NFL Rumors 2017: LA Rams New Coach Odds Favor Jon Gruden And Josh McDaniels; Sean Payton Or Ron Rivera In Play Via Trade?

The NFL rumors surrounding who will become the new LA Rams coach this offseason is sparking a fire storm in terms of big names, but at this point who will end up in sunny Los Angeles as the new leader is anybody’s guess. All the big names have been thrown out there as possibilities, but it probably won’t be until after the Super Bowl until we know who will be the next Rams coach. The vogue picks at the moment are Jon Gruden and Josh McDaniels, but the list is much bigger than that. In fact, several gaming outlets are posting odds on who will be the next coach to take over the Rams, with Gruden leading the way. Jon Gruden rumors will only get stronger until someone is officially hired in LA. [Image by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images] The former Super Bowl winning coach made it sound like he was very interested in listening to what the Rams had to offer just a week or so ago, however, now the NY Post (Via ESPN Radio) reported a few days ago that Jon Gruden isn’t interested in the job, well “right now,” that is. “I love football. I’ve said that a million times, and I just want to say I’m very happy doing what I’m doing,” Gruden said. “There’s a lot of chips on the table. But right now, I have no intentions of coaching. I really enjoy what I’m doing and I feel like I’m really close to the fire. I’m getting plenty of satisfaction out of doing what I’m doing.” You can’t blame Gruden if he didn’t officially throw his hat into the ring. He has a great job and makes a ton of money doing Monday Night Football on ESPN. However, one thing that could change all of that is the desire to lead a team to a championship again. Certain coaches are wired that way, and Gruden seems to be one of them. He will be back on the sidelines one day, but where and when is anyone’s guess. If Gruden is an unrealistic choice, how about Josh McDaniels? McDaniels, the New England Patriots offensive coordinator, seems to be this year’s chic pick so far this season to be “that one coordinator” who will make the jump to a head coaching position. McDaniels has been highly successful at running offenses and he does have two years of head coaching experience with the Denver Broncos. McDaniels would inherit a young team in the Rams, but that might be just what could attract him to the job. If the Rams are still without a coach by Super Bowl Sunday, could they be working on trading for one? Before you think that could never happen, it already has. In fact, some of the best coaches in the game have been traded during their career. Bill Belichick was traded from the New York Jets to the New England Patriots back in 2000, and it is safe to say that may have been the best trade the Patriots ever made. Jon Gruden was also trade bait once. Gruden was dealt from the Oakland Raiders to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back in 2002. Gruden got the ultimate revenge when he led the Bucs over the Raiders in Super Bowl 37. Could the Rams be on the lookout for their new coach via a blockbuster trade? According to SB Nation, it could be possible. Sean Payton and Ron Rivera are two other names on the Rams wish list, however, they are both under contract, thus leaving the only option to get one of them is to work out a trade deal. Could Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints be traded to the LA Rams? [Image by Grant Halverson/Getty Images] Payton is a native of California and he would get a chance to work with a young quarterback in Jared Goff. Payton’s specialty is running the offense and working directly with quarterbacks. He helped mold a young Drew Brees, he may be able to do the same with Goff. Rivera, on the other hand, has gone from last season’s toast of the town to that coach who doesn’t know his job anymore. That’s sports for you. It is crazy how quickly you can fall from the penthouse to the outhouse. While trading for Payton or Rivera seems like a long shot now, it may become more of a realistic possibility when the NFL Draft gets closer. Speaking of odds, Oddshark has prop bets on who will be the new LA Rams coach in 2017. Gruden may say he is not interested, but he is still the Vegas favorite – for now that is. Here is a look at the possible new Rams head coaches and their current odds. Jon Gruden +150 Josh McDaniels +400 Kyle Shanahan +600 Sean Payton +800 Jim Bob Cooter +1000 Todd Haley +1000 David Shaw +1800 Anthony Lynn +2500 [Featured Image by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images]

Pittsburgh Steelers Rumors: Le'Veon Bell A Free Agent, Will He Receive Huge Contract From Steelers?

