in Week 4 facing a much tougher matchup against the Chiefs.

Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders: He and the entire Raiders offense couldn’t get things going on Sunday Night Football, as Carr finished with 5.2 fantasy points, his sixth-worst single-game total in 50 career NFL games. Carr was started in 75.7 percent of ESPN leagues.
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5 winners and 4 losers from the Texans’ win over the Bengals

The Texans and Bengals faced off in the first real Thursday Night Football game of the season — filled with Color Rush uniforms and bad football.

Both teams headed into the game having had miserable Week 1 performances. The Texans benched Tom Savage in a 29-7 loss to the Jaguars, and the Bengals got shut out, 20-0, against the Ravens. On a short week of rest, one team was going to come out feeling better about itself, and the other, not so much.

Thursday, Deshaun Watson made his first start, and the Bengals were hoping to finally score their first touchdown of the season. That didn’t happen for the Bengals, whose only scores were a trio of field goals by Randy Bullock. They fell to the Texans, 13-9, at home.

John Ross — the NFL Combine’s 40-yard dash king — made his NFL debut on Thursday night. It didn’t get off to a great start. On his first touch, Kareem Jackson popped the ball loose.

For all the pundits, and experts who didn’t think Denver could compete in 2017, the first two weeks of the season seem to be pointing in the other direction. It’s early, but watching the Broncos dismantle the Cowboys was up lifting. Dallas is considered a contender to be the NFC representative in the Super Bowl. Denver is pushing to be in the same conversation.

Things won’t get any easier, as Denver has the toughest schedule in the NFL. If they can continue to make statements like they did against the Cowboys, it will be impossible to ignore the Broncos as a true contender.

The Falcons are coming off a season where statistically they ranked as one of the top 10 offenses of all time

Greg Olsen suffered a foot injury in Week 2 and will miss six to eight weeks, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. It’s a massive loss for a team that has directed 22 percent of its targets to Olsen since he joined the team in 2011. Veteran Ed Dickson will be promoted to starting duties and should be viewed as a TE2 with some upside. Dickson has played a complementary role to Olsen over the past three-plus seasons, but he did post a 54-catch campaign with Baltimore in 2011. Devin Funchess, who posted 68 yards on four catches in Week 2, and Kelvin Benjamin stand to benefit from Olsen’s absence and should see a slight uptick in target share. If you have the bench space, Olsen is a worthwhile stash for your playoff run, but he can be dropped in shallow leagues.

Backfields are often fluid, but through two weeks, Carson has been the best Seahawks running back … and it hasn’t been close. Eddie Lacy was a healthy scratch in Week 2 while Thomas Rawls handled just five carries (for 4 yards). Carson had 21 total touches for 100 yards in Week 2. He’s a powerful, decisive runner who looks ready to be the weekly starter. He’s a must-add.

The Falcons are coming off a season where statistically they ranked as one of the top 10 offenses of all time, and virtually everybody is back at the skill positions. Meanwhile, the Packers are coming off a season in which their passing defense was historically bad. Although a Week 1 win over Seattle may seem like a step in the right direction, we have to remember that the Seahawks’ major struggles on the offensive line could have made things appear better than they really are on that Packers D. — Joe Kaiser
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