The Cincinnati Bengals have upped their offense by taking Tight End Tyler Eifert, out of Notre Dame, 21st in the 2013 Draft.
QB Andy Dalton now has AJ Green, Jermaine Gresham, and Eifert to choose from when he snaps that ball. That’s not a bad trio to have catching your passes. 

The Cincinnati Bengals have upped their offense by taking Tight End Tyler Eifert, out of Notre Dame, 21st in the 2013 Draft.

QB Andy Dalton now has AJ Green, Jermaine Gresham, and Eifert to choose from when he snaps that ball. That’s not a bad trio to have catching your passes. 

Winners and Losers: Wild Card Round edition

by @steven_lebron

So, that wasn’t the most memorable weekend of football, was it? Still, we’ve got several interesting match-ups set up for next week, and who will ever forget Ray Lewis’s final pre-game dance in Baltimore?

Onto the winners and losers of the wild card round:

Winners

The Green Bay Packers as contenders: The defense figured out a way to bottle up Adrian Peterson in their third game against the superhuman running back in the last six week and Aaron Rodgers was efficient in spreading the ball around (completions to 10 different receivers). Experience counts in the playoffs, and even though it was against an inferior opponent, the Packers reminded everyone why even with an uneven regular season, they’re still going to be a tough out in these playoffs. I can’t wait for Green Bay-San Francisco next week.

Peyton Manning and Tom Brady: Anything can happen in the playoffs, but I imagine the two quarterbacks were texting each other throughout the weekend marveling at the level of competition that the AFC teams displayed. We’re still on track for an AFC Championship Game showdown between these two in Denver.

Arian Foster: Most rushing yards by a running back in his first three career playoff games in NFL history. By the way: undrafted.

Christian Ponder: Nothing like a bad performance from your back-up QB to enhance your own value by default. Although I think the Vikings would be wise to explore the free agent and trade market for a quarterback this off-season.

Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks in general: The numbers weren’t spectacular for Wilson, and there was no 50 point performance from the offense this time around. But down 14-0 on the road in the first quarter, all the questions came back: were these Seahawks just a great team at home? Is this team capable of playing from behind? Wilson answered that with two key drives in the first half to get the game back to a manageable 14-10 deficit. Also, even though he had a key fumble, Lynch was spectacular on the day (137 yards, and the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter). The Seahawks defense also tightened up after the early deficit. That was an impressive win, by Seattle. They struggled early in a hostile environment, made mistakes throughout, and still walked out with a double digit win. It’s the type of win that will have people debating all week long whether they might just be able to go into Atlanta and give themselves a great chance at the upset.

Ray Lewis: A great final home game send-off for the future Hall-Of-Famer. Oh, and he got a shoutout from Kobe Bryant’s brand new Twitter account.

Losers

The Cincinnati Bengals franchise playoff drought: Saddest stat I read all week was that the Bengals had not won a playoff game since 1990, and since that time, every team in the league has won a post-season game (Browns? Yes. Jaguars? Yes, shouts to Mark Brunell, Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell. And the list goes on). Marvin Lewis is now winless in four playoff games and, Andy Dalton, what exactly is his ceiling? Joe Flacco? Matt Schaub? I suppose that’s not entirely bad, since both those guys are still playing next week.

Joe Webb: If you follow the Vikings, or just football in general, you’ve heard whispers about Joe Webb and his freakish athletic ability, pretty best summed up by this video of him jumping over 7 dummies at the NFL combine. But on Sunday, pressed into action, he showed that there’s still a lot to go for him to be a competent quarterback.

The end of great regular season narratives: Time to tuck away #CHUCKSTRONG, and wonderful seasons from Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Adrian Peterson. But they’ll be remembered.

Football fans with Jets fatigue: Just when we thoughts Jets drama was behind us for at least a few weeks, we had to read all about Rex Ryan’s curious tattoo this week. The Jets aren’t just insufferable, they’re inescapable.

The Redskins: So, Washington fans, this is precisely why the Nationals took so much precaution with Stephen Strasburg by leaving him off the post-season roster, right? It was painful seeing Robert Griffin III out there on one leg, I mean, your knee isn’t suppose to bend this way, is it? With much chatter about whether Dr. James Andrews actually allowed Griffin to return to a game in December when he suffered his initial knee injury, coach Shanahan went ahead and risked further damage to his franchise, the investment that made the Redskins a topic of conversation again in football this year. We’re crossing sports for comparisons, but this reminds me of when the Blazers allowed Brandon Roy to return, and while that alone might not have cause the injuries that eventually forced him to retire (he’s since returned, but is on the injured list again), it does show what the long-term repercussions are when you don’t safeguard your best assets. Let’s just hope that we’ll see the same RG3 again next year. Also, Dan Snyder, let’s improve the field conditions just a little bit can we?

