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Which teams are most likely to get back to the playoffs in 2018?

Historically, roughly half of the teams that make it to the playoffs one year don’t make it back the next. Which means that plenty of teams that didn’t make it one year make it the next.

So with five of the NFC teams from 2016 not making it back in 2017 (and thus five non-playoff teams from 2016 making it in 2017), which non-playoff teams from last year are the most likely to make it this year?

Through the years, my No. 100s have been players I liked. They may or may not really be the 100th player on the board, but I put them there because I think they will succeed. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes not, but past No. 100s have included current Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall and Detroit Lions defensive tackle Akeem Spence. And Griffin, who had his left hand amputated when he was 4 years old, is simply a player with speed, anticipation, smarts and an uncommon desire any team should want in a draft pick.Everything you need to know about the binge-worthy NBA playoffs

Edelman is appealing the suspension, so there’s no official comment from the league yet.

He missed all of last season with a torn ACL, and now the Patriots will have to rely on a new crop of targets if the suspension stands. They also let Danny Amendola leave in free agency, though they have brought in Jordan Matthews and Cordarrelle Patterson this offseason.

Jimmy Butler came into Wednesday’s must-win season finale against the Denver Nuggets on a minutes guideline, according to Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau. After playing just over 20 minutes in his first two games back from knee surgery, Butler racked up 42 minutes in Wednesday’s overtime win and comes into this series having to do everything for a Timberwolves team that has gotten crushed by the Rockets every time they’ve played this year. How far will Thibodeau be able to stretch Butler out now, and how much will Butler be asked to switch onto Rockets MVP candidate James Harden? Those questions will go a long way in determining if the Timberwolves have any chance to steal a game or two in this series.

After several seasons of residing in the league’s upper-middle class, the Raptors asserted themselves in 2017-18 as the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. They climbed the ladder by injecting spacing and creativity into their offense and by instilling greater discipline in their defense.

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Randy Moss (the other one) talks Belmont Stakes

Friday’s PFT Live included a visit from Randy Moss. Not that Randy Moss. The other Randy Moss.

Given all the drama stirred up from the bizarre Kawhi saga and all the tinkering with rotations to get San Antonio into the postseason for the 21st consecutive year, this season is already a success, with Popovich deserving of Coach of the Year consideration. But the real indicator of whether this season has been a success is when, if at all, Leonard returns to the lineup. The Spurs want Leonard back on the floor, but it’s not about what he can do to help them win, according to a league source.

It’s about showing the rest of the team he is committed to San Antonio for the long haul. The team needs to see Leonard in the locker room, in film sessions, on the team plane and at team dinners. Leonard is up for a supermax extension this summer, and a return in the playoffs could go a long way toward alleviating doubts about his long-term prospects in San Antonio.

Woods tried out during the Bears’ three-day minicamp this week. The Maryland product started nine games at safety last season, making 62 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and two interceptions.

Holloway played at Western Illinois after transferring from Liberty. He made 21 tackles and three interceptions last season.

Roland began his collegiate career at South Carolina before transferring at West Georgia. He caught 55 passes for 722 yards with six touchdowns in his final collegiate season.

Playoff Brow. The NBA world will be watching to see what he’ll do in his second trip to the postseason. Davis hopes to make this one last a little bit longer than his first playoff experience in 2015, in which he averaged 31.5 points, 11.0 rebounds, 3.0 blocks and 1.3 steals but was swept by Golden State. Can Davis overcome a Portland defense that will spend an entire series geared toward containing him?

Davis did more than just carry the Pelicans after the Cousins injury. He went on a historic tear, leading the Pelicans on a crucial 10-game winning streak. His defining moment in that stretch came against Phoenix, when he detonated for 53 points, 18 rebounds and 5 blocks, joining Bob McAdoo as the only NBA players with 50 points, 15 rebounds and 5 blocks in a game since blocks were first tracked in 1973-74, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

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Ziggy Ansah signs franchise tag with Lions

Allen Park — Ziggy Ansah signed his franchise tag on Tuesday, ending any concerns about the Detroit Lions defensive end holding out this summer.

