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Riley Dixon of Denver Broncos to be traded to New York Giants for draft pick

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The New York Giants are set to acquire punter Riley Dixon from the Denver Broncos in exchange for a future conditional pick, a source told ESPN.

Dixon became expendable after the Broncos signed Marquette King as a free agent earlier this month. The Giants had an opening after cutting Brad Wing in March following a poor season.

Dixon, 24, had been on the trade block and was looking for a landing spot. He did not report to the start of Denver’s offseason workout program earlier this week. There were other teams interested in his services.

A third-year pro, Dixon averaged 45.6 yards per punt this past season. Two of his kicks were blocked last season, as Denver’s special teams units struggled. The Broncos averaged 40.8 net yards per punt last year, tied for 26th in the NFL.

The Giants finished last with an average of 38.6 net yards per punt. They’ve invested heavily in their special teams this offseason, including signing special teams ace/wide receiver Cody Latimer from the Broncos.

Dixon has appeared in 32 games over the past two seasons. He averaged 45.7 yards per punt with the Broncos.

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Bucs’ Tom Brady defying Father Time, expectations in Bruce Arians’ offense – Tampa Bay Buccaneers Blog

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TAMPA, Fla. — With 0:25 seconds to go in the first half against the Las Vegas Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady dropped back and launched a missile to wide receiver Scotty Miller, who was one-on-one on the outside, for an impeccably thrown 33-yard touchdown.

The completion probability on the throw was just 16.1% — the third-lowest of any touchdown throw this season — yet he put it in a spot that only Miller could grab it in the end zone, and do so with very little effort to secure the catch.

So much for Father Time finally catching up to the 43-year-old signal-caller, who is not only thriving in Bruce Arians’ “No Risk it, No Biscuit” offense despite concerns that he lacked the arm strength, but putting up numbers that are nearly identical and even slightly better than in 2007, when at the age of 30 he led the Patriots to an undefeated regular season and captured his first MVP title.

“He’s fantastic,” Arians said Wednesday. “When we watched him last year, he could still make every single throw. He hasn’t disappointed anybody in that regard. We have no concern about calling any kind of play from 5 yards to 60 yards. Just a matter of getting more comfortable each and every week and seeing his guys.”

Brady has thrown 18 touchdowns this season, second-most in the NFL behind Russell Wilson, and tied for third-most in his career through the first seven games of the season. Brady was just awarded NFC Offensive Player of the Month — something no Bucs player has done before. And since his Week 1 loss at the New Orleans Saints, he’s compiled an 8-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio, second-best in the league behind only Patrick Mahomes during that period (his 4.50 ratio for Weeks 1-7 is still a not-too-shabby sixth-best). He now has six completions of 30-plus air yards this season after having five all of last season.

He’s making fantasy owners very happy, too. His 151.1 points in standard scoring so far this season are sixth-most in the NFL. His 122 fantasy points since Week 3 are also third-most in that span. To top that off, he’s closing in on the most fantasy points of any player at any position. Brady currently has 5,111.14, second only to Jerry Rice’s 5,141.84. The Bucs’ opponent this week on Monday Night Football, the New York Giants, have also given up 59 fantasy points (standard scoring) to opposing QBs over the last three weeks — ninth-most in the NFL.

What’s even more impressive is that Brady has not had his full cast of supporting characters.

Tight end O.J. Howard is lost for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon. Pro Bowler Mike Evans has been fighting ankle and hamstring injuries. Chris Godwin, their other Pro Bowl receiver, has missed three games with a concussion and hamstring injury, and will miss a fourth this week due to a broken finger that required surgery.

Miller is still fighting a groin/hip injury. Rob Gronkowski has been fighting a shoulder injury. And the two running backs Brady relies on most in the passing game, Leonard Fournette and LeSean McCoy, have both missed games with ankle injuries. Yet Brady has connected with six different receiving targets for at least two receiving touchdowns. No other quarterback has done that.

