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Steelers to wear ‘Color Rush’ unis on Sunday

When the Steelers take the field on Sunday night against the Buffalo Bills, in a game that will have huge playoff implications, they will be wearing uniforms that have been pretty good to them so far.

The Steelers will be sporting the Color Rush uniforms this week, the second time they are wearing the popular uniform this season.

And it’s a uniform that has a good track record as the Steelers are 5-0 in them.

The uniform has become a favorite with players and fans alike, a monochromatic look that was first introduced to wear primarily on Thursday Night Football. The uniform is a black jersey with gold numbers and gold stripes on the sleeves, while the pants are all black.

The Steelers first wore the uniforms on Christmas Day in 2016 when they defeated the Baltimore Ravens, 31-27, to win the AFC North. The team also wore them in 2017 against the Tennessee Titans at Heinz Field, a 40-17 win.

In 2018 the team wore them twice, the first time on Thursday Night Football when they defeated the Carolina Panthers, 52-21, at Heinz Field. They wore them a second time against the New England Patriots, a 17-10 win at Heinz Field. Earlier this season the team wore them in a win over the Miami Dolphins, 27-14, on Monday Night Football.

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Saints reveal uniform combination for Week 14 vs. 49ers

The New Orleans Saints will be wearing black jerseys with black pants during Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers, the team announced in an email shared with season-ticket holders detailing gameday festivities. The black-on-black uniform has been the Saints’ most-common look dating back to the 2017 season, and one of their most-winningest, logging a 15-5 record.

NFL rules stipulate that teams may only wear alternate jerseys (like the Saints’ “Color Rush” duds) three times per season, and they hit that limit last week against the Atlanta Falcons (having previously broken out the threads earlier this year in games with the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys). So we’ll be rolling with the black home jerseys and white away jerseys the rest of the season.

For the superstitious: the all-black look ranks high in winning percentage among uniform combinations used often since Sean Payton was hired to coach the team, back in 2006. We’d be remiss to not mention the alternate gold jerseys used during a 2002 game against the Minnesota Vikings, which they lost 32-31. Those jerseys haven’t been seen since.

Here is every uniform permutation used by the Saints during Payton’s tenure, ranked by winning percentage:

  • White jerseys, white pants: 3-0 (1.000)
  • “Color Rush” alternates: 6-2 (.750)
  • Black and gold throwbacks: 2-1 (.667)
  • Black jerseys, gold pants: 23-13 (.639)
  • Black jerseys, black pants: 40-26 (.606)
  • White jerseys, black pants: 38-25 (.603)
  • White jerseys, gold pants: 31-24 (.564)
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Results: Uni Watch Readers Redesign the Buccaneers’ Uniforms

Don’t worry — both the Creamsicles and Bucco Bruce make an appearance

The tyranny of the Bucs' red and "pewter" uniforms has gone on for far too long

For the past two decades, Paul Lukas been writing about sports uniforms, logos and field designs via Uni Watch, a column that has appeared on ESPN.com and Sports Illustrated as well as its own dedicated daily blog. Now he’s bringing his obsession — the aesthetics of athletics — to InsideHook.

Just about everyone agrees that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers need new uniforms — and fast. The problem is figuring out how to fix them.

The Bucs present an unusual challenge. Unlike most teams, which at least stick with the same basic color scheme even if they tinker with other aspects of their uniforms, the Bucs have had two radically different uniform eras. From 1976 through 1996, they wore orange and white (a combo that led to their uniforms becoming known as the “Creamsicles”) and had Bucco Bruce (an Errol Flynn-like swashbuckler mascot) plastered on their helmets. Those uniforms were almost universally derided back in the day — in part because no NFL team had worn that color combo before, in part because many fans thought Bucco Bruce “looked gay,” and in part because the Bucs were a perennially awful team. Most fans today, though, agree that Bruce and the Creamsicles look better when viewed through the lens of nostalgic hindsight. (For a while, the old uniforms were periodically revived as throwbacks, but the NFL’s current helmet rules have made that impossible since 2013.)