The tag, a one-year deal, will pay Ansah a guaranteed $17.1 million next season.

A first-round draft pick out of BYU in 2013, Ansah quickly developed into one of the league’s best defensive ends. After recording 15.5 sacks in his first two seasons, he fell just short of the franchise record with 14.5 sacks in 2015.

Ansah has battled a number of injuries the past two seasons, but he managed to finish last season strong, with six sacks the final two games.

With Ansah set to be a free agent this offseason, general manager Bob Quinn wasted little time selling the edge rusher to new coach Matt Patricia.

Ultimately, I’m leaning toward a no as far as Lucchesi’s sustainability and think he’s a player to trade away rather than acquire, because he’s probably going to face an innings cap after throwing just 139 frames in the minors in only his second pro campaign in 2017, and the league probably will have a better book on how to hit him after he makes a few more starts.

That said, I’m not racing to deal him, because his wide range of outcomes probably includes a ceiling within the top 40 fantasy starters, even if his true rank is probably closer to a top-80 starter.

I think it’s been really good and I think it’s going to continue. I think it’s opened an entirely new dialogue and new sets of things that are being said in a place that guys are having some meaningful and powerful conversations that weren’t happening necessarily in the past. One of the newest Texans, safety Tyrann Mathieu, made it clear that his decision to join the team wasn’t affected in any way by things McNair said last year. I’ve had a chance to sit down with him and talk with him and I think he’s a great man, Mathieu told reporters.

He signed me here to play football. So, that’s my focus. I haven’t really thought much about that. Regardless of how the players privately feel about the situation, they’ve opted for now to say nothing publicly that would distract them from the early stages of a broader goal to reclaim the AFC South from the Jaguars — and to potentially advance farther than they ever have before in the 16-year history of the franchise.

Wall didn’t have much trouble creating for his teammates in the first three quarters of Game 1, dishing 14 assists for 31 points heading into the fourth on Saturday. But the Raptors’ defense came up big at certain points. OG Anunoby helped hold Wall to 1-for-6 shooting early and Beal to 1-for-3 shooting in the first three quarters. Kyle Lowry then helped limit Wall and Beal to a combined 1-for-4 shooting in the fourth, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

And while Lowry (11 points, nine assists, five turnovers) and DeMar DeRozan (17 points, zero in 4:52 fourth-quarter minutes) had their own offensive struggles at times, Toronto got major contributions from its role players. Serge Ibaka had 23 points and 12 rebounds, Anunoby scored 12 points and off the bench, CJ Miles hit four 3-pointers and Delon Wright scored 18 points. The Raptors bench outscored the Wizards subs 42-21. Toronto also hit 16 3-pointers.

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Reggie McKenzie on Khalil Mack: Everything’s been positive

Khalil Mack didn’t report to work with other Raiders players for the start of the team’s offseason work this week, but General Manager Reggie McKenzie says all is well between team and player.

Mack is looking for a new contract as he enters the final year of the deal he signed as a rookie and McKenzie said the defensive force has communicated that desire to the team. McKenzie said the Raiders share Mack’s desire to extend the working relationship for the long term and that no bad feelings have been generated as they work toward that result.

Paul’s final blunder — an unnecessary airmailed pass out of bounds with 8.7 seconds left — could have really bitten the Rockets. But Jimmy Butler, playing with a black wrap on his sore right wrist, airballed a tightly contested 3 that could have tied the score, completing his 4-of-11 shooting night.

I looked like I was with the ‘Bad News Bears,’ Paul said, shaking his head at the uncharacteristic turnovers. But at the end of the day, it’s all about getting the win.

I thought Mitch handled it great, former Bears coach John Fox said on SiriusXM NFL Radio. He’s respected in that locker room. The Bears have gone out and done a good job in free agency, surrounding him with some weapons. I don’t care who you are, it’s not one guy. You need some help around you.

