Minnesota’s defense is going to be the driving force of their Super Bowl hopes:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Minnesota Vikings are a very scary football team and it’s because they have one of the toughest defenses in all of football. Not only are the Vikings ranked 2nd in the league defensively, the players on this unit bring a unique physicality to the game. What that essentially means is Minnesota’s defenders hit harder than almost anybody and that definitely can change the outcome of football games. Opposing offenses know guys like Erick Kendricks, and Everson Griffen are going to take their heads off if they get a chance and that can cause quarterbacks, running backs, and receivers to become timid. Defense will always be the formula for winning in this sport and right now you have to believe the Minnesota Vikings can shut down the best the league has to offer when they’re on their game. Mike Zimmer’s brand of football will always put a priority on the fundamentals. For this franchise that is basically preaching execution and not allowing Minnesota to beat themselves. As long as Zimmer can avoid blown coverages and giving up big plays they’ll have a legitimate shot at bringing a Vince Lombardi Trophy back to Minnesota. Linval Joseph, Danielle Hunter, and Griffen all have to bring it on the defensive front. Then Harrison Smith, Trae Waynes, and the rest of the secondary have to get their hands on some passes and force some turnovers. The point is this team has all the tools to go all the way and they also have a good enough head coach to execute the vision. Don’t count the Vikings out when you’re discussing the most likely Super Bowl contenders because nobody wants to play this team in the postseason.

Charity of the day: Government Accountability Project (GAP)

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Micah Hyde has been extremely consistent the last three seasons, Buffalo is lucky to have him in their secondary:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Buffalo Bills are in the thick of a playoff hunt and they are luckily to have Micah Hyde in their secondary too. Hyde has been a ball hawk all season long recording 5 interceptions for the Bills’ defense. Micah Hyde had six interceptions in his final two seasons in Green Bay before signing with the Bills. So 11 interceptions over the last three seasons is really impressive and it’s about time we start recognizing Hyde as one of the best in the business coverage wise. Most strong safeties are players that are a little bit of a liability when it comes to pass defense but Hyde has great instincts and knows how to finish a play. That has allowed the 5th year defender to break the mold of the traditional strong safety which is often thought as a player you can drop in the box and play like an extra linebacker. Reshad Jones has been the best strong safety in all of football the last several years but Hyde is quickly closing the gap. Anytime you start to get above 5 interceptions per season that’s when you know a defensive back is having a breakout year. Hyde has to do everything he can to grab a couple more picks against the Patriots and Dolphins to really make it a productive campaign. The other thing that Micah Hyde must do is keep producing next season and the following year as well. A couple more years of this type of play and Hyde could take the crown as the best strong safety in the National Football League. Reshad Jones, Kam Chancellor, and T.J Ward are all players whose careers are winding down. That opens the door for a younger guy like Micah Hyde to claim the title. The Bills got it right when they lured Hyde away from the Green Bay Packers and what a coincidence Buffalo is on the cusp of going to the postseason. It’s because takeaways are the name of the game and Micah Hyde causes a whole lot of turnovers.

Charity of the day: Government Accountability Project (GAP)

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It feels like the Ravens will end up getting in the playoffs over the Bills, Baltimore has a much easier schedule the next two weeks:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Baltimore Ravens are currently one spot out off the playoffs but don’t count out John Harbaugh’s team just yet. Baltimore will face the Colts and Bengals the last two games and that’s much easier than who the Bills will face (Patriots and Dolphins). The Colts and Bengals have combined for 8 wins this season while the Patriots and Dolphins have combined for 17 wins. So Buffalo’s upcoming opponents have more than doubled the winning output compared to the teams Baltimore will face. Another key component the next two contests will be how well Baltimore’s defense plays? The Ravens are a top 10 unit in a number of defensive rankings and that group will have to live up to expectations to will this team down the stretch. That means guys like C.J Mosley and Terrell Suggs have to play their best football and avoid any letdowns. The Colts will be a little bit easier to stop but the Bengals do pose a threat with Andy Dalton. You know Harbaugh is preaching execution to his guys and doing all he can to keep his players focused. On the offensive side of the ball the purple and black need two big games from Joe Flacco. The veteran quarterback has really struggled this year throwing for 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Flacco has also compiled a lackluster QB rating of 79.1. Tom Brady currently has a rating of 104 so the gap between an elite player like Brady and Flacco is pretty significant. Regardless of that though if Joe Flacco can put together a little magic like he did during the Ravens’ 2013 Super Bowl winning run. That would be the spark plug this team needs to pull a late season upset and steal that last playoff spot away from Buffalo. It certainly won’t be easy because every week in the NFL is a dog fight but expect things to play out this way once the regular season comes to an end.