In 1997, the Bucs shifted gears and scrapped the Creamsicles. Orange and white were out, replaced by red and a dark, metallic tone called pewter that had never been seen before in the sports world. Bucco Bruce was sent packing as well, supplanted by a variation on the Jolly Roger flag.

All of which was fine until 2014, when the Bucs and Nike conspired to create the team’s current aesthetic trainwreck. The digital-alarm-clock numerals, the oversized helmet logo, the pewter shoulder yoke, the partial pants striping, the wordmark on the sleeve … it’s a disaster.

But if we’re going to redesign the Bucs, what’s the best way to go about it? Should we bring back the Creamsicle color palette, or stick with red and pewter, or even find a way to merge them? Similarly, should we exhume Bucco Bruce, maintain the Jolly Roger, merge them into a hybrid or just blow everything up and start over?

We posed those questions to Uni Watch readers a few weeks ago, challenging them to redesign the Bucs. They came up with lots of intriguing solutions. Below, you’ll find the best and most interesting design concepts they submitted (click on all of the designs to see larger versions).

Best Overall Design: Dan Bodurtha

Dan Bodurtha did the best job of combining elements from the Bucs’ two primary uniform eras, beginning with his logo: a skull version of Bucco Bruce (an idea, it should be noted, that was also used by many other contest entrants). His white helmet with orange and red trim should work well with his home (orange), road (white) and alternate (red) jerseys, all of which look sharp. His solid-pewter Color Rush design would look ridiculous on the field, but the same goes for most of Color Rush uniforms in real life, so it’s mostly a wash. All in all: Very nicely done! (If you want a closer look at Bodurtha’s individual uniform designs, look here.)

Best Updated Creamsicles: Angus O’Keefe

When we announced this contest, lots of people responded on social media by posting photos of the old Creamsicle uniforms and saying, “There — done.” And sure, just bringing back the old look would be an easy fix. But Angus O’Keefe took a more nuanced approach by keeping Bruce mothballed and instead creating an orange version of the team’s current pirate flag helmet logo. Not bad!

While we’re at it, O’Keefe also came up with a very serviceable reimagining of the team’s current look. If the Bucs are determined to stick with pewter and red, they could do a lot worse than this.

Best Use of Red: Matt Skipper

The original Bucs wore orange with red trim. Then they wore red with pewter trim. Ah, but what if they wore red with orange trim? Matt Skipper has given us a peek at what that might look like, and the results aren’t bad at all. The Uni Watch contest judging panel especially likes the red road pants.

Honorable mention in this category goes to Sean McCarthy, who came up with a similar red/orange approach and added a much ruddier version of Bucco Bruce (plus he gets bonus points for putting “Player,” “Dude” and “Guy” on the nameplates of his jersey mock-ups):

Best Use of Black: Mark Morgan

Black is such a tired cliché in sports design. The Bucs have never used it except for socks and minor trim, but Mark Morgan’s designs show that it could work surprisingly well with the team’s pewter look. His buccaneer logo character feels more original than most of the Bucco Bruce retreads that were submitted, too. The sword down the side of the pants is the kind of thing that probably looks better on a computer monitor than it would in real life, but it’s an interesting idea. Good work.

Best Mascot: Tom Bierbaum

Whenever we run one of these contests, reader Tom Bierbaum submits hand-drawn renderings and always includes an old-school goofy mascot character. He’s really outdone himself this time, as his “Bucco Bird” — basically a football-playing combination of Bucco Bruce and a pirate’s parrot — is a winner.

Honorable mention goes to Tyler Cohen, who came up with a football-playing Captain Hook-like mascot — complete with a hook to cradle the ball:

Best Presentation: Tim Fesmire

When you’re staring at hundreds of designs, many of them created with the same templates over and over again, it can feel like a relief when you come across one that feels fresh and playful. So I hereby raise a pirate’s cup of grog to Tim Fesmire, whose uniform designs, which aren’t bad on their own, are definitely enhanced by his cartoonish little player mannequins. Remember, kids, presentation counts!

