Pineda tossed for pine tar; Red Sox beat Yanks 5-1 (Yahoo Sports) - Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was ejected for using a foreign substance less than two weeks after appearing to get away with it in another game against Boston, and the Red Sox beat New York 5-1 on Wednesday night. The right-hander was thrown out in the second inning when plate umpire Gerry Davis found a shiny substance on the right side of Pineda's neck after Red Sox manager John Farrell asked him to check. Pineda walked from the mound without protest. ''Our awareness was heightened, given what we had seen in the past.'' Pineda (2-2) had nothing on the right side of his neck in a photo of him on the mound in his tough first inning, when four of the first six batters reached on hits. Mavs roll past Spurs 113-92, even series at 1-1 (Yahoo Sports) - SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Monta Ellis scored 21 points and the Dallas Mavericks rolled to a 113-92 victory over San Antonio on Wednesday night, snapping a 10-game skid against the Spurs and evening their first-round series at a game apiece. Dubinsky, Foligno lift CBJ to 1st home playoff win (Yahoo Sports) - Brandon Dubinsky scored with 22.5 seconds left in regulation to force overtime and Nick Foligno's wrist shot just inside the blue line 2:49 into the extra session gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night. The Blue Jackets overcame a 3-0 deficit for their first home playoff victory in the franchise's 13 seasons, sending the series back to Pittsburgh for Game 5 on Saturday night tied 2-2. Craig Adams, Chris Kunitz, James Neal scored in a span of 5:01 of the first period to stake the Penguins to a 3-0 lead. Heat go up 2-0, hold off Bobcats 101-97 (Yahoo Sports) - LeBron James scored 32 points and added eight assists, Chris Bosh scored 20 points and the Miami Heat held on to beat the Charlotte Bobcats 101-97 on Wednesday night to take a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series. Dwyane Wade scored 15 points, and had a steal in the final seconds to help seal the win for Miami. Mario Chalmers added 11 for the Heat. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 22 points for Charlotte, which got 18 points and 13 rebounds from Al Jefferson, who played through a left plantar fascia strain and shot 9 for 23 from the floor. Wild's Matt Cooke gets 7-game suspension from NHL (Yahoo Sports) - ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Minnesota Wild left wing Matt Cooke has been suspended for seven games by the NHL for a knee-to-knee hit that injured Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie. Blues C Backes scratched for Game 4 (Yahoo Sports) - St. Louis center David Backes was scratched Wednesday night for Game 4 of the Blues' first-round playoff series against the Chicago Blackhawks due to an upper-body injury. Backes did not participate in St. Louis' morning skate, but coach Ken Hitchcock did not rule him out for the game. The final word came when Backes was on the list of scratches on the pregame roster report. Forward Brenden Morrow also was scratched after Hitchcock said earlier in the day that he would miss the rest of the series. Yanks pitcher Pineda ejected for substance on neck (Yahoo Sports) - New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was ejected from a game against the Boston Red Sox in the second inning Wednesday night after umpires found a foreign substance on his neck. Pineda's ejection occurred 13 days after the right-hander had brown goo on the lower part of the palm of his pitching hand during a 4-1 win over Boston at Yankee Stadium. But with two outs, no runners and a 1-2 count on Grady Sizemore on Wednesday, Farrell left the dugout to talk with plate umpire Gerry Davis, who went to the mound. Davis touched the right side of the pitcher's neck with his index finger then ejected Pineda as other umpires and Yankee infielders stood nearby. Seahawks to open NFL season vs. Packers (Yahoo Sports) - NEW YORK (AP) -- As Super Bowl champions, the Seattle Seahawks get to kick off the NFL's regular season by hosting the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 4. Ducks without captain Getzlaf, Selanne in Game 4 (Yahoo Sports) - DALLAS (AP) -- Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf is out of Game 4 against the Dallas Stars because of an upper-body injury. Padres' Josh Johnson to undergo 2nd elbow surgery (Yahoo Sports) - San Diego Padres starter Josh Johnson is scheduled to undergo elbow ligament-replacement surgery for the second time and will miss the entire season. He strained his elbow during spring training and the Padres initially thought he would be out about one month. He was examined after the lastest setback by Dr. James Andrews, who performed Tommy John surgery on Johnson in 2007. You know Josh Johnson has been banged up the last couple of years.