Pittsburgh Steelers rumors are already starting to revolve around Le’Veon Bell and his pending free agency. Bell is the MVP for the Steelers again this year, despite missing the first three games of the 2016 NFL season due to a suspension. That alone shows how important he is to the success, as well as the future, of the franchise. A report by ESPN was just released that has Bell stating he wants to remain with the Steelers. It’s not a surprising statement as the team prepares for the 2017 NFL Playoffs, but will the franchise offer him a long-term deal that satisfies Bell? “I want to be a Pittsburgh Steeler. We’re going to try to do whatever it takes to make that happen. That I haven’t even played the full season this year coming off injury and suspension and they still voted me the team’s MVP means everything in the world to me. Those guys know I’ve overcame a lot of obstacles, they know the things I went through with social media and people on the outside, whatever it was, overcoming my knee in training, I think those guys respect the way I handled myself over the course of this year.” Right now, Le’Veon Bell is saying all the right things, not only generating positive buzz with the Pittsburgh Steelers but also with fans and NFL analysts. It’s going to be a tricky situation when free agency begins and Bell is no longer under contract with the team. In four seasons and only 47 games with the Steelers, Bell has posted 4,045 rushing yards, 2,005 receiving yards, and 31 total touchdowns. That includes 227 receptions, giving the Steelers a huge weapon on offense. [Image by Joe Sargent/Getty Images] Though the life expectancy of an NFL running back isn’t very long, Le’Veon Bell won’t turn 25 until February. This nearly guarantees several more elite level years for Bell, which would be very helpful as the Steelers continue to compete against an improving AFC North division. Bell will likely get a spot on the AFC Pro Bowl team again this season as well, which could also add a few more dollars to his new contract. If the Steelers can make it deep into the 2017 NFL Playoffs and possibly even win another Super Bowl, his signing bonus might just go through the roof. That could be a huge component to the deal, as Bell has not made a lot of money in his NFL career when compared to the salaries of some of the other top running backs in the game. Coming out of college, Bell signed a four-year, $4,120,600 contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers. That included a $1,376,800 signing bonus, $2,276,800 in guaranteed money, and worked out to an average annual salary of $1,030,150. There are going to be a lot of Pittsburgh Steelers rumors about Bell and other players on the roster who are about to become free agents. For Bell, the team has a way to keep him on the roster, even if the two sides cannot come to terms on a new deal. The Steelers can apply the franchise tag to one player each NFL offseason and that would be a good move by the team if the only alternative is to lose Bell to another franchise. The franchise tag is typically frowned upon by many players, as most want a long-term deal and safety net, but it’s an advantageous move for NFL teams. It is thought that the franchise tag will be worth about $12.37 million for the 2017 NFL season. [Image by Andy Lyons/Getty Images] So how much would a player like Le’Veon Bell be worth on the open market? It’s possible that he could receive the richest contract offer for a running back in the history of the NFL. As previous Pittsburgh Steelers rumors have already hinted at, it’s also possible that the franchise could offer him a deal like that in order to lock him up long-term and present a lot of good will in the process. [Featured Image by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images]

Holiday Bowl Boycott Fails, Minnesota Prepares For Loss To WSU

A Holiday Bowl boycott by Minnesota in an effort to avoid playing WSU has failed. Now, the Washington State Cougars will show the Minnesota Golden Gophers how to play some college football on December 27. A report by the Associated Press revealed how the Minnesota players who were boycotting the suspensions of their teammates decided it was best to start distancing themselves from the controversy. Ten Minnesota players had been suspended following a university investigation into ual assault accusations. Four players were originally suspended for the first three games of the college football season after a woman accused the players of ual assault. She would later receive a settlement, and legal charges against the players were dropped. An investigation continued by the university, with the end result being the suspensions of 10 players from participating in the Holiday Bowl. That led to the boycott by their teammates. The 10 players who are suspended from playing in the Holiday Bowl are Ray Buford, Carlton Djam, KiAnte Hardin, Dior Johnson, Tamarion Johnson, Seth Green, Kobe McCrary, Antonio Chenault, Mark Williams, and Antoine Winfield Jr. Many of those players comprise the starting secondary for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, putting the team in a tenuous position against one of the best passing offenses in college football. NFL prospect and WSU starting quarterback Luke Falk could be looking at a huge day on the field. [Image Justin Edmonds/Getty Images] The ESPN matchup predictor gives the Washington State Cougars a 71 percent chance of winning the Holiday Bowl and improving to 9-4 on the season. WSU is favored by nine points in the game, with an over/under line of 61 points. Breaking down the odds for the matchup a bit further, WSU was 6-6 against the spread this year, while Minnesota was just 4-5-3. During the 2016 college football season, WSU lost its first two games against Eastern Washington and Boise State before winning eight straight. The winning streak included victories over Stanford, Oregon, and Arizona State. The team then ended up losing to highly-ranked Colorado and Washington to wrap up the regular season. Minnesota finished the season with an identical 8-4 record, losing to Penn State, Iowa, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. Notable wins for the team came against Northwestern, Purdue, and Maryland. The Gophers also lost their last regular season game, dropping into the Holiday Bowl with a 5-4 record inside the Big Ten standings. Minnesota had no impressive victories during the season, losing against every top opponent on the schedule. That does not bode well for the Gophers as they prepare to play an offense that ranked 19th in the nation. Can the Minnesota defense and special teams keep the game close enough to even be competitive in the second half? Does could this become a one-sided blowout that has Cougars fans cheering well into the spring and summer months? There is an argument to be made for Minnesota playing with “house money” in this game, as they are favored to lose by all college football analysts and knowledgeable fans. Missing 10 players who could have played roles in the Holiday Bowl game puts the team in a position where they have nothing to lose. When a loss is expected, a win could be that much sweeter for the fans of the Golden Gophers. [Image by William Mancebo/Getty Images] For the Washington State Cougars, this is an opportunity to put on a show for the national audience. It could be a huge recruiting tool, especially with the news that star quarterback Luke Falk is coming back to WSU for his senior season. Winning this game by blowing out the Golden Gophers could certainly bring a lot of positive attention to the football program, the coaching staff, and the players who are returning for the 2017 college football season. The Washington State vs. Minnesota Holiday Bowl is scheduled for 4 p.m. PT on December 27. ESPN will air the game for a national audience. [Featured Image by Dylan Buell/Getty Images]

