Panthers and Seahawks has the makings of a championship bout:

Photo credit: Grant Halverson / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

When the Carolina Panthers and the Seattle Seahawks meet up this weekend, one of these teams very easily could go on to win the Super Bowl. Ok, maybe not easily but still there is a very high chance that one of these two teams ends their season at Levi Stadium. In the blue corner you have the Seattle Seahawks who have been red hot lately. They’re 8-2 in their last 10 football games and have found a way to close games out down the stretch of the season. That take no prisoners mentality likely comes from Seattle’s two straight Super Bowl appearances. They simply have the big game experience and that level of maturity played a huge factor when their backs were against the wall early on in the season. Now they look to continue their dominance with a win in Carolina Sunday. In order for that to happen they will need another big performance from Russell Wilson. Wilson can serve as a spark plug for the Seahawks offense by making big plays through the air and eliminating turnovers. Besides that the Seattle defense will have to do their best to contain Cam Newton as well. If both Wilson and the Seattle defense have a big day, the Hawks might find themselves heading back to the pacific northwest with a victory.

In the red corner we have the Carolina Panthers. Carolina was the best team in the regular season finishing the year with a 15-1 record. The story of Carolina is a lot like the story of Seattle. Both teams have a dual threat quarterback and both teams have an outstanding defense. If you have to compare which quarterback is better right now you would have to say Cam Newton. Newton threw for 35 touchdowns and 3,837 passing yards. However he also rushed for 636 yards and 10 touchdowns. Putting together an MVP like season and leading the Panthers to the best record in the National Football League. This won’t be an easy win for the Panthers and Seattle could very easily return to championship form and knock off Carolina. Don’t count on it though, the Panthers have been just too good all year. Cam Newton is proving why he has had success at the junior college, division 1, and now the pro level. He is truly that good of a player and one of the best dual threat quarterbacks we’ve ever seen. If you’re a betting man go with Carolina.

Charity of the day: National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund

Go donate! www.breastcancerdeadline2020.org

Steelers face an uphill battle against the Broncos:

Photo credit: Andy Lyons / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Pittsburgh Steelers will be in a tough match up this weekend when they take on the Denver Broncos in the AFC divisional round. The Steelers have been one of the most dynamic offenses in football all year but now late in the year they find themselves banged up and plagued by injuries. It was just announced that the best wide receiver in football right now. Antonio Brown will not suit up for the Steelers this weekend. Brown is out of action with a concussion that was caused by a Vontaze Burfict hit last weekend in the AFC Wildcard. That wasn’t the only Steeler that Burfict was able to hurt in that Wildcard game. Burfict also made his presence felt when he knocked starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger out of the game on a big hit. On that play Burfict took Roethlisberger to the ground where the Steelers quarterback landed awkwardly on his right shoulder. The results were damage to Roethlisberger’s AC joint and also severe ligament damage. The 12th year quarterback out of Miami (Ohio) hasn’t been ruled out action for this weekend yet. However you have to wonder how effective Roethlisberger could be with a major injury to his throwing shoulder. It must be noted that he did come back and finish the game against the Bengals late in the fourth quarter. Yet things can change quickly with an injury of this magnitude due to the fact that swelling could occur and restrict his range of motion in his shoulder. What makes the injury even more difficult for the Steelers is the fact that it is in Ben’s throwing shoulder. If the injury was in Roethlisberger’s other shoulder than he would have a much greater chance of being able to make all the throws. Instead the Steelers will be without their top wide receiver in Antonio Brown and they will also get a very limited Ben Roethlisberger. That is if he is indeed able to go Sunday. Not the way the Steelers wanted to be entering a playoff game with the stakes this high. We will see if their offense can overcome those big setbacks. Regardless it will be very difficult for Pittsburgh to win this game.

