Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer reacts to Holton Hill’s hit on Paxton Lynch

Keeping your starting quarterback healthy is essential for all 32 teams in the NFL, and the league goes out of its way to protect them. However, this is football, and sometimes things happen, which was the case last night in Minnesota.

Late in the 4th quarter, Seattle Seahawks QB Paxton Lynch was scrambling, and before he could get down, Lynch was walloped by Vikings CB Holton Hill in a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit. Lynch would leave the game, and Hill would get ejected.

According to Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, Lynch is in concussion protocol, while Hill, who was already suspended for the first eight games of the regular season for violating the NFL’s policy on substances of abuse, and for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, will probably lose some more money for the illegal hit.

After the game, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer reacted to the hit.

“Number one, we don’t want to see anybody get hurt,” Zimmer said. “I told Pete (Carroll) that after the game. I was sorry about his quarterback. Number two, he can’t drop his head. But saying that, when a quarterback is running an option, he ought to be fair game other than lowering your head and hitting him in the head. If they’re going to let these quarterbacks be runners, we should be able to hit him. He didn’t hit him legally. We need to (be able to) hit these guys.”

It’s a tough thing to legislate at times, but in the end, you go helmet-to-helmet with a quarterback, you are probably going to pay a hefty fine and possibly get ejected. Hate it or love it; this is just the nature of the game in 2019.

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Preview of Week 17 in the NFL

                                   IT’S ALL ON THE LINE IN WEEK 17

— 13 of the 16 games in Week 17 feature at least one team in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LIII —

It’s the final push for NFL teams as the regular season ends on Sunday, December 30. All 16 games are division contests and with one week to go, there are still 15 teams in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LIII.

WEEK 17: SUNDAY, DECEMBER 30

GAME TIME (ET) TV
Atlanta at Tampa Bay 1:00 PM FOX
Carolina at New Orleans 1:00 PM FOX
Dallas at New York Giants 1:00 PM FOX
Detroit at Green Bay 1:00 PM FOX
Jacksonville at Houston 1:00 PM CBS
Miami at Buffalo 1:00 PM CBS
New York Jets at New England 1:00 PM CBS
Arizona at Seattle 4:25 PM FOX
Chicago at Minnesota 4:25 PM FOX
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh 4:25 PM CBS
Cleveland at Baltimore 4:25 PM CBS
Los Angeles Chargers at Denver 4:25 PM CBS
Oakland at Kansas City 4:25 PM CBS
Philadelphia at Washington 4:25 PM FOX
San Francisco at Los Angeles Rams 4:25 PM FOX
Indianapolis at Tennessee 8:20 PM NBC

Nine of the 12 playoff teams have been determined. Five of the eight divisions have been clinched. And there’s still plenty to play for in Week 17. For the full Week 17 playoff scenarios, click here.

In the AFC, four teams have already punched their ticket to the postseason: New England (10-5, AFC East), Houston (10-5, playoff berth), Kansas City (11-4, playoff berth) and the Los Angeles Chargers (11-4, playoff berth).

Baltimore (9-6) and Pittsburgh (8-6-1) are vying for the AFC North title. Indianapolis (9-6) and Tennessee (9-6) face off on NBC’s Sunday Night Football at 8:20 PM ET in a win-and-you’re-in battle. Houston can clinch the AFC South title with a win this week, but the winner of the Indianapolis-Tennessee game would take the division crown with a Houston loss.

In the NFC, five teams have locked up playoff spots, including all four division winners: Dallas (9-6, NFC East), Chicago (11-4, NFC North), New Orleans (13-2, NFC South), the Los Angeles Rams (12-3, NFC West) and Seattle (9-6, playoff berth).

Minnesota (8-6-1) and Philadelphia (8-7) are in contention for the final Wild Card spot in the NFC. The Vikings are in position to clinch a playoff berth with a win, while the Eagles need a win and a Minnesota loss to secure their postseason entry.

The Bears, who have clinched the NFC North division title for the first time since 2010, have completed a “worst-to-first” turnaround and at least one team has won its division the season after finishing in or tied for last place in 15 of the past 16 seasons. If Houston clinches the AFC South on Sunday, it would mark the second consecutive season that two teams go from worst to first (Jacksonville and Philadelphia in 2017) – something that has never happened before in any other major US sport.