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2014 NFL schedule: Steelers, Cowboys, Colts dominate lineup on Sunday and Monday night [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 23, 2014, 9:04 pm]
The NFL has a lot of television network partners to keep happy, and that job got more difficult when CBS was given a package of Thursday night games this season. The league for years used "Monday Night Football" to show its highlight game each week, but when NBC landed "Sunday Night Football" and ESPN went to Monday night, the league puts its best games on Sunday night. This year NFL needs to make sure CBS and FOX were happy with their regular Sunday schedules, give CBS some good games for Thursday night, and still make "Sunday Night Football" and "Monday Night Football" must-watch events. That's not easy. The NFL placated NBC and ESPN this week, a day before the schedule was released. ESPN was given a wild-card playoff game. A divisional playoff game was added to NBC's schedule through 2022. That move made it seem like the Monday and Sunday night schedule in 2014 might be watered down a bit. Shutdown Corner's Anwar Richardson and Frank Schwab will take a look at the Sunday and Monday night games, week by week, and see how entertaining the prime-time schedule will be this season: WEEK 1Sunday: Indianapolis Colts at Denver BroncosMonday: N.Y. Giants at Detroit Lions; San Diego Chargers at Arizona Cardinals Frank’s take: Very nice Sunday night game. The Giants have improved and the Lions are entertaining. I wouldn't have thought this a year ago, but Chargers-Cardinals isn't bad at all for the second part of the doubleheader. Anwar’s take: NFL fans have been craving football for months. It really does not matter what games are rolled out on in Week 1. We will watch every minute of each game. Verdict: Stay up, call in sick on Monday ... and then again on Tuesday. WEEK 2Sunday: Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ersMonday: Philadelphia Eagles at Indianapolis Colts Frank’s take: That Sunday game is interesting; pretty good test for Marc Trestman's Bears offense. And two up-and-coming teams on Monday night. Two thumbs up. Anwar’s take: Nick Foles vs. Andrew Luck? Fi

2014 NFL schedule: NFL's partnership with CBS leads to better Thursday night games [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 23, 2014, 7:08 pm]
Thursday night football has traditionally been similar to holding out a cup of water for a marathon runner – they are desperate for anything to quench their thirst. The NFL knows their fans are desperate for football, and mediocre primetime matchups were traditionally scheduled on Thursday night. It is usually the one time of year Jacksonville, Buffalo, Oakland and St. Louis can enjoy the national spotlight despite. However, the NFL partnered with CBS to produce and television seven early-season games on Thursdays, while the NFL Network will have seven late-season games. Fourteen games will be played on Thursday, with two late-season games taking place on Saturday, and this year’s schedule is banking on division rivalries to add more spice to the lineup. Green Bay will kick off the season on the road against Seattle on September 4 in Week 1. That game will be televised on NBC, and Seattle defend its Super Bowl title against Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Pittsburgh will play on the road against the Baltimore Ravens on September 11 in Week 2. Baltimore was forced to play its first game of last season on the road against Denver after a Super Bowl victory, but the Ravens were given two consecutive home games to start this season. Most NFL coaches prefer not to play a divisional game early in the season, but Pittsburgh and Baltimore will kick off its AFC North rivalry after one regular season game. Green Bay’s home game against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 5 marks the first week a team from last year’s playoffs appears on CBS. The last matchup between Green Bay and Minnesota at Lambeau Field in Week 12 in 2013 ended in a tie (26-26). New England will host the New York Jets in Week 7, which should feature a battle between Tom Brady against Geno Smith or Michael Vick. New York is expected to determine its starter during the preseason as coach Rex Ryan faces a do-or-die season. If Ryan’s team starts off slow, this game could determine his future in New York.

2014 NFL schedule: League's partnership with CBS leads to better Thursday night games [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 23, 2014, 7:08 pm]
"Thursday Night Football" has traditionally been similar to holding out a cup of water for a marathon runner – they are desperate for anything to quench their thirst. The NFL knows its fans are desperate for football, and mediocre primetime matchups were traditionally scheduled on Thursday night. It is usually the one time of year struggling teams like Jacksonville, Buffalo, Oakland and St. Louis can enjoy the national spotlight. The league must have figured it's football, and you're going to watch no matter who is playing. However, that changed a bit this year after the NFL partnered with CBS to produce and televise seven games on Thursdays over the first half of the season. The NFL Network, which will simulcast the CBS Thursday games, will have seven late-season Thursday games all to itself. Also, two late-season games take place on Saturday, and this year’s schedule is banking on division rivalries to add more spice to the lineup. Green Bay will kick off the season on the road against Seattle on Sept. 4 in Week 1. That game will be televised on NBC with the Seahawks opening defense of their Super Bowl title against Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. While the Thursday opener has long featured the defending champion, the ensuing slate of Thursday games had been hit and miss. However, that slate has been upgraded. Pittsburgh will play on the road against the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 11 in Week 2. Baltimore was forced to play its first game of last season on the road against Denver after a Super Bowl victory, but the Ravens were given two consecutive home games to start this season. Most NFL coaches don't like playing a divisional game early in the season, but Pittsburgh and Baltimore will kick off its AFC North rivalry after one regular-season game. Green Bay’s home game against the Vikings in Week 5 marks the first week a team from last year’s playoffs appears on CBS' Thursday night slate. The last matchup between Green Bay and Minnesota at Lambeau Field