Charity of the day: National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund

Go donate! www.breastcancerdeadline2020.org

Chip Kelly is the new head coach of the San Francisco 49ers:

Photo credit: Rich Schultz / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Chip Kelly era has officially begun in San Francisco. After firing Jim Harbaugh just two seasons ago for being overly controlling and less gregarious than expected. The Niners will now turn to a very similar coach in terms of characteristics. Owner Jed York and General Manger Trent Baalke decided that Kelly’s coaching accolades in the end were just too good to pass up. The former Philadelphia Eagles head coach who was fired for being too unlikeable will get another chance to prove his worth at the NFL level. In order for Kelly to succeed he must understand that it’s better off to retain talent than to ship it off. With the NFL being such a win now league there is no time for development years or rebuilding phases. Coaches simply don’t last long enough to get through those projects. Instead NFL teams will fire a coach for a poor season and look to find an ideal candidate to replace them. Kelly has first hand experience of how fast the coaching carrousel can turn and he will certainly be wiser this time around. It’s not very often that a head coach gets fired and then turns around and lands another gig the following season. Usually coaches are expected to take a step back such as a coordinator position and work their way back up the coaching later. Kelly has to understand that if things don’t go right in San Francisco their may not be another opportunity waiting for him like the Niners job was this time. It’s imperative that the Niners new head coach understands that his actions have a trickle down effect throughout this football team. It all starts with the top position and if Kelly can’t be a leader when it comes to dealing with other coaches and players. He might find himself back in the college ranks. Still it is a good hire for the 49ers and they will get a bright football mind to lead their team.

Charity of the day: Defeat Diabetes Foundation

Go donate! www.defeatdiabetes.org

What’s happening around the league: Divisional Round

Hue Jackson is named head coach of the Cleveland Browns

Hue Jackson has been named the new head coach of the Cleveland Browns. Jackson interviewed with the Browns and had received interest from a number of other teams. In the end Jackson decided that Cleveland would be the best fit for him. Jackson was scheduled to interview with the Giants but ultimately wanted to take a job rather than wait around and miss out on an opportunity. Jackson served as the Oakland Raiders head coach for one season in 2010. After going 8-8 the Raiders decided that moving on would be the best move for their franchise. Now after a great offensive season in Cincinnati Hue will get a another crack at being a head coach in the NFL. Jackson has indicated he will move on from Johnny Manziel and there are going to be plenty of other changes moving forward in Ohio as well.

The Chargers will also be heading to Los Angeles

The Chargers have decided that the 100 million dollar offer to stay in San Diego was not a sweet enough deal. The Chargers will relocate to Los Angeles along with the Rams. At the end of the day the move to the Los Angeles market was too compelling for the Chargers to pass up. There are reports that the Inglewood stadium is going to an amazing spectacle. The city of Los Angles goes from having no pro football team to having two within a matter of days. You have to feel for both the cities of San Diego and St. Louis who lose out on their teams after supporting the NFL for all of those seasons. Truthfully the market in Los Angeles is growing so rapidly it couldn’t be passed up. The revenue made off the public interest of pro football returning to the city of Angels will make the league a lot of money. Hopefully it wasn’t at the expense of their loyal fan base.

Coughlin drawing interest

Tom Coughlin has interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles and just recently interviewed with San Francisco 49ers. The former Giants football coach is drawing a lot of interest around the league and very well might be coaching in 2016. No deal has been finalized yet but the high praise for the coach speaks volumes about how highly executives around the league hold him. With Hue Jackson taking the Cleveland Browns job and several teams still looking for a head coach. Don’t be surprised if one of the teams offer Coughlin as job. He is a 2x Super Bowl winning head football coach.

Charity of the day: American Brain Tumor Association

Go donate! www.abta.org

Rams stiff arm St. Louis for Los Angeles. Chargers will have the option to join them:

Photo credit: Dilip Vishwanat

Author: Jon Kuzma

The St. Louis Rams are officially no more. The league publicly announced last night that the Rams will be relocating to Los Angeles. The move was made with a number of factors in mind. First the Los Angeles market is booming right now and will only continue to grow in the near future. That means the Rams will be running in the green on the spreadsheet in a lot more columns than they would be in St. Louis. Those extra funds can be used in so many facets of the team and really at the end of the day it was a no brainer for the Rams. Whether it be more sponsorship or more ticket revenue from the excitement of pro football being back in Los Angeles. Business wise you have to tip your hat to Stan Kroenke and the other NFL owners. It wasn’t an easy business decision but at the end of the day it was the right business decision. As much as you could go on and on about the financial benefits of the move, you also have to talk about Los Angeles as a destination. We’re talking about a major hub for entertainment and culture. Los Angeles isn’t just an attractive destination for businesses it will be a great landing spot for free agents in the off-season as well. Players want to play and live in sunny southern California and the Rams should benefit greatly from their new location. California also has a healthier lifestyle than many other cities as well. There are gyms and healthier food choices all around you in California so players will have access to so many amenities if they were to play for the Rams.  Just a few more advantages of moving the team to LA. The only real con of Los Angles is the distractions that will be around the players. Tinseltown has the most talented people in the world. There will always be events going on and things for people to do. The Los Angles Rams have to block out all the distractions and make sure they’re “professional football players.” If they can do that good things are certainly coming for this franchise. The Chargers will actually have the option to join the Rams in Los Angeles. However the Chargers and Raiders both got offered 100 million dollars to stay in their previous locations of San Diego and Oakland. We will see shortly if the Chargers exercise that option. One thing is certain at this point, The Rams are back in LA.

