The AFC Championship Game: Not a surprise, yet surprising

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8

With the conclusion of the AFC Championship Game, we now know who will play in Super Bowl LV: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFC) and the Kansas City Chiefs (AFC).

As the defending champion, it shouldn’t have surprised me that the Chiefs moved on again, and yet, it very much did. The Buffalo Bills are a young, up-and-coming team that, frankly, may have been the biggest winner in the “Tom Brady leaves the AFC East” game.

Let’s take a look back at how the Chiefs defeated the Bills to punch their ticket to the Big Game and a chance for a repeat championship…

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Chiefs squeeze past Browns to continue on their “Repeat” Journey

Kate Arhar NFL Reporter

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8

Last weekend brought a little heartbreak to Cleveland and a huge sigh of relief to Kansas City!

The Chiefs were able to hold off the up-and-coming Browns to win their AFC Divisional Round match-up. Next up, the AFC Championship game, hosting the Buffalo Bills this Sunday at 6:40pm EST.

If the Chiefs can win this weekend then they’ll head back to the Super Bowl and a chance to repeat their success from last year. But the victory over the Browns came at a cost. Will quarterback Patrick Mahomes be healthy and ready to play this week?

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Super Wild Card Sunday – The AFC

Kate Arhar Reporter AFC North and NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

 

The NFL playoffs are underway and what a wild weekend it was! With the expanded playoff field, there were two full days of football, with three games on both Saturday and Sunday. Sunday featured two games for the AFC, bringing together two teams that are becoming rivals and a quarterback who may be playing his last season in the league.

Sunday started with the Baltimore Ravens visiting the Tennessee Titans in a game that came right down to the end. And the day ended with the third meeting this season between the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was great to see the AFC North highlighted in these two games as the only division that sent three teams to the playoffs!  Let’s take a look at what went down.

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Down to the playoff wire for the AFC North

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North / NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8

While some divisions in the NFL are already settled and playoff spots clinched, the AFC North is going to go down to the wire to determine which teams are in and which ones will be crying in their after-game water bottles.

My friend Dayna likes to talk about the NFC West being the best division in football. I disagree! The AFC North is – finally – looking like a real powerhouse of competition and could very easily produce this year’s Super Bowl champion!

With their win over the Indianapolis Colts last week, the Pittsburgh Steelers have locked on to the division title and a playoff berth. And at a depressing 4-10, the Cincinnati Bengals are out of the running.

However, the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens promise to make things interesting as they both fight for a wild card spot.

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The Twelve Days of Christmas – NFC South Style (Part 2)

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North / NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8

Just so you know, I am NOT a fan of two-part episodes of tv shows. Or movies with a huge cliff-hanger that you have to wait years to see. (Thanks “Empire Strikes Back” for traumatizing my teen years!)

At the same time, who really likes the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas?” It’s soooooo long…. and repetative… and boring…

So this one time, I made an exception and broke my article into two parts.

Welcome to Part Two!

On the 6th Day of Christmas the NFC South gave to me…  Six Mike Evans Receptions

Have we seen this story before? The Atlanta Falcons get off to a 17-0 lead at halftime only to let a Tom Brady team (this time the Buccaneers) back into the game to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory…. That was the story this week. And frankly, I blame the lack of targets to wide receiver Mike Evans. With only seven targets and six receptions, quarterback Matt Ryan just couldn’t get the ball to Evans enough in the home stretch to get the win.

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The Twelve Days of Christmas – NFC South Style!

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North / NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

It’s that time of year… the NFL season is winding down and we writers are trying to find new and interesting ways to recap the past week and look forward to the week ahead. Plus, the holidays are right around the corner.

And so, I present to you: The 12 Days of Christmas – NFC South Style!

On the 12th Day of Christmas, the NFC South gave to me…  TOM BRADY winning 8 games

Who else would we start with but “TB12” himself! There are more wins on the horizon for the Buccaneers but last’s weeks beat-down of the Minnesota Viking was just classic Brady. 15/23 for nearly 200 yards and two touchdowns. They are sitting at 8-5 with the Detroit Lions and two chances to beat the Atlanta Falcons. Should finish the season 10-6!

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The Battle for the AFC North is Heating Up!

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North / NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

While it’s snowing in the midwest, the battle for the AFC North is heating up!

The Week 12 Sunday Night Football Game turned into the Tuesday Night game which then became the Wednesday Late Afternoon game for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens. Thanks, Covid…

The Steelers top the division standings at 11-0, followed by the Cleveland Browns (yes, the Browns!) at 8-3. The Ravens, 6-5, may be the biggest disappointment so far this year while the Cincinnati Bengals at 2-8-1 still aren’t as far away as their record indicates.

Let’s take a look at what happened this week and who they have coming up on the schedule.

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NFC South: Week 7 Preview

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North / NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

The NFC South saw some teams struggling to get going this season but one of them has started to stand out and separate itself from the pack: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

While the New Orleans Saints (after a bye week) and the Carolina Panthers are hot on their heels, the Buccaneers just LOOK better than everyone else at this point.

And don’t even get me started on the Atlanta Falcons. Firing head coach Dan Quinn and promoting defensive coordinator Raheem Morris from to the interim head coach position may have been a no-brainer after an 0-5 start, but PLEASE don’t let their victory over the Vikings this past weekend make you think much has changed.

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ProFootball Hall of Fame Class of 2020: Duke Slater

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North / NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

Frederick Wayman “Duke” Slater (December 9, 1898 – August 14, 1966) was an American football player who will be enshrined posthumously as part of the 2020 Centennial Class in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

In high school in the early 1900’s, he had to choose between buying shoes or a helmet in order to play football. He chose shoes so he played every game of his career at Clinton High School without a helmet. He played the tackle and fullback positions.

In 1918, at the age of 20, he was allowed to enter the University of Iowa and play for four years despite his age due to rules being relaxed during World War I. He earned four letters along with All Big Ten and All-American honors.

He made history when he joined the NFL’s Rock Island Independents in 1922, becoming the first black lineman in NFL history. And that’s just the beginning of this story.

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NFC South Week 3 Preview

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North / NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

The Atlanta Falcons blew a 19 point lead in their loss to the Dallas Cowboys. The New Orleans Saints blew a 17 point lead in their loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. And the Carolina Panthers getting blown out by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rounds out a pretty weak Week 2 as the NFC South goes 1-3.

The Panthers and Falcons head into Week 3 at 0-2. The Saints and Buccaneers are both 1-1. I know it’s early in the season, but hopefully, this week will mark some improvement for all of these teams.

Let’s take a look at their match-ups!

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