Michael Carter-Williams Returns To The Chicago Bulls' Lineup To Give Them A Boost

Michael Carter-Williams is set to play his fourth game for the Chicago Bulls. Injuries have kept the guard out of the Bulls’ lineup so far. The Bulls could use Carter-Williams to solidify a few things in their rotation. Can Michael Carter-Williams be the boost to the Bulls’ lineup they so desperately need? Prior to Michael Carter-Williams injuring his knee (courtesy of CSN Chicago), he was optimistic about carving out a role for himself with the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls were 3-0 with him on the floor, and they started 11-7 overall before the slide began. Injuries were not supposed to be part of the plan. Carter-Williams was supposed to be making his case to be a long-term member of the Chicago Bulls, his third team in less than four seasons. The Bulls point guard acknowledged the road his career was taking before suffering from sprained knee. “I think the biggest thing for me is I’ve done some pretty good things in this league. I’ve shown what I can do in this league. I’ve had some unlucky bumps in the road, traded after winning rookie of the year, going to Milwaukee, which wasn’t the best situation for me.” No one truly knows how Carter-Williams fits in with the Chicago Bulls because he has missed 27 games. The Bulls are now 14-16. And they have looked terrible against athletic teams thus far in his absence. Just by having his athleticism and length on the floor has to be a plus. Michael Carter-Williams suffered a sprained knee just as he was integrating himself in the Chicago Bulls’ lineup. After missing 27 games, his return should give the Bulls a spark. [Image by Michael Reaves/Getty Images] Michael Carter-Williams can also help the Chicago Bulls with his defensive ability. One of the biggest reasons why the Bulls have struggled since their 11-7 start is defense. Opposing guards have penetrated through the Bulls’ units ad nauseam with no end in sight. While starting point guard Rajon Rondo has been solid getting the Bulls in a position to score, his defense is not what it used to be. An end result to that is opposing teams attacking the basket and testing the Bulls’ post defenders. Things would be different if the Bulls had an athletic shot-blocker manning the paint, but they do not. Robin Lopez is a good rim protector, but not having a player with the ability to alter shots from the weak side hurts. One of Michael Carter-Williams strengths is shot-blocking at the guard spot. His return against the Indiana Pacers (courtesy of ESPN) is not enough to get the Chicago Bulls over the hump, although he can steady the ship a little bit. Michael Carter-Williams is not the Chicago Bulls’ savior. The Bulls will be drastically improved with him coming back to the lineup. Carter-Williams will help the Bulls with a few subtleties. Having a lead guard with the second unit will help the Bulls rest Dwyane Wade for the long haul. Wade has played with the Bulls’ reserves throughout the season in an effort to give them a calming influence on the floor. If there are serious intentions on making the playoffs and advancing at least one round, that will have to cease. Wade’s heavy minutes should come in the latter stretches of the games, not the beginning. Michael Carter-Williams’ athleticism and length will help the Chicago Bulls defensively as a weak side presence from the guard spot. Defense is where the Bulls have struggled thus far. [Image by Michael Reaves/Getty Images] One hidden problem with the Chicago Bulls’ slide is their heavy reliance on the 34-year-old Dwyane Wade. No championships will be won this season by the Bulls. They want to win games, but player development should be important as well. Players not appearing in games, especially those who can help as the season winds down, will come back to haunt the Bulls. The return of Michael Carter-Williams helps in that area. Not only can he be entrusted with leading the second unit, Carter-Williams’ pass-first mentality will aide the struggling Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic. A possible second unit could include Carter-Williams, McDermott, Mirotic, Denzel Valentine, and either Bobby Portis or Cristiano Felicio. While it is a young lineup, getting them to work through the ebbs and flows of the game is imperative. Lastly, Michael Carter-Willams helps the Chicago Bulls in terms of future of the point guard position. Is he a starting lead guard on a playoff team? If so, the Bulls can decide to keep him and allocate their salary cap room elsewhere to address other concerns. Rajon Rondo is not future cog for the Bulls. Carter-Williams can prove that he is. Michael Carter-Williams’ return to the Chicago Bulls’ lineup will help in a couple of subtle ways, but his impact will be more long-term than in the interim. [Featured Image by Stacy Revere/Getty Images]

