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

Chuck Pagano was retained by the Indianapolis Colts:

Photo credit: Andy Lyons / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

With speculation coming out of Colts camp all season long that Chuck Pagano was going to be fired. The Colts instead decided to go against that speculation and chose to retain Coach Pagano’s services. The Colts and Pagano agreed to a four year contract that will keep Pagano in Indianapolis until 2020. The move was the right one for owner Jim Irsay because most importantly he builds more continuity throughout this organization. Pagano and General Manager Ryan Grigson have been developing themselves as a head coach and G.M at the NFL level. It makes more sense to keep those guys in place and allow them to continue to grow within those roles. Rather than bringing in fresh personnel at the head coach and G.M position and having that new personnel go through the trial and error that each person will go through when starting a new job. One other thing that stood out with Chuck Pagano is the fact that his star quarterback Andrew Luck had been out of the line up and really off his game for most of the year. When Luck went down Pagano and this team found ways to stay competitive without their franchise quarterback. Even down to the last game of the season the Colts were able to overcome the Titans and do all they could to get to the postseason. Yet the Texans won and the rest was history. It’s that ability to fight when the world is crumbling around you that will inspire those around you. Pagano showed despite all of the chaos that was swirling around the Indianapolis Colts he could still keep this team competitive. If he can add more talent to that foundation this offseason. This team could be right back to being in the postseason. Especially if Andrew Luck heals up and gets back to his usual self. Which he most likely will. Give Irsay and the Colts credit at the end of the day they made the right move.

Charity of the day: Global Green USA

Go donate! www.globalgreen.org

Vikings win the NFC North with a great defensive effort against the Packers:

Photo credit: Wesley Hitt / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Minnesota Vikings were able to win the NFC North division championship last night with a 20-13 victory against the Green Bay Packers. That match up was at Lambeau field and yet the Vikings were still able to overcome the odds. Much of the their success was due to the fact that they were able to sack Aaron Rodgers 5 times. Rodgers never could get in synch because the Vikings pass rush was breathing down his neck all night. Another big factor in the match up was the fact that Minnesota was able to win in the running game. Adrian Peterson was the games leading rusher with 19 carries for 67 yards and 1 touchdown on the night. Eddie Lacy was the leading rusher for the Packers with 34 yards. Not one Packers running back was able to find the end zone in this match up. By effectively taking away the running and disrupting Rodgers early and often. The Vikings were able to tilt this game in their favor. Despite winning the game Teddy Bridgewater wasn’t very impressive in this match up throwing for only 99 yards no touchdowns and an interception. While on the other hand Aaron Rodgers was able to throw for 291 yards 1 touchdown and 1 interception. If you just read into those stats you would think the Packers won. Especially when you also factor in that James Jones had over a 100 yards receiving for the Packers. However turnovers killed the Packers. Whether it was an interception by Xavier Rhodes on a Rodgers pass or Captain Munnerlyn ion a scoop and score. Plays like that will cost a football team down the stretch and that is why the Packers aren’t the NFC North division champs. The Vikings have to be proud of how far they’ve come. Mike Zimmer really has done a great job of turning this team around in a short period of time. The Vikings are looking the best they’ve looked since Favre was in town.

Charity of the day: March of Dimes Foundation

Go donate! www.marchofdimes.org

Texans earn their respect and a playoff bid with a win over the Jaguars 30-6.

