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The Cleveland Browns had appeared to be the primary target for the next series of HBO's "Hard Knocks," but according to sources, the Browns balked at the idea, in part due to quarterback Johnny Manziel's rehab treatment.

With Cleveland out of the running, four teams -- the Bills, Texans, Giants and Redskins -- are the rumored favorites to be featured on the hit show.

With all of them boasting the requisite star power and affable personalities to captivate audiences -- unlike last season's Falcons -- we assess the entertainment value of each rumored "Hard Knocks" finalist:

Houston Texans

• Pretty much everything J.J. Watt does ends up on a highlight reel, or trending somewhere, such as his faux breaking news, attending the NCAA basketball tournament with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, and especially when his thigh injury resembles the meat Rocky sparred with. If the NFL All-Pro and all-around showman is involved, trust us, people will tune in.
• The Texans don't have a sexy quarterback camp battle, but it remains sports' most glamorous position, and the competition between Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett should be a fierce one.
• Texas is BBQ country, so here's hoping jovial big man Vince Wilfork cranks up the old grill for more of this:

A video posted by Bianca Wilfork (@mrs75) on



•       •       •      

Buffalo Bills

"Let's go get a god damn snack!" is an iconic Rex Ryan quote that resides near the top of the pantheon of "Hard Knocks" quotables. With the bombastic coach now calling Buffalo home, fans would certainly welcome some fresh Rexims.
• Chip Kelly canceled the LeSean McCoy show in Philly, but the running back's silky smooth game and penchant for expressing whatever's on his mind makes his Buffalo reboot must-see TV.
• A cameo from Buffalo legend Jim Kelly will display the human element of football, as his battle to overcome cancer was truly inspiring to the team and fans across the world.

Note: A Bills source told ESPN.com's Mike Rodak that the team is not interested in the show, but we can still dream, can't we?

Rex RyanAP Photo/Bill Wippert

New York Giants

• Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. just exudes swagger and is in the midst of an NFL takeover that has seen him reel in the catch of the year and land the "Madden 15" cover. Next, America gets an inside look at his meteoric ascent and all the insane grabs previously not privy to cameras.
• How red can Tom Coughlin's face get? We're sure to find out as rookies bungle drills and draw the ire of the fiery coach.
• Manning face! Manning face! And more Manning face!
Odell Beckham Jr.Jordan Strauss/Invision for NFL/AP Images

Washington Redskins

• Think Shady had some heat for his former coach? Wait until DeSean Jackson, who was released by Kelly, gets miked up.
• Jon Gruden has a knack for saying something that will leave you scratching your head. Here's hoping his brother Jay shares that enigmatic factor and continues the NFL's version of the "Odd Couple" with his co-star and starting QB -- for now.
• This may be Robert Griffin III's final shot at re-capturing the hearts of fans in the nation's capital? We're not sure how he'll look in camp, but an appearance by his adorable new baby girl, Reese Ann, will surely help his cause:

Note: A high-ranking Redskins official told ESPN.com's John Keim that the team is not a possibility to appear on the show, but again, we can dream, right?

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The Eagles made the signing of Tim Tebow official Monday.

Rival Washington? It -- or at least its social media department -- wasn't about to stay quiet:

Burn!

Or was it? If you're well-versed in Twitter memes, you'll know that Kermit sipping tea is the traditional background photo for the "none of my business" trend, the Internet equivalent to "I'm just sayin'." This typically includes a damning statement on top or in the Twitter text (e.g. "Tim Tebow has a total QBR of 33.4 since 2010"), then the boilerplate fake-shrug at the bottom ("but that's none of my business").

But this picture has none of that!

Now, one might argue that everyone on Twitter knows the Kermit thing by now, and everyone on Twitter at the moment knew the Tebow signing had just become official. Also, not adding any text gives the team plausible deniability: "Tebow who? We just thought it was a funny photo!"

But lack of wording could leave some people confused. Also, trolling a team with a much better recent history -- and with no indication as to what was none of its business -- left Washington open to counter-trolling.

Like so:

Ouch.

Still, we don't want to hit Washington too hard for this. Good-natured, sports-related trolling is almost as fun as the games. (Plus it would be way too easy for someone to fire back with, say, "the writer of this post has less than 700 followers ... but that's none of my business.")

