*NEW NAME FOR WASHINGTON, 2021 SEASON RECAP & SUPER BOWL THOUGHTS

It took me a while to sit down and write this post wrapping up the season — mostly because I was busy moving to a new place. Sadly, the 2021 NFL season has come and gone. I’m looking around, and I still cannot believe the season is over — it feels like the whole thing went out in a flash.

Anyhow, My Washington Football Team had a rough 2021 season — All of the Dan Snyder controversies overshadowed the season for Washington. The accusations of sexual misconduct, harassment, and toxic culture made constant headlines: the lawsuits, the cheerleading scandal exposed by the Washington Post. The John Gruden slash Bruce Allen email scandal. The secrecy surrounding the Beth Wilkinson investigation. The drama with the minority owners looking to bail on Snyder and sell their shares. The low fan attendance for home games. The whole screw-up with the Sean Taylor tribute — and of course, the congressional hearings, looking into Washington and Dan Snyder.

The team finished at 7-10. There were some highs and a bunch of lows. The 4-game winning streak and briefly climbing to the top of the NFC East was the highlight of the season for me. However, losing our NFC East lead, primarily due to the record number of Covid positive players becoming ineligible for crucial games, was the kill shot for our season. It was pure agony and misery week to week watching our lead shrink and shrink and eventually disappear into nothingness.

On top of all that, on 2.2.22, The Washington Football Team became The Washington Commanders. This new name doesn’t excite me at all — I wanted the new name to be Red Hogs and not this uninspiring name. Admittedly, I wasn’t crazy about the idea to rebrand from The Washington Football team name — a name that had actually grown on me. But, who knows, maybe Commanders will eventually also grow on me.

This was a mess of a rebrand, full of leaks and missteps. They even messed up the logo and the dates of our NFL championships. They put the year when the Super Bowl was played in the new logo — which was entirely wrong — it was supposed to be the year of the NFL season, not the year the game was played….what a bunch of fucking idiots, really.

As a Washington fan, I’m happy for our old QBs coach and offensive coordinator, Sean McVay, winning his first Super Bowl. It is becoming more apparent how special Mike Shanahan’s coaching staff was during his time in Washington. And besides McVay, the Mike Shanahan coaching tree is deep and impressive, with many former assistants now working as NFL head Coaches — Matt Lefleur (Packers), Kyle Shanahan (49ers), and Mike McDaniel (Dolphins). I think McDaniel will be an excellent head coach for Miami.

Their success as coaches and teams’ continued interest in hiring from the Shanahan tree is direct proof of how awful and stupid Dan Snyder was for allowing Bruce Allen to be part of Washington in any capacity regardless of George Allen’s legacy as a coach. They both wrecked this team and the potential of what the Shanahan era could have been.

In any case, I don’t really like this new name, but I have no choice but to accept it. I echo everyone else saying that the only way Washington fans and people in the DMV area will embrace this new name is by winning. They have to win — and win consistently — simple as that.

SUPER BOWL GAME:

LA RAMS 23 — BENGALS 20
The Rams bet massively in free agency, and it paid off big-time this season. They gave up so much to get Matthew Stafford, Von Miller, and OBJ, But it all worked out, they got to the Super Bowl, and they won the whole thing.

OBJ getting hurt early in the game after scoring a TD changed the entire outlook for LA’s offense. However, the triple crown of receiving, Cooper Kupp stepped up and delivered the goods again — Kupp was deadly in this game, especially in the final offensive drive, scoring the game-winning TD.

On the other hand, Cincinnati did not make things easy for LA. Joe Burrow had a solid game and showed flashes of future greatness. However, the Bengals have to upgrade their O-Line and actually protect Burrow to compete and get back to the big game next season.

Overall, the 2021 season was fun, and I really liked the extra regular-season game added. Although I’m getting annoyed with Thursday night games, I think they should scrap those at some point.

*NFL DIVISIONAL ROUND RECAP (2021 Season)

Okay, the rebranding is barely a week away. And I’m beyond anxious waiting for the unveiling of the new team name and logo. However, I’m still not feeling the name Commanders and Admirals. Personally, I would love Hogs or Red Hogs, but I will continue to cheer faithfully for Washington regardless of the new name.

