NFL Playoff Games: Chiefs roll Texans 30-0 in the first round of the playoffs

Photo credit: Bob Levey / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Kansas Chiefs are complete football team. Yes, we knew that entering into last night’s match up because the Chiefs were on a 10 game win streak. Yet the showing on the field was still just as impressive. The Chiefs played four quarters of fundamental football while the Texans looked like a disaster for most of the night. The scoring started off early for the Chiefs when Knile Davis was able to take the opening kick off 106 yards to the house. From that first moment in the game the Chiefs never looked back. Alex Smith was outstanding for Kansas City really setting the tempo of the game with his play. Smith can make quick strikes from the pocket but he also can take off and beat the defense with his feet. Smith is unusually quick for a quarterback and that created a natural match up problem for the Texans all night. Smith finished the game with 190 yards passing and 1 touchdown on the night. His main target on the evening was tight end Travis Kelce who hauled in 8 receptions and 128 receiving yards. Defensively Allen Bailey contributed 4 tackles and 2 sacks to the Chiefs efforts. For the Texans it was a struggle especially at the quarterback position. Brian Hoyer had a terrible performance throwing 4 interceptions and losing 1 fumble for his team. It’s hard to win a game when you have that many turnovers. Despite those poor efforts from Hoyer coach O’Brien decided that it would be in his best interest to stick with the player. A move that resulted in zero points for his offense. Believe it or not there were a few bright spots in the game for the Texans. Alfred Blue looked effective running the football and if the Texans gave him more chances they likely would of scored. On one particular drive down by the goal line the Texans put JJ Watt in at quarterback and tried to run him behind Vince Wilfork who checked in the game as a blocker. Feeding Blue would of been a much more reasonable option and on the next play Brian Hoyer threw an interception. Defensively the Texans did get a decent night from Brian Cushings with 13 tackles and Whitney Mercilus also had a big night with 3 sacks. It just wasn’t enough to beat a good Chiefs team. The Chiefs head to either Denver or New England with a ton of momentum. It will be a tough match up for either the Broncos or Patriots and will require a ton of game planning. The Texans on the other hand will have a full offseason to think about this loss.

Charity of the day: Alzheimer’s Association

Go donate! www.alz.org

The coaching carrousel continues to turn:

Photo credit: Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images

Author: Jon Kuzma

There has been coaching news flying all around the press and media lately. Chip Kelly reportedly interviewed with the San Francisco 49ers. A move that seems like a good fit for both parties. Will Kelly be back on the NFL sidelines for 2016? It seems like he will be, the uber talented coach will likely find a new home shortly. Whichever team takes a risk on him whether it be the 49ers or another team will get a truly talented coach who can turn a team into a contender quickly. If Kelly doesn’t get a shot in the NFL he also met with the University of Alabama and Nick Saban. So Chip Kelly in Crimson Tide red could also be an option in the near future. Kelly isn’t the only coach who is on the move. Adam Gase the former offensive coordinator of the Bears and Broncos took the head coaching job at Miami. Gase has been highly coveted by NFL teams recently and the interest became so overwhelming for Gase that you knew he was going to be a head coach very soon. Gase replaces Dan Campbell who was the head coach for the Dolphins after Joe Philbin was fired. The Dolphins are hoping Gase’s systematic approach will result in success down in Miami. Finally the Philadelphia Eagles made headlines by announcing that Tom Coughlin will interview for their head coaching position. The Eagles have interviewed a wide variety of different candidates but you have to figure stealing Coughlin away from the Giants would be their main goal at this point. The move stirs things up in the NFC East by putting Coughlin on the enemy’s sidelines. You have to figure Coughlin would be motivated to beat the Giants and show the world what he can do as well. Despite Coughlin’s old age he still has a lot of energy and that burning passion to get even with the Giants and the naysayers might be exactly what the Eagles need to get back on track. One thing is for certain, the coaching wheel keeps on turning.

Charity of the day: Environmental Defense Action Fund

Go donate! www.edf.org

The Wildcard Game that’s on Upset Alert:

Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez / Getty Images

Author: Joey Carr

A couple of months ago, I predicted that the Washington Redskins would win the NFC East, but also have a .500 record or below. At the time, Kirk Cousins was struggling to win games and the defense was average at best. Fast forward to now: Cousins is arguably the hottest quarterback in the league coming into the playoffs, the defense has performed beyond expectations, and the Skins as a team are meshing together quite nicely. So, a matchup at home with the slumping Green Bay Packers this weekend might seem like a cakewalk for the Packers, but I say differently.
Naturally, Aaron Rodgers and the Pack are going to be favored in this matchup. However, the Redskins finished the season on a real hot streak and the Green Bay on the other hand, did not. This, paired with the fact that Rodgers has been less than impressive, points to a very possible upset, which I am behind. So, before you call me crazy and shout “Blasphemy!” at me for choosing Rodgers over Cousins, look at the stats. Kirk led the league in completion percentage and yards per attempt down the stretch, leading the Skins to a 5-1 record. While Cousins was proving to the league that he’s a legitimate quarterback, Rodgers was struggling mightily, throwing more picks than he ever has and costing Green Bay the NFC North Title. The Washington receivers and tight ends performed marvelously at the end of the season, catching more touchdowns than any other corps in the league. The Packers receivers, as you can guess, didn’t play up to par by any means. The running game for both teams was not their strongest suit, but if I had to, I would give the advantage to GB, as they have more depth with stronger runners. The defense on the other hand is more in favor of the Skins. Now, there’s always the possibility that Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will turn it on for the postseason, playing like they were expected to play all season long and blowing out the unmatched Redskins in their own home. However, if I was a betting man, and I’m not, I would be choosing the Redskins this weekend for the simple fact that they possess more momentum and, simply put, have the better quarterback as of right now.

Charity of the day: Environmental Defense Action Fund

Go donate! www.edf.org

 

 

 

Lovie Smith didn’t deserve to be fired when the Bucs were on an upswing:

Photo credit: Michael Hickey / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a very foolish decision yesterday releasing Lovie Smith who is an outstanding football coach in hopes to find the “right guy” for this franchise. Coach Smith has a long tenured history of success in the National Football League and the fact that Jason Licht felt like he was qualified to release Lovie Smith is upsetting to not only the fans but football insiders as well. Smith was handed a team depleted of talent when he took over this Buccaneers’ franchise. That resulted in a 2-14 campaign Smith’s first year in Tampa Bay. In Smith’s second season he would make positive steps toward a more successful future with Winston running his offense. Yet the Buccaneers only finished the season 6-10, but you could clearly see the potential there in that situation. With a little bit more continuity over time this Buccaneers franchise was going to flourish and it was easy to see. Clearly that vision wasn’t foreseen by Jason Licht and now the Buccaneers are going to put learning a new system and adjusting to a new coach not only Jameis Winston’s shoulders but also the rest of this football team’s. The thing you want most for your players is for them to be relaxed. A relaxed athlete will react faster than a tense athlete. Meaning a player that has to overthink tends to be slower on the field than a player that flows naturally with the game. The Buccaneers were at the point where they were just flowing naturally with the game. The system they were taught they were all just buying into. At the end of the day it isn’t a good idea to change things when they are finally beginning to work. That is exactly what the Tampa Buccaneers did and there is an old saying “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” We will see where the Buccaneers go from here and who they feel is better suited to lead this franchise than Lovie Smith.

Charity of the day: Help Our Wounded

Go donate! www.helpourwounded.org

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Injury Updates For Wildcard Weekend/Divisional Round

Photo Credit: Keith Allison

Author: Joey Carr

 

Peyton Manning Named the Broncos Starter for the Divisional Round

Probably the biggest storyline from last Sunday, Peyton Manning started the second half for Brock Osweiler after Denver coughed the ball up 4 times in the first half. After Manning stepped in however, the Broncos scored 20 points on some impressive drives, leading to the decision made today that the Sheriff will start Denver’s divisional playoff game. This came as no surprise, as Manning seems to be fully recovered from his foot injury. However, personally, I do not think this was the right decision. Brock Osweiler, prior to Sunday’s game, had performed quite well in Peyton’s absence, throwing for more yards and touchdowns than Manning in fewer games. And you might argue that Manning played well in relief of Osweiler, but I would counter with the fact that Peyton only threw for a handful of yards and let the run game do the rest of the work. So, while the Sheriff might play well in the playoffs, there’s a bigger chance that he’ll lay an egg.

Tom Brady Seems to be Fully Healed from his Ankle Sprain

The hearts of Patriots fans can begin rising up from the bottoms of their stomachs now that Tom Brady is walking without any noticeable limp, two days after he was diagnosed with a high ankle sprain. Seeing Brady go down after a dirty hit by Ndamukong Suh on Sunday surely made every heart in New England drop like a rock, but now, Super Bowl aspirations are now back on the table. It’s unclear if he’s actually “fully” healed from his injury, but now that he’s walking without a limp, a week and a half to get back to form is more than enough time.

