Arians’ belief in Gabbert still probably won’t end well for Cardinals

Jacksonville Jaguars fans aren’t going to believe this, but Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians says he would be “comfortable’’ with Blaine Gabbert starting in 2018 if Carson Palmer retires.

Arians wouldn’t rule it out happening at his press conference Monday, according to

“Oh yeah,” the Cardinals coach said, “I think that’s a possibility.”

Gabbert, a first round bust with the Jaguars, led the Cardinals to a 27-24 victory over his former team Sunday.

“I’m really proud of him,” Arians said. “These things don’t happen. I mean, you hope they don’t happen very often when your top two guys go down. But we’re very blessed to have him and he has taken the bull by the horns and showing us, ‘I’m a player. I can play at this level and play at a very high level.’”

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Kudos to Steelers’ Tomlin for admitting he’s looking ahead to Patriots

The NFL can be thankful for the Pittsburgh Steelers-Green Bay Packers primetime matchup last Sunday night.

After all three Thanksgiving day games declined in the ratings – including a staggering 20.5 percent drop by the Dallas Cowboys-Los Angeles Chargers game over last season’s Dallas game – the Steelers-Packers game showed a three percent increase.

That is a modest bump but a positive one in a year of declining ratings for the NFL, even though it was a 10 percent drop from the previous week’s Sunday night game.

The Dallas drop was particularly alarming because the Cowboys are one of the league’s most popular teams, although they lost a lot of star power when commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Ezekiel Elliott for six games. Goodell’s long quest to suspend Elliott even though the league’s lead investigator said the alleged victim wasn’t credible may have cost the NFL in the ratings.

There were fears the Steelers-Packers game could drop because Aaron Rodgers was injured, but both the Steelers and the Packers are popular national teams and bring in a lot of eyeballs. And the game wound up closer than expected, with the Steelers winning 31-28 on a field goal as time expired.

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A look ahead: NFL Week 12

A look ahead at Week 12 of the NFL season:

1. If you wonder why the TV ratings are down in the NFL, check out the matchups this week. Two games feature (or featured) two teams with winning records: Vikings-Lions on Thanksgiving Day and the Saints-Rams on Sunday. Pittsburgh-Green Bay would have been a third featuring Ben Roethlisberger vs. Aaron Rodgers. But with Rodgers injured, the Steelers figure to have little trouble beating Brett Hundley.  The problem is that it’s the Sunday night prime time game. Even worse the Monday night game is Houston-Baltimore.  The Saints-Rams game will be worth watching and it is the CBS doubleheader game but only about 80 percent of the country will see it because the Denver-Oakland game will be shown in much of the West. For those who get it, they have to hope the  Saints-Rams game lives up to expectations.  The Saints will bring in an eight-game winning streak into the Los Angeles Coliseum, where the Rams don’t have much of a homefield edge because the L.A. fans are so apathetic. The Rams are still favored by two despite their loss to Minnesota last week. This one could down to the wire with veteran Drew Brees facing young Jared Goff. These two teams could meet again in the playoffs.

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Like 1980s Bears, once-dominant Seahawks see their window closing

When the Chicago Bears won the Super Bowl with an 18-1 record in 1985, they seemed on the verge of a dynasty.

It turned out they were one and done. The 1985 Bears are remembered as one of the best teams in NFL history, but there still is the feeling they could have done much more.

They went 14-2 in 1986 and 11-4 in the 1987 strike season, but their quarterback Jim McMahon was injured in the playoffs both years and they lost to the Washington Redskins.

In 1988, they went 12-4 but lost the NFC title game to San Francisco — and that was their last hurrah.

Age and poor drafting caught up with the Bears, and they went 6-10 in 1989 and never won another title. Their window was closed.

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Taking a look back: NFL Week 11

A look back at Week 11 in the NFL with five observations:

1. The Minnesota-Los Angeles Rams game was supposed to be an interesting game between two 7-2 teams pitting quarterback Jared Goff of the Rams against the quarterback who backed him up last year, Case Keenum. Instead, it was a rout with the Vikings winning 24-7 as Keenum, the NFL’s best bargain with a $2 million salary, threw for 280 yards and the Vikings ran for 171 yards. The Vikings have now won six in a row and Keenum is keeping Teddy Bridgewater on the bench. The Vikings are tied with the Saints at 8-2 for the second seed and first round bye behind 9-1 Philadelphia.

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