Recently, the name of Malik Wills has been mentioned all over sports media as Washington’s potential first-round pick in this upcoming draft. I hear good things about him — that he has a strong arm and good mobility, but the high number of picks is a concern. The issue with him is that it seems like he is not an immediate starter and more of a developmental prospect. So using a first-round pick on a prospect seems pretty expensive for us. Matt Corral and Kenny Pickett are also options, and Pickett appears to be the most NFL from this QB draft class. But for sure, Washington needs to draft a young QB.

I, for one, do not want Aaron Rodgers, Derek Carr, Russell Wilson, or Jimmy G. All of those QBs will be way too expensive to trade for them. On top of all that, I’m concerned about the potential interest in Mitch Trubisky, especially when considering the Buffalo Slash Carolina connection with Washington’s coaching staff. I don’t see Trubisky as a viable option; instead, they should re-sign Fitzpatrick and see what he can do with our offense with Heinicke backing him and Malik Wills or a young rookie QB as the understudy.

Every reporter with solid connections to Washington seems convinced on Brandon Scherff leaving — that blows; they need to bring him back at all costs, we should keep the OL intact. This was the first time we had some solid OL depth in a long time. Also, bringing back JD McKissic should be a top priority. First-year guys DeAndre Carter and Adam Humphries should both be resigned soon. I still have not seen enough from Jaret Patterson, so we need to add more running back competition on this group

On the defensive front, Daron Payne should also be a priority. Bobby McCain and Landon Collins found their way towards the second half of the season — their contribution was significant — so I think they should return. I’m not really too concerned with losing Tim Settle in free agency.

All in all, I feel like we are in a better spot than we were at the start of the 2020 offseason. Nevertheless, we need a solid draft and aggressiveness in free agency.

The rebranding doesn’t mean that all the controversies and investigations will disappear. 2020 was full of DEA raids, Congressional hearings, and Washington post-investigations. An utter mess and an awful look for this once proud and respected franchise. I hear that Tanya Snyder is now more involved in the team’s day-to-day operations. I don’t really know if that is a good thing; I still haven’t seen many positives from all the structural changes made by the front office at the executive level.

I don’t trust this front office group….yet. So as a result, I cannot help but feel very nervous and anxious for 2.2.22.

49ERS 13 — PACKERS 10

Man, San Francisco is a dangerous team. However, Jimmy G is their Achilles heel; he looked shaky for most of this game but managed to make some clutch throws that made an enormous difference. Outstanding special teams and defensive play were crucial for San Francisco. For their upcoming NFC Championship matchup, Kyle Shanahan will once again go against Sean McVay, another former protege in Washington. San Francisco owns the Rams, sweeping them this season. Next up, San Francisco visits LA. Advantage, LA Rams.

Antivaxxer Aaron Rodgers got precisely what he deserved. Green Bay came in as the #1 seed and with home-field advantage in cold-ass Wisconsin — and once again, Rodgers squandered it. Next up, Green Bay needs to come up with a plan to replace their hack QB. Plus, they are losing their OC coordinator Nathaniel Hackett to Denver, where he will become their new head coach.

CHIEFS 42 — BILLS 36

This was the most insane game of the entire season. I was out of my seat watching the last few minutes of this game. And the overtime was beyond thrilling. Next up, Kansas City hosts Cincinnati. Advantage, Kansas City Chiefs

Buffalo should’ve won this game. Josh Allen was money — but needed a better and more productive run game. If Buffalo adds a few more weapons, they should be considered a favorite next season. However, Buffalo will miss losing their OC Brian Daboll to Miami, as he is about to become their new head coach.

LA RAMS 30 — BUCCANEERS 27

Alright, how in the world could Cooper Kupp be that wide open, and with the game on the line? Matt Stafford was clutch and outdueled Brady. Next up, LA hosts top-rival, San Francisco. Advantage, LA Rams (too much firepower).

