Latest around the NFL: Hard Knocks, Roger Goodell, Deshaun Watson, Tua Tagovailoa and more

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Hard Knocks ’22. The Lions will get the NFL Films treatment at training camp this summer. It’ll be the first time for Detroit on Hard Knocks, and I’ve got to think that while some teams have to be arm-wrestled into being the Hard Knocks team, the Lions under colorful second-year coach Dan Campbell will use it to their advantage–both in terms of fan engagement and bringing attention to a franchise that has been dormant. Campbell and his feisty, loud personality will be a natural for the HBO show. Hearing that Frank Reich’s experience on the in-season Hard Knocks was a good sales tool–Reich actually liked most of the late-season experience, even one that ended in week-18 disaster–and also hearing that Lions president Rod Wood was a big proponent of it. Why wouldn’t the Lions want it? They need the exposure. Interesting factoid: This will be the 17th edition of Hard Knocks, the hour-long weekly inside look at a team in training camp, and the first time an NFC North team has been featured.

Amazon football. Mystery is fun. And that’s what an Al Michaels-Kirk Herbstreit pairing is. The two men have no history, and as for how they’ll coalesce in the Thursday night booth this fall, I will guess pretty good. Michaels, 77, is a competitor; he’ll be intent on showing week after week he hasn’t lost his fastball. Regarding his partner, Michaels can make anyone sound good and smart. Herbstreit, the best college football analyst on TV, knows every eye and ear will be focused on him for the Sept. 15 opening game, and for a season of Thursdays after that. With the estimable Fred Gaudelli producing the games, it’s sure to be a seamless telecast on Amazon Prime, even if you might have trouble finding it. I won’t be surprised to see Amazon find a place for the growing importance of analytics on the Thursday telecasts. With the rise of analytics in 32 football buildings, it makes sense, when Brandon Staley goes for it on fourth-and-one from his own 18-yard line, to ask a top analytics person: “Was that smart?”

Roger Goodell. In his opening remarks to 700 club owners, coaches and top employees in Palm Beach on Sunday evening, Goodell celebrated the high the NFL is on—great competition in 2021 (each of the last seven playoff games decided by six points or less), playing well through the pandemic, with strong points about gains in diversity, equity and inclusion. If you were looking for him to say something strong about teams falling all over themselves to trade for a player with 22 civil cases involving sex charges, you’ll be disappointed. It went unmentioned. Lost opportunity there.

Bobby Wagner. Rams have legitimate interest, but not at Wagner’s price—he’s thought to be asking for about $11 million on a one-year deal. The 32-year-old linebacker is still playing very well, and he’d be a luxury item for the Super Bowl champs. If he wants to stay in the same division as the team that dropped him, Seattle, Wagner will have to recalibrate his asking price down. He may just find another team—Baltimore? Dallas?—with more money available.

Detroit Lions v Seattle Seahawks
Free-agent linebacker Bobby Wagner. (Getty Images)

Deshaun Watson. Not sure Watson changed any minds at his introductory press conference Friday. “I never did anything those people are alleging,” Watson said, one of three or four different ways of denying every sexual offense that he’s been accused. That’s a boldface clip-and-save in this story, particularly when a Houston police officer went on record after authorities investigated the cases and said the accusers were “credible and reliable.” Someone’s not telling the truth here. As for Watson’s fate, the NFL may do one of three things this year: put him on the commissioner’s exempt list (he’d be paid for a second straight season while sitting till the 22 sex-crime civil cases are decided); let him play while deferring discipline till the cases are done; or suspend him for some time this year regardless of the outcome of the cases. It’s a mystery as of this morning.

Jimmy and Dee Haslam. Not the most popular people at the league meetings on Sunday. I heard lots of grumbling from those who think a) trading six picks for a player who may be found guilty of heinous offenses or b) signing Watson to the richest guaranteed contract in league history and giving him an $80-million raise “stinks to high heaven,” as one team exec said. The Haslams had to know it was coming, and now that they’ve traded for and signed Watson, it’s not going away.