Who were your winners and losers?

Bengals at Texans: Momentum and other things

by @steven_lebron

The regular season in football is a tricky exercise in momentum. Here stand the Houston Texans. They’re 12-4. They’re division winners. And yet, they feel like the biggest losers coming into the tournament.

On the other side, the Bengals have temporarily (the permanency comes if they can keep outperforming our expectations next season) displaced the order of things in the AFC North. Their Week 16 matchup at Pittsburgh was a pseudo play-in game. If the Bengals won, they were in. Many would have expected the more experienced Steelers to make another late season run, and become the team that no one wanted to play in the post-season.

Instead, the Bengals inched past their division rival by a field goal, and became the team no one really thought would actually end up in the post-season.

And here they are, two consecutive playoff appearances for this franchise, which is no small feat. Miss you, Carson Palmer. Or maybe not.

Andy Dalton is not exciting, but he does enough. The defense is not glamorous, but they do have one of the strongest past rushes in the league. A.J. Green, maybe already the best wideout in football. This is a rematch of last year’s wild card match-up, the Bengals remain a house money team in the playoffs, they are a work in progress for which playoff experience will only help for their core group.

As for the Texans. They’re learning how tough expectations can be in the NFL. A year ago, they finally made the playoffs for the first time since the franchise returned to Houston. They were so banged up that T.J. Yates was their starting quarterback. They were also house money. It was a season worth celebrating.

This season, they seemed to have made the leap. But a late season swoon and unimpressive showings against Green Bay and New England during the regular season have left much to be desired from this team.

I suppose much of what you expect from this game depends on just how much you believe in momentum, and all those other fancy narratives.

I still think the Texans are the better team, and they rebound on Sunday.

24-17 Texans.

What does everybody else think?

