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NFL News and Notes: January 4, 2019

Playoffs Are Set

With a wild week 17 in the books, one that saw teams like the Indianapolis Colts get in on the last game of the season and the Tennessee Titans miss out on the postseason, the playoff teams are set, and the wildcard round is set to get underway on Saturday. The schedule for the wildcard is as follows:

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans (Saturday, 4:35 pm ET)
Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys (Saturday, 8:15 pm ET)
Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore Ravens (Sunday, 1:05 pm ET)
Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears (Sunday, 4:40 pm ET)

The divisional round will take place next weekend (January 12-13). Matchups, as reflected below, could definitely change depending on the outcomes of the wildcard weekend. The schedule looks as follows:

Baltimore/LA Chargers/Indianapolis at Kansas City Chiefs (January 12, 4:35 pm ET)
Chicago/Dallas/Seattle at Los Angeles Rams (January 12, 8:15 pm ET)
Houston/Baltimore/LA Chargers at New England Patriots (January 13, 1:05 pm ET)
Dallas/Seattle/Philadelphia at New Orleans Saints (January 13, 4:40 pm ET)

The following Sunday (January 20) will hold the championship games:

NFC Championship (3:05 pm ET)
AFC Championship (6:40 pm ET)

Sunday, February 3 will be the Super Bowl with a 6:30 pm ET start.

Black Monday Takes On Many Victims

The Monday after last week of the regular season is often referred to as “Black Monday.” This is the day that many coaches from struggling teams are fired as those teams look to go in new directions. This particular Monday wasn’t very kind to coaches. In addition to the Packers firing Mike McCarthy and the Browns firing Hue Jackson during the season, the Broncos, Dolphins, Jets, Cardinals, Bengals, and Buccaneers all will be looking for new coaches. Sadly, that is ¼ of the entire league looking for new coaches. Many of these moves were expected (Packers, Browns, Broncos, Jets), some were a surprise (Dolphins) and some were downright unfair (Cardinals). Still, the NFL is a “what have you done for me lately” type of league, and losing seasons led to these dismissals.

Even though Monday brought firings, the rumor mills are already fired up in terms of who will land in some of these jobs, and for many, it may be the same faces in new places. For instance, Adam Gase (Dolphins), Hue Jackson (Browns), Vance Joseph (Broncos) and Mike McCarthy (Packers) have all either had interviews or have scheduled interviews for head coaching positions. Others to be considered have included Vic Fangio, Rex Ryan, Dan Campbell, Mike Munchak, Zac Taylor, Josh McDaniels, Matt LaFleur, Jim Caldwell, Chuck Pagano, George Edwards, Eric Bieniemy, Kevin Stefanski, Brian Flores, Kliff Kingsbury, and several others.

Could John Harbaugh Be Traded?

The Baltimore Ravens and John Harbaugh are focusing right now on their game Sunday versus the Los Angeles Chargers, but that doesn’t mean that other teams aren’t focusing on next season. According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, there are whispers that the Dolphins, and possibly even the Broncos, could have interest in bringing in the 56-year old coach. With Harbaugh under contract, this would have to be done via trade as opposed to just simply signing him. While this may sound odd, it is not the first time something like this has happened, and for the Ravens, who could net some high draft picks in return, it might just be lucrative enough to consider.

Antonio Brown And Steelers At Impasse?

It seems like there must be something in the water in Pittsburgh when it comes to their superstars and getting along with the team. It started with the holdout of Le’Veon Bell that never ended, and now there is even more drama with star wide receiver Antonio Brown. After it was reported that he had suffered an injury which prevented him from playing in last Sunday’s must-win game, there is now skepticism as to whether that was true or not. Instead, there are reports indicating that Brown and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger got into an altercation and Brown simply did not show up to practices leading up to their game. In fact, while Brown was ordered an MRI due to knee pain, it turns out that Brown did not even show up to the exam. With the Steelers’ season over, focus is now shifting to whether Brown will be on the team next season or if he could be donning different colors than the yellow and black that he has been accustomed to.

Reuben Foster Has Charges Dropped, Still On Exempt List

After being arrested in November for domestic abuse against his ex-girlfriend, Reuben Foster’s domestic battery charges have been dropped against him. When news broke of his arrest, his team at the time, the San Francisco 49ers, immediately released him. While on waivers, though, the Washington Redskins claimed the linebacker. While they said they would not keep him on the team if the charges turned out to be true, the Redskins were heavily criticized. At this time, it appears as if their gamble might be less of a public relations nightmare. Still, while the charges have been dropped, the league isn’t necessarily satisfied as he remains on the NFL’s exempt list. If he does return, it will be interesting to see if the Redskins cash in on their gamble and keep him or ultimately let him go.

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