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  • Patriots at Panthers Highlight Week Three of the 2015 Preseason in the NFL

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    Week three of the preseason is when things finally get serious in the NFL. It’s when the starters play the most, and it’s when coaches finally get a look at who they more than likely will be running out on opening day the first week of the season.

    One game that will be highly watched this Friday is the matchup between the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers, another solid NFC team that made it to the divisional round of the playoffs in 2014.

    The Patriots will enter week three with a mark of 1-1 in the preseason, this after a 22-11 loss in the preseason opener to the Green Bay Packers, and then a win in week two over the Saints at home 26-24.

    Carolina is 2-0 thus far in the preseason, as they defeated the Bills 25-24 in week one of the preseason and beat the Miami Dolphins 31-30 last week. They have been impressive in the preseason, and come into the game as slight favorites (-1) to win the contest over the Pats.

    It’s been a tough preseason for the Cats in terms of injuries, as they have lost star wide out Kelvin Benjamin and DE Frank Alexander for the rest of the year with ACL tears. A number of other starters for Carolina are dealing with injuries and bumps and bruises, and coach Ron Rivera will sit a number of them instead of exposing them to more injury problems.

    When you look at the Pats, it all starts with Tom Brady, but the QB already knows he’s almost a sure bet to have to serve a suspension for his role in the now famous ‘DeflateGate’ this past offseason, so look for new starter Jimmy Garoppolo to get plenty of looks as he takes on a tough Panthers defense that will test him early and often.

    There’s plenty of intangibles to look at in a preseason game, which is why they are always so tough to figure out and predict exactly which way they will go. There’s a variety of sites that have sports betting tips for the preseason, ones that will spell out who will win and why.

    As for this game, with as many injuries as the Panthers have, it’s a safe bet to think that New England will leave Bank of America Stadium with their second win of the postseason, but don’t fret, the best for both of these teams is yet to come.

     
  • Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders Still Sitting Out with Hamstring Injury

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    Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders was among three Denver players wearing street clothes today during joint practices with the 49ers as he continued to nurse a hamstring injury, Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post reports.

    Sanders was injured Aug. 6 and sat out the first two preseason games.

    When the Broncos returned from the first game at Seattle, coach Gary Kubiak said the team would alter the rehabilitation plan for Sanders as he continued to experience soreness.

    Sanders still is sidelined, a week later, but Kubiak is hopeful Sanders will be able to do some light work before Saturday’s game against the 49ers.

    Quarterback Peyton Manning always has valued practice time with his starting receivers, but understands the nature of the injury and Sanders’ eagerness to get back on the field.

    “Injuries are always a frustrating thing,” Manning said. “They’re a part of football. Emmanuel’s a competitive guy that wants to be out there and wants to have a great year to help our team this year. Obviously when he’s healthy, I know he’ll be out there and I know he’ll be ready to go.”

     
  • Lawyers Still Trying to Win Over ‘DeflateGate’ Judge

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    Even as negotiations aimed at settling “Deflategate” drag on, lawyers are seeking every legal advantage in a quest to win over a federal judge, the Associated Press reports.

    Repeating arguments they made at a hearing last week, lawyers are sending Judge Richard Berman letters reminding him of their legal positions.

    Neither side wants to give up any advantage it might have if Berman ends up having to decide whether New England quarterback Tom Brady must serve a four-game suspension.

    The NFL imposed the penalty after concluding he had to have known that Patriots’ employees deflated balls before January’s victory over the Indianapolis Colts. New England went on to win the Super Bowl.

    Negotiations aimed at a settlement occurred Monday.

    The NFL says legal precedent requires Berman to rule in its favor. The union disagrees.

     
  • Rams Rookie RB Todd Gurley Cleared to Practice

    St Louis Rams v Oakland Raiders

    For the first time since he was drafted with the No. 10 overall pick in April, Rams running back Todd Gurley has been cleared to participate in all aspects of practice, Nick Wagoner of ESPN reports.

    Rams coach Jeff Fisher announced Monday evening that Gurley will be able to expand his practice regimen to include seven-on-seven and team drills beginning this week.

    To this point, Gurley, who is recovering from a torn left ACL suffered in November, has been limited to individual work and spending the bulk of practices on the sideline with the athletic training staff.

    “Todd Gurley has been cleared for practice, so that’s good news,” Fisher said. “We’ll take it slow, but it’s going to be fun to get him on the practice field.”

     
  • Cowboys Coach Jason Garrett Furious Over Awful Preseason Loss to Niners

    Dallas Cowboys v San Francisco 49ers

    Cowboys coach Jason Garrett was livid about his team’s dismal performance in the 23-6 loss to the 49ers on Sunday night, Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

    “It wasn’t very good on offense, it wasn’t very good on defense it wasn’t very good kicking game,” Garrett said. “It wasn’t good early, middle or late. It wasn’t a very good performance at all.”

    arrett refused to blame the offensive problems on the absence of three starters on the offensive line and receiver Dez Bryant. It didn’t help that quarterback Tony Romo and tight end Jason Witten played just one series.

    “No excuses. We’re going to evaluate the game,” Garrett said. “When you’re out there you have a responsibility to play to a certain level. Period. The standard we set is high and we’re looking for guys to play to that standard.”

    The Cowboys gave up four sacks, threw three interceptions, had a punt blocked and didn’t run the ball well.

    “First series wasn’t very good. Second, third and fourth series weren’t very good,” Garrett said. “We turned the ball over on offense. We didn’t get any takeaways. Got a punt blocked. Weren’t consistent in our execution in any of the three phases.”

     
  • Saints RB Mark Ingram Feels He’s a Three-Down Back

    New Orleans Saints v Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Saints running back Mark Ingram has been angling to be used more as a receiver and every-down back since he arrived as a first-round draft pick and Heisman Trophy winner out of Alabama in 2011, Mike Triplett of ESPN.com reports. Ingram loves to point out that he was listed as “athlete” instead of running back as a high school prospect.

    I know I’m a three-down back,” said Ingram, who proved it last year when the Saints leaned heavily on him in the middle of the season while others were out with injury. “I could do first down, second down, third down, run the ball, catch the ball, pass protect.

    “I take pride in being an every-down back, being a back that doesn’t have to come off the field, being a back that can do everything that’s asked of him within the scheme of the offense.”

    “I think this year is the first opportunity that I’ve actually had the chance to be able to go do those things. And I’m working on it, continuing to get better at it,” said Ingram, who thinks he has also gained more of quarterback Drew Brees’ trust as a pass-catcher.

    “I don’t think he was like, ‘Oh there’s Mark, I’m going somewhere else.’ But I think he’s more confident in me in that area,” Ingram said. “I’ve been working with him all OTAs and for five years now. And he’s seen the improvement that I’ve made in just running my routes, things like that. So when he sees me out there in a passing situation, I think he’s more aware that I’m there now.”

     
 
 
 
 
 

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