My first few Thoughts this week will be my predictions for Wildcard Weekend, be sure to give your predictions in the comment section.
1) Saturday 4:35 pm ET (ESPN/ABC) Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans - Even though the Texans have the benefit of playing at home, the Chiefs are just too hot right now with 10 straight wins. Houston losing left tackle Duane Brown will have big implications on Saturday. Chiefs 24 - Texans 13
2) Saturday 8:15 pm ET (CBS) Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals - These two teams are evenly matched, and when two teams are close I usually go with the better QB. This moment may not be too big for Cincy QB AJ McCarron, but I don't just don't see them knocking off Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers. Steelers 27 - Bengals 24
3) Sunday 1:05 pm ET (CBS) Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings - Congrats on the NFC North Crown Minnesota, here's your reward, hosting the physical and red hot Seahawks! After starting the season 2-4, Seattle went 8-2 down the stretch. Seahawk QB Russell Wilson put together his best season yet and their D is still the best in the NFL. Viking QB Teddy Bridgewater will probably spend the day running for his life. Seahawks 35 - Vikings 13
4) Sunday 4:40 pm ET (FOX) Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins - The Packers are limping into the playoffs, but the Redskins may lack the overall experience to thrive on the big stage. If Washington had a better defense, I'd be inclined to take the home team, but I see Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers finding a way to score enough points to make it a sweep for all 4 road teams. Packers 23 - Redskins 17
5) With so many teams getting a head start on Black Monday, maybe it's time give Sunday an ominous nickname. Perhaps Black Sunday since there's already an NFL connection with the 1977 film.
I've seen a lot of discussion with people wondering why Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase, who has interviewed for head coach jobs the last two years, is suddenly a "hotter" candidate this year.
It's simple really, experience for one. He was an up and coming coordinator before, but now he's had success post-Peyton Manning, so his star has never been brighter. Plus, the last few years there were a number of young coordinators and college coaches ready to make the leap to the NFL head coaching ranks, whereas this year, Gase is clearly the hot and ready up and comer.
Bears' fans, if you think Gase will turn down what could be multiple offers to become an NFL head coach, then you need to step back into reality.
5a) Here's another reality check some Bears' fans need. Von Miller isn't leaving the Denver Broncos to reunite with his former coach John Fox.
6) The San Francisco 49ers fired head coach Jim Tomsula after just one season, so you knew former coach Jim Harbaugh would have something to say.
Do not be deceived. You will reap what you sow.— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) January 4, 2016
Both Mike Shanahan and Chip Kelly have expressed a desire to be the next 49ers head coach.
6a) Wherever Kelly ends up, and he has expressed a desire to stay in the NFL, I think he's learned some hard lessons after his almost 3 years in Philadelphia. He went 10-6 in each of his first two seasons, but only 6-9 once he was given player personnel control. Kelly only wants to coach at his next stop, so I think he finds success at his next stop if he's paired with a solid GM.
7) Some NFL fans will always be in favor of tanking to ensure higher draft picks, but there are no guarantees that drafting near the top of the draft will get you success. Winning is the only thing that breeds more winning and changing the culture of a franchise is the only way to do that.
Crappy teams, with crappy ownership/leadership will remain crappy no matter how many top 10 draft picks they get. Take the Cleveland Browns for example.
You might notice an interesting trend here... pic.twitter.com/knutITvItk— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) January 4, 2016
The Browns are the worst run organization in all of sports and it's not even close. Besides the clown-show they've been under owner Jimmy Haslam, the Browns haven't had a winning record in 9 years, they haven't been in the postseason since 2002 and they haven't won a division title in 24 years.
8) If the Chiefs' Eric Berry doesn't win NFL Comeback Player of the Year for kicking cancer's ass and returning to Pro Bowl form, then there's a serious problem with the voting process.
9) Who's the best wide receiver in the NFL?
Atlanta's Julio Jones, who at 26 years old just put up 136 receptions, 1,871 yards and 8 receiving TDs?
Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown, who just went for 136 receptions, 1,834 yards, 10 receiving TDs, 2,074 all purpose yards and a punt return TD?
Or someone else?
10) Former Bears corner Charles Tillman may have played the last game in his spectacular 13 year career. After moving on from the Bears last offseason, Tillman signed a 1 year deal with the Carolina Panthers and he helped them to a 15-1 record and the top seed in the NFC.
Peanut started the 12 games he appeared in this season, picking up 55 tackles, 2 interceptions, 7 passes defended and 2 forced fumbles, but in the season finale he suffered a tear to his ACL.
I can't imagine a team inking a soon to be 35 year old to another deal, so I'm hoping for a ceremonial 1 day contract with the Bears so he can retire as a member of the Navy and Orange.