Charity of the day: American Brain Tumor Association

Go donate! www.abta.org

Can the Patriots overcome a number of injuries and get back to the Super Bowl?

Photo credit: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The New England Patriots looked outstanding at the beginning of the season. Tom Brady’s play on the field was nearly perfect and this Patriots team was looking almost unbeatable. A lot has changed since the beginning of the season however. The Patriots have seen several key losses to starters on this football team. Injuries to Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, and Nate Solder have all set this team back. Then Dion Lewis and Legarrette Blount went down and you really started to wonder if this team can get back to the Super Bowl? One thing has remained consistent throughout all of those key injuries though. That is the fact that Tom Brady was on the field for this football team and leading them into the future. Brady had to win games when the talent around him was nearly depleted. That grit is why Tom has become the leader that he is today. Resilience is a key trait that is ideal not only in life but also for quarterbacks in the National Football League as well. Brady’s past experiences with adversity with the knee injury in 2008 and the Deflategate case this past offseason have prepped him for the situations he has faced this year. Brady is a mentally tough guy and that inspires the other Patriots on offense to feed off his energy. You can really say Tom is the catalyst for the Patriots offense attack. Defensively the Patriots have been outstanding as well. They were a top ten defense in points surrendered, yards against, and rushing yards surrendered. That defensive effort will go a long way in determining how far this Patriots team goes in the postseason. The offense will be a huge factor against the Chiefs but remember defense wins championships. If the defense can take Alex Smith out of the game with their pass rush then it will go a long way in securing a Patriots victory this weekend. Still adjusting the game plan to compensate for all the players that are banged up and playing hurt will be the key factor for this team. Look for the Patriots to make the necessary adjustments and play at a higher level than they have been the last couple weeks or so.

Charity of the day: United Cancer Support Foundation

Go donate! www.unitedcsf.org

Why Saban’s college football heroics trump his NFL letdowns:

Photo credit: Christian Petersen / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

Nick Saban is an outstanding football coach. Just last night he won his 4th National Championship for the Alabama Crimson Tide showing why is arguably one of the greatest coaches of all time. While Saban is riding the college football season success he has seen of recent. There was a time when he was the Head Coach of the Miami Dolphins and had a rather lackluster showing. Saban’s first year of 9-7 in Miami shows that with the right personnel and circumstances around him he could indeed win in the National Football league. Yes, you could say that for almost any football coach but Saban is different. He is an outstanding tactician of the game and he coaches the fundamentals to a T. Meaning his preparations are nearly perfect and every angle of the game plan is covered with his players. That formula along with a G.M who is capable of putting the right players in Saban’s system would of yielded big results from the coach if he would of stuck around longer at the pro level. Many critics out there want to throw out the fact that Saban failed at the NFL level but so did Pete Carroll during his first and second stint in the NFL. The thing that was really the biggest letdown for Saban in the NFL was his second season and a few roster moves that would plague his time in South Florida. The Dolphins elected to sign Daunte Culpepper over a then injured Drew Brees as the their starting quarterback. Culpepper would eventually be benched during that second year and we all know what happened with Drew Brees. Saban would of benefited greatly from Brees commanding his offense and he could of still been with the Dolphins right now had that been his choice. Everything happens for a reason though and in the end it all worked out for coach Saban when he headed to Tuscaloosa. His college football heroics certainly trump his NFL letdowns. However don’t write the coach off as being an incompetent pro coach. A 9-7 season is a year that coaches like Rod Marinelli dream of. So lets start being fair to Nick and giving his respect he deserves as a “football coach” regardless of what level he coaches at.