NBA Trade Rumors: Lakers, DeMarcus Cousins Would Be Improvement

The Los Angeles Lakers could use a better big man for not just this season, but for future seasons. One of the players who is rumored to be a target for the Lakers in the daily NBA trade rumors is DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings. Cousins and the Lakers isn’t as farfetched as it may seem. One reason is the Lakers have some young talent they could possibly trade, but another reason is the Lakers need a veteran presence, and Cousins is currently in his sixth NBA season. This season with the Kings, Cousins is averaging a double-double with 29.1 points per game and 10.6 rebounds per game. Those aren’t numbers to overlook at all, and with the Lakers in a current rebuild mode, adding a player like Cousins via trade would speed up that process. Cousins averages nearly 35 minutes per game, has played in 29 games and is shooting 45.6 percent this season. Those type of numbers are some of the reasons which make him a possible target to be involved in a trade with the Lakers or another NBA team. [Image by Michael Reaves/Getty Images] Most likely, if the Lakers gain any player in a trade before the deadline where they can build around, they’ll have to place D’Angelo Russell in a deal, especially for a player the caliber of Cousins. In a recent Forbes.com article with NBA trade rumors, the Lakers and Cousins were mentioned as Anthony DiMoro gave his thoughts on a possible deal: “Cousins has been linked to the Los Angeles Lakers for quite some time and the Lakers could give the Kings perhaps the best return on a trade. Sacramento would be wise to pry D’Angelo Russell from Los Angeles.” That opinion is agreeable and most likely something that would have to occur for Cousins to leave his current NBA team in California to become a members of the Lakers. One negative of Cousins for a possible trade to the Lakers is his off-the-court behavior, as it can be described as intense at times. Even with some of his antics away from the court, which recently included a spat with a reporter from a Sacramento newspaper, that can be overlooked for his body of work on the court. The Lakers have dealt with players who were intense before, and Cousins is still just 26 years old, so he has a lot of years left in the NBA. Cousins’ talent on the court is some of the best in the NBA. Take a look at his past nine games. The NBA superstar is still averaging 29.1 ppg. and in the month of December, he’s averaging 29.6 ppg. Looking at the Lakers, their power forwards include Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr. and Thomas Robinson. [Image by Harry How/Getty Images] Randle averages 12.8 ppg. in 28.8 minutes per game, while Robinson averages 11 mpg (3.2 ppg.) and Nance Jr. is averaging 7.0 ppg. in 22.4 mpg, as all three have played in over 20 games this season. As for Cousins, another NBA trade rumor has been him potentially being traded to the Boston Celtics, a historic postseason rival of the Lakers. Bill Simmons of The Ringer gave his take on how things would be if the Celtics were the team to make a trade for the power forward. Having Cousins in the NBA trade rumor talk is interesting to say the least, especially with the Lakers. If a wager were to be placed on the final outcome of a Cousins trade once the NBA trade deadline arrives, he’ll stay with the Kings. It would be better for him to get out of Sacramento and increase his status in the NBA with the Lakers, as he could be a good fit with their roster. As the 2016 calendar year ends and 2017 arrives, Cousins will still be with the Kings. It will take some sort of special deal for the Lakers to trade for Cousins. If the Lakers were able to trade for Cousins they could return to their past success sooner rather than later, which makes the NBA even better to watch for years to come. [Featured Image by Harry How/Getty Images]

Super Bowl 51 Odds & NFL Playoff Picture Update Week 17: Falcons Claim No. 2 Seed – Steelers, Chiefs Clinch, Raiders Odds After Carr Injury

