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ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports Philip Rivers has a bulging disk in his back, and offseason back surgery "may be (an) option."

Rivers has been playing through significant pain for more than a month. It's been borne out in his on-field play, although Rivers was still able to rally back for a Saturday night win over San Francisco in a gutty and highly impressive performance. Rivers is not in danger of missing the Chargers' Week 17 game at Kansas City. San Diego remains squarely in the playoff hunt. For as long as he's been in the league, Rivers has been one of the toughest players in football. He's even played through a torn ACL before.
Dec 21 - 10:47 AM

Danny Amendola's role is expected to spike with Julian Edelman (concussion) out for Sunday's game at the Jets.

Amendola is projected to work in two-wide sets along with Brandon LaFell and then move into the slot for three-wide formations. On paper, it's a big opportunity for him. But Amendola has been wildly ineffective ever since joining the Patriots, and we'd expect the roles of Tim Wright and Shane Vereen to rise sharply as well. Don't trust Amendola as much more than a low-end WR3 or WR4 despite the opportunity.
Source: ESPN Boston
Dec 21 - 10:35 AM

ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported on Sunday Countdown that Julio Jones' specific injury is a strained oblique.

Mort also reiterated that the Falcons are "optimistic" Jones will play today. The Falcons visit the Saints in a 1pm ET game, so we will have Julio's activity or lack thereof posted on the website no later than noon ET today.
Dec 21 - 10:18 AM

Julio Jones (hip, questionable) was "walking fine" as he arrived at the Superdome Sunday morning.

This doesn't hint at whether Julio will play or not, but it's fantasy title week and we're blurbing any and all information on critical skill-position players. The Falcons will decide Jones' availability during a pre-game warmup Sunday morning. The signs currently point toward Julio being active at the Saints.
Dec 21 - 10:14 AM

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport passes along the Titans as a potential trade partner for Jay Cutler.

It seems like RapSheet is spitballing here -- he didn't cite any sources -- but the Titans are quarterback needy, and Cutler played college ball at nearby Vanderbilt. Attempting to develop Zach Mettenberger remains high on coach Ken Whisenhunt's priority list. That said, Cutler shouldn't cost more than a mid- to late-round draft pick based on the overwhelming salary he is due.
Dec 21 - 9:46 AM

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports DeMarco Murray is "going to play" Sunday with a wrap on his surgically repaired hand, but the Cowboys are "nervous" about using him in pass protection.

RapSheet writes to not be surprised if Murray and other Cowboys rest next week if Dallas locks up a playoff spot today. On Sunday, we expect to see Lance Dunbar handle a few more snaps than usual in pass-pro situations. The Cowboys may also give Joseph Randle a heavier dose of change-up work. Murray is still a top-ten RB1 play against the Colts' leaky defense.
Dec 21 - 9:31 AM

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) will try to play Week 16 against the Cowboys but is a "longshot."

Look for Hilton to test out his gimpy hammy in warmups, but we're not expecting Hilton to suit up for the 4:25 ET kickoff -- especially with the Colts having little to play for. Owners need to have other plans in place. "If he's not 100 percent, can't open it up and be TY, then there's no sense putting him out there," coach Chuck Pagano said. If Hilton ultimately doesn't play, Donte Moncrief will see an expanded role in two- and three-wide sets next to Reggie Wayne and Hakeem Nicks. Moncrief is the preferred plug-n-play as he has the freshest legs and has out-snapped Nicks badly the last few weeks.
Dec 21 - 9:22 AM

CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reports the Falcons plan to fire coach Mike Smith after the season.

La Canfora adds that "it would take a shocking playoff run to alter that scenario." This doesn't come as a surprise. Smith has been on the job for seven seasons now, but the team has taken a few steps back the past couple years. The Falcons are said to be looking at Broncos OC Adam Gase, Patriots OC Josh McDaniels, and Stanford coach David Shaw, among others, as replacements.
Source: CBS Sports
Dec 21 - 9:07 AM
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