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AP Photo/Denis Poroy

NFL Week 2 questions

The NFL's second week has come and gone, and both Washingtons made big news. The D.C. version saw its team lose quarterback Robert Griffin III to an ankle injury -- but win in big fashion anyway behind Kirk Cousins. The team from the state of Washington, meanwhile, was stunned in a 30-21 loss to the Chargers, with cornerback Richard Sherman being called out by San Diego players. What do you make of the week's major storylines?

  • Which of these was the most surprising outcome of Week 2?

    •  
      15%
    •  
      46%
    •  
      34%
    •  
      5%

    Discuss (Total votes: 73,997)

  • Which of these 2-0 teams is most for real?

    •  
      18%
    •  
      56%
    •  
      26%

    Discuss (Total votes: 77,282)

  • Which of these 0-2 teams has been most disappointing?

    •  
      7%
    •  
      19%
    •  
      14%
    •  
      60%

    Discuss (Total votes: 267,508)

  • Is Andrew Luck an elite quarterback?

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      61%
    •  
      39%

    Discuss (Total votes: 74,968)

  • When both are healthy, who should be Washington's starting quarterback?

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      71%
    •  
      29%

    Discuss (Total votes: 78,827)

  • What is Robert Griffin III's NFL future?

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      4%
    •  
      20%
    •  
      50%
    •  
      26%

    Discuss (Total votes: 47,188)

  • Some Chargers suggested Richard Sherman was "exposed" as a cornerback during Sunday's 30-21 Seahawks loss. Was he?

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      53%
    •  
      47%

    Discuss (Total votes: 108,444)

  • How worried should Seahawks fans be about their team giving up 30 points to the Chargers on Sunday?

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      23%
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      58%
    •  
      19%

    Discuss (Total votes: 42,741)

  • Should the Giants bench Eli Manning?

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      50%
    •  
      50%

    Discuss (Total votes: 318,993)

  • Which game is more indicative of the Cowboys this season?

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      75%
    •  
      25%

    Discuss (Total votes: 45,746)

  • Will the Lions (1-1) make the playoffs?

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      47%
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      53%

    Discuss (Total votes: 43,826)

  • Are the Panthers (2-0) legitimate Super Bowl contenders?

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      34%
    •  
      66%

    Discuss (Total votes: 64,422)

  • How worried should Saints fans be about their 0-2 start?

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      62%
    •  
      38%

    Discuss (Total votes: 70,278)

  • The Saints were the overwhelming preseason favorites in the NFC South. Has their 0-2 start and the Panthers' 2-0 start changed your opinion on who will win the division?

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      31%
    •  
      21%
    •  
      32%
    •  
      16%

    Discuss (Total votes: 42,191)

  • What do you make of the Ravens' 26-6 win over the Steelers on Thursday night?

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      7%
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      50%
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      43%

    Discuss (Total votes: 338,880)

  • Is Steve Smith still an elite receiver?

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      44%
    •  
      56%

    Discuss (Total votes: 68,165)

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Thoughts on NFL's opening week?

The NFL is back! On the first Sunday, some teams (San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos) won as expected, others (New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots) suffered surprising defeats, and a few more (Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs) were downright demoralized. On Monday, the Detroit Lions grabbed the headlines by routing the New York Giants. What's your take on some of the major questions from Week 1 action?

More: Are the Seahawks poised to repeat?

  • Which team was most impressive in Week 1?

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      12%
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      22%
    •  
      15%
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      40%
    •  
      11%

    Discuss (Total votes: 67,599)

  • Which team's fans should be most worried after Week 1?

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      14%
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      46%
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      31%
    •  
      9%

    Discuss (Total votes: 181,852)

  • How will the Lions fare this season if Calvin Johnson stays healthy?

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      35%
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      54%
    •  
      11%

    Discuss (Total votes: 76,323)

  • Is Calvin Johnson the best player in the NFL?

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      50%
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      50%

    Discuss (Total votes: 439,949)

  • Should Antonio Brown be further punished for his kick of Browns punter Spencer Lanning on Sunday (he was penalized 15 yards)?

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      26%
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      32%
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      42%

    Discuss (Total votes: 103,334)

  • Is Tony Romo done as a quality starter in the NFL?