2014 NFL schedule: League's deal with CBS leads to better Thursday night games [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 23, 2014, 7:08 pm]
"Thursday Night Football" has traditionally been similar to holding out a cup of water for a marathon runner – they are desperate for anything to quench their thirst. The NFL knows its fans are desperate for football, and mediocre primetime matchups were traditionally scheduled on Thursday night. It is usually the one time of year struggling teams like Jacksonville, Buffalo, Oakland and St. Louis can enjoy the national spotlight. The league must have figured it's football, and you're going to watch no matter who is playing. However, that changed a bit this year after the NFL partnered with CBS to produce and televise seven games on Thursdays over the first half of the season. The NFL Network, which will simulcast the CBS Thursday games, will have seven late-season Thursday games all to itself. Also, two late-season games take place on Saturday, and this year’s schedule is banking on division rivalries to add more spice to the lineup. Green Bay will kick off the season on the road against Seattle on Sept. 4 in Week 1. That game will be televised on NBC with the Seahawks opening defense of their Super Bowl title against Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. While the Thursday opener has long featured the defending champion, the ensuing slate of Thursday games had been hit and miss. However, that slate has been upgraded. Pittsburgh will play on the road against the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 11 in Week 2. Baltimore was forced to play its first game of last season on the road against Denver after a Super Bowl victory, but the Ravens were given two consecutive home games to start this season. Most NFL coaches don't like playing a divisional game early in the season, but Pittsburgh and Baltimore will kick off its AFC North rivalry after one regular-season game. Green Bay’s home game against the Vikings in Week 5 marks the first week a team from last year’s playoffs appears on CBS' Thursday night slate. The last matchup between Green Bay and Minnesota at Lambeau Field

2014 NFL schedule: What are the best games each week of the season? [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 23, 2014, 6:55 pm]
People get jacked for the release of the NFL schedule. So do we. And though lots will change — even before we get to training camp — there are some definite must-see games on the schedule. Our challenge? Narrowing it down to one key one per week. Here goes nothing: Week 1 Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks C'mon. It's the season opener. Even with quality games elsewhere on the schedule — including Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos hosting his former team, the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night — you can't go away from this one. Props to the NFL for pitting the Seahawks and Packers, combatants in one of the league's most controversial games in recent seasons, and not backing down from that talk. That's a bit uncharacteristic of the league. Week 2 Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens The NFL wasn't going to give CBS, which paid a fortune for the Thursday night package, a dud game. Sure, maybe this hasn't been the epic rivalry it was, say, 4-5 years ago, but there is no love lost between these two hard-nosed clubs. There's no added or especial juice to the rivalry this time around, just your garden-variety hatred — and a solid content between two talented teams that should compete for the AFC North crown. Week 3 Broncos at Seahawks  Look, we easily could have picked DeSean Jackson and his new Washington Redskins team heading up to face his former club, the Philadelphia Eagles. But who moves the needle more than Manning and a Super Bowl rematch in Seattle? The question on everyone's minds: If it was 43-8 Seahawks on a neutral field, what will it be with the 12th Man in the house? What could make it more interesting are Denver's defensive additions, led by DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward. The Broncos will be seeking whatever revenge there is to be gotten from a regular-season game, and the Seahawks will seek to pummel them once again. Fun stuff. Week 4 Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears A rematch of the NFC North-deciding game in Week 17 at S

NFL Schedule: Thanksgiving will be an NFC party, with a some great games [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 23, 2014, 6:20 pm]
It's been a while since every Thanksgiving NFL game was a great matchup. There's always a dud. Not this year. By making a tweak with the networks, the NFL guaranteed three tremendous matchups, and it will be all NFC teams. The day starts with Chicago at Detroit, followed by Philadelphia at Dallas and capped off by the big one, Seattle at San Francisco, a rematch of the NFC championship game and one of the top few games on the entire NFL regular-season schedule. That is the best Thanksgiving schedule, top to bottom, in many years. Part of the problem in past years was network rules. FOX gets NFC games. CBS gets AFC games. If there is an NFC vs. AFC game, the network of the road team's conference got the game (for example, if it was an AFC team at an NFC team, CBS had the rights). Because traditional hosts Dallas and Detroit are both from the NFC, there needed to be an AFC team involved to meet those guidelines. Therefore, options were limited. Last year, the Raiders were one of two AFC teams to visit Dallas during the season, and because it was Dallas' turn to be on CBS (Detroit and Dallas alternate Thanksgiving games on CBS), that mediocre game ended up on Thanksgiving. This year the Lions' Thanksgiving game would have had to have been either Buffalo or Miami, and neither one is a knockout matchup. Instead, the NFL decided to bend those guidelines. CBS, the home of AFC games, will carry the Bears-Lions game. FOX will have the Cowboys' showdown with the NFC East champs, and NBC will handle the 49ers-Seahawks showdown. Thanksgiving is a time to be spent with family. Usually you had a window during the "boring" game to get in that quality turkey and touch football time. Not this year. Start making plans to have an eye on the TV starting when the Lions and Bears kick off at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time until the 49ers and Seahawks are through beating up on each other. This is going to be pretty good. - - - - - - - Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sport

