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No place like home? Not in the NFL

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With Aaron Rodgers gone, who wins the NFC North?

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State Your Case: Why Cookie Gilchrist is worthy of HOF consideration

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Ron VanderKelen was selected the MVP of the 1963 College All-Star game for throwing the game-winning 73-yard touchdown pass to his former Wisconsin teammate Pat Richter in the fourth quarter.

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Bobby Boyd was a key starter on one of the league’s most successful teams – the Baltimore Colts of the 1960s, a club that went to two league championship games – and was a three-time All-Pro.

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Once upon a time those exhibition games were competitive. And meaningful. No, not in the standings. But they were considered a part of the team-building process that sent a team into a season with momentum.

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Former general manager Bobby Beathard is the contributor nominee for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018, and, as a tribute to him, we reprint a State Your Case — first published in 2015 — arguing for his inclusion.

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David Johnson at the top of this poll makes sense for a lot of reasons. In both fantasy and real football, it’s all about putting the ball in the end zone. No one does it better than Johnson, who scored a league-leading 20 times last season on 16 runs and four receptions.

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Tony Gonzalez became the first tight end in history to catch 100 passes in a single season when he caught 102 for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2004. Witten became the second when he set the position record with 110 receptions in 2012.

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Matt Ryan was the NFL’s MVP in 2016 after passing for 4,944 yards and 38 touchdowns with only seven interceptions. He completed 69.9 percent of his passes and led the league with an average of 9.3 yards per attempt.

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September will mark the third consecutive year the Texans have opened the season with a new starting quarterback. It was Brian Hoyer in 2015, Brock Osweiler in 2016 and this season rookie DeShaun Watson appears likely to get the call.

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Barber played 16 seasons with the Bucs, starting more games (232) than all but two defensive backs in NFL history (Hall of Famer Darrell Green and Charles Woodson) and more games at cornerback (216) than only all but one corner (Green).

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You need to keep tabs on the players injured in the training camp and also any players who have been suspended. You don’t want to be the guy the other players mock, “He has no clue.”

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Six of the NFL’s eight division champions in 2015 failed to return to the playoffs the following season, including all four of the teams that won the NFC titles.

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During Pat Bowlen’s 32-year tenure as owner, the Denver Broncos have enjoyed more winning seasons (21) and won more games (320) than any other NFL team. The Broncos have won 13 division titles, seven AFC championships and three Lombardi Trophies.

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Jimmy Johnson, of course, coached the Dallas Cowboys to back-to-back Lombardi Trophies in 1992-93 but was fired by Jerry Jones the following offseason. Although the two were college teammates at Arkansas, they just couldn’t get along.

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Morten Andersen is the NFL’s all-time leading scorer but still had to wait five years into his Hall of Fame eligibility to become only the second pure placekicker enshrined in Canton. He became the first kicker enshrined since Jan Stenerud in 1991.

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Jason Taylor played 15 seasons, went to six Pro Bowls and was the 2006 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He tied an NFL record with 29 fumble recoveries and also forced 48 fumbles.

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