Tom Brady sucked ass through most of this game but finally got going in the 4th quarter and managed to tie this game with only seconds left. But Tampa Bay’s defense could not cover Cooper Kupp, the league’s top receiving threat. Next up, Tom Brady will ponder retirement, while OC Byron Leftwich might end up as the new head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

BENGALS 19 — TITANS 10

Joe Burrow is living up to his number 1 overall selection. It is remarkable when you realize that Cincinnati did not even make the playoffs last season, and now they are playing for the AFC Championship game and one game away from the Super Bowl. Evidently, this has been a successful turnaround for this franchise. Next up, Cincinnati hosts Kansas City. Advantage, Kansas City Chiefs.

Ryan Tannehill did not rise to the occasion like most expected him. Next season, Tennessee must add better weapons around Derrick Henry and maybe look for a new QB.

*NFL WILDCARD WEEKEND RECAP (2021 Season)

Well, we are just two weeks away from the official reveal of our brand new team name and logo. So I’m dreading Wednesday 2-2-22 — Washington as an organization doesn’t have a good track record of smooth transitions and public relations with their fans. Additionally, we have the upcoming release of RG3s tell-all book, which will most likely include all kinds of dirt and damming accusations. I sense more controversies are on the horizon for Washington.  

In any case, we need to figure out what to do with Brandon Scherff ASAP before the draft. Also, J.D. McKissic should be a top priority. I liked how Bobby McCain finished the season, so we should try to bring him back. Landon Collins should also be brought back; he was coming into his own in this new hybrid position. 

Sam Cosmi and John Bates were the best contributors from the 2021 draft class. Unfortunately, Third-rounders Benjamin St-Jude and Dyami Brown were injured for most of the season and barely played to make a proper assessment of them. I hope in 2022; we see players like Shaka Toney, Curtis Samuel, Jamin Davis, and Sammis Reyes become more significant contributors. 

The coaching staff, scouts, and our two GMs are assessing the young QBs coming out in this year’s draft. It seems like they are all talented prospects and not first-year starters, but with the 11th pick in the 2022 draft, we should probably not use it on a young developmental QB. 

Anyhow, Dallas and Philly lost in the first round of the playoffs, so I’m pleased about that. Happy to see these two delusional fan bases be miserable. 

49ERS 23 — COWBOYS 17

The 49ers put up a big lead and never looked back. And despite all the shaky QB play from Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco still managed to overcome a late-game surge from Dallas. San Francisco is a dangerous team, but their secondary continues to be suspect. Next up, San Francisco visits Green Bay. Advantage, Green Bay Packers (but I’m rooting for San Francisco). 

The Cowboys can whine all day long about not getting a chance for a final Hail-Mary play while blaming the refs for their ineptitude. But, the fact is that Dallas had been living on borrow time all season long, and they finally got exposed for what they are. Next season, Dallas will take a dramatic drop to third-best in the NFC EAST. 

LA RAMS 34 — CARDINALS 11

This was a dominating win for LA; they looked formidable against their top-division rival. Next up, LA visits Tampa Bay. Advantage, LA Rams.

The Cardinals were riding high early in the season, but injuries and the absence of playmakers brought this team down. Next season, Arizona has to address depth issues and find a better running game, complimentary to Kyler Murray. 

BILLS 47 — PATRIOTS 17

Josh Allen was terrific, throwing 5 TDs for over 300 yards and zero picks. Their running game looked rejuvenated with Devin Singletary, who finished with 95 total yards and 2 TDs. The Bills should be considered favorites to go all the way. Next up, Buffalo has an epic matchup with Patrick Mahomes at Kansas City. Advantage, Kansas City Chiefs, but Buffalo will give them a run for their money. 

New England backed into the playoffs with a rookie QB and got exposed by their division rival. So with Brian Flores leaving Miami, Belicheater will continue to be number 2 behind Buffalo in the AFC EAST. 

CHIEFS 42 — STEELERS 21

Patrick Mahomes was sensational, throwing for over 400 yards with 5 TDs and 1 pick. The Chiefs, on paper, were supposed to beat this inconsistent Pittsburgh team. Next up, Kansas City hosts a dynamic Buffalo team. Advantage Kansas City Chiefs.

This was probably Big Ben’s final game in the NFL. During the offseason, the Steelers have lots of work figuring out what to do at QB in 2022. Haskins is definitely the answer, and Pittsburgh is not known for going after free agent QBs. But Deshaun Watson, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, Derek Carr, Marcus Mariota, Mitch Trubisky, and Ryan Fitzpatrick might be looking for a new team.