The Super Bowl 51 odds and NFL playoff picture have changed once again after yet another wild weekend of NFL football. Week 16 saw last minute wins by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers and Cleveland Browns. Yes, it took 16 weeks, but the Browns have won a game! They aren’t in the postseason hunt, but the Browns deserve their props. They have played many games better than their 1-14 record indicates, but at least they have avoided the dreaded 0-16 possibility. Kansas City Chiefs fans have a lot to cheer about this December. [Image by Reed Hoffmann/Getty Images] With all the latest NFL results and playoff standings shifts, here is what we know and where we are at as of today. The Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots are officially the No. 1 seeds. Dallas sewed up the No. 1 spot in the NFC before even hitting the field for Week 16 as a result of the New York Giants falling to the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night. Can the Cowboys run the table and win Super Bowl 51 with a rookie running the show at quarterback and another at running back? Why not? The Cowboys have dominated everyone they played up to this point, outside of the Giants that is, and they have one of the best defenses in the NFC. The playoffs are a different animal though, so it will be interesting to see how the duo of Prescott and Elliot hold up as the postseason progresses. The Atlanta Falcons have leapfrogged the Seattle Seahawks to take over the all-important No. 2 seed in the NFC. Atlanta thrashed the Carolina Panthers 33-16 on Sunday afternoon, officially ending the Panthers playoff hopes to defend their NFC title. The Falcons win, compiled with the Seattle Seahawks losing to the Arizona Cardinals 34-31, has placed Atlanta in the driver’s seat to earning a first round bye and hosting one of the NFC division round games. As if losing to Arizona wasn’t bad enough, the Seahawks also lost rising star wideout Tyler Lockett for the season with a right leg injury. With the way Seattle has been inconsistent on offense, this is the last thing Pete Carroll and the Seahawks needed. Speaking of injuries, the biggest news of the weekend didn’t happen to be about which teams won or lost, but an injury that could hurt one team’s chances of making a run to the Super Bowl. According to a USA Today report, Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr will be out indefinitely after suffering a broken right fibula in the Oakland Raiders’ 33-25 win against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday afternoon. This is a huge blow for Oakland, who are currently one of the top favorites to win Super Bowl 51. Without Carr, who has thrown for nearly 4,000 yards and 28 touchdowns so far in 2016, Oakland will now be led by Matt McGloin for the rest of the season. Derek Carr’s injury will change Oakland’s odds to win Super Bowl 51. [Image by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images] While Oddsshark currently lists the Raiders at 12/1, those odds will surely change by the time Week 17 concludes next Sunday. With the Raiders MVP now on the sidelines, expect those odds to land near 20/1 or higher when the postseason begins. Below is a look at the up to date NFL playoff standings, current Super Bowl 51 odds, and first round matchups if the season ended today. AFC Conference New England Oakland Pittsburgh Houston Kansas City Miami Wild Card Round: Miami at Pittsburgh Kansas City at Houston NFC Conference Dallas Atlanta Detroit Seattle NY Giants Packers Wild Card Round: NY Giants at Seattle Green Bay at Detroit Super Bowl 51 Odds New England Patriots +220 Dallas Cowboys +500 Seattle Seahawks +550 Pittsburgh Steelers +1000 Oakland Raiders +1200 Green Bay Packers +1200 Kansas City Chiefs +1600 Atlanta Falcons +1600 New York Giants +1600 Detroit Lions +2500 Houston Texans +5000 Tampa Bay Buccaneers +6600 Miami Dolphins +7500 Washington Redskins +1000 [Featured Image by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images]

Super Bowl 51 Odds & NFL Playoff Picture Update Week 17: Falcons Claim No. 2 Seed – Steelers, Chiefs Clinch, Raiders Odds After Carr Injury