Marshawn Lynch Returns to Practice, Should be the Starter for the Playoffs

Several weeks ago, a return for Beast Mode seemed bleak, but he’s now back on the playing field. When Thomas Rawls went down a few weeks ago, the Seahawks were extremely thin at running back, but during this time, Russell Wilson had a historic couple of games. So, when Lynch does return to the field, will it impact Wilson’s performance? Or will it make Seattle’s offense ever deadlier?

Andy Dalton is out of his Cast, A.J. McCarron Will Go Ahead as Starter

Many in Cincinnati thought their season was over when they saw Andy Dalton walk off the field with a misshapen thumb. However, his thumb is now removed from the cast, and should return to practicing late this week or early next week. For now though, second year quarterback A.J. McCarron will be presumed as the starter. He’s played well enough in his three games as QB, and will give the Bengals a fighting chance against the high-flying offense of the Steelers.

 

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Final Power Rankings

Photo Credit:Keith Allison

Author: Joey Carr

1. Carolina Panthers
2. Seattle Seahawks
3. Denver Broncos
4. Cincinnati Bengals
5. New England Patriots
6. Arizona Cardinals
7. Pittsburgh Steelers
8. Minnesota Vikings
9. Kansas City Chiefs
10. Washington Redskins
11. Houston Texans
12. Green Bay Packers
13. New York Jets
14. Buffalo Bills
15. Atlanta Falcons
16. Philadelphia Eagles
17. New Orleans Saints
18. Indianapolis Colts
19. New York Giants
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
21. Miami Dolphins
22. Jacksonville Jaguars
23. Oakland Raiders
24. San Diego Chargers
25. Detroit Lions
26. Chicago Bears
27. Baltimore Ravens
28. St. Louis Rams
29. San Francisco 49ers
30. Cleveland Browns
31. Dallas Cowboys
32. Tennessee Titans

Broncos announce Peyton Manning will be the starter heading into the postseason:

Photo credit: Doug Pensinger / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Denver Broncos decided that Peyton Manning’s veteran savvy was what the team needed moving forward. Manning came in and executed nicely in week 17 for the Broncos and that was enough to land the 18th year quarterback his job back. While Manning’s regular season stats were very poor with 9 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Manning has playoff experience and has played on those big stages before unlike Brock Osweiler. Ultimately the Broncos felt their safest bet would be to play Peyton oppose to the up and coming Osweiler. The biggest difference between the two is arm strength. While Manning looked better in week 17 again the Chargers. The all time NFL leading passer in terms of yardage struggles now to make the big time throws. If Manning can’t connect on those intermediate and deep passes than maybe the Broncos are better suited with the youthful Brock Osweiler. This is a decision that could blow up in the Broncos face. While you know you’re going to get a few boneheaded mistakes from the younger player. Osweiler still can make the throws that at this point Manning can’t make in his career. The storyline of the Broncos playoff defeat last year was Manning not being able to get the job done throwing wise. Will the Broncos suffer that same defeat as they did last year? Or maybe Peyton rises to the occasion and the Broncos are the big winners by going with him. That is why sports are so fascinating, they are like real life drama series unfolding right in front of us. One person who can’t be happy about all of the drama is Osweiler. In Manning’s stead Osweiler led this football team to a number of big wins. Wins that ultimately kept this team’s postseason hopes alive. It’s hard to turn the page on Osweiler if you’re the Broncos however at the end of the day this is the professional level and big time choices have to be made. This was a gutsy call by the Broncos we will see how it all pans out.

Charity of the day: Environmental Defense Fund

Go donate! www.edf.org

What’s happening around the league: wildcard weekend

Photo credit: Scott Cunningham / Getty Image Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

 

Sean Payton staying in the Big Easy

The Saints have announced that Sean Payton will be staying in New Orleans. After speculation all year whether or not he was going to be staying on as the Saints Head Coach. We now find out that there will be no changes taking place and much of that speculation is just rumors. Payton has two more years on his contract with New Orleans and stated “There’s more moments, more wins, and more playoffs.” Showing that the coach is convinced there is still bright days ahead for this franchise. In order to achieve that success this team will have to address their defensive woes. The team finished 31st in the league in yards surrendered per game. Allowing an average of 413 yards per game. They can address those shortcomings by improving their defensive line in the offseason either through the draft or through free agency.

Calvin Johnson contemplating retirement

Calvin Johnson has announced that he is officially contemplating retirement. The 9th year player out of Georgia Tech has had a prolific career and certainly has to be thinking about getting out early. Lets face it, it’s better to get out sooner rather than later when it comes to football. Johnson has proved he is the best wide receiver in the league during his playing days. He has nothing left to prove and millions of dollars in the bank account. If Johnson were to retire honestly who could blame him? He has paid his dues for Lions’ fans and at some point he is going to have to walk away from the game. Better on his own terms than on the general public’s.

