Rodgers-led Packers hitting their midseason stride

Green Bay Packers' Casey Hayward (29) and Morgan Burnett celebrate a fourth and short stop during the second half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Tom Lynn)

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Their quarterback is playing near-perfect football, their offense is stirring memories of the juggernaut it was in 2011 and their much-maligned defense is coming together after some early-season struggles. It’s almost a rite of autumn for the Green Bay Packers —the calendar turns to October, and they start playing well. Packers coach… Continue reading →

Saints sign backup offensive lineman Eric Olsen to active roster

New Orleans Saints' Eric Olsen (69) warms up with teammates before a preseason NFL football game Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

The Saints added depth to their offensive line Tuesday by signing free-agent guard/center Eric Olsen to the active roster. Olsen will occupy the roster spot once held by defensive end Glenn Foster, who suffered a season-ending knee injury during the 24-23 loss at Detroit on Sunday. He also arrives after Saints center Jonathan Goodwin left the… Continue reading →

A day later, officials still on Sean Payton’s mind

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton talks with quarterback Luke McCown during warmups before an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

A day after a frustrating 24-23 loss to Detroit, Saints coach Sean Payton could not help but talk about the officiating again. New Orleans was penalized a season-high 12 times for a season-high 134 yards, prompting some heated discussions between Payton and the referees down the stretch and at the end of the game. Although he again refused… Continue reading →

Rabalais: The Saints’ engine blows another rod for a stunning loss in Detroit

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton walks the sidelines during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson) ORG XMIT: otkco215

Here in the Motor City, where they know about recalls all too well, the New Orleans Saints have a simple question: Can they have a do-over? Hit the reset button? Bring this defective lemon of a team back to the factory and fix the parts that always seem to go… Continue reading →

Corey White’s miscue leads to Lions’ long touchdown and sparks Saints late-game woes

Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate celebrates their 24-23 victory over the New Orleans Saints after a NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

DETROIT — If New Orleans Saints cornerback Corey White could do it again, he would. He would go for the interception and not the tackle on the short, third-and-14 pass that Lions wide receiver Golden Tate turned into a 73-yard touchdown Sunday. That play sparked Detroit’s comeback from a 13-point deficit with less… Continue reading →

Lions receivers stand up in second half

Associated Press photo by Duane Burleson -- Detroit wide receiver Golden Tate leaves Corey White and the Saints defense behind on a 73-yard touchdown reception during the fourth quarter of the Lions' 24-23 win Sunday at Ford Field in Detroit. Tate had a career-high 10 catches for 154 yards.

DETROIT — With Calvin Johnson out of the lineup, the Detroit Lions offense has struggled. Johnson, one of the top wide receivers in the NFL, hasn’t done much since suffering a high ankle sprain in a Week 3 victory over the Green Bay Packers. Johnson missed his second straight game Sunday against the New… Continue reading →

Three and out: Saints-Lions

1 -- WHAT WE LEARNED Amid mounting frustrations and shocking failures, the Saints are inventing ways to lose. Sunday’s 24-23 loss to the Detroit Lions was a new low point, as New Orleans blew a 23-10 lead with four minutes left in what was until then the Saints’ best overall effort… Continue reading →

Coming up: Packers at Saints

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Sunday WHERE: Mercedes-Benz Superdome TV: NBC RADIO: WWL-AM, 870; WWL-FM, 105.3; WDGL-FM, 98.1; KMDL-FM, 97.3 Records: Saints 2-4, Packers 5-2 QUICK PEEK After jumping out to a 28-0 lead at home against Carolina (3-3-1), Green… Continue reading →

Colts win fifth straight, blank Bengals

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) is greeted by Terrance Knighton (98) and Virgil Green (85) after throwing his 509th career touchdown pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Indianapolis — Andrew Luck threw two touchdown passes and the Indianapolis Colts’ defense dominated the Cincinnati Bengals in a 27-0 win on Sunday. Luck was 27 of 42 for 344 yards as Indianapolis (5-2) won its fifth straight. It was Indy’s first shutout since December 2008. Cincinnati (3-2-1), which hasn’t won since starting 3-0, endured its first shutout since… Continue reading →

Santos’ 48-yard FG lifts Kansas City

Kansas City Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos (5) celebrates with teammates after kicking a field goal against the San Diego Chargers during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

SAN DIEGO — Alex Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs have made the AFC West a three-team race. Cairo Santos kicked a 48-yard field goal field goal with 21 seconds left and the Chiefs beat San Diego 23-20 Sunday, snapping the Chargers’ five-game winning streak. The Chiefs moved into field goal range thanks to Smith,… Continue reading →

Murray sets NFL mark in Cowboys’ win

Associated Press photo by LM OTERONew York Giants' Odell Beckham, left, and Chandler Fenner walk off the field following a 31-21 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday in Arlington, Texas.

ARLINGTON, Texas — DeMarco Murray moved ahead of Jim Brown in the NFL record book. Tony Romo moved the Dallas Cowboys up and down the field for their sixth straight win. Murray broke Brown’s 56-year-old mark with his seventh straight 100-yard rushing game to start a season, Romo threw three touchdown passes and the Cowboys… Continue reading →

Saints say tight end Jimmy Graham will play at Detroit

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ--New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham is attended on the sideline after being injured in the first half against Tampa Bay on Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014.