The Super Bowl 51 odds and NFL playoff picture have changed once again after yet another wild weekend of NFL football. Week 16 saw last minute wins by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers and Cleveland Browns. Yes, it took 16 weeks, but the Browns have won a game! They aren’t in the postseason hunt, but the Browns deserve their props. They have played many games better than their 1-14 record indicates, but at least they have avoided the dreaded 0-16 possibility. Kansas City Chiefs fans have a lot to cheer about this December. [Image by Reed Hoffmann/Getty Images] With all the latest NFL results and playoff standings shifts, here is what we know and where we are at as of today. The Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots are officially the No. 1 seeds. Dallas sewed up the No. 1 spot in the NFC before even hitting the field for Week 16 as a result of the New York Giants falling to the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night. Can the Cowboys run the table and win Super Bowl 51 with a rookie running the show at quarterback and another at running back? Why not? The Cowboys have dominated everyone they played up to this point, outside of the Giants that is, and they have one of the best defenses in the NFC. The playoffs are a different animal though, so it will be interesting to see how the duo of Prescott and Elliot hold up as the postseason progresses. The Atlanta Falcons have leapfrogged the Seattle Seahawks to take over the all-important No. 2 seed in the NFC. Atlanta thrashed the Carolina Panthers 33-16 on Sunday afternoon, officially ending the Panthers playoff hopes to defend their NFC title. The Falcons win, compiled with the Seattle Seahawks losing to the Arizona Cardinals 34-31, has placed Atlanta in the driver’s seat to earning a first round bye and hosting one of the NFC division round games. As if losing to Arizona wasn’t bad enough, the Seahawks also lost rising star wideout Tyler Lockett for the season with a right leg injury. With the way Seattle has been inconsistent on offense, this is the last thing Pete Carroll and the Seahawks needed. Speaking of injuries, the biggest news of the weekend didn’t happen to be about which teams won or lost, but an injury that could hurt one team’s chances of making a run to the Super Bowl. According to a USA Today report, Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr will be out indefinitely after suffering a broken right fibula in the Oakland Raiders’ 33-25 win against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday afternoon. This is a huge blow for Oakland, who are currently one of the top favorites to win Super Bowl 51. Without Carr, who has thrown for nearly 4,000 yards and 28 touchdowns so far in 2016, Oakland will now be led by Matt McGloin for the rest of the season. Derek Carr’s injury will change Oakland’s odds to win Super Bowl 51. [Image by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images] While Oddsshark currently lists the Raiders at 12/1, those odds will surely change by the time Week 17 concludes next Sunday. With the Raiders MVP now on the sidelines, expect those odds to land near 20/1 or higher when the postseason begins. Below is a look at the up to date NFL playoff standings, current Super Bowl 51 odds, and first round matchups if the season ended today. AFC Conference New England Oakland Pittsburgh Houston Kansas City Miami Wild Card Round: Miami at Pittsburgh Kansas City at Houston NFC Conference Dallas Atlanta Detroit Seattle NY Giants Packers Wild Card Round: NY Giants at Seattle Green Bay at Detroit Super Bowl 51 Odds New England Patriots +220 Dallas Cowboys +500 Seattle Seahawks +550 Pittsburgh Steelers +1000 Oakland Raiders +1200 Green Bay Packers +1200 Kansas City Chiefs +1600 Atlanta Falcons +1600 New York Giants +1600 Detroit Lions +2500 Houston Texans +5000 Tampa Bay Buccaneers +6600 Miami Dolphins +7500 Washington Redskins +1000 [Featured Image by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images]

NBA Trade Rumors: Lakers, DeMarcus Cousins Would Be Improvement

The Los Angeles Lakers could use a better big man for not just this season, but for future seasons. One of the players who is rumored to be a target for the Lakers in the daily NBA trade rumors is DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings. Cousins and the Lakers isn’t as farfetched as it may seem. One reason is the Lakers have some young talent they could possibly trade, but another reason is the Lakers need a veteran presence, and Cousins is currently in his sixth NBA season. This season with the Kings, Cousins is averaging a double-double with 29.1 points per game and 10.6 rebounds per game. Those aren’t numbers to overlook at all, and with the Lakers in a current rebuild mode, adding a player like Cousins via trade would speed up that process. Cousins averages nearly 35 minutes per game, has played in 29 games and is shooting 45.6 percent this season. Those type of numbers are some of the reasons which make him a possible target to be involved in a trade with the Lakers or another NBA team. [Image by Michael Reaves/Getty Images] Most likely, if the Lakers gain any player in a trade before the deadline where they can build around, they’ll have to place D’Angelo Russell in a deal, especially for a player the caliber of Cousins. In a recent Forbes.com article with NBA trade rumors, the Lakers and Cousins were mentioned as Anthony DiMoro gave his thoughts on a possible deal: “Cousins has been linked to the Los Angeles Lakers for quite some time and the Lakers could give the Kings perhaps the best return on a trade. Sacramento would be wise to pry D’Angelo Russell from Los Angeles.” That opinion is agreeable and most likely something that would have to occur for Cousins to leave his current NBA team in California to become a members of the Lakers. One negative of Cousins for a possible trade to the Lakers is his off-the-court behavior, as it can be described as intense at times. Even with some of his antics away from the court, which recently included a spat with a reporter from a Sacramento newspaper, that can be overlooked for his body of work on the court. The Lakers have dealt with players who were intense before, and Cousins is still just 26 years old, so he has a lot of years left in the NBA. Cousins’ talent on the court is some of the best in the NBA. Take a look at his past nine games. The NBA superstar is still averaging 29.1 ppg. and in the month of December, he’s averaging 29.6 ppg. Looking at the Lakers, their power forwards include Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr. and Thomas Robinson. [Image by Harry How/Getty Images] Randle averages 12.8 ppg. in 28.8 minutes per game, while Robinson averages 11 mpg (3.2 ppg.) and Nance Jr. is averaging 7.0 ppg. in 22.4 mpg, as all three have played in over 20 games this season. As for Cousins, another NBA trade rumor has been him potentially being traded to the Boston Celtics, a historic postseason rival of the Lakers. Bill Simmons of The Ringer gave his take on how things would be if the Celtics were the team to make a trade for the power forward. Having Cousins in the NBA trade rumor talk is interesting to say the least, especially with the Lakers. If a wager were to be placed on the final outcome of a Cousins trade once the NBA trade deadline arrives, he’ll stay with the Kings. It would be better for him to get out of Sacramento and increase his status in the NBA with the Lakers, as he could be a good fit with their roster. As the 2016 calendar year ends and 2017 arrives, Cousins will still be with the Kings. It will take some sort of special deal for the Lakers to trade for Cousins. If the Lakers were able to trade for Cousins they could return to their past success sooner rather than later, which makes the NBA even better to watch for years to come. [Featured Image by Harry How/Getty Images]

