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Defense wins championships? Not necessarily in the NFL

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We’ve all heard the adage: defense wins championships. In the NFL, that doesn’t necessarily apply. Of course, it still helps – a lot, actually – to have a stout group on that side of the line. But, as the Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Packers have proven this season, a team can get to the cusp of the Super Bowl while ranking near the bottom of the league in the two most prominent defensive categories: points and total yards.…

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Durability of NFL’s final 4 QBs vital to Super Bowl run

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The numbers are staggering. Over 182,000 yards passing (more than 103 miles worth), nearly 1,300 touchdowns and seven championships, with an eighth guaranteed for whoever parties in the confetti in Houston next month. Yet the numbers that might define Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan as much as any other on their eye-popping, fantasy football league-winning stat lines might 39, 34, 33 and 31 – the ages of the quarterbacks in the NFL’s version of the Final…

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Buccaneers may have rediscovered running game with Jacquizz Rodgers

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have found a complementary running back for Doug Martin once their No. 1 back returns from a hamstring injury. Jacquizz Rodgers finished with a career-best 101 rushing yards on 30 carries — 32 yards and 17 carries more than he had in the Buccaneers’ previous three games combined — as Tampa Bay defeated the Carolina Panthers 17-14 on Monday night. The Bucs (2-3), who came into the game ranked 28th in the league in rushing,…

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Bucs Jameis Winston, Mike Evans are showing better chemistry so far

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The chemistry has begun. So far, the Tampa Bay Bucs like what they see from Jameis Winston and wide receiver Mike Evans. The two connected five times for 99 yards and a touchdown Sunday afternoon in a 31-24 victory over Atlanta. For Evans, much of the battle has been to control his emotions on the field. “Mike has really worked hard on that, all through training camp,” said coach Dirk Koetter. “Even the ball early in the game that Jameis…

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Orlando hopes Pro Bowl puts city on sports map

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This city already draws more tourists than any other U.S. destination. Could landing the NFL’s underperforming Pro Bowl also make Orlando a major player in the competition to attract the biggest sporting events? Mayor Buddy Dyer is sure of it. “It’s a big deal for us. I think it helps us as we solidify our reputation as THE sports destination in the United States,” Dyer boasted after the NFL announced Wednesday that it will move the Pro Bowl to Orlando’s…

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Jaguars fall to Falcons in Jacksonville home finale

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“One road leads home and a thousand roads lead into the wilderness.” ~ C.S. Lewis Before finishing the season with two road tilts, the Jacksonville Jaguars needed a win in their home finale, before taking one of those roads out into the wilderness for the rest of the season. A 6-8 record and a tie for second place in the division was on the line. For optimal effect, the Jags needed the Texans to win in Indy. The Texans did…

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Trap game for Jacksonville Jaguars?

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Is Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons a trap game for the Jacksonville Jaguars? (And how bizarre is that concept to contemplate?) Consider the following: Matt Ryan, Falcons quarterback, is having the worst year of his career, and the last few weeks have been the kind of death spiral that fuels trade rumors. Ryan and the Falcons got shut out in Carolina last Sunday, in a 38-0 laugher that wasn’t as close as the score. Ryan is a dome quarterback,…

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