Darnold wins game, Rosen wins QB battle in UCLA-USC – NFL.com

LOS ANGELES — NFL scouts had Saturday’s UCLA-USC game circled on the calendar all the way back in the summer. We knew back then that the matchup between Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen would be must-see viewing for league evaluators, and I was there, along with reps from 20 NFL teams, to watch arguably the top 2 quarterbacks in college football in person.

Both QBs really struggled to establish a rhythm on Saturday, but Darnold’s Trojans came out on top, 28-23.

Here are 5 takeaways on Darnold and Rosen after watching them in the most anticipated QB matchup of the season.

1. Darnold won the game Saturday, but Rosen won the QB battle. On this night, Rosen (32 of 52 for 421 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT) was clearly the more impressive guy. Rosen showed everything as a passer that a scout would want to see. He showed deep-ball touch, drive velocity and toughness inside the pocket. It seems weird to say this because there weren’t a lot of points in this game, but Rosen put on somewhat of a QB clinic on Saturday.

No matter where scouts stood on Rosen coming into this game, I think they probably left with a stronger impression of what he can do.

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2. I still view Darnold as the better prospect. I came into this game thinking both Darnold and Rosen are really good players, but I had Darnold ranked ahead of Rosen. I’m not going to change where I stand on that topic based off a single viewing of this game.

I still saw a lot of good things from Darnold, even though his stat line was not impressive (17 of 28 for 264 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT; 1 rushing TD).

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Northwestern experience latest reason why college more compelling than NFL – Chicago Tribune

Every college football team needs a guy like Northwestern strength coach Alex Spanos, the human can of Red Bull who understands real strength on Saturdays comes from building camaraderie that can be even more powerful than massive pecs.

In rainy 40-degree temperatures and winds gusting like a Scottish gale Saturday at Ryan Field, Spanos wore a short-sleeve purple shirt on the Northwestern sidelines that suggested he was more brawn than brains. If you think the Big Ten Network cameras loved Spanos and his bare, muscular arms during Northwestern’s 39-0 throttling of Minnesota, you should have seen the way Wildcats players responded to his encouragement after every series as he stayed warm bouncing around the sideline.

“Our secret sauce,’’ Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said of Spanos, one of five strength and conditioning coaches he sincerely values as much as any staff member.

On a delightfully miserable day for anything except a nap, Northwestern ignored the elements and obliterated Minnesota in the Wildcats’ most dominant performance over a Big Ten opponent in recent memory.

“Blue-collar Chicago football,’’ Fitzgerald said.

The workmanlike Wildcats grinded out 277 yards rushing, which included 166 on 31 carries from Justin Jackson, whom Fitzgerald called “a once-in-a-coaching-lifetime type of young man.’’ They shut out a Minnesota offense coming off a 54-point, 409-rushing yard game against Nebraska. They coaxed Gopher quarterback Demry Croft into completing more passes to Northwestern defenders (three) than Minnesota receivers (two) without turning over the ball themselves. The team that hasn’t lost in 42 days came prepared to give Northwestern its first six-game winning streak since 1996, when Fitzgerald wore No. 51 instead of a headset.

“I just still remember the one we lost (after seven straight victories),’’ Fitzgerald said of his senior season 21 years ago.

The sun shines every day in Fitzgerald’s

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NFL's many woes led by quality of play, especially at QB – The San Diego Union-Tribune

Sez Me …

Everyone seems to know what’s wrong with the NFL. Except the NFL. Hard to see with heads stuck in a massive pile of currency.

We’ve heard excuses stretching from Park Avenue to the Costa Mesa Lima Bean Farm.

The Trump campaign. Injuries. CTE. Anthem-kneeling. Oversaturation. Bad game experience. Expense of attending. Drugs. Domestic violence. Franchise shifts. Colin Kaepernick’s blackballing. Cable-cutting. Jerry Jones’ ripping hair pull with his brethren.

Each may blend into this stew’s stew. But the main ingredient is not even semi-nebulous to me.