BENGALS 26 — RAIDERS 16

Cincinnati is a legit contender this season. However, stopping Derrick Henry next week will be their ultimate test. Next up, Cincinnati visits a well-rested Tennessee team. Advantage, Tennessee Titans.

The Raiders overcame a lot this season. It was remarkable and impressive that they got this far. But, unfortunately, Mike Mayock was fired, and the future of Rich Bisaccia is up in the air. So, next season, Vegas needs to figure out if Derek Carr fits their plans and find a GM and head coach.

BUCCANEERS 31 — EAGLES 15

Tampa Bay was supposed to beat this overrated Philadelphia team, and they did just that. The Buccaneers without Antonio Brown are still in good shape to be a contender. Next up, Tampa Bay hosts the LA Rams. Advantage, LA Rams.

Philadelphia was not a good playoff team and benefited by winning games against Covid affected teams and lucked into the playoffs. Next season, Philly needs to build up around Jalen Hurts, who is clearly their future.

*AFC-NFC Championship Games (2020 Season)

Well, folks, Martin Mayhew is our new GM. It’s full circle for Mayhew; He was part of Washington’s 1991 Super Bowl Championship team as a player and got his start as an executive working as an intern in Washington’s personnel department.

Mayhew’s previous General Manager job was with the Detroit Lions. His track record as the GM in Detroit was mixed with some hits and misses here and there. Drafting Matthew Stafford was the highlight of his time with the Lions, but he was also part of Detroit’s 0-16 disaster season.

Marty Hurney also returns home to the DC area as the executive vice president of football for player personnel.

Hurney was for many years a sportswriter for that rag of a newspaper called the Washington Times. Hurney’s first NFL job was with Washington; he was hired in 1989 during the Gibbs-Cooke era as director of public relations. Eventually, he followed Bobby Beathard to San Diego, where he learned the ins and outs of salary caps and player contracts. Hurney’s time in Carolina as GM has been well-documented, and his most notable move there was drafting Cam Newton.

I’m excited about these two additions; They both have a strong connection to this team and its glory days. I am looking forward to their first draft class. 

I still think that getting Matthew Stafford or Deshaun Watson will be too expensive. 

There is no official word on Kyle Smith and his current status or what his role will be under this new front-office structure. I hope they figure out a way to keep him here; I like what he has done rebuilding our roster without Bruce Allen around. 

Washington’s historical promotion of Jennifer King as the first Black woman to be a full-time offensive assistant in the NFL is exceptional.

Our old buddy Dwayne Haskins joined the Steelers on a one-year deal — happy he landed somewhere pretty fast. 

Washington has just become the first NFL team to land a sports betting license through a partnership with FanDuel. Now all the degenerate gamblers in DC and VA can officially bet games online. 

And for the Conference Championship games…..

BUCCANEERS 31 — PACKERS 26:

Tom Brady is going to his 10th Super Bowl — a game that will be played in Tampa Bay’s home turf. The road to the Super Bowl wasn’t easy. Brady and the Bucs beat my Washington Football Team, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers, in their home Stadiums to get to the biggest game of the Football year… so, if Brady beats Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl, then the GOAT argument should be set in stone.

However, this next generation of Quarterbacks like Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Deshaun Watson, Justin Herbert, and newcomers like Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields might be in a good position to reach similar heights when it is all set and done for them.

I think there is a good chance Aaron Rodgers could leave Green Bay next season. San Francisco would be an ideal spot. I think the 49ers are one Quarterback away from getting back to the big game, and Jimmy G seems to be on his way out. Don’t rule out Denver also…. They have been looking for a Franchise Quarterback since Peyton Manning retired in 2015.

CHIEFS 38 — BILLS 24:

Buffalo got an early lead at 9-0, but it didn’t take long for Kansas City to start putting up points. The Bills did not establish any type of running game to slow down Kansas City. Patrick Mahomes looks like a sorcerer, sometimes making extraordinary things happen and putting his offense in scoring positions. 

