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

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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

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Drew Brees joins Brett Favre and Peyton Manning as the only players to ever throw for 70,000 yards:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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To say Drew Brees is elite would be an understatement. The Saints quarterback has recently eclipsed the 70,000 yards passing mark and when you look at the two others players in that club you understand just how good Brees has been. Brett Favre and Peyton Manning are the only two other players to throw for that many yards in their careers and now Brees has a serious shot at passing those two guys. All Brees has to do is throw for 2,000 yards next season and he will have more passing yards than any other NFL quarterback. Lets be honest 2,000 yards is light work for Brees and as long as he doesn’t get hurt expect the New Orleans QB to be the best ever. The funny thing about Brees is he somewhat flew under the radar compared to Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. However now we see just how prolific Brees has been which is great news because you’d hate to see a player not get the recognition they deserve. Still though not many people believed they were looking at the best quarterback to ever play the game when they watched Brees play. When you look back at his career now it becomes obvious that nobody was putting up 5,000 yard seasons as easily as the former Purdue Boilermaker. Every year since being a pro Brees has flat out aired it out and this is truly one of the great stories of the league. When you’re talking about pure quarterback play nobody brings it like Drew Brees does and it just goes to show you don’t have to be typical NFL QB to have success. Drew Brees is an undersized player who gets it done with his savvy. The 38 year old has such a deep understanding of the game which always puts him in a favorable position. Not many other signal callers have that kind of awareness and Brees should use that expertise for at least two more seasons. After that the long time Saint will ride off into the sunset and by then he will be known as the guy who threw for more yards than everyone.

Charity of the day: National Wildlife Federation

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With one week remaining in the season Blake Martinez has more tackles than anyone else in the National Football League:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Despite the Green Bay Packers failing to make the playoffs it looks like Blake Martinez will finish the season with more tackles than anyone else in pro football. Martinez currently has 138 tackles for the season which is 6 more than Christian Kirksey. As long as Blake Martinez has a decent game against the Lions the Packers LB should finish the year as the top defender in the league. Now if Blake Martinez has a bad night and Kirksey goes off the Browns linebacker actually could pass Martinez. However with everything you’ve seen up to this point it fees like the second year linebacker out of Stanford (Martinez) will finish the season strong. The Packers have a marquee player at the middle linebacker position and that will be crucial for this team’s success in the future. Injuries really hurt Green Bay this past year but you better believe this franchise is going reload in the off-season and come back stronger than ever. Blake Martinez is such a huge piece of the puzzle because stopping the run is so fundamental in football. If the Packers can sign one other outside pass rusher to help Clay Matthews then this team will be all set at the backer position. Losing Julius Peppers really downgraded this roster but all of that can be turned around by signing or trading for a playmaker at outside LB. If Ted Thompson was serious about winning he would call up the Washington Redskins and find a way to land Ryan Kerrigan. This defense will be haunted by the ghost of Julius Peppers until they can get a player who can fill those shoes. Kerrigan is one player who can help the Packers turn the page. Could you imagine a 3-4 defense with Matthews and Kerrigan firing of the edges? That’s the type of play it’s going to take to win a Super Bowl and Blake Martinez would fit nicely in-between those two guys.

Charity of the day: National Wildlife Federation

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Todd Gurley should be the Most Valuable Player for the 2017 NFL season, Gurley has recorded 19 total touchdowns:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Los Angeles Rams have had a breakout season recording 11 wins so far and Todd Gurley has been at the forefront of this team’s success. Gurley has put up an impressive 13 rushing touchdowns and 6 receiving touchdowns showing he can be force on the ground or through the air. Sean McVay has tapped into Gurley’s playmaking abilities and created opportunities for him within the Rams offensive system. Todd Gurley only had 6 touchdowns all of last year when Jeff Fisher was running the show. So the Rams running back has doubled his rushing TD production and then scored as many touchdowns as he did a year ago catching the football alone. As good as Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, and Carson Wentz have been most of the season it feels like Gurley should get the award above them all. It’s just been such a special year in so many different facets of the game for the former University of Georgia Bulldog. We know the league is most likely going to select a quarterback as the Most Valuable Player but it’s time the NFL spices things up a bit and breaks the traditional mold. Nothing would reinvigorate the pro football brand (NFL) like taking some risks. The Rams have one more game in the season left against the 49ers and then it’s on to the playoffs. Keep an eye on whether or not Gurley can add a few more touchdowns to his already sensational year? Gurley will also be key for this team in the postseason where the Rams will be a serious contender in the NFC conference. It’s because Los Angeles has a competitive defense and guy’s like Jared Goff and Todd Gurley putting points on the board. What a story it would be if McVay wins a Super Bowl in his first season as a head coach and Gurley wins the MVP?