Since the 12-team playoff format was adopted in 1990 – a streak of 29 consecutive seasons – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

With one week remaining, five teams have already qualified for the playoffs after missing the postseason in 2017 – the Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, Los Angeles Chargers and Seattle Seahawks.  That number could swell to as many as seven if both the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts qualify for the postseason on Sunday.

A look at some of the key games in Week 17:

CAROLINA PANTHERS (6-9) at NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (13-2) (Sunday, FOX, 1:00 PM ET)                

  • The Saints have clinched the NFC South, a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

DALLAS COWBOYS (9-6) at NEW YORK GIANTS (5-10) (Sunday, FOX, 1:00 PM ET)                

  • The Cowboys have clinched the NFC East and will enter the NFC playoffs as the No. 4 seed.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (5-10) at HOUSTON TEXANS (10-5) (Sunday, CBS, 1:00 PM ET)                

  • The Texans, who have clinched a playoff berth, can claim the AFC South with a win. They can also clinch a first-round bye with a win and a New England loss, and can clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win combined with losses by New England, Kansas City and the Los Angeles Chargers.

NEW YORK JETS (4-11) at NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (10-5) (Sunday, CBS, 1:00 PM ET)                

  • The Patriots, who have won the AFC East, can earn a first-round bye with a win or if Baltimore, Houston and Tennessee all lose.

ARIZONA CARDINALS (3-12) at SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (9-6) (Sunday, FOX, 4:25 PM ET)                

  • The Seahawks have clinched a playoff berth and will enter the NFC playoffs as the No. 5 or 6 seed.

CHICAGO BEARS (11-4) at MINNESOTA VIKINGS (8-6-1) (Sunday, FOX, 4:25 PM ET)                

  • The Bears, who have clinched the NFC North, can secure a first-round bye with a win and a Los Angeles Rams loss.
  • The Vikings can clinch a playoff berth with a win or a Philadelphia loss.

CINCINNATI BENGALS (6-9) at PITTSBURGH STEELERS (8-6-1) (Sunday, CBS, 4:25 PM ET)

  • The Steelers can claim the AFC North with a win and a Baltimore loss.

CLEVELAND BROWNS (7-7-1) at BALTIMORE RAVENS (9-6) (Sunday, CBS, 4:25 PM ET)

  • The Ravens can win the AFC North with a win or a Pittsburgh loss.

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (11-4) at DENVER BRONCOS (7-8) (Sunday, CBS, 4:25 PM ET)                

  • The Chargers, who have clinched a playoff berth, can claim the AFC West division title, a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win combined with a Kansas City loss.

OAKLAND RAIDERS (4-11) at KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (11-4) (Sunday, CBS, 4:25 PM ET)

  • The Chiefs, who have clinched a playoff berth, can claim the AFC West division title, a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win. A Los Angeles Chargers loss would also give the Chiefs the AFC West crown.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (8-7) at WASHINGTON REDSKINS (7-8) (Sunday, FOX, 4:25 PM ET)                

  • ​The Eagles can secure a playoff berth with a win combined with a Minnesota loss.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (4-11) at LOS ANGELES RAMS (12-3) (Sunday, FOX, 4:25 PM ET)                

  • The Rams have won the NFC West and can clinch a first-round bye with a win or a Chicago loss.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (9-6) at TENNESSEE TITANS (9-6) (Sunday, NBC, 8:20 PM ET)

  • ​The winner of this game locks up a playoff spot.
  • The Colts can clinch the AFC South division title with a win combined with a Houston loss.
  • The Titans can clinch the AFC South division title with a win combined with a Houston loss. With a win and losses by Houston, New England and Baltimore, the Titans would secure a first-round bye. ​

2018 NFL Playoff Scenarios for Week 15

With the NFL season winding down, some teams are fighting for their playoff lives, while others are fighting for seeding.