Michael Carter-Williams Returns To The Chicago Bulls' Lineup To Give Them A Boost

Michael Carter-Williams is set to play his fourth game for the Chicago Bulls. Injuries have kept the guard out of the Bulls’ lineup so far. The Bulls could use Carter-Williams to solidify a few things in their rotation. Can Michael Carter-Williams be the boost to the Bulls’ lineup they so desperately need? Prior to Michael Carter-Williams injuring his knee (courtesy of CSN Chicago), he was optimistic about carving out a role for himself with the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls were 3-0 with him on the floor, and they started 11-7 overall before the slide began. Injuries were not supposed to be part of the plan. Carter-Williams was supposed to be making his case to be a long-term member of the Chicago Bulls, his third team in less than four seasons. The Bulls point guard acknowledged the road his career was taking before suffering from sprained knee. “I think the biggest thing for me is I’ve done some pretty good things in this league. I’ve shown what I can do in this league. I’ve had some unlucky bumps in the road, traded after winning rookie of the year, going to Milwaukee, which wasn’t the best situation for me.” No one truly knows how Carter-Williams fits in with the Chicago Bulls because he has missed 27 games. The Bulls are now 14-16. And they have looked terrible against athletic teams thus far in his absence. Just by having his athleticism and length on the floor has to be a plus. Michael Carter-Williams suffered a sprained knee just as he was integrating himself in the Chicago Bulls’ lineup. After missing 27 games, his return should give the Bulls a spark. [Image by Michael Reaves/Getty Images] Michael Carter-Williams can also help the Chicago Bulls with his defensive ability. One of the biggest reasons why the Bulls have struggled since their 11-7 start is defense. Opposing guards have penetrated through the Bulls’ units ad nauseam with no end in sight. While starting point guard Rajon Rondo has been solid getting the Bulls in a position to score, his defense is not what it used to be. An end result to that is opposing teams attacking the basket and testing the Bulls’ post defenders. Things would be different if the Bulls had an athletic shot-blocker manning the paint, but they do not. Robin Lopez is a good rim protector, but not having a player with the ability to alter shots from the weak side hurts. One of Michael Carter-Williams strengths is shot-blocking at the guard spot. His return against the Indiana Pacers (courtesy of ESPN) is not enough to get the Chicago Bulls over the hump, although he can steady the ship a little bit. Michael Carter-Williams is not the Chicago Bulls’ savior. The Bulls will be drastically improved with him coming back to the lineup. Carter-Williams will help the Bulls with a few subtleties. Having a lead guard with the second unit will help the Bulls rest Dwyane Wade for the long haul. Wade has played with the Bulls’ reserves throughout the season in an effort to give them a calming influence on the floor. If there are serious intentions on making the playoffs and advancing at least one round, that will have to cease. Wade’s heavy minutes should come in the latter stretches of the games, not the beginning. Michael Carter-Williams’ athleticism and length will help the Chicago Bulls defensively as a weak side presence from the guard spot. Defense is where the Bulls have struggled thus far. [Image by Michael Reaves/Getty Images] One hidden problem with the Chicago Bulls’ slide is their heavy reliance on the 34-year-old Dwyane Wade. No championships will be won this season by the Bulls. They want to win games, but player development should be important as well. Players not appearing in games, especially those who can help as the season winds down, will come back to haunt the Bulls. The return of Michael Carter-Williams helps in that area. Not only can he be entrusted with leading the second unit, Carter-Williams’ pass-first mentality will aide the struggling Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic. A possible second unit could include Carter-Williams, McDermott, Mirotic, Denzel Valentine, and either Bobby Portis or Cristiano Felicio. While it is a young lineup, getting them to work through the ebbs and flows of the game is imperative. Lastly, Michael Carter-Willams helps the Chicago Bulls in terms of future of the point guard position. Is he a starting lead guard on a playoff team? If so, the Bulls can decide to keep him and allocate their salary cap room elsewhere to address other concerns. Rajon Rondo is not future cog for the Bulls. Carter-Williams can prove that he is. Michael Carter-Williams’ return to the Chicago Bulls’ lineup will help in a couple of subtle ways, but his impact will be more long-term than in the interim. [Featured Image by Stacy Revere/Getty Images]