“I think the lack of continuity also hurt him a bunch. Hopefully we can have some continuity going forward and he can continue to work with timing and all those things,” Arians said. “I think Byron [Leftwich] has done a great job of having him ready to play, him seeing the coverages and where we want to place the ball. [Byron] obviously listens to him on things he likes, also, and incorporates them in the offense.”

Brady’s had to evolve his game in Tampa, not just by throwing the deep ball more. He’s altered his stance to more of a squared gun versus a staggered stance this year.

“I feel like it was something I thought about in the offseason, getting my body in a better position to throw, even before I received the ball from the center,” Brady said. “We’re in the shotgun a lot.”

He’s lining up in the shotgun more than he did with the Patriots. The Bucs also do less pre-snap shifts and motions than the Patriots and more with trips and bunch formations, although they still incorporate all of Brady’s favorite routes at a similar rate — the out-route, the hitch, the flat and crossing routes — it’s just dressed up differently.

“It’s not a surprise,” said Gronkowski, his teammate of 11 seasons. “I’ve been seeing firsthand with my eyes, his work ethic and how he takes care of himself.”

Brady’s tight window completion percentage is another area that has improved significantly in 2020, where he is completing 45.9% of his throws. A testament to a better receiving corps? Perhaps. He completed 37.4% of those throws in 2019 and 29.9% in 2018. His tight-window completion percentage in the red zone has also shot up in 2020: 66.7%, tied for third-most in the league. It was 33.3% in 2019 and 16.7% in 2018.

He’s also elevated the Bucs to 78.6% in red zone touchdowns — fourth-best in the league — after being 64.8% in that category a year ago, prior to his arrival.

“Football is the ultimate team sport,” Brady said. “From a quarterback’s standpoint, so much is trust and confidence in the receiver position, the tight end position, the line is doing an incredible job of blocking. My job is to throw it to the guys that are open and they’ve got to make the plays, and I think when you see great production, it’s really a reflection of the entire offensive unit.”

Brady has led the Bucs to a 5-2 record as they prepare for prime time this week. The Bucs were robbed of a chance to play in a prime-time game last week. The NFL couldn’t promise the Bucs and Raiders would be able to play due to positive COVID-19 tests within the Raiders, so the game was bumped from Sunday Night Football.

Now Brady can take center stage, which, if he performs the way he has in recent weeks, should only fuel the MVP buzz — which Arians thinks is warranted, but only if the team continues to support him.

“I think our team will have to continue to win, for sure,” Arians said. “Those type of things only come to winning teams.”

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NFL Week 8 betting nuggets

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Underdogs are 56-46-1 ATS (against the spread) this season. Underdogs went 8-5 ATS in Week 7, their third straight winning week.

Road teams are 58-46-1 ATS this season. After home teams went 17-15 ATS in the first two weeks, road teams are 43-29-1 ATS since Week 3.

Overs are 55-49-2 this season, after going 8-8 last week.

Now, here’s a game-by-game look at Week 8.

Odds listed are from Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill and subject to change.


New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills (-3.5), Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

• New England is 20-7 ATS as an underdog since the start of the 2006 season, the best cover percentage as an underdog in that span.

• This is the first time New England is an underdog of at least three points in a divisional game since Week 7 of 2003, when it got six points at Miami (and won outright). It is the first time New England has been an underdog in a division game since Week 2 of 2015 at Buffalo (+1, won outright). New England is 16-6 ATS as an underdog in division games under Bill Belichick (13-9 outright).

• Both New England and Buffalo have failed to cover in each of their past three games.

• Since the start of the 2003 season, New England is 41-17 ATS in games coming off a loss — that’s the best cover percentage in that situation during that span.

• Since the start of the 2004 season, New England is 29-3 SU (straight up) and 19-11-2 ATS against Buffalo.

Tennessee Titans (-5.5) at Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

• Cincinnati is 4-0 ATS this season coming off a loss.

• Tennessee is 1-4 ATS this season as a favorite. Tennessee is also 16-7-2 ATS in its past 25 games coming off a loss.

