Around the NFL: NFC Playoff Picture Coming into Focus, McAfee Gets PAID, Desperation Time in Minnesota, More

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Around the NFL: NFC Playoff Picture Coming into Focus, McAfee Gets PAID, Desperation Time in Minnesota, More

Chicago Bears

Can you smell that? That’s the smell of playoffs in the air. Week 14 features three teams with paths to lock up playoff berths, and it gets started tonight with the Vikings and Steelers desperately trying to stay in the playoff pictures in their respective conferences. Let’s get ready for Week 14 by taking a sping Around the NFL.

•   I feel like it’s not often that we see teams handing out long-term extensions to special teams players mid-season, but the Las Vegas Raiders handed out not one but two long-term deals to specialists on Thursday. The first, a four-year, $18.4 million extension for kicker Daniel Carlson.

•   After making Daniel Carlson the third-highest paid kicker in the NFL, the raiders locked up their punter, reaching an agreement on a four-year, $12.4 million extension for AJ Cole.

•   Former New England Patriots linebacker Teddy Bruschi discusses the one that got away with Field Yates on the Man in the Arena recap show. Episode 4 of Man in the Arena covered the Patriots looking to cap a perfect season with a Super Bowl against the New York Giants.

•   Former NFL player Glenn Foster Jr. has died in police custody following a high-speed chase and his arrest late last Friday. According to the ESPN report, police in Reform, Al. attempted to initiate a traffic stop after Forster’s jeep was clocked at 92 mph in a 45 mph zone. Once stopped, Foster was taken into custody without incident and transported to the Pickens County Jail in Carrollton on charges of reckless endangerment, attempting to elude, and resisting arrest.

•   The ESPN report says that while in jail, Foster “allegedly beat up another prisoner while trying to steal socks, authorities said. Foster showed signs of mental instability during a court appearance, records show, and a judge ordered him held for an evaluation just hours before he died in custody.” The report continues to say, “originally from Chicago, Foster had been living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He played two seasons for the Saints at defensive end, appearing in 17 games in 2013 and 2014.” The Alabama State Police is investigating his death.

•   The Green Bay Packers might be getting a boost in their secondary for their Week 14 matchup with the Chicago Bears (not that they need it) with cornerback Jaire Alexander returning to practice this week.

•   The Washington Football Team continues to deal with injury problems despite winning four consecutive games. Montez Sweat has been absent from all four games and will miss more time after testing positive for COVID. With Sweat now out for the next ten days, he’s likely to miss two more games, making Week 16 his earliest return date.

•   Logan Thomas is heading to the IR with a knee injury suffered in Washington’s Week 13 victory over the Raiders.

•   Arizona, Green Bay, and Tampa Bay can clinch either playoff berths or their respective divisions this week. Here’s a breakdown of the results needed for each team to punch their ticket(s) to the postseason this week:

•   Green Bay can clinch the NFC North with a win over the Bears, a Minnesota tie or loss this week, or a Green Bay tie and a Minnesota loss. The Packers can clinch a playoff berth with a win and either a New Orleans loss or tie and a San Francisco loss, or a win and a New Orleans loss or tie, a Rams loss, and a 49ers tie. Got all that?

•   Basically, the Packers will, in all likelihood (and at the least), lock up a postseason berth with a win over the Bears on primetime this Sunday night. I love that the Bears will once again be the national punchline and be the team that the Packers lock up yet another postseason berth by beating. It’s just so fitting for this franchise.

•   Do you love seeing Aaron Rodgers get his weekly soapbox on the Pat McAfee Show every Tuesday? Well, if you do, you’re in luck. The show’s new (massive!) deal with FanDuel will ensure that the show isn’t going anywhere. Shams Charania dips his feet in the football side of things by reporting that the new agreement between McAfee and FanDuel is worth roughly $30 million per year.

•   I love Justin Fields, but can we take a moment here this afternoon to admire the cannon on the shoulder of Justin Herbert?

•   The 10-2 Arizona Cardinals are getting Chase Edmonds back soon:

•   In desperation mode after their loss to the Detroit Lions and with the Green Bay Packers pulling away in the NFC North, the Minnesota Vikings appear ready to let Dalvin Cook give it a go on Thursday Night Football tonight against the Pittsburgh Steelers just 11 days after he dislocated his shoulder.

•   I get it. It’s pretty much do-or-die time for Minnesota, so if their best player can go, then why not let him give it a go.

•   Jamal Adams’ season is over, and again, so is Seattle’s.

•   Eli Manning saw the Bulls beat Kevin Durant and the Nets twice and thought he could make light work of KD in a game of Pop-a-Shot:

•   Week 14 gets started with the Steelers and Vikings fighting for their postseason lives tonight on Thursday Night Football.

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is a Staff Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.