Tua Tagovailoa. Talk about pressure. No player in the 2022 season comes close to the weight on his shoulders that Tagovailoa has. After Miami‘s mega-trade for Tyreek Hill, Tagovailoa now has Hill and Jaylen Waddle as top-10-in-the-league receiving threats, along with ace tight end Mike Gesicki and a rebuilt backfield (Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert). Let’s get down to business with Tua and the deep ball. Last year, just 5.3 percent of his completions (14 of 263) were on balls thrown 20 yards or more past the line of scrimmage. Patrick Mahomes had 36 such completions. Tagovailoa was 30th in the league in 20-yard-plus attempts with 29. His two deep threats are 4.29- and 4.37-second 40 guys. And there will a microscope on the third-year quarterback to see if he can take advantage of their ability to break games open. Considering that Waddle cost Miami two first-round picks, and Hill cost five picks (including a first and second), Tagovailoa’s going to feel the hot breath of backup Teddy Bridgewater by Columbus Day if Waddle and Hill get off to mediocre starts. 

Concussions. Since we clobber the NFL for all things head trauma, praise should be meted out when there is progress. I’m going to compare relative apples to apples here, using documented concussion figures from 2015 to 2019 and then 2021. (2020 is an outlier year because there were no preseason games due to the pandemic.) In preseason and regular-season practices and games in each year from 2015 to 2019, players suffered, in order, 275, 243, 281, 214 and 224 concussions; in 2021, the number was reduced to 187. My take on the biggest reason: Six years ago, about one-half of NFL players were using helmets strongly recommended by the league and players association. In 2021, that number rose to 99 percent of players using the highest-performing helmets.  

Instant replay. Interesting data on replay from 2021: The average replay review took 2 minutes, 27 seconds—down 61 seconds from 2020. The league credits added authority given to replay officials and the New York command center—either can communicate with the on-field referee to point out a mistake—and the use in every stadium of “Hawkeye” video technology. The Hawkeye system allows desired replays to be seen much quicker instead being at the mercy of which replays are shown by the TV crews at games. That’s a big reason why there’s no rule change on the agenda at the meetings for anything involving replay.

A weird ABC/ESPN TV thing. Don’t know how I missed this. (I think we all missed it.) Part of the NFL’s new TV contract with the networks is that on one Monday night this year, ABC will telecast one game and ESPN will telecast a different one. It’s likely the starts will be staggered—perhaps by 15 or 20 minutes so there won’t be simultaneous halftimes, perhaps by a longer period of time to allow for each telecast to get maximum eyes on each one. Next year, ESPN and ABC will have three such Mondays. As to why, I really don’t know … but what seems the most sensible is to stagger the starts by, say, 75 minutes, so that the second game starts as the first is on the verge of halftime. No idea of the broadcast team on the second game, with of course Buck/Aikman on one of them. Might be a hoot to have the other game feature a Manningcast, with Peyton and Eli as the lone voices.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. The new GM of the Vikings is an impressive guy. At his first league meetings as a GM, he took time Sunday to explain his philosophy about team-building in a time when the value of veterans stars and draft picks are changing drastically. I mentioned to him that I thought team construction was a continuum, with a GM having to constantly recalibrate how to build. “ ‘Continuum’ is a good word for it,” he said. “I think you’ve got to make sure you always know where your team is at all times. Sometimes you can deceive yourself.” I also liked two of the main things he was looking for when he interviewed head coaches: suppression of ego (“All that matters is what’s best for the team,” he said) and accountability for mistakes. You’re going to make some. In fact, you’ll make a lot. Admit them and move on, but don’t hide the mistake and then move on. Adofo-Mensah said he thinks the coach he chose, Kevin O’Connell, “has rare intellect and temperament.” Enjoyed my time with this Princeton grad you’ll be hearing a lot about.