• The over is 14-2 in regular-season Tennessee games since Ryan Tannehill took over as starting quarterback last season.

Las Vegas Raiders at Cleveland Browns (-2.5), Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

• All six Las Vegas games this season have gone over the total. The longest over streak to start a season belongs to the 2002 Saints, who started that season with nine consecutive overs.

• The over is 3-0 in both Cleveland home games and Las Vegas road games this season.

• Cleveland is 5-1 ATS in its past six games as a home favorite.

• Since the start of the 2015 season, Cleveland is 14-27-1 ATS in games in November or later.

Indianapolis Colts (-3) at Detroit Lions, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

• Indianapolis is 11-3-1 ATS coming off a bye since the start of the 2005 season.

• Indianapolis is 15-6-1 ATS in nonconference games since the start of the 2015 season.

• Detroit is 8-15 ATS as a home underdog since the start of the 2015 season.

Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (-6.5), Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

• Green Bay is 5-1 ATS this season, tied with Los Angeles (A) and Pittsburgh for the best cover percentage in the league.

• Green Bay is 3-0 ATS versus Minnesota since the start of last season.

• Minnesota is 4-1 ATS in its past five games as an underdog.

• Since the start of the 2018 season, Minnesota is 11-3-1 ATS in games following a loss.

• Since the start of the 2013 season, Minnesota is 38-20-2 ATS in November or later.

• The under is 25-11-1 in games in which Minnesota has taken on a divisional opponent since the start of 2014.

New York Jets at Kansas City Chiefs (-19.5), Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

• This is the largest point spread of 2020 (previous largest: Baltimore -14 against Washington in Week 4, game ended as a push).

• The largest upset in the Super Bowl era is 20 points, done three times (last in 1974 by San Diego at Cincinnati). The largest upset in New York (A) history came in the third pro football championship game, when New York upset Baltimore as an 18-point underdog.

• As long as the spread ends with Kansas City favored by at least 17.5 points, this will be its largest point spread since the 1970 merger.

• New York (A) is 1-6 ATS this season, tied with Houston for the second-worst cover percentage in the league (Dallas is worst at 0-7).

• Kansas City is 9-2 ATS in its past 11 games as a favorite.

• Since the start of last season, Kansas City is 7-1 ATS in November or later.

• In the past 30 seasons, teams getting at least 17 points are 26-15-2 ATS and 4-39 outright. Two of the outright upsets came in the past two seasons.

Los Angeles Rams (-3.5) at Miami Dolphins, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

• Miami is 12-5 ATS in its past 17 games as an underdog dating back to last season.

• Since the start of last season, quarterbacks making their first career starts are 11-4 ATS and 5-9-1 outright.

• Since the start of the 2015 season, Miami is 4-0 ATS coming off a bye.

• The over in Miami games is 23-11-1 in November or later, dating back to the start of the 2016 season.

• Los Angeles is 9-3 ATS in games starting at 1 p.m. ET under Sean McVay (10-2 outright).

• In the three meetings between these two teams since 2008, the under is 3-0.

• Since the start of last season, Los Angeles (N) is 3-0 ATS in games after fewer than six days of rest.

• Los Angeles (N) is 19-9 SU and 17-11 ATS on the road since the start of the 2017 season.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (-3.5), Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

• Pittsburgh is 5-1 ATS this season, tied with Los Angeles (A) and Green Bay for the best cover percentage in the league.

• Pittsburgh is the seventh team in the Super Bowl era to get more than three points as an underdog with a 6-0 or better outright record. Each of the previous six teams lost outright (2-4 ATS).

• Pittsburgh is 10-2-1 ATS as an underdog since the start of the 2018 season. Pittsburgh is also 8-2 ATS as a road underdog since the start of the 2017 season.

• Baltimore is 14-4 ATS coming off a bye since the start of the 2002 season (9-3 ATS under John Harbaugh).

• Since the start of the 2017 season, Baltimore is 7-2-1 ATS versus Pittsburgh.