Here are some playoffs scenarios for Week 15 in the NFL:

NFC

CLINCHED: Los Angeles Rams – NFC West division title

                     New Orleans Saints – NFC South division title

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (11-2) (at Carolina (6-7), Monday night, 8:15 PM ET, ESPN)

New Orleans clinches a first-round bye with:

1)    NO win + CHI loss or tie OR

2)    NO tie + CHI loss

LOS ANGELES RAMS (11-2) (vs. Philadelphia (6-7), Sunday night, 8:20 PM ET, NBC)​​

Los Angeles clinches a first-round bye with:

1)    LAR win + CHI loss or tie OR

2)    LAR tie + CHI loss

CHICAGO BEARS (9-4) (vs. Green Bay (5-7-1), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Chicago clinches NFC North division title with:

1)    CHI win OR

2)    MIN loss OR

3)    CHI tie + MIN tie

Chicago clinches a playoff berth with:

1)    CHI tie OR

2)    WAS loss or tie

DALLAS COWBOYS (8-5) (at Indianapolis (7-6), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Dallas clinches NFC East division title with:

1)    DAL win OR

2)    DAL tie + PHI loss or tie + WAS loss or tie OR

3)    PHI loss + WAS loss

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (8-5) (at San Francisco (3-10), Sunday, 4:05 PM ET, FOX)

Seattle clinches a playoff berth with:

1)    SEA win OR

2)    SEA tie + MIN loss + CAR loss or tie OR

3)    SEA tie + MIN loss + PHI loss or tie + WAS loss or tie OR

4)    SEA tie + CAR loss or tie + PHI loss or tie + WAS loss or tie

AFC

CLINCHED: Kansas City Chiefs – Playoff berth

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (11-2) (vs. Los Angeles Chargers (10-3), Thursday night, 8:20 PM ET, FOX/NFL Network/Amazon)

Kansas City clinches AFC West division title and a first-round bye with:

1)    KC win

Kansas City clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:

1)    KC win + NE loss or tie

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (9-4) (at Pittsburgh (7-5-1), Sunday, 4:25 PM ET, CBS)

New England clinches AFC East division title with:

1)    NE win + MIA loss or tie OR

2)    NE tie + MIA loss

New England clinches a playoff berth with:

1)    NE win + TEN loss or tie OR

2)    NE tie + BAL loss + TEN loss + IND loss or tie

HOUSTON TEXANS (9-4) (at New York Jets (4-9), Saturday, 4:30 PM ET, NFL Network)

Houston clinches AFC South division title with:

1)    HOU win + IND loss or tie + TEN loss or tie OR

2)    HOU tie + IND loss + TEN loss

Houston clinches a playoff berth with:

1)    HOU win + MIA loss or tie + PIT loss OR

2)    HOU win + MIA loss or tie + BAL loss or tie OR

3)    HOU tie + IND loss or tie + BAL loss + MIA loss OR

4)    HOU tie + IND loss or tie + PIT loss + BAL loss + MIA tie OR

5)    HOU tie + IND loss or tie + PIT loss + BAL win + MIA loss OR

6)    HOU tie + TEN loss or tie + BAL loss + MIA loss OR

7)    HOU tie + TEN loss or tie + PIT loss + BAL loss + MIA tie OR

8)    HOU tie + TEN loss or tie + PIT loss + BAL win + MIA loss

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (10-3) (at Kansas City (11-2), Thursday night, 8:20 PM ET, FOX/NFL Network/Amazon)

Los Angeles clinches a playoff berth with:

1)    LAC win or tie OR

2)    MIA loss or tie + PIT loss OR

3)    MIA loss or tie + BAL loss or tie OR

4)    MIA loss or tie + IND loss or tie + TEN loss or tie OR

5)    PIT loss + IND loss or tie + TEN loss or tie OR

6)    BAL loss or tie + IND loss or tie + TEN loss or tie​

Seahawk players reenact ‘The Swat Heard Around the World'(VIDEO)

49ers CB Richard Sherman came back to Seattle on Sunday. While Sherman and the 49ers were routed by the Seahawks 43-16, his former teammates showed Sherman some love.

Let’s rewind to the 2013 NFC title game between the 49ers and Seahawks. With the 49ers trailing 23-17 and driving late in the 4th quarter, San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick threw a pass intended for Michael Crabtree that was tipped by Sherman and intercepted by Malcolm Smith to the send the Seahawks to the Super Bowl in a play that would later be called: “The Swat Heard Around the World.”

Today, after a Jaron Brown TD, the Seahawks reenacted that famous play:

That is pretty cool!!

Report: DE Michael Bennett to be traded to Eagles

The Eagles and Howie Roseman have done it again. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Seahawks are trading DE Michael Bennett and seventh-round pick to Eagles for a fifth-round pick and WR Marcus Johnson.

The deal will not be official until next Wednesday when the NFL’s league year opens.

According to Schefter, the Eagles might be looking to trade DE Vinny Curry after this move.