Photo credit: Bob Levey / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Houston Texans have made the transition from a doormat team to a playoff contender in Bill O’brien’s second year as head football coach of the Texans. The team finished with a 9-7 record and are the AFC South division champions after beating the Jaguars 30-6. The Jaguars had a chance to show that they could be the future of the AFC South with young star quarterback Blake Bortles. Yet it was the Texans who proved they are the team who will control this division from here on out. Houston was able to win this game with solid pressure upfront on Blake Bortles. The recipe for beating any talented quarterback is getting a good pass rush. The Texans were able to sack Bortles 8 times in the game completely eliminating any chance for success from the Jaguars quarterback position. JJ Watt led that defensive surge with 8 tackles, 3 sacks, and 3 tackles for losses. Showing why is he the best player on the planet still defensively. Watt finished the regular season with 17.5 sacks on the season. That was despite the fact that he was playing with a cast on his left hand for a portion of the season. Outside of Watt, Whitney Mercilus was a big factor for the Texans defense. He recorded 5 tackles and 3.5 sacks on the day. Offensively Alfred Blue rushed for a 102 yards on the ground for the Texans offense. While DeAndre Hopkins hauled in 7 receptions for 89 yards receiving. For the Jaguars Allen Robinson had a big day finishing with 5 receptions for 108 yards. While Johnathan Cyprien finished with 14 total tackles for the Jaguars defense. Bortles finished the day with 239 yards passing yards no touchdowns and two interceptions. Compared to Brian Hoyer for the Texans. Who finished the day with 249 passing yards a touchdown and 1 interception. The Texans will continue their season Sunday against the Chiefs in a wildcard match up. Kick-off is slated for 4:35 P.M.

Charity of the day: March of Dimes Foundation

Go donate! www.marchofdimes.org

Manning’s 18th season is about perspective:

Photo credit: Cyrus McCrimmon / Denver Post

Author: Jon Kuzma

Many Peyton Manning fans will be upset that their favorite player won’t be starting anytime soon for the Broncos. However the Broncos made the right choice by sticking with Osweiler. Manning had been struggling all season long and his poor stats of 9 touchdowns and 17 interceptions were actually holding this team back. Don’t feel too bad for Peyton though. Manning finishes as arguably the greatest passer of all time. He has thrown for more yards than anyone else in National Football League history. He earned that feat by beating Brett Favre’s record in a week 10 match up against the Kansas City Chiefs. In that same game Manning would also throw 4 interceptions and finish his day with 5 completions out of 20 passing attempts. It was almost a blessing from the gods that Manning was able to break that record because at the same time as he was breaking that record he also proved that he is an ineffective quarterback. That is largely due to Manning’s old age and the long list of injuries he has endured during his pro career. For the 17 years of outstanding football that Peyton Manning has played we finally seen what it was like to see him struggle in his 18th season. While Manning has stated that “he would like to start.” It’s clear that it’s just better this time around for Peyton to sit back and enjoy the accomplishments of his career. Manning gets a year to reflect on how truly great his run has been. So instead of looking at it as a curse sitting on the bench and rooting on Brock Osweiler. He should instead see it as a blessing that he was able to accomplish so much that his legacy will forever be cemented in football history. Believe it or not it’s easy to believe Manning took it for a granted a little bit, we all do. That’s why it panned out like this to help Manning gain perspective. He should be very grateful because so many guys just want one good season to prove they can play. Manning got 18 and he walks away one of the greatest of all time.

Charity of the day: People for the American Way

Go donate! www.pfaw.org

Pettine’s stubborn ways will cost him his job in Cleveland:

Photo credit: Otto Greule Jr. / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

Mike Pettine comes off as a my way or the highway type of guy. One thing that is evident when watching the coach is he comes off very stern. That tough guy mentality was supposed to transform the Cleveland Browns and make them tougher. A move that is usually beneficial in a sport as gritty as pro football. Pettine’s ways didn’t translate well at the pro level however. For how beneficial his attitude was supposed to be in the NFL, Pettine’s poor personnel decisions and lack of team execution cost him. At one point it was clear that Pettine had a dislike for former first round draft pick Johnny Manziel. Even putting that aside though, the team still has fallen to a 3-12 record up to this point in the season. Showing that regardless of what Pettine’s strengths or weaknesses are one thing was still evident. The team wasn’t getting the job done on the field. The NFL is a win now football league meaning coaches are on a very short leash and will be let go quickly if they don’t perform well in games. Performing well means winning football games something the Cleveland Browns simply didn’t do during the Mike Pettine era. For a guy who was so much about pointing the finger at others and questioning their accountability. Pettine himself was very reluctant to look in the mirror and hold himself accountable. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam likely picked up on this and that is why it was announced that the Browns would look to part ways with the head coach in the near future. While Pettine has underperformed, it wasn’t all his fault. General Manager Ray Farmer didn’t put enough talent on the field for Pettine to compete. The miscommunication between the two sides when it came to handling Manziel was also a big factor in their destruction. If they didn’t want Manziel, that first round pick could have been used at another position to help the team out. So that was a wasted pick during both Farmer and Pettine’s era. Now they are both paying for those misfortunes.