Those were the most notable entries. Want to see more? You can view all of the design submissions we received here.

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NFL’s worst-ever uniforms, from Color Rush and throwbacks to regrettable rebrandings

During the NFL’s extensive history, there have been many great uniforms. There also have been some outfits that have widely been scorned. Here are the worst uniforms ever:

15. Washington Redskins

This team needs a total rebranding … including a new team name and logo (the burgundy and gold colors are fine, though). This is something that should have happened years ago.

14. Baltimore Ravens’ mustard pants

A bitter fight by Browns fans to keep their team’s history and colors meant that the franchise ripped out of Cleveland and relocated to Baltimore following the 1995 season had to replace the Browns’ classic football look with something else. That something else has since been reworked, but the color scheme and some other design elements remain (just not the “Flying B” helmet logo). It’s a typically tawdry 1990s uniform. However, for one game during the 2015 season, the Ravens took it a step further and wore mustard-colored pants. The Ravens got pantsed in that game by the playoff-bound Kansas City Chiefs, and the look hasn’t resurfaced since.

13. Tennessee Titans

For the 2018 season, the Titans — after 19 seasons since going away from the Houston Oilers’ stylish look — finally changed their uniforms. The shift was underwhelming. The “flaming thumbtack” helmet logo remains. A blue helmet replaced the white lid, but a multitude of jersey-pant combos remain, the worst of which is the all-blue jersey-pants combo.

12. Minnesota Vikings’ 2006-2012 uniforms

In 2006, the Vikings made the ill-advised decision to dramatically change their uniforms. The team followed the lead of the Arizona Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons — who had previously also turned away from their classic uniforms to fashion-forward looks with wild piping on the pants and accents on the shoulders. This look lasted seven seasons before the Vikings wised up and went with what the team currently wears.

11. Detroit Lions’ all-grey uniforms

In 2003, the Lions went away from a look — featuring Honolulu blue jerseys and silver helmets — that the team had worn from its 1950s glory years through the Barry Sanders era. Since then, the team has tinkered with its uniforms on a number of occasions, adding black to the color palate and fangs to the logo while utilizing new face masks. In 2017, the Lions’ change brought Honolulu blue back as the dominant color and also added grey alternate jerseys. And, on three occasions in the past two seasons, the Lions have worn these ugly all-grey uniforms.

10. Cincinnati Bengals’ current uniforms

In 1981, the Bengals went with the tiger-striped helmet design the team wears to this day. It’s unique, and people seem to either love it or hate it. In 2004, the Bengals unveiled an updated look that the team continues to feature: white paneling on the jerseys, garish tiger stripes on the pants. That update also included mix-and-match jersey-pants combos, the worst of which is the white jersey-black pants look.

9. Pittsburgh Steelers’ 1933 throwbacks

We’re not talking specifically about the “bumblebee” uniforms, or even the ones with the yellow lids. We’re talking about the throwback uniform the Steelers wore during the NFL’s 75th season in 1994. The jerseys were inspired by the team’s uniforms from its inaugural season in 1933 — when the Steelers were known as the Pirates (they became the S teelers in 1940). The jersey itself featured Pittsburgh’s city seal on the front. The then-Pirates also wore the “bumblebee” uniforms in 1933. By 1934, both uniform sets were no longer a part of the team’s identity.

8. Seattle Seahawks’ lime green jerseys

In 2009, and then again as part of its Color Rush look, the Seahawks went lime green. While the team went full “Action Green” the previous three seasons for Color Rush, the look had its roots as a one-off a decade ago for a game against the Chicago Bears. In general, the team’s uniforms from 2002-11 were a substantial downgrade from the look the Seahawks sported from its inaugural season in 1976 until 2001, or even the team’s current look that was adopted in 2012.

