The Buffalo Bills are going back to the playoffs after a 17 year drought, Sean McDermott has overachieved all season:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Just when you thought you’ve seen it all the Buffalo Bills step up and end their 17 year playoff drought. The biggest strength of the Bills all season long has been their running game which ranks 6th in the league. LeSean McCoy is at the forefront of Buffalo’s rushing success that’s why it’s so concerning that McCoy is banged up heading into this weekend. The Bills play the Jaguars in the wildcard round and Jacksonville presents a tough challenge defensively. McCoy would have a tough time against this defense when he is healthy therefore it’s going to be really tough to have success with a bum ankle. The other key for this team will obviously be the defense. Sean McDermott made a name for himself as a defensive coordinator in this league before landing the head coaching job in Western New York. McDermott has his hands all over the Bills scheme and system which has been a huge part in this team’s turnaround. If Micah Hyde and the rest of this defense can rattle Blake Bortles that will go a long way in helping Buffalo upset Jacksonville. The other huge factor will be how well Tyrod Taylor ends up playing? Taylor has been underappreciated all season by McDermott but he has a chance to step up and prove his worth in the postseason. Could you imagine how big it would be for this franchise’s confidence if they can put together a deep playoff run? That would set a great precedent for the future and suddenly the other players around the league would believe they can win if they sign with the Bills. It’s been a long time since that’s been the case so give everyone in this organization credit for overcoming all the odds. It’s not an easy task to put a 17 year playoff drought to an end but this team got the job done.

Charity of the day: Grameen Foundation USA

Go donate! www.grameenfoundation.org

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The Green Bay Packers fire Dom Capers and reassign Ted Thompson, big changes are coming in Wisconsin:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Green Bay Packers are known for their prestige and that’s why this franchise isn’t taking it lightly when it comes to missing the playoffs. The Packers decided it was time to part ways with Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers and that was largely because this defensive unit was ranked 22nd in the league. Now to be fair Ted Thompson made a huge mistake when he let Julius Peppers walk in free agency last off-season but there were also some concerns with Capers’ performance throughout the past couple of years. Ultimately another season of underachieving led the Packers’ higher ups to part ways with Capers which will drastically change things for Green Bay. It’s unknown whether or not Mike McCarthy is going to change schemes defensively but you have to think he’d be willing to do so if the next defensive coordinator preferred a different system. A move like that will completely alter the identity of McCarthy’s team but as long as their improving it’s the right choice. Ted Thompson is also transitioning to another role within the organization which hasn’t been announced yet. Thompson has really came under fire lately for not pulling the trigger when it comes to signing free agents. Thompson was a very conservative general manager and preferred to build his team through the draft. The problem with that strategy was the fact that Aaron Rodgers was wasting away with an under-talented team around him. You have to be willing to push all of your chips in the middle of the table sometimes and that means taking risks. Ted Thompson kept this team competitive for a very long time but it was clear it was time to move forward. The next general manager will have put the right roster together and give the Packers a chance to win some Super Bowls while Rodgers is still at the helm. The only way to do that is by getting back to the playoffs.

Charity of the day: Grameen Foundation USA

Go donate! www.grameenfoundation.org

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Coaches are getting fired left and right it just goes to show how competitive the National Football League truly is:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Every off-season several NFL coaches get the pink slip and this year has been no different. The Raiders, Lions, Bears, and Colts have all fired their head coach in hopes of finding a guy that is a better fit for their program. In order to get a better look into each scenario we’ve broken down all four cases and what each team’s future looks like.

The Raiders- The Oakland Raiders didn’t hesitate when it came to firing Jack Del Rio and the plan is to hire Jon Gruden shortly. It seems like this move was a little soon considering Gruden isn’t officially in the mix yet but it’s very possible Gruden and Oakland have a verbal agreement in place. Derek Carr, Michael Crabtree, and Amari Cooper will be the prefect weapons for Gruden to execute his x and os. It will be interesting to see how Gruden’s fiery personality blends with Marshawn Lynch’s laid back approach? The situation could be combustible if not carefully tended to.

The Bears- John Fox has been doing everything he can to turn around the Chicago Bears but apparently those efforts weren’t enough. Fox is known as a very conservative coach and maybe the Bears want someone who can open things up for Mitchell Trubisky? This move was somewhat surprising because it felt like things were heading in the right direction. Now Chicago will have to find a teacher that can prep Trubisky for the big time, so expect an offensive minded coach to replace Fox.

The Colts- Chuck Pagano was on the hot seat last off-season and the Colts coach didn’t do enough to overcome the odds. Indianapolis will have a high draft pick and a big dig decision to make with Andrew Luck. Jim Irsay decided that someone else beside Pagano would be better suited to make those decisions and this is critical moment for this franchise. If Indianapolis makes the right moves they will start to climb the NFL ranks, it not they will continue to be a bottom of the barrel team which doesn’t bode well for this franchise.

The Lions- The last coaching change which was somewhat of a surprise is the Detroit Lions firing Jim Caldwell. Caldwell had the best record out of any Lions coach and you would figure that would secure his spot with the team. However Bob Quinn wanted to bring in his ideal coach into the fold and that appears to be Matt Patricia who is currently the New England Patriots defensive coordinator.