An NFL record. If you watched much football last year, this won’t surprise you: Teams went for it on fourth down last year more than any other season. They converted 411 of 774 fourth-down tries, for an efficiency of .531. Talk about an explosion of risk-taking: In 2017, there were 1.89 fourth-down attempts per game. By 2021, that rose to 2.92 per game. I find this odd: The two teams with the fewest fourth-down tries last year both fielded mobile superstar quarterbacks. Seattle, with Russell Wilson, was four of 11 on fourth down. Kansas City, with Patrick Mahomes, was only 10 of 15. Andy Reid’s not a big fourth-down guy. In Mahomes’ four years as starter, KC’s gone for it an average of 14 times a year. That seems totally counterintuitive, doesn’t it?

How to watch Cincinnati Bengals vs Baltimore Ravens: TV, live stream info, preview for Sunday Night Football game

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It’s the Cincinnati Bengals vs Baltimore Ravens this Sunday night at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland as Joe Burrow and Lamar Jackson go head-to-head in an AFC North Showdown. Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock with Football Night in America. See below for additional information on how to watch the game.

RELATED: FMIA Week 4: Hurts At Home In Philly, Players And Parents On Football Safety, And The Case For Aaron Donald

Football Night in America will feature a weekly segment hosted by former NFL quarterback Chris Simms and sports betting and fantasy pioneer Matthew Berry, which highlights storylines and betting odds for the upcoming Sunday Night Football game on NBC, Peacock, and Universo. Real-time betting odds on the scoring ticker during FNIA also will be showcased. Peacock Sunday Night Football Final, an NFL postgame show produced by NBC Sports, will also go deep on the storylines and BetMGM betting lines that proved prominent during the matchup.

RELATED: Rodney Harrison Urges Players To Speak Up When They Have Head Injuries

Be sure to start your NFL Sunday with Matthew Berry’s Fantasy Football Pregame show beginning at 11 AM ET on Peacock and the NFL on NBC YouTube channel.

Cincinnati Bengals

Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals (2-2) are coming off a 21-15 victory over the Miami Dolphins last Thursday night–the Bengals’ second straight win after an ugly 0-2 start to the season. Cincinnati’s offensive line has improved significantly over the last 2 games. In Weeks 1 and 2, Burrow was sacked a total of 13 times but in Weeks 3 and 4, the Bengals franchise QB was sacked only 3 times–going down just once in last Thursday’s win. In his career, Burrow–who has been sacked more times than any other quarterback since entering the NFL in 2020–is 11-2 when dropped 2 times or fewer. The protection of Burrow will be a crucial factor in determining whether or not Cincinnati can avoid the Super Bowl hangover and actually reach the playoffs again. Only eight of the 56 teams to lose a Super Bowl have made it back the following year.

RELATED: Joe Burrow – I had all the time I needed in the pocket

Baltimore Ravens

Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens (2-2) blew a 17-point lead and fell 23-20 to the Buffalo Bills at home last Sunday afternoon. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh opted to try and go for a touchdown rather than a field goal on 4th-and-goal from the Bills’ 2-yard-line with just over four minutes left in the game but Jackson’s pass was picked off in the endzone.

Sunday’s loss marked the second time that the Ravens have blown a lead of 17+ points this season, the first was a Week 2 loss against the Dolphins where Baltimore had a 21-point lead. Despite forcing multiple turnovers in each game this season, consistent defense has continued to be an issue for the Ravens who have allowed 425.0 yards per game through four weeks. On offense, Jackson–who made the decision to bet on himself and is playing this season on the $23 million 5th-year option of his rookie contract–has continued to exceed expectations. Jackson has 13 total touchdowns, including 11 pass touchdowns, and leads the Ravens with 316 rush yards –the most of any QB in the NFL this season.