Coaching shake ups:

With the Giants, 49ers, Eagles, Titans, and Browns all looking for head coaches things are getting interesting in regards to where the chips are going to fall (no pun intended). Chip Kelly has reached out to the San Francisco 49ers about potentially coach there. This comes after the 49ers of course released Jim Tomsula just after one season of service. The Niners just released Harbaugh a season ago for his extreme measures so it’s funny that Kelly reached out to them. However the west coast destination was probably a factor in that inquiry. The Giants who parted ways with Tom Caughlin have reached out to Steve Spagnuolo, Ben McAdoo, and a few other candidates. It will be interesting to see who the Giants select for their next coach. Hue Jackson the offensive coordinator of the Bengals is scheduled to interview with the Browns. While the rest of the scenarios are just playing out day by day. Still the head coaching landscape of the league will dramatically change this offseason and it will be interesting to see those changes on the field in 2016.

Charity of the day: HelpMeSee

Go donate! helpmesee.org

 

Seahawks and Vikings square off again in NFC Wildcard grudge match:

Photo credit: Hannah Foslien / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Seattle Seahawks rolled the Minnesota Vikings the last time they’ve played each other 38-7. That wasn’t the only team the Seahawks have rolled since then. They just last week pummeled an outstanding Arizona Cardinals team 36-6 and enter the postseason with a ton of momentum on their side. Outside of the Kansas City Chiefs the Seahawks are the hottest football team in the NFL right now. After nearly falling apart at the beginning of the season this team has done a great job of regrouping and they finished the season strong. The Vikings ended their season on a good note by clinching the NFC North division title. Will that success they had last weekend translate over to the playoffs? It’s not likely, the Seahawks looked inward and found that team that has been to two straight Super Bowls. Now that they have their rhythm and sync back they are a very dangerous football team. The Seahawks enter this weekend better in nearly every category than the Vikings. A large part of that success is due to the fact that the Seahawks defense has got back in their groove. They only allow an average of 81.5 rushing yards to opposing offenses. They are also only allowing 17.3 points per game so teams really struggle to put up points up against the Seahawks. With Bridgewater only throwing for 99 yards against the Packers. He might have a really hard time trying to operate against this Seahawks front four. If the Vikings want a shot at winning this game it will be just like last week’s game plan. The Vikings have to feed Adrian Peterson early and often. If the Vikings are going to make a deep postseason run it will be done on the legs of Peterson’s rushing efforts. The other half of the formula will be playing outstanding defense which the Vikings have done for most of the year. They have to continue to play at a high level and really be at their best if they want to have any postseason success. If you’re a betting man, bet on Seattle.

Charity of the day: HelpMeSee

Go donate! helpmesee.org

Chiefs travel to Houston to face the Texans in AFC Wildcard:

Photo credit: Scott Halleran / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The red hot Kansas City Chiefs will travel to Houston to face JJ Watt and the Houston Texans. The Chiefs have been playing solid football on both sides of the ball up to this point. That is why they enter Saturday’s match up on a 10 game win streak. That is right the Chiefs haven’t lost since week 6 when they were defeated by the Minnesota Vikings 16-10. Since then it’s been nothing but outstanding football and they head to Houston with more momentum than just about anyone right now. Alex Smith the Chiefs starting quarterback has been playing good football during the regular season. He has thrown for 20 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions on the year. Finishing the season with 3,486 passing yards. If the Chiefs want to have success against this tough Houston defense Smith will have to operate effectively and efficiently. By limiting turnovers in the game Smith can put the Chiefs in a position to succeed. Throwing a couple touchdowns passes wouldn’t be that bad either. At the end of the day though Smith has to manage the game and keep his poise in the tough postseason conditions. Those Texan fans will be nearly bringing down the house as Houston makes their first playoff appearance since 2012. Andy Reid’s even-keeled approach is a great form of leadership and he will do everything in his power to help the Chiefs eliminate the noise and distractions. In the game it will be up to Reid to call on running back Charcandrick West to lead the rushing efforts for Kansas City. By out rushing the Texans and allowing Smith to do his part in the aerial attack the team can tilt this match up in their favor. On the defense side of the ball they need their playmakers to step up and do what they’ve done all year. Derrick Johnson and Eric Berry have to rally the troops and clamp down on DeAndre Hopkins and company. Not an easy task but certainly achievable. Will the Chiefs be able to survive and move on to the next round? Only time will tell, if you followed this team all season though you have to like your odds.

Charity of the day: Global Green USA

Go donate! www.globalgreen.org

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