Charity of the day: United Cancer Support Foundation

Go donate! www.unitedcsf.org

Packers rally past the Redskins 35-18 in NFC Wildcard:

Photo credit: Patrick Smith / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Redskins started off the NFC Wildcard very well. Kirk Cousins and Jordan Reed were putting on a great passing display and things were looking promising for the Redskins. Defensively they were doing a great job of attacking Aaron Rodgers and they were really shaking things up for the Packers offense. That is when things changed. The Packers started to get in a groove and Aaron Rodgers showed why he is a former National Football League Most Valuable Player. Rodgers would finish the game with 210 passing yards and 2 touchdowns. He made the throws when necessary in less than ideal conditions. Two particular plays that stand out from Rodger’s performance are his touchdown pass to Davante Adams and his touchdown pass to Randal Cobb. Both passes were big plays for the Packers that resulted in points on the scoreboard. Eddie Lacy was more effective than he has been for the most of the year for the Packers as well. He rushed for 63 yards and a touchdown on the day. While James Starks also contributed 53 rushing yards and a touchdown for the Pack as well. For the Redskins Kirk Cousins was effective with 329 yards and 1 touchdown pass. Yet the Redskins offense stalled late in the game. The Redskins will have to develop a better rushing attack heading forward if they want to win games in the postseason. They only rushed for 84 yards as a team compared to the Packers 141. Jordan Reed was a stand out performer for the Redskins hauling in 9 receptions for 120 yards and a touchdown. Defensively the Packers had the night worth mentioning, they recorded 6 sacks and put pressure on Cousins all night. The Packers were the better team all around and that is why they are moving on to the divisional round next week against the Cardinals.

Seahawks move on after a Blair Walsh missed field goal late in the fourth quarter:

Photo credit: Jamie Squire / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Seattle Seahawks are who the Minnesota Vikings thought they were. After playing 3 quarters of better football than the Seahawks. The Vikings would have a catastrophic meltdown in the 4th quarter when the Seahawks were able to score 10 unanswered points. Even then the Vikings still had a chance to win the game late in the fourth quarter. Blair Walsh who had made three out of three kicks on the day would step in and likely advance the Vikings to the divisional round. Walsh is one of the leagues top kickers and from 27 yards out the kick should of been made. Yet with the pressure on and the Vikings playoff hopes on the line. Blair Walsh hooked the kick left and the Seahawks were let off the hook. After the kick Richard Sherman just laid on the field grateful that the football gods have spared the Seahawks the loss. The Seahawks have been having an up and down season all year long. To advance to the divisional round after all of the adversity they faced this year was the reason Sherman laid there on the field after that kick. Even Michael Bennett looked up and said a prayer which was brilliantly captured by NFL film crews. The fact is this the Seahawks were quarantined for 3 quarters and really should of been put out of their misery. All of that momentum changed on one play in the game before that Blair Walsh kick. It was a bad snap by the Seattle offense which sent the ball sailing behind quarterback Russell Wilson. If the Vikings can tackle Wilson it would of been a huge loss and likely would of sealed the Seahawks fate. Instead Russell Wilson evaded a few Vikings defenders and found a wide open Tyler Lockett for a 35 yard pass. That play led to a touchdown and the Seahawks late fourth quarter surge. At the end of the day Wilson finished with 142 passing yards and a touchdown. Throwing for more touchdowns than Teddy Bridgewater who finished the game with 146 passing yards without a touchdown or an interception. The cold really hurt both teams offensive production and not one receiver or running back was able to go over a 100 yards rushing or receiving for either team. Defensively the Seahawks were slightly better as well holding Minnesota to 183 total yards compared to Seattle’s 226 total yards. The Seahawks will face the Carolina Panthers this weekend in the divisional round of the playoffs. Kick-off is slated for 1:05 P.M.

Charity of the day: Food for the Poor

Go donate! www.foodforthepoor.org

litfootballgames.com

Photo credit: Grant Halverson

Author: Jon Kuzma

Looking to watch and play some of the best football games around? Check out some of these football sites around the internet. Keep in mind these websites are not affiliated with endzoneblog.com or litfootballgames.com. They are just being provided to enhance football lovers online experience. Serf these websites and your own risk and always be cautious about giving out your personal information. With that being said vipleague is a great site that will allow you watch any football game or show. It’s a great online resource to keep in the pro football loop. The other sites are mini football games to help you kill a little time. Try your luck and see if you can capture a high score!

http://www.vipleague.se/sports/american-football.html

http://www.playfootballgames.org/

http://www.espn.com/free-online-games/sports/football/_/gid/194/return-man-2

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