Winners and Losers - Week 3 Sunday edition
Wait, was that Justin Tucker field goal good or what? The refs will review and get back to you tomorrow. 
Can we sum up the NFL so far with this: the Cardinals are 3-0, the Saints are 0-3 and the best team after two weeks in the league lost at Minnesota.
Don’t look now, but we might be in for a fun race in the NFC West. The Cardinals next four games: vs. Miami, at St. Louis, vs. Buffalo, at Minnesota. All winnable games. Looks like that Week 8 Monday Night game between San Francisco and Arizona might be an important one. Who knew.
The best play in the Cardinals-Eagles game was Arizona safety James Sander’s 93 yard fumble return for a touchdown to end the half (reminiscent of what James Harrison did to the Cardinals in the Super Bowl a few years ago). If you missed it, you can watch the video here. My favorite part of it: Larry Fitzgerald sprinting down the sideline as the play unfolded.
Also, before we get to the winners the losers, I just want to send a word of condolence to the family of Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith. Smith’s younger brother Tevin Jones passed away in a car accident late Saturday night. I can’t pretend to know what he’s going through, except to say, it can’t be easy. He played tonight, and went for 127 yards, two touchdowns, and one sweet victory.
If this made Smith’s day any better, even for a few hours, then it was all well worth it regardless of what the result was on the field. I hope tomorrow will be a better day for him.
Onto the rest:
Winners
Mayhem in Tennessee - Sunday was a throwback day in Tennessee. Tommie Campbell’s punt return touchdown brought back memories of the Music City Miracle, and the game ended up going to overtime on a crazy sequence of events to end regulation that culminated in a Hail Mary touchdown for the visiting Lions with no time left on the clock. But the Titans would win on a controversial fourth down call by Jim Schwartz — who said after the game that they weren’t suppose to snap the ball on the play. A team coming up a yard short to end the game? It’s an ending Titans fans are familiar with and happy to be on the other side of it this time.
Jamaal Charles - 233 yards rushing, 55 yards receiving and a touchdown for Kansas City. A week ago, many wondered about whether he was fully recovered from last year’s knee injury, turns out all you need to do is go up against the New Orleans defense and all is cured.
Adrian Peterson - His stats on Sunday against the 49ers didn’t stand out, but watching him run into that San Francisco defense and be the last one standing on most of the running plays was great to see. Still a bit amazed at how quickly he’s recovered from his injury, maybe Peterson is a superhero.
Mohamed Sanu to A.J. Green - A thing of beauty.
Ray Lewis: A Football Life - Do yourself a favor and watch this on NFL Network. Made me want to drive to Pittsburgh just to get a W!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mikel Leshoure - 26 carries, 100 yards, 1 touchdown. I’m just including this in here because I have him on my fantasy team. Carry on.
The Falcons - The division is theirs to take, but you get the feeling nothing they do in the regular season will matter. Not with Matt Ryan still without a playoff win on his resume and that turd they dropped against the Giants in the post-season last year. Seriously, they literally dropped a deuce. I’m going to stop now.
Losers
Replacement refs, again - I’m sick of 20 minute replay reviews, and just a sense that the players are under the impression that they can do whatever they want on the field without the consequences of being policed. Also, in the Vikings-49ers game, Jim Harbaugh was awarded an extra challenge on a Toby Gerhart fumble even though he had no timeouts left, which he won. That wasn’t the most ridiculous part of it. Somehow Harbaugh got another timeout added back for his team, and used it to challenge another Gerhart fumble before the two minute warning in the fourth. It was a standard fumble and recovery by Gerhart. But you know why Harbaugh even bothered to challenge? Because there’s actually a chance that the replacement refs could blow the call and reverse it in his favor. The refs are now being exploited by players and coaches for their own advantage as they see fit. I’m just going to keep complaining until the real zebras come back.
The Saints - Stat alert: Saints are the eighth team to start 0-3 after winning 13 or more games the previous season. They’re starting to remind me a lot of the last team in this group: the 2009 Titans, who started 0-6 before making a frantic run for a playoff spot, finishing short at 8-8. Although, three weeks in, they’re three games back of the division leading Falcons. Looks like another season without a home team playing in the Super Bowl.
Peyton and the Broncos - It’s entirely possible that they were beat on their home field by the best team in the AFC. I still can’t believe the Texans are competent, and wait for it: trustworthy to win games they’re supposed to. Still wrapping my head around this. Regardless, the Broncos are in a division where they can afford to work their way through a slump. I think eight or nine wins will be enough in the West. Don’t count the Broncos out just yet, but expectations have been lowered after their last two outings.
Randy Moss - For some reason, I thought Randy Moss would be a different teammate in San Francisco. I don’t know if it’s the simple fact that I assumed age and a year away from the game meant that Moss would mature. But there he was on Sunday, sulking on the sidelines and benched in the fourth quarter. After the game, he was asked about playing time and simply said: “Next question”. I still like this 49ers team a lot, but not sure if it’s worth it to deal with Moss if he’s going to start spreading that negativity in the locker room.
Chris Johnson - He now has 45 yards rushing on the season. How bad is that? There’s six teams with single rushing plays greater than 45 yards so far this season.
Sanchez to Tebow - Not exactly a thing of beauty.
@steven_lebron

Winners and Losers - Week 3 Sunday edition

Wait, was that Justin Tucker field goal good or what? The refs will review and get back to you tomorrow.

Can we sum up the NFL so far with this: the Cardinals are 3-0, the Saints are 0-3 and the best team after two weeks in the league lost at Minnesota.

Don’t look now, but we might be in for a fun race in the NFC West. The Cardinals next four games: vs. Miami, at St. Louis, vs. Buffalo, at Minnesota. All winnable games. Looks like that Week 8 Monday Night game between San Francisco and Arizona might be an important one. Who knew.

The best play in the Cardinals-Eagles game was Arizona safety James Sander’s 93 yard fumble return for a touchdown to end the half (reminiscent of what James Harrison did to the Cardinals in the Super Bowl a few years ago). If you missed it, you can watch the video here. My favorite part of it: Larry Fitzgerald sprinting down the sideline as the play unfolded.

Also, before we get to the winners the losers, I just want to send a word of condolence to the family of Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith. Smith’s younger brother Tevin Jones passed away in a car accident late Saturday night. I can’t pretend to know what he’s going through, except to say, it can’t be easy. He played tonight, and went for 127 yards, two touchdowns, and one sweet victory.

If this made Smith’s day any better, even for a few hours, then it was all well worth it regardless of what the result was on the field. I hope tomorrow will be a better day for him.