Charity of the day: International Peace Institute

Go donate! www.ipinst.org

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NFL Wild Card: Step Your Game Up Show (playoff edition)

NFL Wild Card weekend started off with two upsets. First the Tennessee Titans beat the Kansas City Chiefs and then the Atlanta Falcons beat the Los Angeles Rams. Host Jon Kuzma discusses all the action in this special playoff edition of Step Your Game Up. A few of the topics covered include the Titans 18 point comeback and the Falcons strong defensive performance . We also discussed Derrick Henry’s big offensive performance and the fact that the Rams high scoring offense was held to just 13 points. It was a great opening day of postseason action and remember Endzoneblog brought you the scoop first. Thanks for tuning in each week and enjoy the video above!

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The Cleveland Browns make history for all the wrong reasons, they’re the second team to ever go 0-16:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The 2008 Detroit Lions can officially pop their champagne because the Cleveland Browns just let them off the hook. Hue Jackson’s 2017 Browns will go down in history as the second team to ever finish an entire NFL season without a single win. It’s been a dumpster fire of a year and you have to wonder if Jackson will make it through the off-season? The Lions fired Rod Marinelli immediately after they the went winless 9 years ago. One thing is for certain this historic low isn’t helping anyone employed by the Browns right now. Cleveland’s ownership is going to have a “clean the house” mentality moving forward and everyone from the top of the staff to to the bottom of the staff will be evaluated. This franchise has publicly stated that they would keep Jackson but it’s just hard to believe that will be the case. The winners get paid and the losers get fired in the National Football League and nobody has struggled like this organization has over the past two seasons. The Browns have compiled an awful 1-31 record under this regime and it just feels like it’s time for new leadership in Northeast Ohio. If there is any good news for Cleveland it’s the fact that they will have the number 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. They can begin to turn their struggles around by drafting Josh Rosen and getting better at the quarterback position. The Jimmy Garoppolo situation has shown us first hand how much a great QB can improve a team. Rosen will help open up the offense and he will also serve as the face of the franchise. That will be huge for the culture surrounding this team and the Browns will most likely win a game next year having a much more competent player behind center.

Charity of the day: JDRF International

Go donate! www.jdrf.org

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The Oakland Raiders are throwing Jack Del Rio under the bus in hopes of landing Jon Gruden:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Oakland Raiders have made it clear that they want Jon Gruden but you have to question how this organization is treating Jack Del Rio? Even though Gruden is a highly sought after coach, it’s kind of unprofessional to publicly pursue Gruden while Del Rio is still in charge of the team. The Raiders should have done their best to keep their interest in the former Super Bowl winning coach private however the chances of that have clearly passed. To be fair Oakland plans on sticking with Jack Del Rio if they can’t land Gruden but you have to wonder if that relationship is damaged now? That could be bad news for this team moving forward if they don’t get Jon Gruden because now their current coach feels slighted by ownership. Obviously this team could part ways with Del Rio and pursue a coach other than Gruden if they really had to but this team is just one year removed from a playoff birth. A couple of solid off-season moves and the Raiders could be a contender again. Blowing the team up though would bring a lot of unforeseen changes that might not necessarily be positive. Clearly Mark Davis has no problem gambling with Del Rio and Oakland definitely believes Gruden is a step up as a leader. That’s a tough situation to be in if you’re the incumbent coach and keep an eye on how Jack Deli Rio responds? Even if the silver and black decided to stick with their current coach it’s clear he is on a short leash. Mark Davis is an ambitious guy and he wants to help his team but he has to make sure he is going about the business the right way. Right now it doesn’t seem like he is doing the best job of respecting someone who has given him a lot of hard work, time, and effort.

Charity of the day: Team Rubicon

Go donate! www.teamrubiconusa.org

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Kirk Cousins and the Denver Broncos seem like a match made in heaven, especially since John Elway is committed to finding the right quarterback:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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If the rumors coming out of the Washington D.C area are true then Kirk Cousins could be leaving the Redskins once and for all. There’s a lot of speculation that Cousins is unhappy with Washington’s front office particularly over the handling of his contract negotiations. Sometimes these things end up being untrue but the fact that Kirk Cousins would only sign a one year deal tells you a little bit about his mind set. Clearly the former Michigan State Spartan is noncommittal to a long term future with the team and Cousins could hold out if the Redskins try to franchise tag him again. This whole scenario has opened the door for another team to potentially sign Cousins if his time is indeed over in the nation’s capital and the perfect destination seems like the Denver Broncos. The Broncos have the 2nd best defense in the entire league and the 21st passing offense. Therefore by adding Cousins this team would significantly improve and be on the verge of making the playoffs again. John Elway will have to greatly improve the other positions on this roster but signing Cousins would leave the whole draft for that. Now instead of drafting Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield, or Lamar Jackson the Broncos can focus on upgrading their playmakers. Calvin Ridley would be a very nice pick to help Cousins put some points on the board. You can already begin to see how this plan is becoming a dream come true for the fans in the Mile High City. It’s very hard to think of a path that would be more successful for Denver in 2018. Anything is possible though and the Redskins could end up striking a deal with Kirk Cousins preventing him from signing with another team. If that doesn’t happen though look for John Elway to make a move and finally get his guy at QB.