7. Denver Broncos’ AFL throwbacks

During their first two seasons in the American Football League — and then again during the 50th anniversary celebration of the AFL in 2009 — the Broncos wore yellow and brown uniforms. The most eye-popping feature of these uniforms were the vertically striped socks. The uniforms were so unpopular that the team held a public burning ceremony in 1962 to further rid the team of the hideous look.

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ current uniforms

The Buccaneers went to their current eyesores in 2014, and — like most uniform changes — it was an unmitigated disappointment.

5. Miami Dolphins’ current uniforms

In a move that has upset nobody, the Dolphins have been wearing throwbacks more frequently lately. The new helmet-less Dolphins logo was part of a 2013 rebrand that coincided with a massive renovation of the team’s stadium. For the 2018 season, the Dolphins have tweaked the look (still ugly), but will continue to wear throwbacks (still awesome).

4. Denver Broncos’ current uniforms

In 1997, the Broncos switched from one of the NFL’s all-time great uniforms to what the team continues to wear to this day. Like many uniforms born out of the 1990s, it’s dreadful. The ugliest blend is the all-navy blue uniforms. Just stop it, please.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars’ Color Rush

The Jaguars seemingly change their uniforms every year … and still can’t get it right. In the two-toned helmet era, the Jaguars’ Color Rush all-mustard uniforms set a new low for a team that’s always had an ugly look.

2. Carolina Panthers’ teal jerseys

Unlike their expansion brethren, the Panthers have kept their uniforms mostly the same since entering the league a quarter century ago. Neither approach has worked for the expansion class of 1995. Teams change uniforms all the time in the name of marketing and merchandising. So, Carolina, do the right thing and do a complete uniform overhaul.

1. Philadelphia Eagles 1934 throwbacks

In 2007, to commemorate the team’s 75th anniversary season, the Eagles wore uniforms from their 1934 season. The uniforms were historically ugly, the Eagles’ on-field performance while wearing them wasn’t. Philadelphia dump trucked the Detroit Lions, 56-21, while sporting the throwbacks.

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We fixed the Buccaneers uniforms, and now the world is a better place

Our concept pays homage to Tampa Bay’s past, salutes its present and ushers in its future.

It's not easy to make these dudes look good, but if the Bucs adopted our uniform redesign, it would go a long way.

The first step in solving a problem is to identify that it is one.

We, the people of Tampa Bay, have had enough of the Buccaneers’ ugly uniforms. They are overdone and need to be redesigned immediately.

Sure, the team, which has lost seven of its 11 games this season, has problems that some might argue are more significant, but we’re capable of multitasking, aren’t we? Critiquing the uniforms doesn’t mean we can’t critique the games, players, coaches and/or owners. Besides, there’s not much that can be done about the team itself until after the Super Bowl.

With that in mind, it’s time to stop complaining. It’s time to take action. It’s time to share solutions.

Before we get to one of our proposals, we want to encourage you to keep sharing yours. If you haven’t already, go to tampabay.com/fixthebucsunis and download the uniform template designed by Tampa Bay Times artist Ron Borresen. Share your design on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #FixTheBucsUnis, or email it to [email protected]

The response so far has been incredible, but this is no time to relent. Keep the momentum going. Soon, we’ll publish a selection of your redesigns at tampabay.com and in the Times.

Now, let’s dive into our first concept, one of many we’ll be rolling out over the next few weeks.

The objective

The goal here was to design a classic, timeless uniform that would look good not only on players but also on fans. It’s hard for any adult to pull off wearing a football jersey, but it’s especially difficult when it’s a Bucs jersey (it’s no coincidence that jersey sales are abysmal). It’s more than a fashion statement; it’s a declaration that you lack taste. Can’t we have nice things like the Los Angeles Chargers’ powder blues? Or the Oakland Raiders’ silver and blacks?

The Bucs, in trying to embrace every era in team history, have done exactly the opposite: They’ve embraced no era. Is it 1976? 1997? 2014? No one knows, and the alarm-clock numbers aren’t any help.

