On Sunday, the 6th seed Tennessee Titans will head to Kansas City to take on the 2nd seed Chiefs for the AFC Championship Game, with a trip to the Super Bowl at stake.
During the season, there were many who imagined the high powered Chiefs making it to this stage, but I don’t remember anyone mentioning the Titans taking a trip to Miami in February.
I’m going to be honest. I think most people outside of the two teams’ fandoms will be thrilled to see either team win. Not just because it will be two young, fun teams playing, but also because it is the first time in a LONG time that the words New England Patriots haven’t been mentioned in an AFC Championship preview.
It was a rocky first quarter for the Kansas City Chiefs. Down 21-0, it looked like the underdog Houston Texans were going to destroy the home team. That wasn’t to be the case as the Chiefs took the game over, beating the Texans 51-31. This loss brings up a lot of questions for the Texans coaching staff’s future.
Not many people gave the Texans a chance to win in Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs and their superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes were slated to march right through anything the Texans defense could give them. But in that first quarter, the Chiefs looked lost, confused, and like they had completely underestimated their opponents. Kansas City receivers couldn’t hold on to the ball. Their special teams were a disaster, giving up 2 touchdowns. It was ugly.
The Houston Texans will travel to Kansas City to face the Chiefs in what could be a fantastic divisional round match up. Or it could be a total blow out…by either team. What we learned from the Wild Card round is to never be comfortable, as something completely unexpected will happen.
I still can’t get over last weekend. Underdog road teams winning over teams that were almost shoe-ins for the AFC and NFC Championships. It taught us all that, at least in football, to always expect the unexpected. This weekend could easily follow suit.
Before Saturday, this was the game most people had a hard time picking a winner for. The Houston Texans and the Buffalo Bills are similar, well-matched teams. In what turned out to be another heart breaker for the Bills fans, the Texans held on to win 22-19, advancing to the divisional round of the playoffs.
This game wasn’t close, to begin with. The Bills had a 16 point lead in the middle of the 3rd quarter. But then Houston flipped the switch and turned this game on its head. In what felt to be frantic fashion, Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson showed everyone why Texans fans love him so, tying the game up and taking it to overtime, and winning the game.
But that simple recap doesn’t begin to tell the story of this wild Wildcard game. This game was crazy, in the most fun way possible.
As we head into January 2020, teams that didn’t make the playoffs need to look inward to see what went wrong. Every season there are changes that have to be made, changes that probably should be made then aren’t, and changes that feel like they change a franchise. Often those changes start with the head coaches.
Being a head coach in the NFL is a very hard job. Something only a large handful has been able to execute well. Teams are constantly on the lookout for “the guy”. The one that will be there for years, bringing success to the franchise. This year, we have 4 teams, possibly 5, that are once again on the hunt for a new head coach. Let’s take a look at who they may hiring.
The Los Angeles Chargers have had the same leader for 16 years. No, I’m not talking about the head coach, because we all know that there have been many changes in that area. I’m talking about quarterback Philip Rivers. With Rivers, 38, having an inconsistent and rough season, and the Chargers starting a new era in a new stadium in 2020, is it time for the team to see what they have in back up QB Tyrod Taylor?
There have been a bunch of articles this week regarding Rivers. Is week 17 his last game in a Chargers uniform? Will he continue to play? Rivers is a probable future Hall of Fame QB, and while no one should downplay that, we are coming up on a changing of the guard in the NFL. The star QBs of old, Rivers, Brees, Brady, Roethlisberger, etc, are aging, and with that, we are seeing a surge of new, young QBs taking their place.
Marshawn Lynch has returned to Seattle. I’m not going to pretend that I can be an unbiased journalist right now. When you burst into tears when reading the announcement…yeah, that’s not unbiased.
This isn’t about what he can bring to the offense, although I’m sure there is still something left in the tank. This isn’t about another Beastquake or touchdowns, although there is a good chance those will both happen.
Back at the beginning of the season, I wrote an article about the Oakland Raiders and whether or not head coach Jon Gruden could handle all the big personalities he had put on the team.
Fast forward to week 15, the drama that surrounded the Raiders wasn’t just about the players they have, the players they’ve lost, and the coach, but now we get to add the fans to the mix. 2019 has been a rollercoaster for Oakland and their fans, and the tension boiled over on Sunday.
This was not what the Raiders had in mind for their final season in Oakland. In the offseason, they amassed talent and depth in order to give the fans and franchise a top-notch, competitive season. As we all know too well, those plans started to crumble before the season even got started, but even until a few weeks ago there was still a chance to make the best of it.
Lets just put this out there before we even begin. The NFC West is one of, if not THE best division in football. In fact, I can’t think of a single division that is as competitive top to bottom as the NFCW.
Yes, I realize that that the Arizona Cardinals have had a bit of a slump as of late, but if we try to peer into the future just a bit, the West could steal the name “Black and Blue Division” from the NFC North. A lot of this success, past, present and probable future, is due to the quarterbacks. Let’s take a look at the four signal-callers, and why they will be leading their teams for years to come.