1) What a horrible couple of breaks (no pun intended) for the Oakland Raiders and the Tennessee Titans. Both teams lost their staring quarterbacks on Saturday to season ending injuries, but while the Raiders have already punched their playoff ticket, the Titans have started to look towards next season.
Oakland obviously hopes Derek Carr could return for Super Bowl LI, but his broken fibula makes it unlikely. The Titans are already saying Marcus Mariota will be out 4 to 5 months with his broken fibula.
The Raiders will start Matt McGloin at quarterback this week, his first start since 2013, and the Titans will go with well traveled veteran Matt Cassell.
If the Raiders win in Denver, they’ll lock up the AFC West and clinch a 1st round bye.
2) First time head coach Adam Gase has his Miami Dolphins in the playoffs and Miami’s run can be directly traced back to a couple lineup changes he made.
Back in mid October he decided to make Jay Ajayi their primary ball carrier and Ajayi has become only the 4th running back in the Super Bowl era to have three 200 yard rushing games in the same season. Earl Campbell (1980), OJ Simpson (1973) and Tiki Barber (2006) were the others.
Gase also decided to turn to a 34 year old defensive end coming off an Achilles tendon tear.
Since DE Cameron Wake became a starter in Week 6, he leads the NFL with 10.5 sacks and the Dolphins have gone 9-1.— Brett Brecheisen (@bbrech) December 26, 2016
Gase may be the front runner for coach of the year after leading the ‘Fins to their first winning record since the 2008 season, this after a 1-4 start.
3) Some Denver fans are salty that the Kansas City Chiefs did this on Sunday Night.
Me personally, I thought it was great.
What better way to ensure you eliminate your rival from postseason contention than with a Big Man TD pass?
Dontari Poe now holds the record for the heaviest man to ever throw a TD pass in the NFL.
4) The AFC should concern themselves with K.C. tight end Travis Kelce, who may be the best player at the position in the NFL right now. Not only is he athletic enough to line up split out wide and take a quick pass 80 yards.
But he’s nasty enough to block like this.
The Chiefs have clinched a playoff spot, but they could move up the seeding with a win on Sunday coupled with a loss by Oakland.
5) That big block by Kelce wasn’t the best hit from Sunday Night, check out the tackle by this security guard on some idiot Denver fan.
I’ll never understand why fans feel the need to run on the field at sporting events. There’s usually alcohol involved, but also a group of almost as idiotic friends urging on the stupid behavior.
6) Depending on what part of the story you believe, the Minnesota Vikings’ corner backs either ignored their head coach’s game plan of having top CB Xavier Rhodes shadow Green Bay Packers’ wideout Jordy Nelson, or Minny head coach Mike Zimmer wasn’t specific enough in his request.
I’m going with Rhodes and Terence Newman going into business for themselves and then Zimmer trying to cover for his players.
7) Speaking of the Vikes, they are one of 5 teams that had undefeated starts to their 2016 seasons, only to be eliminated form the playoffs.
8) Oh my...
Punters are football players too.
Detroit punt returner Andre Roberts, who has a had a solid 7 year NFL career, will now be known as the guy that was obliterated by the Dallas Cowboys’ Chris Jones.
8) The Lions did lose, but but they still have a shot at at a playoff spot. They’ll host the Packers on Sunday Night Football in what could be a win or go home “playoff” game for them.
If the Washington Redskins can beat the New York Giants next week, then the loser of the SNF game will be out of the playoffs, with the winner taking the NFC North crown.
9) There will be a mini football league this spring for NFL free agents, but despite early reports that claimed it would be affiliated with the NFL, the NFL made sure to deny that they would have anything to do with it.
The new 6 game Spring League could provide veteran players fighting for a chance to get back to the NFL an opportunity to be seen, but we’ll have to wait and see if NFL teams deem it worthy enough to send scouts to the games.
10) In case you missed it, with the Bears loss and the Jacksonville Jaguars win, Chicago has moved into the #3 slot of the 2017 NFL Draft. That places them with a legit chance at Jonathan Allen the 6’3”, 292 pound Alabama defensive end.
I know that d-line isn’t the top need for the Bears, but Allen has racked up 19 sacks in his last 26 games and he is very good against the run. He may not have prototypical length to play 5-technique DE in Chicago's 3-4 defense, but he has the talent to make it in any scheme.