We realized that no single design will please everyone, so we didn’t try. Instead, we made difficult decisions that the people who spearheaded the current Bucs design clearly were not willing to make. The toughest call: No more orange. If you’re going to wear orange, you have to own it, like the Baltimore Orioles or the Philadelphia Flyers. If you’re not going to own it, don’t bother.

The colors

At the moment, the Bucs have five colors in their palette (not counting white, a color every team wears): red, pewter, bay orange, gray/silver/chrome and black. At least one had to go, and it wasn’t going to be the red or the pewter that they wore during their Super Bowl run. For us, that color was orange, which brings to mind an era of Bucs football that many would just as soon like to forget: the era of the Yucks, the Pastel Pansies. Want the Creamsicles again? Go buy a Mitchell & Ness jersey.

In all, we have four colors, and they are:

• Victory red: This is the exact red the Bucs use now, except with a new name. “Victory” might seem superfluous, but try thinking of it as the team speaking success into existence. Hey, nothing else is working.

• Super Bowl pewter: One of the most unique colors in all of professional sports, pewter is synonymous with the Bucs, so they should keep it — but with some tweaks. Modest proposal: Make the pewter look more like pewter. The current pewter, depending on the lighting, often looks brown. Our pewter is darker and grayer, like a slate gray with an azure tinge.

• Aircraft gray: The Bucs uniforms could use a couple of nods to the Tampa Bay community. This concept subtly incorporates a swatch taken directly from the aircraft at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.

• Prime time black: Remember when the Bucs, a week before Christmas in 2000, rallied in the final two minutes to upset Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Torry Holt and the defending Super Bowl champion Rams on Monday Night Football? Shaun King’s run for 6 yards on fourth and 4, King to Reidel Anthony for 22 yards, Warrick Dunn’s game-winning touchdown, John Lynch’s game-sealing interception — Raymond James Stadium was electric. Maybe one day it can be again.

That’s enough background. Let’s unveil the home edition of our Bucs uniform ensemble, a collection that pays homage to Tampa Bay’s past, salutes its present and ushers in its future.

The uniforms

Home uniforms (for a larger view, right-click and open in a new window)

In our concept, the Bucs wear red tops and pewter bottoms at home, as they have for most of the past two decades. We’ve considerably scaled back the pewter on the jerseys, however. It’s a unique color, yes, but too much of it can be a bad thing. So those contrasting shoulder yokes? Good riddance. Pewter is limited to stripes on the sleeves and outlines on the numbers. Not too much. Not too little. Just right.

Speaking of numbers, the alarm-clock font is history. In its place, we’ve adopted the typeface the Bucs use on their scoreboards and marketing materials. It’s more angular/less boxy and doesn’t feature unnecessary interior lines or, as the Bucs call them, “blade carvings.”

We’ve scaled back the helmet design, too, dropping the flag behind the iconic skull and cross-swords. That’s not to suggest the Bucs should lose the flag altogether; it’s just too much for a helmet, where simpler is often better.

Overall, the uniforms resemble the ones the Bucs wore during the Creamsicles era (1976-1996). The updated striping on the sleeves is pewter-white-pewter instead of red-white-red; the updated striping on the pants and helmet is red-white-red instead of red-orange-red.

Away uniforms (for a larger view, right-click and open in a new window)

In another nod to the Creamsicles, the away edition features white tops and white bottoms but with our updated color scheme.

Color Rush uniforms

One common complaint about the Bucs’ current monochromatic Color Rush uniforms is that they look like pajamas. The same can be said of the Color Rush uniforms for every NFL team. There’s no designing around that.

We tried designing a dramatically different alternate jersey, one that featured pewter as the primary color, but it felt dull and uninspired. Instead, we tweaked the red home jersey to include aircraft gray numbers with a pewter outline.

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Steelers respond to report that Browns fans with Myles Garrett jerseys will be banned from Heinz Field Sunday

The Steelers would like to clear up a rumor that has been floating around the Internet

The last time we saw the Steelers and Browns on the same field together, the final seconds of the game turned into total chaos after Myles Garrett ripped off Mason Rudolph’s helmet and then hit him over the head with it.

