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NFL News and Notes: December 17, 2018

Let’s take a look at some of the news and notes surrounding week 15 of the NFL regular season.

Alex Smith Released From Hospital

Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith has been released from the hospital after dealing with a leg infection. The infection stemmed from a surgery that was performed after Smith suffered a gruesome leg injury earlier this season. The injury occurred on November 18 in a game against the Houston Texans, and Smith was nearly hospitalized for a month. The Redskins have not given a timetable for Smith’s return to the NFL, but sources have indicated that the QB could eventually make his way back onto the field.

Von Miller Becomes Broncos Sack Leader

Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller became the Denver Broncos all-time sack leader on Saturday night. The Broncos suffered a heartbreaking 17-16 loss to the Cleveland Browns to put their playoff hopes in jeopardy. Miller recorded a third-quarter sack on Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield to give him number 98 for his career. With the sack, Miller moved past the 97.5 career sacks by Simon Fletcher to set the franchise record. Miller has now recorded 14.5 sacks this season, just four off of his career high of 18.5 set during the 2012 season.

Martavis Bryant Suspended By NFL

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Martavis Bryant has been given an indefinite suspension by the NFL for violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. Bryant is currently on injured reserve as he tries to recover from a knee injury suffered earlier this month. The speedy wide receiver was eligible to play this season after appealing his yearlong suspension by the NFL. Bryant has previously been suspended two other times for substance abuse violations. Bryant is in the final year of his contract and will be eligible for free agency after the season.

Flacco Not Expected Back in Baltimore

Former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco is not expected to return to Baltimore following the 2018 season. The veteran quarterback saw his starting job lost to rookie Lamar Jackson earlier this season, and the Ravens are not expected to re-sign Flacco at the end of the season. Flacco is guaranteed $18.5 million next season, and Baltimore is expected to eat $16 million to let him go. The 33-year-old quarterback would be an instant upgrade for several teams around the NFL.

Chicago Bears Win NFC North

The Chicago Bears clinched the 2018 NFC North Division title with a week 15 victory over the Green Bay Packers. The Bears were able to outlast Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers for a 24-17 victory at Soldier Field. Chicago improved their record to 10-4 on the season under first-year head coach Matt Nagy. The Bears are back in the playoffs for the first time since the 2010 season and are in great position to lock up home-field advantage for the Wild Card round. Chicago currently holds the third spot in the NFC Playoff standings, just ahead of the Dallas Cowboys.

Colts Shutout Dallas Cowboys

The Indianapolis Colts defense put together an impressive showing in week 15 in shutting out the Dallas Cowboys. It was the first time that the Cowboys have been shut out since a 12-0 loss to the New England Patriots during the 2003 season. Dallas was looking to clinch their second NFC East title in three seasons, but the celebration will have to wait another week. With the week 15 victory, the Colts improved their record to 8-6 to keep their playoff hopes alive. Indianapolis sits just outside the playoff field in the wild AFC.

Wentz Could Miss Remainder of Season

Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback Carson Wentz could miss the remainder of the 2018 regular season with what the team is calling a stress fracture in his back. The Eagles announced that the injury will not require surgery, but Wentz will need several months to recover from the injury. Wentz has the option of trying to play through the injury but was ruled out for the Eagles week 15 showdown against the Los Angeles Rams. Backup quarterback Nick Foles will once again take over the starting job, just as he did to finish out the 2017 regular season. Philadelphia is clinging to playoff hope heading into the week 15 matchup.