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NFL News and Notes: January 8, 2019

Divisional Round Is Set

After a wild weekend of wildcard games, this weekend’s divisional round should be awfully entertaining. First, let’s recap the weekend of games:

Indianapolis Colts (21) – Houston Texans (7)

The Indianapolis Colts got off to a fast start, scoring 14 points in the first quarter, and they never looked back. They added another touchdown in the second quarter and only allowed a single score to the Texans in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Andrew Luck went 19 for 32 with 222 yards and 2 touchdowns while Colts’ running back Marlon Mack had 24 rushes for 148 yards and a touchdown. For the Texans, quarterback Deshaun Watson threw for 235 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception, while also rushing 8 times for 76 yards.

Seattle Seahawks (22) – Dallas Cowboys (24)

The Cowboys were able to retake the lead late as they scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to ultimately secure the win. Dak Prescott threw for 226 yards, 1 touchdown, and one interception while also rushing for 29 yards and another touchdown. Cowboys’ running back Ezekiel Elliott ran for 137 yards and a touchdown. For the Seahawks, their running game was held largely in check, with Rashaad Penny leading the way with just 29 yards. Russell Wilson threw for 233 yards and a touchdown. While we never know what the outcome would have been, one of the biggest blows for the Seahawks was the loss of Sebastian Janikowski to an injured hamstring, a loss that would seemingly handcuff the Seahawks the rest of the game.

Los Angeles Charger (23) – Baltimore Ravens (17)

While Philip Rivers (just 160 yards passing with no touchdowns) and Melvin Gordon (40 yards rushing with one touchdown) were held mostly in check throughout the game, the offense did enough to secure the victory. They got 5 field goals out of kicker Michael Badgley en route to their victory. For the Ravens, Lamar Jackson threw for 194 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception while also leading the team in rushing with 54 yards.

Philadelphia Eagles (16) – Chicago Bears (15)

The Chicago Bears lost a heartbreaker in this one as they watched a Cody Parkey field goal hit both the left upright and the crossbar, only to deflect back into the end zone with just seconds remaining on the clock. Replays have since shown that Eagles’ Treyvon Hester actually tipped the field goal attempt. Had it been good, the Bears would have won, but instead, the Eagles will be moving on to face New Orleans. In the victory, Nick Foles threw for 266 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. For the Bears, Mitchell Trubisky threw for 303 yards and a touchdown.

With these games over, that sets up what should be an entertaining divisional round this coming weekend. The schedule is as follows:

Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs (Saturday, 4:35 pm ET)
Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams (Saturday, 8:15 pm ET)
Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots (Sunday, 1:05 pm ET)
Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints (Sunday, 4:40 pm ET)

Coaching Moves

With the playoffs in full swing, many teams who did not make the postseason are figuring out their coaching situations. For some, those decisions are starting to have some clarity. First, it appears that the Green Bay Packers are offering their head coaching position to Titans’ offensive coordinator, Matt LaFleur. Additionally, despite rumblings that they may look to trade him, it now appears that the Baltimore Ravens and John Harbaugh may be working towards an extension to keep him as head coach in Baltimore. Furthermore, the Buccaneers have interviewed Bruce Arians, and rumors suggest that he may be slated to be their next head coach. In coordinator news, it appears that the Falcons have offered Dirk Koetter their offensive coordinator position.

Lastly on the coaching front, it appears that new Raiders’ GM Mike Mayock may be nothing more than a title as he admitted that coach Jon Gruden has the final say in all personnel decisions. This was largely assumed after the firing of the previous general manager, but it still steals some of the thunder out of Mayock’s hiring.

Antonio Brown On The Trading Block

According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, it appears that the Pittsburgh Steelers have every intention of trying to move disgruntled wide receiver Antonio Brown, and it appears that it might be sooner than later. Mortensen reports that he expects Brown to be dealt by the beginning of March. In the span of a year, the Steelers appear to be moving on from two of the best in the NFL between running back Le’Veon Bell (who will be a free agent after holding out this entire season) and Antonio Brown (assuming he is indeed traded). After skipping practices which ultimately led to his benching prior to a pivotal week 17 game, Brown appears to be separating himself from the team and has not been in communication with many of the higher-ups, including coach Mike Tomlin. In a twist of irony, it will be teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster who will be replacing Brown in the Pro-Bowl.

Chargers To Get Big Weapon Back In Divisional Round

Just 8 months after tearing his ACL, the Los Angeles Chargers have activated tight end Hunter Henry, and he is eligible to play against the New England Patriots in the divisional round on Sunday. In his first two seasons, Henry had 12 touchdowns and 1,057 yards, If healthy and able to play, Henry would give quarterback Philip Rivers another exceptional weapon to go along with Melvin Gordon and Keenan Allen. This could loom even larger considering the Patriots defense has been a little suspect against tight ends, particularly in the middle of the field.

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