The Chiefs are the reigning defending Super Bowl Champions and have an excellent chance to repeat as Champions again. This will be a blockbuster, cannot miss Super Bowl game between Tom Brady, who represents the recent past, and Patrick Mahomes, who is the present of the NFL and also represents the future. 

I’ll make my Super Bowl picks next week….

*NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS (2020 Season)

The Washington Football Team is currently conducting a GM search; they are interviewing a bunch of people from different teams — 49ers VP of player personnel Martin Mayhew looks to be a strong candidate. Also, former Panthers GM Marty Hurney is at play and has a previous working relationship with Ron Rivera.

It seems like Kyle Smith is not being considered for the job. Suppose Smith doesn’t get the GM job, in that case, he should stay in some senior executive capacity; he has overseen a few successful drafts and has the pedigree to be an effective executive for us.

After hiring a GM, finding a starting Quarterback should be the next priority. Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen should stay as backups; they are both serviceable backups. A Deshaun Watson trade would be too expensive for us to pursue in terms of putting together a package of trades and draft picks. Maybe we should stick with a healthy Alex Smith and our two backups. 

As I said in last week’s NFL blog post, Washington is an attractive team for free agents who want to be part of a championship-caliber roster. The foundation is in place for something special; we just need to add some key pieces here and there. The Draft should be useful for finding some vital defensive pieces and adding wide receiver, offensive line, and running back depth. We’re drafting at 19th overall. We have one pick in the second round and two in the third…. not bad, plenty of options.

Everyone should watch the 60 minutes piece on Alex Smith…. it was an excellent piece.

And for the Divisional round of the playoffs…..

BUFFALO 17 — RAVENS 3: 

Josh Allen struggled to score until the 4th Quarter when he finally connected with Stefon Diggs to take the lead. Buffalo played excellent defense neutralizing Lamar Jackson and returning an interception for 101 yards and the game-ending touchdown. The Bills will take on the defending Super Bowl Champs in the AFC title game in a rematch from a 26-17 loss on week 6. Advantage, Kansas City Chiefs.

Lamar Jackson was having a terrible game when he had to leave the game under concussion protocol. Baltimore relies way too much on Lamar’s legs and will continue to struggle against teams that can force him to beat them by throwing. The Ravens have to build a more balanced offense to become more successful in the post-season.  

PACKERS 32 — RAMS 18:     

Aaron Rodgers has been playing at a high level for most of this season, and Green Bay looked fantastic in this game, scoring on every single Quarter against one of the best defenses in the NFL. The NFC Championship game will be held in Green Bay against Tom Brady. The Bucs destroyed Green Bay 38-10 on week 6, but this rematch will be much different. Advantage, Green Bay Packers

Jared Goff was ineffective as usual, throwing for a mere 174 yards with 1 touchdown. The Rams have to figure out how to move away from Goff next season and find a Quarterback that better fits Sean McVay’s dynamic offense. The combination of Cam Akers, Robert Woods, Van Jefferson, and Cooper Kupp with a more capable Quarterback should make for a dangerous offense in 2021.

BUCCANEERS 30 — SAINTS 20:

At age 43, Tom Brady is playing like he is 10 years younger and making Belicheater look like a hack. The Bucs have a good chance to win in Green Bay, but they have to get all their offensive weapons involved often and early. Leonard Fournette, Mike Evans, Antonio Brown, and Gronk need to get going early to have a chance. The Bucs defense has to pressure Rodgers early and remain consistent. This is not the same team that Tampa Bay embarrassed earlier in the season. If Tampa Bay gets behind in the score, Aaron Rodgers will crucify them. Advantage, Green Bay Packers.

I don’t think New Orleans took Tampa Bay too seriously for this playoff game, having swept them during the regular season. The Saints were careless with the ball, and Jared Cook made things worst. I hope this was not the final game for Drew Brees in the NFL. It wasn’t the prettiest game to end a hall of fame career — pretty sure Drew can still play for a contender next season if New Orleans decides to go with James Winston and Taysom Hill. 