RELATED: Lamar Jackson continues to exceed expectations while betting on himself this season


How to watch the Cincinnati Bengals vs Baltimore Ravens:

  • Where: M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland
  • When: Sunday, October 9
  • Start Time: 8:20 p.m. ET; live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night In America
  • TV Channel: NBC
  • Stream liveWatch live on Peacock or with the NBC Sports App

What time is kickoff for the Cincinnati Bengals vs Baltimore Ravens game?

Kickoff is at 8:20 p.m. ET.

RELATED: 2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule: TV channel, live stream info, NFL schedule

For all your tailgating needs for the 2022 Fall season, click here!


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023 – Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups


 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!

2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule: TV channel, live stream info, NFL schedule

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The 2022 NFL Football season is finally back in session. This Sunday night features a match-up between Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals vs Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. NBC and Peacock have got you covered with access to this week’s game as well as every Sunday Night Football game this season. See below for the complete 2022 Sunday Night Football schedule and find out how to live stream every game on Peacock.

RELATED: FMIA Week 4: Hurts At Home In Philly, Players And Parents On Football Safety, And The Case For Aaron Donald

This year’s Sunday Night Football coverage will feature Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth in the booth and Melissa Stark on the sidelines. Live coverage begins every Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night in America with the talented group of Maria Taylor, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison, Jason Garrett, Chris Simms, Jac Collinsworth, Mike Florio, and Matthew Berry. Berry, a fantasy football industry pioneer, will also appear on Peacock’s exclusive NFL post-game show, Sunday Night Football Final.

RELATED: How to watch Matthew Berry on NBC Sports

Football Night in America will also feature a weekly segment hosted by Simms and sports betting and Berry, which highlights storylines and betting odds for the upcoming Sunday Night Football game on NBC, Peacock, and Universo. Real-time betting odds on the scoring ticker during FNIA also will be showcased. Peacock Sunday Night Football Final, an NFL postgame show produced by NBC Sports, will also go deep on the storylines and BetMGM betting lines that proved prominent during the matchup.

RELATED: NFLPA Believes Tua Tagovailoa Shouldn’t Have Returned Last Week, Even If It Was A Back Injury

2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule:

*Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Thursday, Sept. 8 (Week 1) – Josh Allen’s four touchdowns power Bills to 31-10 victory over Rams

Sunday, Sept. 11 (Week 1) – Bucs take care of business against Cowboys, who lose Dak Prescott late

Sunday, Sept. 18 (Week 2) Packers roll over Bears 27-10 as Aaron Jones, Preston Smith star

Sunday, Sept. 25 (Week 3) – Broncos do just enough to pull off 11-10 win over 49ers

Sunday, Oct. 2 (Week 4) – Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs dominate Bucs 41-31

Sunday, Oct. 9 (Week 5) – Bengals at Ravens

Sunday, Oct. 16 (Week 6) – Cowboys at Eagles

Sunday, Oct. 23 (Week 7) – Steelers at Dolphins

Sunday, Oct. 30 (Week 8) – Packers at Bills

Sunday, Nov. 6 (Week 9) – Titans at Chiefs

Sunday, Nov. 13 (Week 10) – Chargers at 49ers

Sunday, Nov. 20 (Week 11) – Bengals at Steelers

Thursday, Nov. 24 (Week 12) – Patriots at Vikings

Sunday, Nov. 27 (Week 12) – Packers at Eagles

Sunday, Dec. 4 (Week 13) – Colts at Cowboys

Sunday, Dec. 11 (Week 14) – Chiefs at Broncos

Sunday, Dec. 18 (Week 15) – Patriots at Raiders

Sunday, Dec. 25 (Week 16) – Buccaneers at Cardinals

Sunday, Jan. 1 (Week 17) – Rams at Chargers

Sunday, Jan. 8 (Week 18) – Matchup TBD

RELATED: How to watch/live stream Bengals vs Ravens game 


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

RELATED: PFT’s Week 5 2022 NFL power rankings

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023 – Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more


 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!