Onto the rest:

Winners

Mayhem in Tennessee - Sunday was a throwback day in Tennessee. Tommie Campbell’s punt return touchdown brought back memories of the Music City Miracle, and the game ended up going to overtime on a crazy sequence of events to end regulation that culminated in a Hail Mary touchdown for the visiting Lions with no time left on the clock. But the Titans would win on a controversial fourth down call by Jim Schwartz — who said after the game that they weren’t suppose to snap the ball on the play. A team coming up a yard short to end the game? It’s an ending Titans fans are familiar with and happy to be on the other side of it this time.

Jamaal Charles - 233 yards rushing, 55 yards receiving and a touchdown for Kansas City. A week ago, many wondered about whether he was fully recovered from last year’s knee injury, turns out all you need to do is go up against the New Orleans defense and all is cured.

Adrian Peterson - His stats on Sunday against the 49ers didn’t stand out, but watching him run into that San Francisco defense and be the last one standing on most of the running plays was great to see. Still a bit amazed at how quickly he’s recovered from his injury, maybe Peterson is a superhero.

Mohamed Sanu to A.J. Green - A thing of beauty.

Ray Lewis: A Football Life - Do yourself a favor and watch this on NFL Network. Made me want to drive to Pittsburgh just to get a W!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mikel Leshoure - 26 carries, 100 yards, 1 touchdown. I’m just including this in here because I have him on my fantasy team. Carry on.

The Falcons - The division is theirs to take, but you get the feeling nothing they do in the regular season will matter. Not with Matt Ryan still without a playoff win on his resume and that turd they dropped against the Giants in the post-season last year. Seriously, they literally dropped a deuce. I’m going to stop now.

Losers

Replacement refs, again - I’m sick of 20 minute replay reviews, and just a sense that the players are under the impression that they can do whatever they want on the field without the consequences of being policed. Also, in the Vikings-49ers game, Jim Harbaugh was awarded an extra challenge on a Toby Gerhart fumble even though he had no timeouts left, which he won. That wasn’t the most ridiculous part of it. Somehow Harbaugh got another timeout added back for his team, and used it to challenge another Gerhart fumble before the two minute warning in the fourth. It was a standard fumble and recovery by Gerhart. But you know why Harbaugh even bothered to challenge? Because there’s actually a chance that the replacement refs could blow the call and reverse it in his favor. The refs are now being exploited by players and coaches for their own advantage as they see fit. I’m just going to keep complaining until the real zebras come back.

The Saints - Stat alert: Saints are the eighth team to start 0-3 after winning 13 or more games the previous season. They’re starting to remind me a lot of the last team in this group: the 2009 Titans, who started 0-6 before making a frantic run for a playoff spot, finishing short at 8-8. Although, three weeks in, they’re three games back of the division leading Falcons. Looks like another season without a home team playing in the Super Bowl.

Peyton and the Broncos - It’s entirely possible that they were beat on their home field by the best team in the AFC. I still can’t believe the Texans are competent, and wait for it: trustworthy to win games they’re supposed to. Still wrapping my head around this. Regardless, the Broncos are in a division where they can afford to work their way through a slump. I think eight or nine wins will be enough in the West. Don’t count the Broncos out just yet, but expectations have been lowered after their last two outings.

Randy Moss - For some reason, I thought Randy Moss would be a different teammate in San Francisco. I don’t know if it’s the simple fact that I assumed age and a year away from the game meant that Moss would mature. But there he was on Sunday, sulking on the sidelines and benched in the fourth quarter. After the game, he was asked about playing time and simply said: “Next question”. I still like this 49ers team a lot, but not sure if it’s worth it to deal with Moss if he’s going to start spreading that negativity in the locker room.

Chris Johnson - He now has 45 yards rushing on the season. How bad is that? There’s six teams with single rushing plays greater than 45 yards so far this season.

Sanchez to Tebow - Not exactly a thing of beauty.

@steven_lebron

Tonight in the third quarter, of the Raven’s first home Monday Night Football game since 2007, Ed Reed intercepted Andy Dalton. He returned the INT for 34 yards and a touchdown. This nets is total career interception yards at 1,487. Good enough to pass Rod Woodson and set a new NFL record.

Tonight in the third quarter, of the Raven’s first home Monday Night Football game since 2007, Ed Reed intercepted Andy Dalton. He returned the INT for 34 yards and a touchdown. This nets is total career interception yards at 1,487. Good enough to pass Rod Woodson and set a new NFL record.