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      65%
    •  
      35%

    Discuss (Total votes: 94,223)

  • Will injuries hamper Jadeveon Clowney throughout his career?

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      64%
    •  
      36%

    Discuss (Total votes: 52,803)

  • What do you make of the Colts' coming back from 24-0 down to lose 31-24 (with a possession to tie the game late in the fourth)?

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      55%
    •  
      45%

    Discuss (Total votes: 60,968)

  • What do you make of the Titans' 26-10 win at the Chiefs on Sunday?

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      27%
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      48%
    •  
      25%

    Discuss (Total votes: 41,321)

  • What do you make of the Bills' 23-20 win at the Bears on Sunday?

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      31%
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      35%
    •  
      34%

    Discuss (Total votes: 41,543)

  • What do you make of the Dolphins' 33-20 win over the Patriots on Sunday?

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      46%
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      23%
    •  
      31%

    Discuss (Total votes: 42,236)

  • What do you make of the Falcons' 37-34 overtime win over the Saints on Sunday?

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      50%
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      8%
    •  
      42%

    Discuss (Total votes: 41,381)

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Getty Images

Your 2014 NFL predictions?

The 2014 NFL season kicks off Thursday night, with the Super Bowl-winning Seattle Seahawks hosting the Green Bay Packers in the first of what should be many intriguing games in this wide-open league. What will happen this year? Read our experts' NFL preview, then cast your votes below!

More: Predict: Over/unders | Your Power Rankings? | Rank: #NFLRank top 20

  • Which team will win the NFC East?

    •  
      72%
    •  
      9%
    •  
      9%
    •  
      10%

    Discuss (Total votes: 44,162)

  • Which team will win the NFC North?

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      68%
    •  
      16%
    •  
      11%
    •  
      5%

    Discuss (Total votes: 44,040)

  • Which team will win the NFC South?

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      74%
    •  
      15%
    •  
      8%
    •  
      3%

    Discuss (Total votes: 42,837)

  • Which team will win the NFC West?

    •  
      74%
    •  
      20%
    •  
      4%
    •  
      2%

    Discuss (Total votes: 43,068)

  • Which team will win the AFC East?

    •  
      88%
    •  
      6%
    •  
      4%
    •  
      2%

    Discuss (Total votes: 41,981)

  • Which team will win the AFC North?

    •  
      20%
    •  
      56%
    •  
      19%
    •  
      5%

    Discuss (Total votes: 41,981)

  • Which team will win the AFC South?

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      85%
    •  
      9%
    •  
      3%
    •  
      3%

    Discuss (Total votes: 41,111)

  • Which team will win the AFC West?

    •  
      86%
    •  
      6%
    •  
      6%
    •  
      2%

    Discuss (Total votes: 41,142)

  • Which team will finish with the NFL's best record (assuming there are no ties)?

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      36%
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      14%
    •  
      9%
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      25%
    •  
      16%

    Discuss (Total votes: 40,206)

  • Which team will finish with the NFL's worst record (assuming there are no ties)?

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      17%
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      29%
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      32%
    •  
      8%
    •  
      14%

    Discuss (Total votes: 39,799)

  • How confident are you feeling about your favorite NFL team heading into the 2014 season?

    •  
      41%
    •  
      41%
    •  
      18%

    Discuss (Total votes: 74,222)

  • Who will win NFL MVP?

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      9%
    •  
      12%
    •  
      25%
    •  
      15%
    •  
      39%

    Discuss (Total votes: 47,552)

  • Which rookie will have the biggest impact in 2014?

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      17%
    •  
      41%
    •  
      7%
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      13%
    •  
      22%

    Discuss (Total votes: 46,508)

  • Which team will win the NFC?

    •  
      14%
    •  
      17%
    •  
      14%
    •  
      41%
    •  
      14%

    Discuss (Total votes: 38,001)

  • Which team will win the AFC?

    •  
      50%
    •  
      11%
    •  
      24%
    •  
      15%

    Discuss (Total votes: 37,231)

  • Which team will win the Super Bowl?

    •  
      18%
    •  
      6%
    •  
      10%
    •  
      25%
    •  
      41%

    Discuss (Total votes: 203,542)

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