• The under is 32-10 in Pittsburgh’s 42 road games since the start of the 2015 season.

• Since the start of last season, Baltimore is 8-1 ATS in November or later.

Los Angeles Chargers (-3) at Denver Broncos, Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET

• Los Angeles (A) is 5-1 ATS, tied with Green Bay and Pittsburgh for the best cover percentage in the league.

• Denver is 15-7 ATS in its past 22 games as an underdog.

• Los Angeles (A) is 7-2-1 ATS as a road favorite since the start of the 2017 season.

• Denver is 4-1 ATS in its past five games following a loss.

• Los Angeles (A) is 1-6 ATS against divisional opponents since the start of the 2019 season.

• Since the start of last season, Los Angeles is 1-4-1 ATS and 1-5 outright when the line is between +3 and -3.

New Orleans Saints (-4.5) at Chicago Bears, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

• All six of New Orleans’ games have gone over the total. The longest over streak to start a season belongs to the 2002 Saints, who started that season with nine consecutive overs.

• New Orleans is 14-4 ATS on the road since the start of the 2018 season.

• Since the start of the 2016 season, New Orleans is 13-4 ATS as a road favorite.

• All three of Chicago’s home games have gone under the total.

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (-3), Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

• San Francisco is 3-0 ATS on the road this season, and 7-0 ATS as an underdog since the start of last season, including 6-0 ATS as a road underdog in that span.

• Seattle is 13-4 ATS against San Francisco since the start of the 2012 season.

• The over is 11-4-1 in Seattle’s past 16 games in November of later.

• Seattle is 31-8 SU and 23-13-3 ATS in games following a loss since the start of the 2012 season.

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET

• Dallas is 0-7 ATS, for the first time ever — one game short of the longest winless streak to start a season against the spread in the past 20 seasons. Oakland failed to cover in each of its first eight games in 2003.

• Since the start of the 2017 season, Dallas is 15-5 ATS against the NFC East.

Carson Wentz is 7-15 ATS in the past three seasons as a favorite.

• Philadelphia is 3-12 ATS as a home favorite since the start of the 2018 season — that’s the worst cover percentage in the league in that span (min. 10 games).

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-10.5) at New York Giants, Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET (on ESPN)

• New York (N) is 0-7 ATS as a home underdog since the start of last season. If you go back to the start of the 2018 season, New York (N) is 1-12 ATS as a home underdog.

• Tampa Bay and New York (N) have met eight times since the start of the 2006 season. New York (N) is 6-1-1 ATS in those eight games.

Tom Brady is 14-9-1 ATS in Monday games in his career.

• Home underdogs of 10 or more points this season are 1-0-1 ATS.

• Tom Brady is 22-12 ATS as a road favorite since the start of the 2016 season. He’s 2-1 ATS in that situation this season.

• Tampa Bay is 11-20-1 ATS as a favorite since the start of the 2014 season. That .355 cover percentage is second-worst as a favorite in that span.

• The over is 20-8 in Tampa Bay road games since the start of the 2017 season.

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Source — Denver Broncos offensive lineman, Minnesota Vikings linebacker positive for coronavirus

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The Denver Broncos have postponed practice Friday after an offensive lineman tested positive for COVID-19, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Broncos coach Vic Fangio informed his team that they will conduct virtual meetings Friday, the source said. The Broncos are expected to practice Saturday ahead of Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Broncos offensive line coach Mike Munchak has been in the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols this week and has not been in the team’s complex or attended practice. On Thursday, Fangio would not say if Munchak had tested positive for COVID-19 and did not offer a timetable for Munchak’s return.

Denver running backs coach Curtis Modkins tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month and did not travel to the Broncos’ game against the New England Patriots on Oct. 18. Modkins has been back with the team this week.

A Minnesota Vikings linebacker also tested positive for COVID-19, a source said. The Vikings had coronavirus-related concerns after facing the Tennessee Titans amid the outbreak on that team but did not report a positive test at that time.

The Vikings are scheduled to face the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

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