From now on, take any reports that All-Pro Saints tight end Jimmy Graham might miss a game because he’s hurt with a huge grain of salt. Graham will be active and available to play at Detroit (4-2) on Sunday despite sustaining a shoulder injury in New Orleans’ Oct. 5 win at home over Tampa Bay and… Continue reading →

Report: Saints tight end Jimmy Graham is expected to play against Detroit

Despite reports he could miss two games with a shoulder injury, Saints tight end Jimmy Graham will most likely play at Detroit on Sunday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Graham hurt his shoulder in the Saints' 37-31 overtime victory at home against Tampa Bay. He missed one practice this week, was limited in two others and on Friday called himself a… Continue reading →

Entering Sunday’s matchup, the Lions would relish the relative stability at kicker that the Saints have with Shayne Graham

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ--Saints kicker Shayne Graham (3) fist-bumps holder Luke McCown after Graham converted a tying field goal against Tampa Bay on Oct. 5, 2014, in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Saints fans have cracked the joke at kicker Shayne Graham’s expense countless times this season. “My heart can’t take it,” they say, “when he lines up for a kick” — or something to that effect. But those fans should be thankful they don’t root for the Detroit Lions (4-2), whom the Saints (2-3) face at noon… Continue reading →

GameDay: Saints at Lions

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- Saints defensive end Akiem Hicks celebrates a sack of the Vikings' Matt Cassel with outside linebacker Junior Galette on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Scouting report: Saints need to turn up the heat on Lions QB Matthew Stafford Based on initial expectations, the Saints have not done a good job of making quarterbacks uncomfortable this season. That could end this week. The Lions have allowed 21 sacks, third-most in the NFL, which means New… Continue reading →

Detroit Lions riding defense into matchup with New Orleans Saints

Associated Press photo by ANN HEISENFELT -- Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is tackled by Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley during the second half Oct. 12 in Minneapolis.

DETROIT — Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints rolled up 626 yards of offense, turning Detroit’s return to the postseason into a defensive nightmare for the Lions. Now, Detroit will face the Saints for the first time since that playoff game in January 2012 — and boy have things changed. “You can see that it’s a team that’s… Continue reading →

Saints release tight end Tom Crabtree, who signed after Jimmy Graham’s injury

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD --  New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) drops a pass against the Minnesota Vikings during the fourth quarter Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The Saints released tight end Tom Crabtree on Saturday, they said. Crabtree was signed shortly after All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham injured his shoulder in the Saints’ 37-31 overtime victory against Tampa Bay on Oct. 5. The former Green Bay and Tampa Bay player practiced Wednesday, Thursday and Friday with the Saints before he was released.… Continue reading →

This Week in the NFL

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) passes against the St. Louis Rams in the first quarter of an NFL football game Monday, Oct. 13, 2014, in St Louis. (AP Photo/Billy Hurst)

49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick could have a chance to earn superstar status with a big outing against the Broncos There were snickers among the masses when the San Francisco 49ers signed Colin Kaepernick to a lucrative extension this offseason. Twitter overflowed with snark, and the talking heads questioned the organization’s thinking. While… Continue reading →

Saints tight end Jimmy Graham to be a game-time decision for the Detroit game

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) is slow to get up after a tackle from Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Major Wright (31) in a game between the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Superdome in New Orleans, La. Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014.

It sounds like a decision on Jimmy Graham’s availability for this week’s game will not be made until Sunday morning. The Saints tight end has been making progress from an undisclosed shoulder injury suffered Week 6 against Tampa Bay, to the point he has been able to practice this week despite initial reports sidelining him for 2-3 weeks.… Continue reading →

Podcast: ESPN injury expert Stephania Bell says things looking up with Jimmy Graham shoulder injury

New Orleans Saints' Jimmy Graham sits with teammates on the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game agains the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tim Sharp)

In this "Advocate Sports: Saints" podcast, ESPN injury expert Stephania Bell talks with Advocate Online Sports Editor Pierce W. Huff about the injuries to Saints tight end Jimmy Graham and running back Mark Ingram and shoots down thoughts about a having quarterback Drew Brees having a lingering oblique injury. Click here to listen to the podcast.Continue reading →

New Orleans Saints defense looks to fine-tune pass rush as Detroit Lions game nears

Associated Press photo by JONATHAN BACHMAN -- New Orleans Saints outside linebacker Junior Galette bears down on Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon during the second half of their game Oct. 5. Galette said the Saints are looking for ways to tweak their pass rush.

Outside linebacker Junior Galette said one of his self-evaluations during the Saints bye week included his complimentary pass-rushing skills. The way he sees it, Galette said Thursday, he needs to improve them. For example, Glenn Foster (speed rusher) doesn’t attack quarterbacks the same way as Akiem Hicks (bull rusher). Two guys running up the field creates a… Continue reading →

Saints coach Sean Payton is optimistic that tight end Jimmy Graham will play against Detroit

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) is slow to get up after a tackle from Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Major Wright (31) in a game between the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Superdome in New Orleans, La. Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014.

Saints coach Sean Payton said Thursday that he is still optimistic about the possibility of Jimmy Graham playing this week. We now know why. The tight end returned to practice in a limited capacity Thursday after sitting out Wednesday’s session with a shoulder injury. It has previously been reported that Graham would miss 2-3 weeks with… Continue reading →

Saints offense could get a chance to experience life without tight end Jimmy Graham

New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) is hit by Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Major Wright, right, and middle linebacker Dane Fletcher, in the first half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

Drew Brees caused some ripples this offseason when he proclaimed the Saints offense would be fine with or without Jimmy Graham. The Saints quarterback pointed to his cache of weapons and the numbers he posted over the previous eight seasons to support his argument, though he admitted the team was better with the All-Pro on the field.… Continue reading →