CHIEFS 22 — BROWNS 17:

Kansas City was looking pretty good until Patrick Mahomes had to come out of the game with a concussion in the 3rd Quarter. It was a scary look for Mahomes when he couldn’t stand up on his own. Chad Henne, who has been around for 13 years in the NFL, came in for the last 20 minutes or so to effectively finish the game. The Chiefs will host Buffalo for the AFC Championship game and a ticket to the Super Bowl. Advantage, Kansas City Chiefs.

Cleveland got away from their two-punch running back combination early in the game. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt combined for only 19 carries — way below average to control the game and keep Mahomes on the sideline. The Browns are still loaded in offense and defense, and they should still be contenders with a healthy Odell Beckham next season.

*NFL WILDCARD PLAYOFF WEEKEND (2020 Season)

This game was a lot closer than all the talking heads predicted. Washington played a solid game, taking Tampa Bay to the limit. This was a successful season for a Washington team that according to most analysts was supposed to be at the bottom of the Division. 

In his first game as a starter for Washington, Taylor Heinicke was incredible — throwing for over 300 yards with 46 yards on the ground and a gutsy rushing touchdown. He cemented himself as a legit threat for a starting spot in Washington next season. At the very least, he is a reliable number 2 QB next season.

Establishing a starting Quarterback should be priority numero uno for Washington in the offseason. A healthy Alex Smith would be ideal; however, we know that is highly unlikely. Smith has been struggling to remain healthy for most of the season. Even his mobility has been compromised due to his injury. If he is completely healthy, he should stay on the roster; if not, then it is time for Alex to retire and maybe join the front-office.

Antonio Gibson was still hurt and limped throughout most of this playoff game. A late season injury diminished his effectiveness to be the dynamic back he has proven to be. Next season, urgency should be placed on providing a complementary running back to Gibson. J.D. McKissic is a good option to keep around, but we need a more explosive option in this position. Bryce Love was supposed to be the answer but has not remained healthy for multiple seasons now. 

This was possibly Ryan Kerrigan’s last game in Washington. I would love for him to stay, and hopefully, they can figure out a contract that doesn’t jeopardize signing other younger free agents and extending some key defensive weapons. 

We should be testing the free agent Quarterback market, but we should be careful not to overspend on aging players, like in years past. This Washington team is attractive for free agents who want to be part of something special. Matthew Stafford is a great option if we intend to win now, but Detroit will probably ask for way too much. Deshaun Watson will be very expensive; mortgaging our future Draft picks to get Watson will be too costly. Cam Newton seems just about done unless he finds ways to return to form in the offseason, but I doubt it. 

Mitchell Trubisky and Dak Prescott might both be available, but I don’t want them here. Hard pass on Carson Wentz, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Nick Foles, and Jimmy G. 

I’m curious to see what we could do with Sam Darnold, Gardner Minshew, Rod Taylor, or Jacoby Brissett. 

I believe that this team will be extremely competitive next season and for many seasons to come. We are now a legit playoff team and we have the makings of a Super Bowl team. We should all expect more wins and many memorable moments for years to come. 

WFT 23 — BUCCANEERS 31:

And for the rest of the league…..

BUFFALO 27 — COLTS 24: 

The Bills are a dangerous and dynamic team, but Indianapolis kept things close. Josh Allen lived up to the hype and delivered an excellent game. Next round of the playoffs, Buffalo takes on Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. Advantage, Buffalo Bills.

The Colts seem to have found a short-term replacement for Andrew Luck in Philip Rivers. Indianapolis is only a few pieces away from making another deep playoff run like they did a few years ago under Chuck Pagano.

RAMS 30 — SEAHAWKS 20:

The LA Rams Came to this game with some questions on offense, mostly regarding the Quarterback position. John Wolford got the start for this game but was injured in the 1st quarter, prompting Jared Goff back into the lineup. Goff had been shaky and unreliable all season long, and he wasn’t very impressive here also. The Rams have many offensive weapons, but Goff is the weakest link here. LA visits Green bay for a challenging Divisional playoff game. Advantage, Green Bay Packers.     

Seattle needs to make some upgrades on offense and defense. Russell Wilson does way too much for this offense. The Seahawks need to find more options at running back and another receiving threat to complement DK Metcalf. They will be back in the playoffs next season.