Now with some help, Trubisky should take a step forward this season.

Across the hall, Morrissey adamantly defended his action as accidental.

He’s a big guy, and my stick ended up getting up a little bit on him, Morrissey said. I would never try to do that to anybody. I’m not a dirty player.

Morrissey apologized to Staal later in the game, but that wasn’t any consolation for him or the Wild.

I’m the tallest guy on the ice. He cross-checked me in the neck. There’s not much more you can say. Everyone saw it. I don’t know how no one with stripes saw it, Staal said.

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Marlon Mack wants to show Colts he can be the top dog in backfield

The Colts won’t have Frank Gore in the backfield this season and that means they are set to have a new No. 1 back for the first time since Gore joined the team in 2015.

Of the players currently on the roster, Marlon Mack would appear to be the one who will get the first shot at grabbing that title for the 2018 season. The 2017 fourth-round pick ran 93 times for 358 yards and three touchdowns as a rookie and said the spot left open with Gore out of the picture is one he’s going to do all he can to grab.

But Stafford remains the one who can make the difference, and in a way, he already did. By agreeing to the extension, he allowed the Lions to preserve their franchise tag, and they used it on defensive end Ziggy Ansah, who officially signed Tuesday.

Stafford can be a polarizing figure around here because stellar numbers haven’t translated to stellar seasons. No, he’s not a top-five quarterback. But yes, he’s better than his critics suggest, considering he’s never, ever had a consistent running game, or a dominant offensive line. He’s also played in 112 consecutive regular-season games, third-longest streak among active quarterbacks.

I think there is, Dolphins general manager Chris Grier, when asked if the Dolphins have the ammo to just up five or six spots from 11. I think you can always make a deal to move up. It all depends on how much you want to give up. You see some deals with some teams, we may think that they gave up a lot to get up there.

And then other times, you’re like, ‘Wow, they didn’t give up enough,’ Grier continued. If teams want to move up or down, depending on what they want to do…We had a situation here in the past where we made a trade in the first round and really didn’t give up a ton for a player. At the end of the day, I think you can move up and down fairly easily. But you also still need someone to want that player or move out of that spot.

That situation, of course, was the trade for Dion Jordan in 2013, when the Dolphins only needed to part with a second-round pick to move from 12 to 3. That, of course, ended up being a bad pick — perhaps the worst in franchise history.

Some of the numbers back Lue up. Even so, this strategy feels exploitable for any team prepared to take what the defense gives.

And that, more than anything, is what the Pacers do. They have a lot of clever, versatile players. They adapt.

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Some see Josh Rosen as the best quarterback prospect, with a caveat

With all the recent attention on incoming quarterbacks like Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson, and Josh Allen, one guy is getting overlooked. Perhaps he shouldn’t be.

A scout with a team that won’t be in the market for a first-round quarterback tells PFT that Rosen is the best overall throwing prospect in the upcoming draft. (Rosen will be showing of his throwing skills on Saturday during the Scouting Combine.)

If you’re wondering what kind of advantage Artur Sitkowski and Jalen Chatman have as early-enrolled freshmen quarterbacks in Rutgers spring camp, consider offensive coordinator John McNulty’s take:

There’s a lot to work through for those (freshmen) guys in terms of just calling plays in the huddle, taking snaps under center,” McNulty said. There’s just a lot of little things never mind the big things that they have to deal with. I don’t know what would’ve happened if they didn’t get here early. Because (if) they got here in June or July, they’re kind of on their own (workout schedule). I just think all the work we’ve done in two months — and we’ve got four more weeks of spring ball left — it’s invaluable really. It gives them a big advantage.”

Johnathan Lewis ?didn’t have that same advantage. At this time last year, Lewis was wrapping up his senior year at St. Peter’s Prep while occasionally stopping by to watch a Rutgers spring practice from the sideline.