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Chandler Jones has racked up 15 sacks this season, that’s more than anyone else in the NFL:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Arizona Cardinals are having a below average season but luckily this team has a bright spot in Outside Linebacker Chandler Jones. Jones has compiled 15 sacks this year and that’s more than anybody else in pro football. Calais Campbell and Demarcus Lawrence are very close to Jones with 14.5 and 13.5 sacks. However you have to believe that the 27 year old Cardinals LB is going stay hot and become the 2017 sack champion. Jones records over 10 sacks almost every single year but this season he has raised the bar for his own standards. Vic Beasley led the NFL in 2016 with 15.5 sacks so it’s possible Jones tops that by 2 or 3. It couldn’t have been easy for Chandler Jones to be traded to Arizona after playing for New England. The culture surrounding those two teams are completely different but the veteran pass rusher seems to be making the most out of his time in the desert. Arizona finally has an identity again after adding Adrian Peterson and several other young prospects. This team will need Chandler Jones to come out and give a repeat performance next year because the Cardinals will have a shot at a winning season in 2018. Especially if Arizona can continue to upgrade their defense and find a couple more wide receivers on offense. If you’re Steve Keim you have to be thinking about adding the best defensive lineman you can to the mix. Chandler Jones is the only player on this roster that produced over 5 sacks and having a marquee defensive end would sure go a long way. Swinging a deal and getting Bradley Chubb would be a dream come true for the Cardinals. Chubb and Jones would give this franchise a defensive tandem that could eventually compare to Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. Keim should roll the dice and do everything he can to make that happen.

Charity of the day: Environmental Defense Action Fund

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It’s been a great week for Darius Slay not only does he lead the league in interceptions, Slay was also voted to the Pro Bowl:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Detroit Lions Cornerback Darius Slay has been playing outstanding football all season and finally his accomplishments are gaining recognition. Slay had two picks in his last game against the Bears and that gave him the most interceptions for any player in the National Football League with 7. If that wasn’t impressive enough Darius Slay was also nominated to his first Pro Bowl recently which is a great reflection of the 5th year cornerback’s game. Detroit was able to land a marquee talent when they drafted Slay in the 2nd round of the 2013 Draft and everything you’re seeing this guy do now is exactly what the Lions were hoping for. Now with only two weeks remaining in the season this team will do everything they can to win out and get to the postseason. The Bengals and Packers are the last two teams Detroit will face so it’s up to Glover Quin and Darius Slay to make as many big plays they can on the back end. In hopes of elevating this team above the Atlanta Falcons for that last wildcard spot in the NFC. During that time Slay will have to create turnovers left and right in hopes of holding off A.J Bouye, Kevin Byard, and Eric Weddle for the most interceptions. Andy Dalton will definitely present some opportunities for Slay this weekend, the Bengals love to throw the ball and that’s going to give the Lion’s secondary a chance to shine. Keep an eye on Darius Slay and whether or not he is able to get his hands on a few more passes? It takes a lot of factors for an interception to actually happen and for the defensive back who makes the plays it’s all about responding when the throw comes your way. So far nobody in football has been better than Darius Slay when it comes to defending his side of the field.

Charity of the day: Environmental Defense Action Fund

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