After all was said and done in the fight, the NFL ended up handing out more than $700,000 in fines and three suspensions. The biggest suspension went to Garrett, who was indefinitely banned from the NFL for his actions during the brawl.

Although Rudolph won’t be the Steelers starting quarterback against Cleveland on Sunday — that honor belongs to Devlin Hodges — Garrett is still basically viewed as public enemy No. 1 in Pittsburgh right now, which led to an interesting report this week. With the two teams getting set to meet at Heinz Field on Sunday, a radio station in Pittsburgh reported that any Browns fans wearing a Myles Garrett jersey could potentially be banned from the stadium.

As crazy as the report sounded, it quickly gained steam and left many people wondering if the Steelers were actually going to ban Garrett jerseys from this week’s game. As it turns out though, all Browns fans will be welcome to the game on Sunday, including fans who might be wearing a Garrett jersey.

Steelers public relations director Burt Lauten cleared up all the confusion with a tweet on Tuesday.

Basically, this means that if you were planning to wear a Garrett jersey to Heinz Field on Sunday, you will be welcomed into the stadium. It probably won’t be a warm welcome, but you’ll be allowed in, which is all that matters.

One thing that will be interesting to watch this weekend is how Steelers fans treat this game. If they act anything like Browns fans, things could get kind of crazy during pregame tailgating. The Browns weren’t even playing the Steelers in Week 12, but fans in Cleveland still took some anger out at Rudolph by taking swings at a pinata that looked like him.

Rudolph didn’t get suspended for the part he played in the fight, but he did get hit with a monstrous $50,000 fine.

With Rudolph getting benched this week, that means there will be a total of three players from the Week 11 brawl who won’t be playing on Sunday. Besides Rudolph and Garrett, Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey also won’t be on the field. Pouncey was hit with a two-game suspension stemming after the brawl, which means he won’t be allowed to return to action until Week 14. Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi was also suspended for one game, but he served that in Week 12, which means he’ll be on the field this week.

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Week 13 Thanksgiving NFL picks against the spread: Bears vs. Lions, Bills vs. Cowboys, Saints vs. Falcons – 11/28/2019

Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints face the Atlanta Falcons in Thursday’s NFL on Thanksgiving nightcap.

The NFL on Thanksgiving has become as much a part of the holiday as the turkey itself. Hopefully, these Week 13 Thanksgiving NFL picks will add a little gravy to your day.

Week 13 Thanksgiving NFL picks

Chicago Bears (-3.5, 38 over/under) at Detroit Lions, Thursday at 12:30 p.m. ET (FOX)

The best thing about Bears vs. Lions is it should give you a three-hour window to spend some time with your family rather than getting yelled at for watching football on Thanksgiving – because this one won’t be pretty.

Undrafted rookie quarterback David Blough could get the start for Lions in place of backup Jeff Driskel, as Driskel is dealing with a hamstring injury. The Lions are already down to Driskel due to starter Matt Stafford being sidelined with broken bones in his back. Stafford last played Nov. 3.

Things have gotten so grim at quarterback for the Lions that they were blocked by the XFL when attempting to sign Josh Johnson – whom Detroit had already cut earlier this season.

Driskel has lost all three starts since taking over at quarterback, with the Lions losing seven of their last eight overall.

The Lions last covered a point spread Oct. 15.

Meanwhile, the Bears are dealing with some uncertainty at quarterback of their own.

Mitchell Tribusky is no longer dealing with a hip issue, although his grasp on the starting job remains flimsy with each passing week. The Bears want and need Trubisky to take control of the quarterback position, but that hasn’t been the case.

If Trubisky fails to move the Bears offense once again on Thanksgiving, backup quarterback Chase Daniel could very realistically see some action.

The biggest difference between the two teams Thursday is at least the Bears have a defense to fall back on.

Chicago owns one of the best defenses in the NFL, which could make for a long day for either Driskel or Blough.