2014 NFL schedule: Thanksgiving will be an NFC party, with some great games [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 23, 2014, 6:20 pm]
It's been a while since every Thanksgiving NFL game was a great matchup. There's always a dud. Not this year. By making a tweak with the networks, the NFL guaranteed three tremendous matchups, and it will be all NFC teams. The day starts with Chicago at Detroit, followed by Philadelphia at Dallas and capped off by the big one, Seattle at San Francisco, a rematch of the NFC championship game and one of the top few games on the entire NFL regular-season schedule. That is the best Thanksgiving schedule, top to bottom, in many years. Part of the problem in past years was network rules. Fox gets NFC games. CBS gets AFC games. If there is an NFC vs. AFC game, the network of the road team's conference got the game (for example, if it was an AFC team at an NFC team, CBS had the rights). Because traditional hosts Dallas and Detroit are both from the NFC, there needed to be an AFC team involved to meet those guidelines. Therefore, options were limited. Last year, the Raiders were one of two AFC teams to visit Dallas during the season, and because it was Dallas' turn to be on CBS (Detroit and Dallas alternate Thanksgiving games on CBS), that mediocre game ended up on Thanksgiving. This year the Lions' Thanksgiving game would have had to have been either Buffalo or Miami, and neither one is a knockout matchup. Instead, the NFL decided to bend those guidelines. CBS, the home of AFC games, will carry the Bears-Lions game. Fox will have the Cowboys' showdown with the NFC East champs, and NBC will handle the 49ers-Seahawks showdown. Thanksgiving is a time to be spent with family. Usually you had a window during the "boring" game to get in that quality turkey and touch football time. Not this year. Start making plans to have an eye on the TV starting when the Lions and Bears kick off at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time until the 49ers and Seahawks are through beating up on each other. This is going to be pretty good. - - - - - - - Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sport

NFL schedule: 2014 campaign kicks off with Packers at Seahawks [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 23, 2014, 6:18 pm]
The NFL isn't messing around with its 2014 schedule. The world champion Seattle Seahawks will kick off the season with a game not against their archrivals, the San Francisco 49ers, or the team they beat in the Super Bowl, the Denver Broncos, but rather with a foe that created controversy two years ago. Remember the replacement referee fiasco game — aka, The Fail Mary — in Seattle in 2012? Yep, the NFL powers-that-be have orchestrated a rematch in Week 1 on Thursday, Sept. 4 on NBC in prime time. The league announced all 256 games for the regular season, and it features some interesting highlights: • Three Thanksgiving games that feature all NFC teams for the first time. • A new Thursday slate of games, split through the season by CBS and NFL Network, that kicks off in Week 2 with a rivalry game of the Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens. • Flex scheduling that can begin as early as Week 5, which is a change from years past, when it typically began starting in Week 11. • Other key prime-time Week 1 games — Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos (NBC) on Sunday, September 7, and the Monday night doubleheader (both games on ESPN): New York Giants at Detroit Lions for the early game and San Diego Chargers at Arizona Cardinals for the late game.  • A Super Bowl rematch of those Seahawks hosting the Broncos in Week 3. • Three international games this year, up from two in 2013, all at London's Wembley Stadium. They are: Week 4, Sunday, Sept. 28, the Oakland Raiders vs. the Miami Dolphins (1 PM ET, CBS); Week 8, Sunday, Oct. 26, the Atlanta Falcons vs. the Lions at (9:30 AM ET, FOX — the first-ever nationally televised 9:30 AM kickoff); and Week 10, Sunday, Nov. 9, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. the Dallas Cowboys (1 PM ET, FOX). Now here's the entire schedule, week by week, for the 2014 NFL season.   - - - - - - - Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @

2014 NFL schedule: Campaign kicks off with Packers at Seahawks [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 23, 2014, 6:18 pm]
The NFL isn't messing around with its 2014 schedule. The world champion Seattle Seahawks will kick off the season with a game not against their archrivals, the San Francisco 49ers, or the team they beat in the Super Bowl, the Denver Broncos, but rather with a foe that created controversy two years ago. Remember the replacement referee fiasco game — aka, The Fail Mary — in Seattle in 2012? Yep, the NFL powers-that-be have orchestrated a rematch in Week 1 on Thursday, Sept. 4 on NBC in prime time. The league announced all 256 games for the regular season, and it features some interesting highlights: • Three Thanksgiving games that feature all NFC teams for the first time. • A new Thursday slate of games, split through the season by CBS and NFL Network, that kicks off in Week 2 with a rivalry game of the Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens. • Flex scheduling that can begin as early as Week 5, which is a change from years past, when it typically began starting in Week 11. • Other key prime-time Week 1 games — Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos (NBC) on Sunday, Sept. 7, and the Monday night doubleheader (both games on ESPN): New York Giants at Detroit Lions for the early game and San Diego Chargers at Arizona Cardinals for the late game.  • A Super Bowl rematch of those Seahawks hosting the Broncos in Week 3. • Three international games this year, up from two in 2013, all at London's Wembley Stadium. They are: Week 4, Sunday, Sept. 28, the Oakland Raiders vs. the Miami Dolphins (1 PM ET, CBS); Week 8, Sunday, Oct. 26, the Atlanta Falcons vs. the Lions at (9:30 AM ET, Fox — the first-ever nationally televised 9:30 AM kickoff); and Week 10, Sunday, Nov. 9, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. the Dallas Cowboys (1 PM ET, Fox). Now here's the entire schedule, week by week, for the 2014 NFL season.   - - - - - - - Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric

2014 NFL schedule: Packers-Seahawks 'Fail Mary' reunion kicks off season [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 23, 2014, 6:18 pm]
The NFL isn't messing around with its 2014 schedule. The world champion Seattle Seahawks will kick off the season with a game not against their archrivals, the San Francisco 49ers, or the team they beat in the Super Bowl, the Denver Broncos, but rather with a foe that created controversy two years ago. Remember the replacement referee fiasco game — aka, The Fail Mary — in Seattle in 2012? Yep, the NFL powers-that-be have orchestrated a rematch in Week 1 on Thursday, Sept. 4 on NBC in prime time. The league announced all 256 games for the regular season, and it features some interesting highlights: • Three Thanksgiving games that feature all NFC teams for the first time. • A new Thursday slate of games, split through the season by CBS and NFL Network, that kicks off in Week 2 with a rivalry game of the Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens. • Flex scheduling that can begin as early as Week 5, which is a change from years past, when it typically began starting in Week 11. • Other key prime-time Week 1 games — Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos (NBC) on Sunday, Sept. 7, and the Monday night doubleheader (both games on ESPN): New York Giants at Detroit Lions for the early game and San Diego Chargers at Arizona Cardinals for the late game.  • A Super Bowl rematch of those Seahawks hosting the Broncos in Week 3. Also in that week, the Redskins' DeSean Jackson returns to Philadelphia for the first time since he was cut. • Three international games this year, up from two in 2013, all at London's Wembley Stadium. They are: Week 4, Sunday, Sept. 28, the Oakland Raiders vs. the Miami Dolphins (1 PM ET, CBS); Week 8, Sunday, Oct. 26, the Atlanta Falcons vs. the Lions at (9:30 AM ET, Fox — the first-ever nationally televised 9:30 AM kickoff); and Week 10, Sunday, Nov. 9, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. the Dallas Cowboys (1 PM ET, Fox). Now here's the entire schedule, week by week, for the 2014 NFL season.   - - - - - - - Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown

2014 NFL regular-season schedule - Week by week [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 23, 2014, 6:14 pm]
Byes: None THU, SEPT 4 TIME (ET) TV Green Bay at Seattle 8:30 p.m. NBC       SUN, SEPT 7     New Orleans at Atlanta 1 p.m. Fox Minnesota at St. Louis 1 p.m. Fox Cleveland at Pittsburgh 1 p.m. CBS Jacksonville at Philadelphia 1 p.m. CBS Oakland at NY Jets 1 p.m. CBS Cincinnati at Baltimore 1 p.m. CBS Buffalo at Chicago 1 p.m. Fox Washington at Houston 1 p.m. Fox Tennessee at Kansas City 1 p.m. CBS New England at Miami 1 p.m. CBS Carolina at Tampa Bay 4:25 p.m. Fox San Francisco at Dallas 4:25 p.m. Fox Indianapolis at Denver 8:30 p.m. NBC       MON, SEPT 8     NY Giants at Detroit 7:10 p.m. ESPN San Diego at Arizona 10:20 p.m. ESPN Byes: None THU, SEPT 11 TIME (ET) TV Pittsburgh at Baltimore 8:25 PM CBS             SUN, SEPT 14     Miami at Buffalo 1 PM CBS Jacksonville at Washington 1 PM CBS Dallas at Tennessee 1 PM FOX Arizona at NY Giants 1 PM FOX New England at Minnesota 1 PM CBS New Orleans at Cleveland 1 PM FOX Atlanta at Cincinnati 1 PM FOX Detroit at Carolina 1 PM FOX St. Louis at Tampa Bay 4:05 PM FOX Seattle at San Diego 4:05 PM FOX Houston at Oakland 4:25 PM CBS NY Jets at Green Bay 4:25 PM CBS Kansas City at Denver 4:25 PM CBS Chicago at San Francisco 8:30 PM NBC MON, SEPT 15     Philadelphia at Indianapolis 8:30 PM ESPN Byes: None THU, SEPT 18 TIME (ET) TV Tampa Bay at Atlanta 8:25 PM CBS       SUN, SEPT 21     San Diego at Buffalo 1 PM CBS Dallas at St. Louis 1 PM FOX Washington at Philadelphia 1 PM FOX Houston at NY Giants 1 PM CBS Minnesota at New Orleans 1 PM FOX Tennessee at Cincinnati 1 PM CBS Baltimor

