Niles Paul, Trent Williams injured in Washington loss

Washington not only lost 45-14 on Thursday night to the New York Giants, it also watched as a pair of key players went down with injuries. Tight end Niles Paul and left tackle Trent Williams were forced to leave the game with a concussion and knee strain respectively. Neither one returned.

Paul’s injury was especially scary. Coming into the game as Washington’s leading receiver, Paul caught a pass down the deep seam of the field before being crushed by safety Quintin Demps. Paul lost control of the ball on impact and stayed down for several moments with his arms stiffly up in the air. The good news is Paul was able to walk off the field, albeit slowly with trainers at his side.

“Jay walks up to me and greets me,” Mundy said. “He said since I was new, he wanted to personally welcome me to the team and to the city. He said he knew a realtor if I needed help finding a place. He said he knew my wife was pregnant and that he knew some great doctors who helped him when both of his sons were born. He just made himself available. People don’t know these kinds of things about Jay. The perceptions don’t account for the type of leader at quarterback and beyond that he is for this team and franchise. Jay is not an outspoken guy. But I’ve gotten to know him well. He’s a real guy.”

Enough of the scowls and petulant looks and rutted body demeanor that have long put him in a box of arrogance, stubbornness and immaturity. Enough of his wild throws and risky plays that drive fans nuts. Enough of his nippy answers and tightly-vested public persona that make some people quick to jump to the conclusion that he is not only unlikeable, but also a bad dude.

He has been a Chicago Bear now for twice as long as his three seasons with the Denver Broncos. He arrived in Denver via the 2006 draft, from Vanderbilt.9

Andrew McCutchen says he wasn’t asked about moving to right field

During his eight seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Andrew McCutchen thought he’d be the one to decide if he needed to move out of center field. But a few weeks ago, when the time arrived to make that move, he learned something shocking:

He didn’t have a vote. Atop the repeated sound of bat tearing into ball, a gritty voiceover talks about how baseball is a numbers game. The voice then proceeds to spew forth a bunch of stats — some of which Harper has already compiled, some of which he’s chasing — then finishes by saying, “Kid, just remember: No number sounds as good as this.” The punchline: One last thunderous crack of the bat.

When the Pirates abruptly informed him last month that he was going to shift over to right field this season, “it wasn’t an ask,” McCutchen said Friday morning, on the first day of what could be his last spring training as a Pirate. “It was more of a ‘say.’ It was ‘I have to move there.'”

And that was difficult to accept, the longtime face of the Pirates admitted Friday — for many reasons.

Speaking of LeBron, this pass through Andrew Wiggins’ legs sure is something else.

The upside of the Love injury: Adam Silver gets to pick his replacement for the All-Star Game. I think that in light of the recent Madison Square Garden maelstrom, Carmelo Anthony deserves something nice to happen to him. I would also accept T.J. McConnell.

Fascinating story from Jonathan Abrams on the Magic vs. Jordan one-on-one PPV battle that never happened.

No one in the NBA ever knows what day it is.

I learned from Drake to never let anyone record you shooting hoops. Stephen A. Smith did not learn that lesson.

Super Bowl 52 odds: Patriots open as betting favorites over Cowboys, Packers, Seahawks

The New England Patriots came out on top in Super Bowl 51, locking up their fifth Super Bowl title in the last 15 years. The Patriots will once again be the favorite to win it all again next season.

New England is a +450 betting favorite to win Super Bowl 52 in Minnesota. Tom Brady is showing no signs of slowing down despite his advanced age, and the Patriots have earned a trip to the Super Bowl seven times over the last 15 seasons. They did so this season without Brady’s most dangerous weapon, Rob Gronkowski, who should be back healthy next year.

As long as Brady is playing at an elite level and Bill Belichick is on the sideline, this Patriots team will be the one to beat.

The Dallas Cowboys (+1000 to win Super Bowl 52) came up short in a disappointing loss to the Green Bay Packers this postseason, but the pieces are in place for long-term success in Dallas. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot were sensational in their rookie seasons and should only be better next year with a full season and playoff experience under their belts. The Cowboys are the favorite to emerge atop the NFC.

Dallas will have plenty of potential competition in the NFC with the Green Bay Packers (+1100), Seattle Seahawks (+1100), Atlanta Falcons (+1250), and New York Giants (+1900) all looking to get back to the Super Bowl.

Atlanta blew both Seattle and Green Bay away this postseason, but history has shown that it is difficult to get all the way back to the Super Bowl in back-to-back seasons. The Falcons will also be without offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, which could have an adverse affect on their high-octane offense.