The 32-year-old Bennett, who led the Seahawks with 8.5 sacks last season, will be added to a defensive line that was one of the best in the league in 2017.

Eagles, Seahawks, Titans to make London debuts in 2018

The National Football League today announced the schedule of London Games for 2018, featuring a series of firsts, including a debut at a new stadium and three teams playing a regular-season game in London for the first time.

 The 2018 London Games schedule:

Week Date Visiting Team Home Team Site
6 10/14/18 Seattle Seahawks Oakland Raiders Tottenham Hotspur
7 or 8 10/21/18 or 10/28/18 Philadelphia Eagles Jacksonville Jaguars Wembley Stadium
7or 8 10/21/18 or 10/28/18 Tennessee Titans Los Angeles Chargers Wembley Stadium

 English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium is the site of the first game of the 2018 London schedule in Week 6 on Sunday, October 14, as the Oakland Raiders host the Seattle Seahawks.  The Raiders, the home team in London for a second time, welcome the Seahawks to Tottenham for their first game in London. Tottenham’s new stadium becomes the third venue to stage a regular-season game in the UK, joining Wembley Stadium and Twickenham Stadium.

The following two weeks, October 21 and 28, two additional teams will make their London debuts as visiting teams. The Philadelphia Eagles will face the Jacksonville Jaguars in a matchup of 2017 playoff teams, while the Tennessee Titans will face the Los Angeles Chargers. The order of the games, along with all kickoff times, will be confirmed at a later date.

“We continue to be very excited by the growth of the NFL in the UK,” said NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL. “The fans have demonstrated outstanding support and passion for the NFL over the past 11 seasons and we look forward to some great games in London this year. A key feature of our success is playing in iconic, world-renowned venues like Wembley and Twickenham, and we look forward to playing in what will be another incredible setting for NFL football at Tottenham’s new stadium.”

Mayor of London SADIQ KHAN said: “London is the international home of the NFL and I am really excited to welcome the world’s best American football stars and their thousands of fans from around the globe back to our city.

“I’m delighted Tottenham Hotspur’s fantastic new stadium is joining the line-up of world-class sports arenas in our great city. Spurs’ new ground will stage one game in its first year of opening and in 2019 we look forward to going back to staging at least four NFL games in London. Once again, London has shown why it is the sporting capital of the world and open to the very best sports events.”

By the end of the 2018 season, the NFL will have played 24 regular-season games in London, with 29 of 32 teams having participated.

“This is another important year as we develop our plans for London and the UK,” said NFL Executive Vice President of International and Events MARK WALLER.

“By playing games on three consecutive weeks we will learn a lot, both from the fans buying tickets and attending games, and from a logistics and organizational standpoint.

“We are very excited about playing our first game at Tottenham’s magnificent new stadium and will follow our usual pattern of playing one game in our first season at a new venue, as we did at Wembley and Twickenham in previous years. This enables us to achieve important learnings relating to the fans’ preferences, ticketing, team logistics and local transportation and infrastructure in order to create the best possible experience and environment. We will play an additional game at Tottenham in a future season, over and above the planned two per year, to make up for this.”

The NFL and Tottenham Hotspur announced in 2015 that they had reached agreement for a minimum of two games per year to be played during a 10-year partnership. The state-of-the-art stadium, due to open this summer, will feature a retractable grass field with an artificial surface underneath that will be used for NFL games. It will also have customized features such as locker rooms, medical and media facilities and a dedicated entrance.

“This is a milestone year for the club as we look ahead to the opening of our new stadium and all that it will bring to the area of Tottenham,” said Tottenham Hotspur chairman DANIEL LEVY.

“The announcement of the first game of the NFL’s 2018 London Games to take place at our new home heralds the commencement of our 10-year partnership. This is one of the cornerstones of our vision for creating a world-class sports and leisure destination that will make Tottenham a hive of activity 365 days a year and drive the regeneration of one of the most deprived areas of London. The NFL will bring a whole new audience to the local area, showcase Tottenham and bring further economic and social benefits with truly global coverage and attraction.”

The NFL kicked off its series of regular-season games in London in 2007, when the New York Giants beat the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium on their way to winning the Super Bowl. The home of English football has now hosted 18 NFL games, with almost 1.5 million fans in attendance.

“The NFL holds huge value and importance to Wembley Stadium. We are proud to have hosted games under the arch for the past decade and to have played a key role in the growth of the sport,” said MARTIN GLENN, Chief Executive of the Football Association.