As NFL Network launched its coverage of the Scouting Combine’s Saturday workouts, the broadcasting operation that depends on incoming rookies choosing to fully participate in the workouts offered up, via its primary draft analyst, an editorial on the decision of former USC quarterback Sam Darnold to not throw.

Ultimately, it bugs those who fully embrace the mostly meaningless pre-draft workouts because it provides them less of what they want, especially when it comes to filling up the allotted TV time. The fact that we never hear anyone from the Draft Industrial Media Complex criticize the decision of players to refuse to participate in the much more valuable private workouts proves this dynamic. No one from the media complains about the lack of private workouts because, unlike the Scouting Combine and Pro Day workouts, the media doesn’t get to see the private workouts.

No, the Scouting Combine isn’t a competition. It’s a job qualification system for an inherently unsafe job with an audition process that entails a degree of physical risk. It’s like telling a prospective coal miner to go 3,000 feet underground with a pick and a shovel for a week or two, for free, so that the boss can decide how well the potential miner can mine coal.

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Dave Gettleman making the Giants feared again, as promised

For a short while there, after prized guard Andrew Norwell spurned the man who raised him from a pup for Tom Coughlin, of all people, Giants fans were in a panic wondering whether Dave Gettleman himself might have to become a plug-and-play general manager.

It is a smart move by Gettleman because it was the only move, because once again there are no offensive tackles in the draft to trust to keep Manning upright. Oklahoma’s ponderous Orlando Brown ran a 5.63 40 at his Pro Day on Wednesday, and that was Usain Bolt-like after his 5.85 Combine debacle.

Solder will be the most dependable, professional left-tackle bodyguard for Manning since David Diehl.

And if Pat Shurmur isn’t blowing smoke about Manning having years left at age 37 to chase a Super Bowl, planting Solder in front of him and moving Flowers to the right side or inside or anywhere else will give him a fighting chance.

Imagine this: He might actually have time in the pocket to eat a pepperoni pizza and get the ball to Odell Beckham Jr.!

The NCAA is currently exploring a rule change that would allow the receiving team to fair catch a kickoff inside the 25-yard line and have it treated as a touchback. The idea behind the rule is that it would reduce the number of kickoff returns, and therefore the number of collisions on kickoff returns, and therefore the number of injuries on kickoff returns.

It was college football that led the way on the rule that moved touchbacks on kickoffs out to the 25-yard line, rather than the 20-yard line. The NFL followed suit and adopted the 25-yard line rule.

If college football also adopts this new touchback rule, and it seems to work well, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the NFL do it as well. The NFL has said that its injury data shows that kickoffs result in more head and neck injuries per play than any other play in football, and the league wants to reduce those injuries. Touchbacks aren’t as exciting as kickoff returns, so not all fans would be on board, but the league will surely keep an eye on this NCAA proposal.

I’ve been doing everything I can while I haven’t been playing, Ellsbury said.I’ve been taking BP, hitting in the cage. My oblique feels great, so I’m looking forward to getting back on the field. I’ll talk about that with Aaron.

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Bucs pick up options on Demar Dotson, two others

The Buccaneers decided to keep three of their own veterans.

According to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, the Bucs picked up the one-year options for 2018 on right tackle Demar Dotson, safety Chris Conte, and defensive back Josh Robinson.

With Jake Arrieta  in tow, a team that hasn’t posted a winning record since 2011 has a real chance to coalesce into a contender quickly.

If that happens in 2018, don’t be surprised if a front office led by general manager Matt Klentak  attempts to add for a push at a postseason berth.

While young, controllable starters will likely be at the top of any potential list of targets for the Phillies, one past-his-prime veteran could also be in the mix of players the Phillies could think about this summer: Cole Hamels .

Yes, a return with the former Phillies ace.

In a way-too-early ESPN MLB trade deadline primer , the Worldwide Leader singled out Hamels as a potential trade target for a buying Phillies team in July.

The timing wasn’t right for Darnold at the Combine. Darnold’s decision should be respected, not criticized.

