Packers Commit First Turnover Since Week 7 on Aaron Rodgers Fumble

One of the reasons the Green Bay Packers have been so successful as of late is their ability to protect the football.  After not committing a single turnover since their week 10 win over the Vikings, Aaron Rodgers picked a bad time to put an end to the streak.  He committed a fumble on a quarterback sneak attempt from the Falcons’ 1-yard line, which Atlanta recovered in the end zone for a touchback.

The fumble was also Rodgers first of the year, so he was more than due.  It had to happen eventually, it’s just unfortunate that it was at such a crucial point in the game against their toughest opponent of the year.  The fumble nixed an 84-yard Packers’ drive, and Matt Ryan and company turned it into seven points with an 80-yard drive of their own.

The game is currently tied 10-10 in the second quarter.  For the record, Rodgers scored the game-tying touchdown on a quarterback draw.  So far, it’s been the type of hard-hitting affair we all expected from a battle of the NFC’s elite.

NFL Fines Denver Broncos $100K After Steve Scarnecchia Videotaped 49ers

As if the 3-7 record wasn’t embarrassing enough for the Denver Broncos, now we know they lose even when they cheat. Broncos video man Steve Scarnecchia was being investigated for filming a San Francisco 49ers practice the week the teams were in London preparing for their matchup. The Niners won 24-16 despite being recorded by the Broncos. Now we have learned that both the Broncos and coach Josh McDaniels have been fined $50,000 for the incident, and Scarnecchia has been fired.

Denver head coach Josh McDaniels says he did not watch any of the film after Scarnecchia offered to show it to him. Scarnecchia really took all the blame for the incident, saying he filmed San Francisco completely on his own. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is meeting with Scarnecchia about a potential ban from the league as a repeat violator (he was also a member of the Patriots spygate crew).

McDaniels was fined for not immediately reporting the incident to the league. He claims he did not watch the tape but he also didn’t report it immediately. Does that make any sense? I’m guessing this incident had a lot to do with what Chiefs coach Todd Haley said to him after not shaking his hand. “There’s a lot of **** being talked about you” sure makes a lot more sense now. I don’t know how McDaniels can claim innocence in the matter, and I don’t know how they haven’t performed better employing practices like that.

Broncos Under Investigation for Taping 49ers Practice in London

When the disaster that quickly became known as Spygate ravaged the Patriots organization at the start of the 2007 season, a lot of people assumed the practice of videotaping opponents was not uncommon.  At the same time, it seemed safe to assume that after the credibility of New England’s three Super Bowls was questioned and Bill Belichick was fined a ton of money, no team would be dumb enough to do it again.  Leave it to a Belichick employee to prove us wrong.

According to the Denver Post, via Pro Football Talk, the Denver Broncos are being investigated for allegedly videotaping the 49ers walk-through at Wembley Stadium in London back on Oct. 30.  As we know, Denver coach Josh McDaniels was a member of the Patriots’ staff in 2007 when the Spygate scandal erupted.  Here were some of his thoughts on the matter after being hired by the Broncos:

I don’t think it is good. To have that kind of attention was a distraction, and I think that is how we all treated it. We tried to do the best we could to limit those distractions every week, and it will be no different here. Certainly we are never looking to do anything that is not within the rules established by the National Football League. They determined the punishment on that, and it was what it was and we moved on.”

Broncos’ director of video operations Steve Scarnecchia, a Patriots’ employee from 2001-2005, has taken a “personal leave of absence” while the matter is under investigation.  It will probably take the NFL a while to sort things out, but usually we find out that where there’s smoke, there’s fire with these types of matters.

The sad part?  The Broncos lost to the 49ers in London and currently have a record of 3-7.  At least the Patriots turned the tapes into victories.

Dez Bryant Owes Bryan McCann Dinner

Dez Bryant owes a teammate dinner, only this time it’s not for rookie hazing and unlikely to cost 55 grand. Bryant apparently owes fellow rookie Bryan McCann a meal because of a bet they had.

Bryant and McCann are the special teams returners for Dallas and they bet on who would score the first return touchdown. McCann accomplished the feat when he scooped up a punt and raced 97 yards past all the Detroit Lions in week 11.

The irony about the play is that Bryant was supposed to return the punt but he let it go because it was bouncing near the end zone. McCann came out of nowhere to grab the punt, catching the Lions players off guard.

I’m guessing this dinner shouldn’t cost more than a few hundred bucks. And after beating Detroit, I’m sure Dez would be happy to pay.

Titans Coach Mike Heimerdinger Undergoing Chemo for Cancer

A few days after the Titans had problems with quarterback Vince Young, an even bigger bomb was dropped on the franchise. Coach Jeff Fisher told the team Wednesday that offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger is sick and undergoing chemo therapy for cancer. We’re not sure how long he’s had cancer and what kind it is, but the news was learned by Fisher Wednesday and shared with the rest of the team.

It’s always difficult to deal with anytime someone is diagnosed with cancer and it’s truly unfortunate. I can’t help but be reminded of Eagles longtime defensive coordinator Jim Johnson who was diagnosed with melanoma and had to take a leave of absence from his job. Sadly, six months after the announcement, Johnson wound up dying. Let’s hope Heimerdinger responds well to his treatment and is able to beat his cancer. We know Vince Young will be pulling for him.

Captain Morgan’s NFL Thanksgiving Weekend Preview: Packers vs. Falcons

Make your Holiday legendary with Captain and Cola. Join the party on Facebook.

Why Should I Watch?

All Michael Vick talk aside, this weekend’s game between the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons will do a lot to determine who the team to beat is in the NFC.  The Falcons have won eight out of their last nine and the Packers’ defense has allowed only 10 points over the last three games.  This could definitely turn out to be the first of two games between these teams this season.

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LBS NFL Power Rankings Week 12

1. New England Patriots (8-2, –)

Back-to-back wins over the Steelers and Colts secure the Patriots’ standing as the team to beat in the NFL. Their defense is creating timely turnovers and their offense looks even better without Randy Moss. Their game against the Lions on Thanksgiving has trap game written all over it with the quick turnaround.

2. New York Jets (8-2, –)

The Jets may be the best team in the NFL at finding a way to win. They’ve played some below-average teams and haven’t been able to dominate many games, but they seem to find a way to come out on top. Their Week 13 match-up with the Patriots will probably be the biggest game of the year.

3. Atlanta Falcons (8-2, –)

The Falcons could be the NFL’s best kept secret. They’ve won four in a row, yet no one seems to be talking about them. I’m sure they don’t mind. They have the Packers at home this weekend in what could be a game that does a lot to determine playoff seeding down the road.

4. Philadelphia Eagles (7-3, –)

Michael Vick is undefeated in games where he has played all 60 minutes this season. He also hasn’t thrown a single interception. The fact that he’s able to make plays like he does without turning the ball over is mind blowing. If teams don’t figure out how to stop Vick, the Eagles can reserve their hotel in Arlington.

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