Charity of the day: Cancer Research Institute

Go donate! www.cancerresearch.org

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The Green Bay Packers sign Davante Adams to a four year $58 million dollar contract extension:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Davante Adams won’t be hitting the open market after all. The Green Bay Packers decided to ink Adams to a four year $58 million dollar contract and that’s great news if you’re a cheesehead. Adams would have seen a number of offers if he did make to free agency and the Packers knew that more than anybody. Ultimately Ted Thompson keeps one of his most dynamic receivers for the foreseeable future and this is a win for this franchise. The NFC North is becoming tighter than ever with Minnesota, Detroit, and Chicago constantly improving. Green Bay couldn’t afford to lose a playmaker on the perimeter especially since Adams is emerging into an elite receiver. At $14.5 million per year Adams will be the fourth highest paid receiver in the National Football League just behind Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, and A.J Green. The only concern moving forward is the two major shots Adams took this season against the Bears and Panthers. It seems like Davante Adams is prone to taking bit hits so he has to find a way to adjust and protect himself a little bit better. As long as that happens expect to see Adams catching plenty of touchdown passes, he has recorded 22 over the last two seasons. So it was really a no brainer to retain his talents and put an emphasis on the offensive side of the ball. Which will open things up in the passing game. Now Ted Thompson has to choose between signing Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb? Even though Nelson is older it still seems like he is the better option just because he has been more productive the last two seasons. The combination of Adams and Nelson can keep defense backs on their heels for years to come. Aaron Rodgers will be healthy next season as well so this was essentially the Packers starting off the off-season on the right foot.

Charity of the day: Cancer Research Institute

Go donate! www.cancerresearch.org

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It’s win or go home for the Tennessee Titans, the playoffs will start a week early in Nashville:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Tennessee Titans take on the Jacksonville Jaguars this weekend and if Tennessee doesn’t win they won’t be apart the postseason. The Titans are currently the last seed in the AFC playoff picture and a loss would open the door for the Chargers or Bills to get in. Facing Jacksonville certainly doesn’t help the Titans chances either because Leonard Fournette and company are a load to handle. Not only do the Titans have to find away to stop the dynamic rookie running back. The also have to find a way to get Marcus Mariota going who has been having a terrible year stats wise. Mariota has thrown for 12 touchdowns and 15 interceptions so far and life won’t get easier against the Jaguars who have the best pass defense in the entire league. As you can see from just the few points mentioned above Tennessee has their hands full and it doesn’t seem like this team will get it done this weekend. Maybe if Jacksonville rests some of their key players the Titans will have a shot to win this game? If not it’s going to take a near perfect performance to win if all those elite defenders suit up for Doug Marrone’s team. There’s a reason the Jaguars are the AFC South division champs and it’s because they get it done in every phase of the game. Tennessee was leading this division for a number of weeks but they ultimately unraveled. They say the better team always finds a way to win and that’s why Jacksonville battled back and stole the show. If the Titans want any chance of winning they better unleash a heavy dose of Derrick Henry and DeMarco Murray. If Jacksonville pulls out in front and starts to build up a lead though this game will be over quickly. Mariota hasn’t been good enough to win games in 2017 and don’t expect that to change this weekend.

Charity of the day: Pathfinder International

Go donate! www.pathfinder.org

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Jay Cutler is undecided when it comes to retirement, he did tell the Dolphins he won’t return unless he is the starter in 2018:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Miami Dolphins have had a lackluster year and it could get even worse this off-season if Jay Cutler decides to retire. While the Dolphins do have Ryan Tannehill returning from an ACL tear there’s no telling how long the former starting quarterback will take to heal? Not only that but Cutler has over 100 more passing touchdowns than Tannehill has so there’s a big gap in experience between the two signal callers. Miami might have struggled this season compared to last year but that’s largely due to the fact that the team as whole was worse off. Offensively Adam Gase’s team was ranked 28th this year compared to 24th last season. On the defensive side of the ball Miami actually improved from the 29th defense to the 18th rated defense but that hasn’t translated into wins. Those stats might seem counter productive to Cutler but remember Ajayi was lighting it in 2016. The offensive line was a little bit better with Brandon Albert still around too so those factors are definitely looked over. To be fair there was a point early on where Cutler was struggling when he initially came out of retirement. Most of that was due to the rust he was shaking off but there’s no doubt this guy is the better option for Gase in the future. Tannehill isn’t the answer and it just feels like this offense will get more out of Cutler’s throw power. Especially if the veteran quarterback comes back and has another year of continuity under his belt. The passing game is about rhythm and timing which means the QBs / receivers have to on the same page. That can take multiple seasons to achieve and Cutler should be much better the second time around with Miami. Dolphin fans are acting like life would be better without Jay Cutler but that couldn’t be further from the truth. He’s just the one that’s getting scapegoated for all of this franchise’s problems.

Charity of the day: Pathfinder International

Go donate! www.pathfinder.org

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