SAINTS 21 — BEARS 9:

The Saints were supposed to blow out Chicago but struggled to put them away until the 4th quarter. Next for New Orleans is Tampa Bay and Tom Brady for the 3rd time this season. They swept the series and should be favorites to win again. Advantage, New Orleans Saints.

The Bears limped to the post-season and were the most unimpressive team in the playoffs. Next season, Chicago needs to move on from Trubisky and find a Quarterback to build this team around. 

BROWNS 48 — STEELERS 37:

The Browns rocked Pittsburgh from the first play of the game and never looked back. Baker Mayfield played a great game, throwing for over 300 yards and 3 TDs. Kareem Hum and Nick Chubb are the best two-punch running back combo in the NFL, and Pittsburgh could not slow them down. Cleveland goes to Arrowhead and takes on Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs for what should be an excellent game. Advantage, Kansas City Chiefs. 

After Pittsburgh got exposed on a Monday Night game loss to Washington, they went on a losing streak and struggled to finish up the season strong. There are lots of holes in Pittsburgh, and those need to be addressed urgently. Cleveland, Baltimore, and even Cincinnati should be divisional contenders next season. The Steelers have to figure out a way to keep up with the rest of the Division. Big Ben might be close to calling it a career, and the need to find his replacement should be a top priority in 2021. 

RAVENS 20 — TITANS 13:

The Ravens found a way to neutralize Derrick Henry, making the most significant difference in the outcome. Next week, Baltimore takes on the red hot Bills and Josh Allen. Advantage, Buffalo Bills.

Tennessee is very close to becoming a legit contender; they need to make some slight upgrades on both sides of the ball, and they’ll be right back in the playoffs.

*NFL Playoffs: Wildcard Round and Redskins Shaking Things Up.

The Redskins are in the process of cleaning house; we have already hired a new Head Athletic trainer in Ryan Vermillion, who worked for Ron Rivera in Carolina for many years. We also hired LB coach Steve Russ, reuniting him with coach Rivera from their time with the Panthers. It was announced that Scott Turner (Norv Turner’s son), is moving back to DC as the new offensive coordinator for the Redskins. Scott Turner worked under Rivera in Carolina as a Quarterbacks coach and is still unclear what is going to happen with Kevin O’Connell, his name is being thrown around for potential offensive coordinator jobs in multiple places. Will they keep O’Connell as Quarterbacks coach and Scott Turner as the Offensive Coordinator? I really hope they don’t mess this up. Haskins’s development under O’Connell was remarkable, so bringing Turner to the Redskins means a new system for Haskins to learn. I did like what they did in Carolina with Christian McCaffrey, so maybe there is a bigger picture here with Turner running the offense, and perhaps that is why they are allowing Kevin O’Connell to walk away. Figuring out the Trent Williams situation should be our top priority. Things are moving pretty fast around Redskins park.

And now for some Wildcard Playoff action:

Titans 20- Patriots 13: The Belicheaters got exposed yet again. Brady looked done, and it might be the end of the Brady-Belichick era. I think one or the other will be out of New England next season. Derrick Henry is probably the best running back in the playoffs. Next, Tennessee plays Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens.

Texans 22-Bills 19: Buffalo made some insane decisions in this game, which cost them the game. The Bills seem to be very close to getting this team over the hump. Next, Houston takes on Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs. Deshaun Watson vs. Pat Mahomes equals must-watch TV.

Vikings 26-Saints 20: It took overtime play for Kirk Cousins to finally win his first playoff game. Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen, and Kyle Rudolph showed up big time for this game. Drew Brees was under fire for most of the game, and his mobility was limited. It was a solid game. Next, Minnesota takes on the 49ers; this will be the most exciting game of the divisional round. Kyle Shanahan knows Kirk Cousins very well from their time with the Redskins. I am looking forward to this game.

Seahawks 17-Eagles 9: Carson Wentz got concussed and replaced by 40-year-old Josh McCown, who played pretty well, keeping the “Beagles” within range of catching up to Seattle. There must be a curse on Carson Wentz because he cannot stay healthy, and something always seems to happen. DK Metcalf looked unstoppable, Marshawn Lynch scored two TDs and looked great. Next, Seattle takes on the Packers, which has the making of an excellent game.

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