Roger Goodell and those bosses who still talk to him (and those who don’t) won’t admit it. But the problem is product. A direct result of a lack of practice and quarterbacks. Outstanding football is not being provided.

The NFL’s overall product stinks and it’s obvious many Americans don’t want to be sold rotten goods.

Ratings may have fallen, but The League is not out. Numbers should be down. Why watch something unappealing, something not put together well? Players can’t block and tackle because they can’t practice it and haven’t learned how in college.

Football has become a play that can’t be rehearsed properly.

But there’s still the gambler. Gamblers don’t care about protests or lousy performances. They just want action.

The real reason for all this is behind center. There simply aren’t many great quarterbacks now.

There are few. And getting fewer.

It very much — overwhelmingly — remains a quarterback game.

Houston lost DeShaun Watson and is finished. Green Bay lost Aaron Rodgers and is, well, lost.

How many elite quarterbacks are there now? Tom Brady, like George Clooney, doesn’t count, but he can’t play forever. Eli Manning looks finished. Drew Brees remains terrific and Philip Rivers still has moments, despite an awful offensive line that limits him. Ben

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NJ bar that turned off NFL games to honor vets will continue boycott – NJ.com

FARMINGDALE — The bar that decided to boycott NFL games last weekend in honor of Veterans Day Weekend has decided to extend its blackout until football players stop their protest of police brutality during the national anthem.

Woody’s Roadside Tavern in Farmingdale said on its Facebook page it was continuing its protest of the NFL until every player stood during the anthem. 

“We have decided to continue to stand with our military moving forward and not show the NFL games at Woody’s until ALL the players stand to honor our anthem and flag,” Woody’s wrote on its page. 

Woody’s held a fundraiser for veterans last Sunday instead of showing the games. More than $8,000 was raised, according to their Facebook page. 

Co-owner of Woody’s told NJ Advance Media last week the idea came from a customer who was a veteran and upset by players taking a knee during the anthem.

“They’re 100 percent behind the right to protest, that’s one of the greatest thing about our country but they just feel like (the players) take the national anthem, our flag, to a whole other level,” co-owner Rob Johnson previously said. “If you want to protest, that’s fine. But veterans hold (the flag) in such a revered place in their hearts.”

Calls to the bar on Saturday went unanswered. A message left for the bar owners was not immediately returned. 

Karen Yi may be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @karen_yi or on Facebook

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NFL picks against the spread 2017, Week 11: Good bets on crappy games – SB Nation

This is a pretty tough week to pick games. For two reasons.

First, there are actually some games between good, evenly matched teams, including what just might be the best game of the week, the Rams at the Vikings. Both teams boast a top-flight defense, surprisingly explosive offenses and a rightful spot in the upper echelon of NFC teams.

And then there are games between two terrible teams. Who’s not looking forward to a thrilling matchup between Blaine Gabbert and Tom Savage! And don’t forget the Brock Osweiler versus Andy Dalton affair in Denver. At least Dalton is the same QB the Bengals started the season with, for some reason.

Get hype!

Same rules as usual. Home teams are in all caps. Odds information comes to us via the good people at OddsShark.

Obvious picks

Jaguars (-7.5) over BROWNS

The only question here is whether or not the Jags defense really can pitch a shutout against the Browns.

Chiefs (-10.5) over GIANTS

As bad as the Giants are — and they are TERRIBLE — if they had Odell Beckham this week, I’d think they would actually have a chance against the Chiefs’ pass defense, which is Kansas City’s Achilles heel. But they don’t. They have a bunch of veterans who may or may not have quit on head coach Ben McAdoo. That, and a whole bunch of other problems that are likely to result in the whole damn team getting blown up after the season.

Patriots (-7) over Raiders

I had such high hopes for the Raiders this year. And maybe they can still pull it together. The AFC is not very good, so every mediocre team has a chance. That fact also means the Patriots, in a year where they started off looking vulnerable, once again get an easy

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