2014 NFL schedule release day awards show [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 23, 2014, 5:50 pm]
Now that the games have been slotted into dates and the 2014 NFL schedule is set, it's time for superlatives. What's the best game among the 256 regular-season games? What's the worst? What are the best and worst weeks of action? Who won schedule release day? Glad you asked. Here are the awards from the release of the NFL schedule on Wednesday night: Best game: With all due respect to Seattle and San Francisco, we're not getting too many more Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning games, and there's one scheduled for Foxborough on Nov. 2. And it's not just the novelty of the two greatest quarterbacks of their generation facing off again; their teams might be the two best in the AFC. That was the case last season, and then the Broncos went on an offseason shopping spree and the Patriots added the best player to switch teams this offseason, cornerback Darrelle Revis. The regular-season game last year between the two teams was entertaining. This one should be too. [Click here to see the full 2014 NFL schedule] Best game, part two ... and three: Fine, we're not leaving off San Francisco vs. Seattle. The NFC West rivals are arguably the two best teams in football. The NFC championship game last year was an absolute classic. And we'll see if we get some fisticuffs between Richard Sherman and Michael Crabtree. The fact that the first meeting is on Thanksgiving almost got that one top billing over Brady-Manning. The teams meet again in Week 15, and if they're both as good as we think they are, there will be enormous playoff implications on the line. Best ... whatever, we're just adding four and five to the list of top games: Denver, Seattle and San Francisco might be the three best teams in the NFL coming into the season (yeah, New England, we see you too). Because the AFC West matches up with the NFC West this year, we get to see the Broncos against the great defenses of Seattle and San Francisco. Complain as you might that Denver can't compete with Seattle, the rematch on Sept. 21

2014 NFL Schedule: Who has the toughest and easiest road to the postseason? [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 23, 2014, 4:41 pm]
Not all schedules are equal. The NFL doesn’t play a round robin, so some teams benefit from the good fortune of having much easier opponents than fellow playoff contenders.  The AFC West was the main beneficiary last year. The Chiefs rode the easiest schedule in the NFL to a wild-card spot (the only winning team the Chiefs beat all year was Philadelphia, and even that game was fortunate because Kansas City caught the Eagles before they made the quarterback change to Nick Foles). The Broncos had good fortune too. They got Football Outsiders’ 31st ranked schedule, rode it to a No. 1 seed and a Super Bowl berth. The AFC West played its non-conference games against the NFC East last year, but this year it gets the NFC West, clearly the best division in football. No more easy passes. Meanwhile, other teams are going to find their path to the playoffs a lot easier. It’s impossible to predict which schedules will be toughest or weakest, because teams that drew Houston or Atlanta last year at this time were a bit nervous, more nervous than those who had to play Carolina, for example. We can’t be sure yet which games on each team’s schedule will be the hardest ones. But we can give it our best guess to try to figure out which teams look like they have a much tougher road in 2014, and which might ride a fortunate slate to the postseason. PLAYOFF TEAM IN SOME DANGER BECAUSE OF A ROUGH SCHEDULEDenver Broncos The Broncos are a good team. And they added a lot of talent. But their schedule, the second-weakest in the NFL last year, is about as tough as it gets this season. Denver’s road schedule includes five playoff teams (Kansas City, San Diego, New England, Seattle and Cincinnati), an 8-8 team that barely missed (N.Y. Jets), a 7-9 team that was better than its record (St. Louis) and an Oakland team that should be improved. Denver’s home schedule includes six teams that were at least .500 in 2014, including San Francisco and Arizona. That change from the NFC East t

Mike Francesa may have just tipped the Giants' 2014 schedule [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 23, 2014, 3:56 pm]
The NFL guards its precious product like a Lord of the Rings-style dragon, eyeing every scrap of information lest it reach the public before the NFL deems it appropriate. But none other than WFAN's Mike Francesa might just have made off with a bit of gold: the Giants' 2014 schedule. According to Francesa, who read the schedule on his radio show, this is the Giants' slate in 2014: Week 1: Sept. 8, at Detroit Week 2: Sept. 14, vs. Arizona Week 3: Sept. 21, vs. Houston Week 4: Sept. 25, at Washington Week 5: Oct. 5, vs. Atlanta Week 6: Oct. 12, at Philadelphia Week 7: Oct. 19, at Dallas Week 8: Bye Week 9: Nov. 3, vs. Indianapolis Week 10: Nov. 9, at Seattle Week 11: Nov. 16, vs. San Francisco Week 12: Nov. 23, vs. Dallas Week 13: Nov. 30, at Jacksonville Week 14: Dec. 7, at Tennessee Week 15: Dec. 14, vs. Washington Week 16: Dec. 21, at St. Louis Week 17: Dec. 28, vs. Philadelphia That's an unbelievably brutal midseason slate. But thanks to the Giants' woeful performance in 2013, the rest of the slate isn't as tough as it could be. Assuming this is real, the rest of the NFL's schedule was scheduled to be released at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday night. Giants fans just got a little headstart on planning their schedules. ____ Jay Busbee is a contributor for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter. Follow @jaybusbee