Charity of the day: People for the American Way

Go donate! www.pfaw.org

San Diego Chargers are wrong for how they handled Eric Weddle:

Photo credit: Sean M. Haffey

Author: Jon Kuzma

Eric Weddle has been a solid player for the San Diego Chargers for the last 9 seasons. After being a stand out player at the university of Utah. Weddle was then drafted in the second round by the Chargers. Weddle immediately had an impact. He recorded over a 100 tackles in 3 different seasons during his career. Also recording 19 career interceptions for San Diego’s defense. Weddle is player who has “paid his dues” with the San Diego Chargers and you would expect his employer to treat him accordingly. That hasn’t been the case however in San Diego. The Chargers have done a number of things that are borderline unethical regarding Weddle. These actions include fining Weddle for staying out for halftime to watch his daughter perform as a cheerleader during a Chargers game. Denying Weddle a seat aboard the team’s plane during a game to Denver. Finally the Charges placed Weddle on injured reserve even though Weddle claimed his groin injury wasn’t that serious. Imagine if your employer was taking action against you and doing everything in their power to make it impossible for you to do your job. That is exactly what the Chargers have been doing to Eric Weddle. Well finally Weddle had enough. The Chargers safety ran sprints Thursday in front of the media to show that he was unfairly placed on injured reserve. Quarterback Rivers said “I hate it that he’s not going to be out there for his last one and finish this season with all of us.” Showing that the team’s starting quarterback understands the significance of Weddle’s impact and also showing his concern with how the team has handled the issue. There has been a lot of changes going on for this franchise and if they want to keep fan support from waining they better do a better job of taking care of their people. Weddle’s contributions to this organization when the team never gave any returns back to the public can’t be undervalued. Weddle was there even when the Chargers put a bad product on the field. He deserved better. The Chargers should be ashamed for not giving him that.

Charity of the day: Feed Our Veterans

Go donate! www.feedourvets.org/

Packers vs Vikings with the NFC North division title on the line:

Photo credit: Tom Dahlin / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Vikings and Packers will meet up sunday with the NFC North division championship on the line. The Packers were able to handle the Vikings 30-13 in their first match up. A game in which most people thought the Vikings were going to win because of their success earlier in the season at that time. However since then both of these teams have been somewhat inconsistent. The Vikings who had a solid lock on this division regressed and let Green Bay back in the picture. Now in the last game of the season everything is at stake as both teams enter the game with 10 wins and 5 losses on the season. If the Vikings want to win this match up Teddy Bridgewater has to step up and play his best football on the big stage. The games are only getting bigger from here on out and Bridgewater has a great opportunity to show what kind of player he can be in this league. You do that by winning football games for division championships and winning games in the playoffs. Who knows, if Bridgewater can hit stride late in the year the Vikings might have a legitimate shot of making a deep postseason run. It all starts with that elite level play at the quarterback position though and it will be up to Teddy Bridgewater to get the job done. For the Packers they have to get pass their offensive woes they’ve been having lately. Usually the Packers score between 28-30 points offensively. However there has been a few match ups where the Packers have had trouble against good defensive lines and as a result struggled offensively in games. That seems to be the key for the Packers offensive success. Make sure they can protect Rodgers upfront. If they can do that, the sky is the limit. If not then this team will stumble like they did against Detroit and Arizona. It will be a good match up and even though Green Bay beat the Vikings in their first match. Look for Minnesota to pull the win out. If they play their cards right they can win, they just need to feed Adrian Peterson and have Bridgewater come up big when the time comes.

