Coach Mike McCoy expressed no concerns over Ryan Mathews' heavy workload of late.
Overcoming his injury prone label, Mathews hasn't missed a game all season, has carried the ball 58 times in the last two outings and is eighth in the NFL with 236 rushes. "He's done a great job of monitoring his body all year long and taking care of himself," coach Mike McCoy said. "If he can handle it, he's going to take it." Mathews is a good bet for another 20-plus touches in Sunday's tasty home matchup with the Raiders.
The Saints will start third-round LT Terron Armstead in Sunday's Week 16 game at Carolina.
Coach Sean Payton is taking no prisoners as he tries to get the Saints' ship pointed back in the direction of the Super Bowl. He cut K Garrett Hartley on Tuesday and has now stripped Charles Brown of his starting job. A favorite of the draftnik community, Armstead is a freakish athlete who set the Combine record for offensive linemen by running a 4.71 forty. The question will be how ready he is after playing his college ball at Arkansas-Pine Bluff. We'll find out quickly as he makes his first NFL start against the Panthers' fearsome front seven. Ideally, the Saints will use Armstead's skill set to emphasize their screen game and get Pierre Thomas/Darren Sproles in space with a convoy.
Coach Jim Schwartz gave Matthew Stafford a vote of confidence Tuesday.
It's comical, but Schwartz was asked if he ever considered pulling Stafford out of Monday night's loss to the Ravens in favor of Shaun Hill. "We need to be better around him â€" blocking, catching, running the ball," the embattled coach said. "We do that and we support the quarterback. It's not just about one person, but we will get him back." Although Stafford's nine interceptions across the last four games are ugly, he's busted out of mini-slumps in a monster way many times before. He'll remain an elite QB1 in a home game against the Giants Sunday.
Kirk Cousins is the fourth straight backup quarterback the Cowboys will face.
Over the last three weeks, Dallas has seen Matt McGloin, Josh McCown and Matt Flynn. Their rancid defense has allowed that trio to go 71-of-105 (67.6 percent) for 902 yards with eight touchdowns and two interceptions. Now it's Kirk Cousins turn as he gets the Cowboys for the Redskins' home finale. Cousins has gone over 300 yards in each of his two career starts and has five touchdowns, putting him on the borderline QB1 radar for this dream matchup.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Raiders coaches have "soured" on Terrelle Pryor.
Pryor was a revelation early in the season as he won the Week 1 starting job and showed raw flashes of franchise quarterback potential. But the coaches apparently saw enough of his struggles with progressions and injury issues. So even though Matt McGloin has crashed back to earth of late, they're not giving Pryor another shot at the starting gig. He's just a college-style rotational quarterback now, coming in to run some Wildcat packages.
Rueben Randle is expected to be an every-down receiver in Sunday's game at Detroit.
Victor Cruz (concussion, knee) is almost certainly out. It leaves Randle opposite Hakeem Nicks in all two-wide sets and also outside in three-wide sets (with Jerrel Jernigan in the slot). Randle makes for a risky WR3 plug-n-play because the Giants' passing offense has been off all season, but the second-year man is a serious playmaker. He's seen just 102 career targets, turning that into 56 catches for 869 yards and nine touchdowns. Playing in a dome against a weak Lions secondary, Randle will carry upside into fantasy's Super Bowl week.
ESPN says LaMarr Woodley (IR, calf) will have to take a significant pay cut this offseason or the Steelers will have to "seriously consider" releasing him.
Woodley signed a six-year, $61.5 million contract in 2011 that made him the highest paid defensive player in franchise history. Since then, he's missed 14 games due to injury and produced just 18 sacks in the 34 games he's appeared in. There are whispers in Pittsburgh about his conditioning and weight. The Steelers could bring back rapidly improving Jason Worilds and line him up across from Jarvis Jones at outside linebacker in 2014. Woodley, who carries a 2014 base salary of $8 million, turned 29 years old last month.
Cowboys signed KR/PR Micheal Spurlock.
With Dwayne Harris (hamstring) likely sidelined again, the Cowboys want more upside than the likes of Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley returning kicks. Spurlock has a tie to Dallas in special teams coach Rich Bisaccia, who coached him while with the Bucs and Chargers.