Russell Wilson, wife file for divorce after two years of marriage [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 23, 2014, 3:39 pm]
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his wife Ashton have filed for divorce. The two were married in January 2012. The Seahawks released a statement from Wilson on the issue: “I have made the difficult decision to file for divorce. Clearly, decisions like these don’t come easy. Ashton and I respectfully ask for prayers, understanding and privacy during this difficult time. Moving forward, I will have no further comment on this personal matter.” Wilson and the former Ashton Meem were married in Richmond, Virginia in January 2012, just a few months before Wilson was selected by the Seahawks in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft.  

Buffalo Bills pay about $3 million to settle lawsuit over text messages [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 23, 2014, 10:37 am]
It stinks when you go over your alloted amount of texts in a month. Those extra messages really add onto your bill. And if you're the Buffalo Bills, the cost of those pesky extra text messages is about $3 million. The problem started when the Bills started sending text alerts in 2012. It was an opt-in service that provided updates on the team. Jerry Wojcik, a Bills fan living in Florida, said the team violated the terms of the service by sending 13 texts in two weeks, when the Bills said they would send no more than five per week, the Buffalo News said. So he sued the team with a class-action lawsuit. Does that seem like an outrageous lawsuit? Sure does. But the Bills are paying up. They're giving debit cards of either $57.50, $65 or $75 to be used at the team store in Orchard Park, N.Y. or at the online team store. The amount of the debit cards given to the class members is $2,487,745, the Buffalo News said. Another $562,000 went to Wojcik's lawyers and Wojcik got $5,000 in cash.  Those are some expensive text messages. The lawsuit was ridiculous, but it worked. “The Buffalo Bills have reached a settlement in this matter which we believe is in the best interest of our organization and our fans. The purpose of the Bills’ voluntary, opt-in text messaging program was to provide our fans with information they requested about the team. The organization maintains that our text messaging program was in compliance with the law,” Bills spokesman Scott Berchtold said in a statement, according to the Buffalo News. The Bills lawyers have been busy. They're also dealing with a lawsuit filed by the team's cheerleaders. At this point the team will be thrilled when the season starts and they can put this crazy offseason behind them. It's a good bet they won't be sending you any text messages to inform you of any good news that might happen in the meantime. - - - - - - - Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner

Robert Griffin III will drive the pace car at Richmond thanks to Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s tweet [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 23, 2014, 10:27 am]
It began, as all great world-shaking movements do, with a single tweet. Back in March, Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR legend, decided to see about getting his buddy Robert Griffin III, quarterback of Earnhardt's beloved Redskins, involved with this weekend's NASCAR race in Richmond. Here's the sequence where Earnhardt persuaded Richmond International Raceway president Dennis Bickmeier to bring RGIII aboard: @RIRInsider If y'all don't have a Grand Marshall for the upcoming race you should invite @RGIII. He needs to come check @NASCAR out! #HTTR— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) March 24, 2014 Love to have him involved with something at the race. We have options! Think he can wheel the pace car @DaleJr @RIRInsider @RGIII @NASCAR— Dennis Bickmeier (@RIRprez) March 24, 2014 “@DaleJr: I'm sure the fans here can persuade him to make the trip. @RIRprez @RGIII @FOXSports @RIRInsider @NASCAR” I'm game brother— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) March 24, 2014  And on Wednesday, Richmond and Griffin made it official: Griffin will drive the pace car that leads 43 cars to start the race on Saturday night. Griffin will receive pace car training and visit with former Redskins coach and current NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs prior to the race itself. This is all well and good; after a lackluster 2013 season, Griffin could stand for a little image-bolstering. And there's no better place than Richmond, which is definite Redskins territory and home of the Redskins' preseason training camp. But we have to wonder ... what would other quarterbacks do were they to take the wheel of a NASCAR pace car? • Peyton Manning would look absolutely flawless all the way around the track and then put the car into the wall within 100 feet of the finish line. • Tony Romo would be brilliant and speedy, since there are no NASCAR races in December or January. • Matt Ryan would be handed the slickest, sleekest pace car you've ever seen and still not be able to get it out of second gear. • Andy Dalton wo