Charity of the day: Feed Our Veterans

Go donate! www.feedourvets.org/

Why the Bills and Mario Williams parting ways will be good for both sides:

Photo credit: Patrick Smith

Author: Jon Kuzma

Mario Williams openly spoke out against a number of Rex Ryan’s schemes this year. The tenth year player out of North Carolina State University felt that the team had regressed from 2014’s pass rushing production and also felt that Ryan’s scheme was a big factor in that regression. It’s never a good situation when a player openly criticizes a coaches philosophies and every time William’s did, it opened up a case for more players to follow William’s lead. From a coaches perspective you almost want your players to take their own personal thoughts out of the strategy and would rather just have players do what they are told and execute. Give credit to Rex Ryan on how he handled the situation. Rex stated that the “Bills will always have an open discussion policy.” Meaning that Rex embraced his players voicing and thinking on how to get the job done more effectively. While Rex is playing that card on the surface, internally he is most likely wishing that all of his players would let him coach and they stick to playing. Players have so much to process on the field it’s almost ideal that we have coaches who do the thinking for them. That is why the game is already set up that way. However every once in a while a players ego will get out of line and they feel the need to speak up. It’s hard to say if this was the case with Williams. While Williams did do something a player should never do. Speak out against their coach. He did have some merit behind his points. The defense had been better in the past compared to now which Wiliams seen stumble from a first hand perspective. The defense was dropping some of the team’s best pass rushers into coverage. A very inefficient move on the Bills behalf. Yet you have to take up those matters in the office with your coach privately rather than publicly with the media. Williams personal production was down significantly as well from the past. Whether he agreed with how things were going and yea the system could of hindered his own personal stats. Williams still should of handled things better and the Bills themselves will likely be better off. Having an aging vet who always has to go against the grain when it comes to the team is not a formula for success. It will cause chemistry and cohesion problems throughout the team. Ryan and the Bills do have to make some adjustments but they will be better off without Williams. Mario Williams will get a fresh start with a new team and hopefully will be playing under a system that better suits his talents. So hopefully he will be happier and better off as well. Regardless it looks like their time together will be over this offseason.

Charity of the day: Action on Smoking and Health

Go donate! www.ash.org

Seattle and Arizona will meet up in the week 17 game of the week:

Photo credit: Otto Greule Jr. / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

When the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks meet up this weekend for their week 17 match up. The thing that will be most on the line is momentum. The Cardinals have already clinched a first round bye in the playoffs and the NFC West division title. Yet a loss to the Seahawks would give Seattle the confidence they need to compete with Arizona later on in the playoffs. On the other hand if the Cardinals can rout the Seahawks sunday it will be a big step in showing that they are indeed the big dog on the block. Seattle has been to two straight Super Bowls and will be reluctant to yield their position to any team. Yet the Cardinals are the team of the present and look like they are poised to have a deep run in the playoffs. That is why this match up is so crucial. The last thing you want if you’re a team like the Cardinals is to stumble and have problems heading into the postseason. Don’t expect that to happen though. This Cardinals team has been phenomenal all season long. They are number 1 in a number of different publication’s power rankings for a reason. They’ve been one of the most dynamic teams in pro football if not the most dynamic. While the Seahawks have been more of a story of overcoming adversity. After losing a number of players last offseason and having to deal with a number of other off the field issues (Kam Chancellor holdout). The Seahawks have managed to battle back after stumbling early on. Russell Wilson managed to find his game during midseason and rattled off 5 straight weeks without throwing an interception. That streaked ended last week when the Rams were able to pick Wilson off. Regardless though that strong play from the quarterback position has certainly been a big factor in the Seahawks success. Look for it to be a good match up Sunday however it will be tough to beat the Cardinals. Bruce Arians has this team playing outstanding.

Charity of the day: Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Go donate! www.bcrfcure.org

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