Now that the line has crawled up to Bears -3.5, Chicago isn’t nearly as enticing, but it’s hard to have much confidence in the Lions given their situation at quarterback.

Pick: Bears -3.5

Buffalo Bills at Dallas Cowboys (-6.5, 47 over/under), Thursday at 4:30 p.m. ET (CBS)

This game should tell us a lot about where these two teams stand.

The pressure is on in Dallas. Last Sunday’s self-inflicted loss to the New England Patriots has owner Jerry Jones as unhappy as he’s been in recent memory.

There’s no shame in losing to the Patriots on the road. But given the talent this team has, you can’t let opportunities like that slip away. And that’s likely the root of Jones’ frustration, he expects and demands more from them.

If the Cowboys don’t bounce back here – at home on Thanksgiving Day in front of a national audience, no less – head coach Jason Garrett might as well skip the turkey and start updating his resume.

As for the Bills, while Buffalo owns an 8-3 record, they haven’t played anyone. The Bills have beaten just one team currently over .500 – a win over the 6-5 Tennessee Titans that came in Week 5. However, the Bills will certainly have a chance to prove they are for real over the next few weeks. Games against the Ravens and Patriots follow Thursday in Dallas.

Unfortunately for the Bills, this just seems like a bad spot for them for no other reason than the Cowboys are in must-win mode.

How can the Cowboys not come out swinging after ownership has essentially put them on notice?

At -6.5, the Cowboys are the play. If this line creeps back up to -7 or higher, the Bills might deserve some consideration when making your Thanksgiving NFL picks.

Pick: Cowboys -6.5

New Orleans Saints (-7, 48.5 over/under) at Atlanta Falcons, Thursday at 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)

Much like the Cowboys, this should be a game where the Saints break out.

The Saints escaped with a win Sunday at home against the Carolina Panthers and got blown out at home Nov. 10 against these same Falcons.

Penalties have been killing the Saints, so the good news is what ails them should be correctable.

New Orleans has been penalized 31 times for 268 yards in just their last three games alone – including 12 penalties for 123 yards in the close call over Carolina.

The Falcons could be without All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones (shoulder) and Pro Bowl tight end Austin Hooper (knee). Both did not participate in practice Tuesday. The loss of Jones and Hooper might be too much to overcome for quarterback Matt Ryan – especially when playing a high-powered offense like the Saints.

One of the keys to victory when the Falcons beat the Saints a few weeks ago was Atlanta’s ability to get after the quarterback. The Falcons sacked Drew Brees six times on the day – accounting for one-third of their entire sack total on the season (18).

Yes, the Saints will be without starting left tackle Terron Armstead and left guard Andrus Peat on Thursday, but the Falcons still must demonstrate that surge in sacks was more than just a fluke.

Pick: Saints -7

Record: NFL picks against the spread

Last week: 3-4

This season: 30-31-1

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Uni Watch’s Best and Worst Looks From Week 1 in the NFL

Which two teams produced the best-looking uniform combination during the Week 1 slate of games?

Uni Watch’s Best-Looking Game of Week 1

Packers at Bears

It’s not often that the best-looking game of the week takes place on Thursday, but that was the case this time around, as Thursday night’s Packers-Bears season opener gets Uni Watch’s top honors.

Both teams looked great from head to toe, from the Packers’ perfect color scheme to the Bears’ striped socks (a rarity in today’s NFL, sadly). Both teams have had essentially these same looks forever, and with good reason—if it ain’t broke, you don’t fix it. And let’s face it, with the NFL kicking off its 100th-anniversary season, this was pretty much the perfect old-school uniform matchup. Put it all on a natural grass field (which is always the case when these two teams face each other, of course) and you pretty much have the dictionary definition of how pro football is supposed to look.

Vince and George would’ve been proud. Here’s hoping they were watching from above.

Uni Watch’s Worst-Looking Game of Week 1

Bengals at Seahawks

Truth to tell, there were no genuinely awful­-looking games this week. But every race has to have someone who comes in last, and this week it was the Bengals-Seahawks game. With Cincy’s stripe-o-rama and Seattle’s neon-accented scuba suits, this felt more like a meeting of two costumes, not two uniforms. The battle of the pants striping patterns alone was enough to make your friendly uniform columnist look away.