Remember back in 2007 when Chad Johnson’s star was on the rise. The possibilities for his career were endless. It’s so cute how he thought he would end up in the Hall of Fame.
With that said, I’m looking forward to watching him on Hard Knocks.

Remember back in 2007 when Chad Johnson’s star was on the rise. The possibilities for his career were endless. It’s so cute how he thought he would end up in the Hall of Fame.

With that said, I’m looking forward to watching him on Hard Knocks.

And with the 27th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft the Cincinnati Bengals select KEVIN ZEITLER.
The Bengals back up a few spots and get Kevin Zeitler.  I’ve already praised the Bengals move for gathering more picks this is just more of the same. Big offensive guard from Wisconsin. They are just building up for a run in the AFC North.

And with the 27th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft the Cincinnati Bengals select KEVIN ZEITLER.

The Bengals back up a few spots and get Kevin Zeitler.  I’ve already praised the Bengals move for gathering more picks this is just more of the same. Big offensive guard from Wisconsin. They are just building up for a run in the AFC North.

And with the 17th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft the Cincinnati Bengals select DRE KIRKPATRICK.
This is the pick the Bengals got from Oakland Carson Palmer trade. This is the last top flight corner and the Benglas got him. This is a need for the Bengals at the moment. They have seen their secondary depart lately.
This young Bengals team is close and they have the picks. They can get the parts they need to compete in the AFC North out of this draft.  Even if they do half a good of job as last year.
Beware the Bengal. 

And with the 17th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft the Cincinnati Bengals select DRE KIRKPATRICK.

This is the pick the Bengals got from Oakland Carson Palmer trade. This is the last top flight corner and the Benglas got him. This is a need for the Bengals at the moment. They have seen their secondary depart lately.

This young Bengals team is close and they have the picks. They can get the parts they need to compete in the AFC North out of this draft.  Even if they do half a good of job as last year.

Beware the Bengal. 

Busy busy week in the NFL. One overlooked story is Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis going from New England to Cincinnati.  This could be an excellent move for the Bengals, it looks promising.
You never knew exactly what Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis was in NE. He could look fantastic one week and then the Patriots would abandon the run the next (completely within reason with Tom Brady at the helm). He’s a dependable runner, he never fumbles. NEVER FUMBLES. Which is the opposite of what the Bengals have been getting out of Cedric Benson. Now Cincinnati can keep the limited change of pace work with Bernard Scott and use BJGE as their main back. It’ll be interesting to see what he does with all the carries.

Busy busy week in the NFL. One overlooked story is Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis going from New England to Cincinnati.  This could be an excellent move for the Bengals, it looks promising.

You never knew exactly what Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis was in NE. He could look fantastic one week and then the Patriots would abandon the run the next (completely within reason with Tom Brady at the helm). He’s a dependable runner, he never fumbles. NEVER FUMBLES. Which is the opposite of what the Bengals have been getting out of Cedric Benson. Now Cincinnati can keep the limited change of pace work with Bernard Scott and use BJGE as their main back. It’ll be interesting to see what he does with all the carries.