I think that every young man has to make the decision that’s best for him, Helton said. I haven’t talked to Sam since he’s gotten back from the Combine. I know one thing about Sam. He’s always gonna make the best decision in the moment. If he feels like it’s better to throw on Pro Day, I’m all for it.

If Darnold chooses not to throw at the Pro Day, that’s his business. If he chooses to decline to submit to private workouts, that’s his business, too. If he decides to say, Watch my film and draft me or don’t, that’s also his business.

Whatever he chooses to do, he shouldn’t be accused of being afraid to compete by those who hope to fill the days and weeks until the draft with more data points from players who have blindly submitted for decades to the NFL’s ultimate dog-and-pony show. It’s OK for everyone in this business to make business decisions, except of course for the men on whom the business relies the most.

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The significant factors in Ovechkin’s goal-scoring prowess are his shot volume and where he takes them.

Dec. 15: Moore’s fantasy value takes a significant hit with the move from extreme pitchers’ park AT&T Park to Texas’ Globe Life Park, making him a streaming option (and a weak one) at best.

He ranks ninth all-time in the NHL for shots on goal, and has led the NHL in shots on goal in 10 of his 12 seasons. Many of those shots were taken from what has been known as The Ovi Spot on the ice: the circle to the goalie’s right, where Ovechkin sets up camp. He scored 119 of his 297 goals since 2011-12 from that spot.

Ovechkin has led the league in power-play goals six times, and is 10th in NHL history for goals scored with the man advantage.

Ovechkin has won the Rocket Richard Trophy for most goals six times (2008, 2009, 2012-16) and the Art Ross Trophy for most points once in 2008. He’s a three-time Hart Trophy winner for league MVP and a three-time recipient of the Ted Lindsay Award for most outstanding player, as voted on by the NHLPA. Ovechkin also won the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year in 2006 after scoring 52 goals.

Looking at this on an individual basis, the top hurlers tend to start around 32-33 games. They’ll likely work both during the season’s opening week and right after the All-Star break, leaving 30-31 outings for the remaining 25 weeks. This means even the best options will only start twice five or six times a year. It’s hard to construct a strategy using this as the focal point.

Back in that January 2010 blogumn, I projected Ovechkin would finish with 51 goals in the 2009-10 season. He finished with 50. That gave him 269 goals through that 2009-10 season. So, back in early 2010, I laid out a blueprint for Ovechkin to reach 895 career goals, one better than Gretzky’s record.

The first part of my hypothesis was that Ovechkin would have to be largely injury-free and play until he was 40. Also, as I wrote back in 2010, Players who have booming shots age slower in terms of goal totals. So does playing on good teams.

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Man’s obit laments Nats loss, asks donations for ‘Nationals Bullpen Fund’

The late Patrick D. Killebrew loved the Washington Nationals.

Making holograms of people has already been done, most notably bringing late rapper Tupac Shakur back to life during a Coachella performance. Now Banta-Cain wants to bring it to the sports world.

He said he wants to make announcing the lineup at NFL games more interactive, with life-sized holograms of the starting lineups taking the field instead of showing players’ faces on the Jumbotron.

Banta-Cain, who played for the Patriots and 49ers, said he has already reached out to his former teams about testing the idea. One person who is in his court? Pats quarterback Tom Brady.

Once I told him he could be like Tupac : Tom was all excited about that, Banta-Cain said. I even told him we could get (a hologram) of him and Tupac performing together. So he got a kick out of that.

But the holograms wouldn’t stop with NFL players – or even living players.

Banta-Cain said he wants to create a or Hallo-fames project, which is holograms of people in different halls of fame. He said he can envision a live hologram of Babe Ruth hitting a home run, or a young Jim Brown talking about his MVP seasons.

Either way, we could be seeing 3D versions of top players in the not-so-distant future.

In all seriousness, though, it’s good to see Newton working his way back to 100 percent — which he vows he will be by training camp. Maybe then we can measure his passes in yards.

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