Still, it could be worse—and it will be. On Oct. 6, the Bengals are slated to host the Cardinals. Yikes.

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Savage move? Rookie’s number change is a costly one for some Packers fans

Savage has reversed his decision and now says he will not change his number.

A new jersey number for a new Packers player has become a costly change for some fans.

As FOX 11 reported on Sunday, rookie Darnell Savage will wear 21 after wearing 26 for the first few months of his NFL career.

His jersey has been a popular purchase among Packers fans since he was drafted in the first round in April.

“Now what am I going to wear for Packers/Bears on Thursday?” said Seth Clayton of Beloit.

Clayton bought Savage’s 26 jersey after a four-hour drive to Lambeau Field on Friday. On Sunday, Savage was on the practice field, wearing 21.

“I’m pretty disappointed,” said Clayton.

Starting at $100 a jersey, Clayton isn’t alone. Corey Miller, of Orem, Utah, messaged the Packers Pro Shop as soon as he saw the change.

“They let me know as long as tags were still attached and stuff that they would do the returns on it, which works out for me because I hung it up as soon as it came,” said Miller.

Miller says he realizes other fans won’t be as lucky.

The Jersey Store has put a call into Nike to see if it will offer anything for Savage’s fans.

“Right now, it’s too early to tell what’s going to happen as far as from a consumer standpoint with Nike, who produces the jerseys,” said Mike Walters, manager of The Jersey Store. “I don’t know if they are going to allow refunds or exchanges on that kind of stuff.”

So why did Savage make the sudden change? He has a few reasons, but chief among them, he says he wasn’t feeling 26.

“I used to wear 21 when I was younger and now it’s like a big thing because of 21 Savage, so I thought it was pretty cool,” said Savage.

“Since I’m a big fan of Savage 21…never heard of Savage 21,” said Mark Murphy, Packers President & CEO, when asked about Savage’s jersey change.

For those like Murphy, 21 Savage is a rap artist, and according to many people who commented about the number change on social media, the new tie to him could take Savage’s jersey sales to a new level.

“He’s obviously going to sell a lot more, but some type of acknowledgment for the true fans who already have his jersey would be nice you know?” said Clayton. “We’d like to hear from him.”

A big game in his debut against the Bears could be a start. The fans we spoke with say an autograph would help too.

“I’ll make the trip back up to Lambeau for that,” said Clayton.

Stores expect to have new 21 jerseys in the next couple weeks. The Pro Shop says it can make custom orders for fans who want one sooner.

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Cheap Custom Football Team Jerseys

Five Things Every Jets Fan Should Know About Their New Uniforms

The New York Jets unveiled their new uniforms tonight at Gotham Hall in New York City. The three versions keep the Nike Vapor Untouchable chassis and get a modern upgrade for the franchise’s 60th season. Here are five updates to look out for:

1. A bolder green

Home, away and alternate uniforms include a green that was exclusively developed for the Jets. Also new is an all-black base for the alternate uniforms (it’s the first you’ll see the color since being removed from the team’s palette before the 1998 season).

2. New logos

Three new logos (including “Jets” lettering on the helmets without the oval frame or the “NY” type) will appear on the team’s helmets, fan gear and related memorabilia.

3. “New York” reads on the chest

It’s the first time in team history that the city name appears on the uniform.

4. Bold, angular stripes

A new linear design, reminiscent of a jet’s flight trail, runs across the shoulders and down the pant leg. They’re more than just looks: The stripes on the shoulder pads meet at the vented grille neckline for improved cooling during play.

5. Updated numbers and font

The jersey’s previous font has been updated to a new, custom typeface with sloped angles intended to evoke a feeling of motion and force.

Fan jerseys will be available beginning April 4 on nike.com and April 5 at Nike SoHo and Nike House of Innovation.