Charity of the day: Union of Concerned Scientists

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Steelers easily handle the Texans for a 34-6 win, Roethlisberger throws for 226 yards and 2 touchdown passes:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Pittsburgh Steelers continued their outstanding 2017 season by getting their 12th win of the year over the Houston Texans. Pittsburgh beat Houston 34-6 and it was another big day at the office for Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger threw for 226 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions which was very impressive especially since Antonio Brown wasn’t in the line up. It just goes to show that this team can get it done with the other guys on the roster and Pittsburgh will be a force when Brown can return to action. Le’Veon Bell also had a solid day for the Steelers racking up 69 yards and 1 touchdown on the ground. JuJu Smith-Schuster brought his a-game in the Steelers victory as well he recorded 69 yards and 1 touchdown. T.J Yates threw for 83 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception for the Texans offense. While Alfred Blue had a terrific day running the ball for Houston with 108 rushing yards. DeAndre Hopkins hauled in 65 yards and 1 touchdown reception as well. Defensively the Steelers were led by Mike Hilton who recorded 6 tackles, 3 sacks and 1 forced fumble. Sean Spence balled out for the black and yellow too he put up 8 tackles and 1 sack. Zach Cunningham had a team high of 10 tackles for Bill O’Brien’s team. Andre Hal complied 7 tackles in what would go on to be a losing effort. Pittsburgh will get a first round bye in the playoffs and that’s going to allow this franchise to rest up for a week. Some teams you worry when they have a week off because they might lose their rhythm. The Steelers are the complete opposite they have so many marquee players that they can beat you any time, any place, any where. Roethlisberger will be the x-factor in the postseason and if he plays his best football anything is possible.

Charity of the day: Planet Aid

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Seahawks eliminate the Cowboys from playoff contention with a 21-12 Christmas Eve victory:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys both had a back against the wall moment in a Christmas Eve NFC clash. The Seahawks responded better to the adverse conditions and that’s why Pete Carroll’s playoff hopes are still alive today. Russell Wilson threw for 93 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions in what would be an unusual offensive performance. Wilson didn’t really blow us away with a ton of yardage by any means but he did manage to get the win and that says something about his efforts. The Seattle QB also rushed for more yards than any other Seahawks player so that’s beginning to become a frequent occurrence. Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham both hauled in touchdown receptions through the air as well and it’s pretty obvious that the passing game is the strength of this team. Moving forward though the Seahawks need to find a way to get the running game going if they want to have success. There’s just too much pressure on Wilson for this team to be sustainable against the upper echelon teams in the league. Dak Prescott threw for 182 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions which ended up being a rough outing for him. Ezekiel Elliott returned from suspension too but his 97 rushing yards wasn’t enough for Dallas. Dez Bryant was visibly frustrated for most of this match up as well. Bryant was on the sidelines steaming but he did manage to lead the Cowboys with 44 receiving yards. Earl Thomas led Seattle with 11 tackles on the defensive side of the ball. While Michael Bennett, Dion Jordan, and Frank Clark all added a sack a piece for Carroll’s pass rush. Sean Lee was absolutely stellar again for the Cowboys’ defense he finished with 14 tackles. Taco Charlton contributed 2 tackles and 1 sack for Dallas too. If Seattle wins next week against the Arizona Cardinals and if Atlanta losses their next game against Carolina. Then expect to see the Seahawks during wildcard weekend. None of that would have been possible if Seattle didn’t beat the Cowboys on Christmas Eve.