Holiday Bowl Boycott Fails, Minnesota Prepares For Loss To WSU

A Holiday Bowl boycott by Minnesota in an effort to avoid playing WSU has failed. Now, the Washington State Cougars will show the Minnesota Golden Gophers how to play some college football on December 27. A report by the Associated Press revealed how the Minnesota players who were boycotting the suspensions of their teammates decided it was best to start distancing themselves from the controversy. Ten Minnesota players had been suspended following a university investigation into ual assault accusations. Four players were originally suspended for the first three games of the college football season after a woman accused the players of ual assault. She would later receive a settlement, and legal charges against the players were dropped. An investigation continued by the university, with the end result being the suspensions of 10 players from participating in the Holiday Bowl. That led to the boycott by their teammates. The 10 players who are suspended from playing in the Holiday Bowl are Ray Buford, Carlton Djam, KiAnte Hardin, Dior Johnson, Tamarion Johnson, Seth Green, Kobe McCrary, Antonio Chenault, Mark Williams, and Antoine Winfield Jr. Many of those players comprise the starting secondary for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, putting the team in a tenuous position against one of the best passing offenses in college football. NFL prospect and WSU starting quarterback Luke Falk could be looking at a huge day on the field. [Image Justin Edmonds/Getty Images] The ESPN matchup predictor gives the Washington State Cougars a 71 percent chance of winning the Holiday Bowl and improving to 9-4 on the season. WSU is favored by nine points in the game, with an over/under line of 61 points. Breaking down the odds for the matchup a bit further, WSU was 6-6 against the spread this year, while Minnesota was just 4-5-3. During the 2016 college football season, WSU lost its first two games against Eastern Washington and Boise State before winning eight straight. The winning streak included victories over Stanford, Oregon, and Arizona State. The team then ended up losing to highly-ranked Colorado and Washington to wrap up the regular season. Minnesota finished the season with an identical 8-4 record, losing to Penn State, Iowa, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. Notable wins for the team came against Northwestern, Purdue, and Maryland. The Gophers also lost their last regular season game, dropping into the Holiday Bowl with a 5-4 record inside the Big Ten standings. Minnesota had no impressive victories during the season, losing against every top opponent on the schedule. That does not bode well for the Gophers as they prepare to play an offense that ranked 19th in the nation. Can the Minnesota defense and special teams keep the game close enough to even be competitive in the second half? Does could this become a one-sided blowout that has Cougars fans cheering well into the spring and summer months? There is an argument to be made for Minnesota playing with “house money” in this game, as they are favored to lose by all college football analysts and knowledgeable fans. Missing 10 players who could have played roles in the Holiday Bowl game puts the team in a position where they have nothing to lose. When a loss is expected, a win could be that much sweeter for the fans of the Golden Gophers. [Image by William Mancebo/Getty Images] For the Washington State Cougars, this is an opportunity to put on a show for the national audience. It could be a huge recruiting tool, especially with the news that star quarterback Luke Falk is coming back to WSU for his senior season. Winning this game by blowing out the Golden Gophers could certainly bring a lot of positive attention to the football program, the coaching staff, and the players who are returning for the 2017 college football season. The Washington State vs. Minnesota Holiday Bowl is scheduled for 4 p.m. PT on December 27. ESPN will air the game for a national audience. [Featured Image by Dylan Buell/Getty Images]