NFL Draft Needs: A lot of questions at quarterback, not enough answers [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 23, 2014, 9:58 am]
Before the NFL draft on May 8-10, we'll be looking at all the key prospects and also breaking them down by position. In our "Draft Needs" series we will also examine which teams will be in the market at each position, looking to fill their remaining roster holes. Quarterback Cleveland Browns: Mike Pettine is a first-year coach who needs “his guy” at quarterback. Brandon Weeden was just a guy. Jason Campbell was just another guy. Cleveland allowed players to walk in free agency. Brian Hoyer played well before sustaining a season-ending ACL injury in 2013, but is not viewed as a franchise quarterback. That leaves Pettine in desperate need of a quarterback (or two) in the upcoming draft. Cleveland has two first-round picks, and the latter could be used to select Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. The Browns signed running back Ben Tate in free agency, plus have receiver Josh Gordon and tight end Jordan Cameron. Manziel can be plugged into a productive system and possibly have success as a rookie. In addition, Cleveland could select Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas after the first-round to add another quarterback with potential. NEED LEVEL: Extremely high Jacksonville Jaguars: There is no way Jaguars coach Gus Bradley went through the effort of convincing good players to sign during free agency to settle with Chad Henne. That is not a knock against Henne as a person, but he is not Jacksonville’s quarterback of the future. Yahoo’s Eric Edholm believes Jacksonville will draft Blake Bortles (University of Central Florida), and that move makes sense. Bortles is a solid quarterback with potential, but will need help. Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon cannot stay out of trouble, while Ace Sanders and Cecil Shorts III are good, but not great. If Jacksonville can add Bortles and a quality receiver in the draft, this team will have a lot of upside. NEED LEVEL: Extremely high Houston Texans: It is hard to imagine Houston will use the No. 1 overall pick on a quarterback.

Bills cheerleaders file suit against team over pay, harassment [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 23, 2014, 7:51 am]
This might come as a shock to some, but being an NFL cheerleader isn't quite the cushy gig it might first appear. Sure, there's the pompoms and the cheering and the adoring eyes of thousands of men. But according to a new lawsuit filed by five Buffalo Bills cheerleaders ... there's not much else. The cheerleaders have filed the suit in state Supreme Court, charging that they worked hundreds of hours a year for free at events, and were subjected to groping and other violations of employment protections. Most notably, the cheerleaders had to undergo a "jiggle test," in which they performed jumping jacks prior to that week's games. The cheerleaders that, well, jiggled were told to cut the fat or hit the road. The case hinges on whether the cheerleaders, known as the "Jills," are independent contractors. The plaintiffs charge that the Bills violate the state's $8 per hour minimum wage rule. The Jills are managed by Stejon Productions, and were formerly managed by Citadel Communications, not the Bills themselves. However, the suit charges that since the Bills had total control over the cheerleaders, right down to their hygiene, the Bills were de facto employers. Cheerleaders are responsible for their own travel expenses, and must pay $650 for their uniforms. They pay a $50 fee to try out. They're also expected to attend two to three dozen charity events, most of which are unpaid, over the course of a season. The lawsuit charged that the cheerleaders totaled more than 800 hours a year of unpaid work. The plaintiffs' pay for the entire season ranged from a high of $806 to a low of $150. For the entire season. The suit also charges that the Jills had to endure both verbal and physical harassment at various team-related functions. Here's the lawsuit's account of a charity golf tournament: The Jills Annual Golf Tournament–Select Jills were required to wear a bikini, and then go into a dunk tank, where they were dunked in water by the golf tournament participants. Jills che

Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone has cancerous mole on skin removed, says he's fine [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 22, 2014, 8:46 pm]
Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone had a cancerous mole removed from his skin but said he's fine, ABC affiliate WKBW first reported. For a short time Tuesday, the Buffalo Bills website had a story with the headline, "Coach Marrone announces he has cancer," referring to head coach Doug Marrone. Then the story, which was obviously unfinished and left space for the writer to add a quote from Marrone and the specific cancer, was deleted. That led to a lot of speculation. WKBW sports director Jeff Russo had the news. #Bills HC Doug Marrone had a cancerous mole on his skin found during a recent doctors visit.— Jeff Russo (@JeffRussoWKBW) April 23, 2014   Statement from Doug Marrone "The recent extraction procedure will have no effect on my ability to coach the team moving forward." #Bills— Jeff Russo (@JeffRussoWKBW) April 23, 2014 Here's the full statement from Marrone, via the Bills public relations staff: "During a recent doctor's visit, it was discovered that I had a cancerous mole on my skin, which has since been removed. The only follow up required is to have my moles checked every 3 months and that basically is the end of the story. The recent extraction procedure will have no effect on my ability to coach the team moving forward." Hopefully, as Marrone said, this is the end of the story and he has no further issues with his health going forward. - - - - - - - Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab





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