“NFL games bring people to the stadium from all over the world, provide a boost to the local economy, and are among the highlights of the Wembley events calendar. Working closely together, we have been able to share knowledge and expertise with the NFL, and continue to learn a great deal from their events and the activation of their games. We are very excited to be welcoming some outstanding playoff teams to the stadium in 2018 and hope our strong partnership will continue for years to come.”

Three of the six teams playing in London in 2018 have made the playoffs this season (Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Tennessee), while two more finished the season with winning records (Seattle, LA Chargers).

All four winning teams in the NFL’s 2017 London Games went on to win their divisions: Jacksonville Jaguars (AFC South), New Orleans Saints (NFC South), Los Angeles Rams (NFC West), Minnesota Vikings (NFC North).

Ticketing details will be announced by NFL UK on January 18. Anyone interested in registering their interest in attending any of the games can do so at www.ticketmaster.com/nfl to ensure they receive all the latest information.

Seahawks fined $100k for not properly following concussion protocol

The NFL and NFLPA have jointly reviewed the application of the Concussion Protocol to Russell Wilson.  The results of the joint review determined there was a failure in the application of the protocol following the tackle of Mr. Wilson during the Seahawks-Cardinals game on November 9.

As a result, Seattle has been fined $100,000 and the coaching and medical staffs will be required to attend remedial training regarding the protocol.

The results of the joint review determined that the protocol was triggered when Mr. Wilson was directed to the sideline for an evaluation after the referee, Walt Anderson, concluded that a medical examination was warranted.  Nonetheless, the required evaluation was not conducted and Mr. Wilson was permitted to return to the game without an evaluation.  Once it is determined that a medical examination is warranted, a player may only be cleared to return by the medical staff; Mr. Wilson’s return to the field without a sideline concussion evaluation was therefore in violation of the Concussion Protocol.  Subsequently the team medical staff did examine the player and clear him per the protocol.

As determined by the NFL and NFLPA, an immediate update will be made to the protocol instructing officials, teammates, and coaching staff to take players directly to a member of the medical team for a concussion assessment. The NFL and the NFLPA will continue to look at potential modifications to the protocols in an effort to keep players safe.

Michael Bennett kneels during national anthem; Justin Britt gives support

Seahawks DE Michael Bennett knelt during the national anthem for the second time this preseason Friday night in Seattle. This time Bennett had some support. Seahawks C Justin Britt stood during the anthem, but put his hand on Bennett’s shoulder.

The scene was similar to what we saw in Philadelphia on Thursday night with the Eagles’ Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Long. Jenkins stood with his fist held high, and Long put a hand on his back as a show of support.

Hall of Famer Kenny Easley: ‘The carnage affecting young black men today, from random violence to police shootings, across the nation has to stop’

Hall of Famer Kenny Easley was officially inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday night in Canton, OH. Easley hit hard and played hard throughout his 7-year NFL career.

During his Hall of Fame speech, Easley took the time to talk about police brutality in America. A topic that many believe is keeping free agent QB Colin Kaepernick out of the NFL.

Here is what Easley had to say:

“As such, please allow me this moment for a very serious message for which I feel very strongly about. Black Lives do matter. And yes, all lives matter, too. But the carnage affecting young black men today, from random violence to police shootings, across the nation has to stop. We’ve got to stand up as a country, as black Americans, and fight the good fight, to protect our constitutional right to keep people from dying while driving or walking down the streets for being black in America. It has to stop and we can do it. And the lessons we learn in sports can help.”

Former NFL RB Ahman Green charged with felony child abuse

Former NFL RB Ahman Green, who played 12 seasons in the league for the Packers, Seahawks, and Texans, was arrested on Sunday in Wisconsin on suspicion of child abuse.

Today, Green was charged with felony child abuse and disorderly conduct. 

According to FOX 11:

A neighbor called police when Green’s daughter showed up at her house saying she had been abused. The girl told sheriff’s deputies her father wanted her to do the dishes to earn allowance money, but she did not want to do the work. She said the Green physically pulled her into the kitchen, ripping her shirt, and punched her in the face. When interviewed by deputies, Green admitted pulling his daughter into the kitchen and hitting her in the face with an open hand.

Green’s daughter reportedly had a black eye after the incident.

The 40-year-old Green was jailed and released today after posting bond.