Charity of the day: Junior Achievement USA

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The New Orleans Saints knock off the Atlanta Falcons 23-13 and are one win away from clinching the NFC South:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Sean Peyton and the New Orleans Saints had a tough division match up against the Atlanta Falcons. New Orleans already has a great chance of making the playoffs but they couldn’t afford to lose or Carolina could end up winning the division. The Saints didn’t leave their fate up to chance they beat the Falcons 23-13 and it was a strong defensive showing for Peyton’s team. Craig Robertson led the way for the Big Easy with a team high 10 tackles. Marshon Lattimore showed off why he is one of the best rookies in the league with a 6 tackle and 1 interception performance himself. As far as NOLA’s offense went Drew Brees had a mediocre day throwing for 239 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. Mark Ingram was decent too he put up 44 yards and 1 touchdown. Ted Ginn came alive for 76 yards and 1 touchdown but make mistake about it the defense was the reason why New Orleans won this game. Matt Ryan threw for 288 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. Julio Jones was easily the best offensive skill player on the field he hauled 7 receptions for 149 receiving yards. Deion Jones had another huge performance for Atlanta’s defense. Jones recorded 10 tackles and 1 interceptions showing once again why he is the anchor of this group. Keanu Neal also had a 10 tackle day for the Falcons but the Saints were just the better team in this one. New Orleans will have a chance to clinch the division with a win at Tampa Bay next week. Believe it or not due to the seeding it looks like the Saints will play the Panthers in the first round of the postseason. So New Orleans and Carolina will be competing for an NFC South title and then the two teams will go head to head in a playoff game all within the next two weeks.

Charity of the day: Global Fund for Women

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The Minnesota Vikings blank the Green Bay Packers for a 16-0 victory, it was another good performance for Mike Zimmer’s team:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Minnesota Vikings completely clamped down on Brett Hundley and the Green By Packers. Minnesota was so good that Mike McCarthy’s team couldn’t muster up a single point and you have to question whether or not Green Bay made the right move when they opted not to sign a QB after Aaron Rodgers’ injury? Minnesota didn’t look too hot either offensively but at least they were able to put up enough points on the board to get the win. Case Keenum threw for 139 passing yards, 1 touchdown, and no interceptions which was the better performance out of the two signal callers. Latavius Murray racked up 69 rushing yards on the ground for the Vikings offense too. While Stefon Diggs had a big night through the air hauling in 60 yards and 1 touchdown. Brett Hundley passed for 130 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions which ended up being another rough outing for him. Jamaal Williams had the most rushing yards for the Packers he recorded 58 yards in the contest. Michael Clark led all of Green Bay’s receivers with 36 yards so as you can see it wasn’t a very productive game for the team from Wisconsin. Defensively Harrison Smith was extremely potent chalking up 8 tackles and 2 interceptions. Eric Kendricks was tough against the running game also he added 8 tackles to the Vikings defensive output. Jake Ryan was solid for the Packers defensive unit he compiled 11 tackles. Blake Martinez was the other stand out for Pack Nation he also had 11 tackles. This is another huge win for Minnesota and all signs point to this franchise being a true contender. Case Keenum needs to show he can continue to raise the bar for this team when the pressure is on. Keenum will be tested throughout the postseason and if he comes up big his legacy will keep growing.

Charity of the day: Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation

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Ravens improve to 9-6 after beating the Indianapolis Colts 23-16, Flacco throws for 237 yards and 2 touchdowns:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Baltimore Ravens got their 9th win of the season by knocking off the Indianapolis Colts 23-16. Joe Flacco played pretty good in this contest throwing for 237 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions. While Alex Collins did all he could rushing for 51 yards on the ground for Baltimore. Michael Campanaro and Maxx Williams both caught a touchdown apiece for the Ravens as well and overall it was a great for John Harbaugh’s football team. Jacoby Brissett threw for 215 yards, 1 touchdown, and no interceptions for the Colts. There wasn’t enough scoring for Indianapolis but T.Y Hilton did manage to haul in 100 receiving yards. Frank Gore also rushed for 68 yards and caught 1 touchdown pass from Brissett but the Colts need more playmakers on offense before they can compete with the teams that are above .500 in this league. On the defensive side of things C.J Mosley led Baltimore with 6 tackles. Tony Jefferson chipped 5 tackles for the Ravens too. Kenny Moore had a big day for Indianapolis’s defense he recorded 9 tackles and 1 forced fumble. Barkevious Mingo played heard as well with 7 tackles and 1 sack. Baltimore takes another step towards the playoffs they will need the Buffalo Bills to slump over their next two games in order to get in. The Ravens defense has really been coming alive lately and that could end up being the x-factor for this team heading into the final game of the season. If Harbaugh’s team can maintain their poise and knock off the Bengals there’s a very good chance they’ll end up competing for a Vince Lombardi Trophy after the regular season ends. You have to believe that is good for football because it feels like the Ravens are better team than the Bills when it’s all said and done.

Charity of the day: Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation

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