Winners and Losers…Wild Card Weekend Edition
Each week throughout the playoffs, we’ll be recapping winners and losers from the week’s action. Let’s get right into it:
Winners
Houston Texans fans: Can’t help but feel happy for the fan base. They lost their football team in the 90s when they moved to Tennessee, welcomed an expansion team back to the city about a decade ago, then watched the team become one of the most notoriously underachieving squads in football. Their chance at a division title opened up this year thanks to a particular neck injury to another quarterback. And they seized upon it. Injuries along the way have derailed realistic chances at a Super Bowl. But their home win over the Bengals this weekend was a huge stepping stone for the franchise. The Houston Texans. Finally relevant. 
Cincinnati Bengals: Yes, that was a disappointing playoff loss and debut for Andy Dalton and A.J. Green, and it leaves Marvin Lewis still winless in the post-season. But the future is bright for this team. With two first round picks in the upcoming draft, the Bengals might be competitive again in 2012. The Steelers and Ravens should get a handful from this team in the coming years.
Sean Payton: Everyone likes to say that the New Orleans head coach is fearless for his repeated decisions to go for it on fourth down. To me, he’s just maximizing the potential of his personnel. Taking risks is one thing, taking risks that makes sense is another. Ask Falcons head coach Mike Smith about that one. The Saints offense didn’t get going until the second half, their receivers were uncharacteristically shaky with a lot of drops, and they still set an NFL playoff record for total yards in a game. That’s got to be a disturbing thought for the rest of the playoff field.
Matt Flynn: Still the most sought after quarterback in free agency this off-season. No one displaced him this week. That makes him a winner.
Josh McDaniels: If you haven’t heard, McDaniels is back with the Patriots as an offensive assistant for the remainder of the playoffs, with the understanding that he will be their offensive coordinator next year when current coordinator Bill O’Brien takes the head coaching reigns at Penn State. McDaniels had a trying year in St. Louis, and now gets reunited with the Brady bunch. Funny that he will face the quarterback he drafted a few years ago in Denver, Tim Tebow, on Sunday. Not sure what it means, but that’s one more storyline to keep an eye on.
Tim Tebow: You know, ever since Tebow was put into the starting line-up, everything that he’s succeeded at has been taken with a grain of salt. There was an underlying assumption that he was doing things that didn’t make sense, that this couldn’t last, it felt more like satire than a real inspirational story. But that was a legitimate win over the top ranked defense in the league on Sunday. The Broncos didn’t win in spite of Tebow, they won because of him. You can talk about his throwing motion, you can break down the numbers, you can say it doesn’t make sense. But it might be time to consider the Tim Tebow story as legitimate.
Losers
Atlanta Falcons: On a day when they dropped a turd, it made sense that they’d end up with a deuce on the scoreboard. Still winless in the playoffs in the Matt Ryan era, and there has to be questions surrounding head coach Mike Smith.
Dick LeBeau: Another side-effect of Tebow. When he tears your defense up, you will be questioned and scruntinized because it’s never suppose to happen.
Phil Simms: Paraphrasing what I heard while he was commentating the Steelers-Broncos game: “For it to be a forward pass, it has to go forward.”
The referee doing the overtime coin toss in Denver: It seemed like he forgot his cheat sheet while explaining the new overtime rules. Thankfully, Tebow saved the officiating crew from any misinterpretation of the rules in overtime.
John Elway: Just because from now on, when they talk about “The Drive”, they will also mention “The Overtime Pass” by Tebow. The two of you are stuck together forever.
Fans: Just seven more football games left until the off-season. 
- @steven_lebron

Winners and Losers…Wild Card Weekend Edition

Each week throughout the playoffs, we’ll be recapping winners and losers from the week’s action. Let’s get right into it:

Winners

Houston Texans fans: Can’t help but feel happy for the fan base. They lost their football team in the 90s when they moved to Tennessee, welcomed an expansion team back to the city about a decade ago, then watched the team become one of the most notoriously underachieving squads in football. Their chance at a division title opened up this year thanks to a particular neck injury to another quarterback. And they seized upon it. Injuries along the way have derailed realistic chances at a Super Bowl. But their home win over the Bengals this weekend was a huge stepping stone for the franchise. The Houston Texans. Finally relevant.

Cincinnati Bengals: Yes, that was a disappointing playoff loss and debut for Andy Dalton and A.J. Green, and it leaves Marvin Lewis still winless in the post-season. But the future is bright for this team. With two first round picks in the upcoming draft, the Bengals might be competitive again in 2012. The Steelers and Ravens should get a handful from this team in the coming years.

Sean Payton: Everyone likes to say that the New Orleans head coach is fearless for his repeated decisions to go for it on fourth down. To me, he’s just maximizing the potential of his personnel. Taking risks is one thing, taking risks that makes sense is another. Ask Falcons head coach Mike Smith about that one. The Saints offense didn’t get going until the second half, their receivers were uncharacteristically shaky with a lot of drops, and they still set an NFL playoff record for total yards in a game. That’s got to be a disturbing thought for the rest of the playoff field.

Matt Flynn: Still the most sought after quarterback in free agency this off-season. No one displaced him this week. That makes him a winner.

Josh McDaniels: If you haven’t heard, McDaniels is back with the Patriots as an offensive assistant for the remainder of the playoffs, with the understanding that he will be their offensive coordinator next year when current coordinator Bill O’Brien takes the head coaching reigns at Penn State. McDaniels had a trying year in St. Louis, and now gets reunited with the Brady bunch. Funny that he will face the quarterback he drafted a few years ago in Denver, Tim Tebow, on Sunday. Not sure what it means, but that’s one more storyline to keep an eye on.

Tim Tebow: You know, ever since Tebow was put into the starting line-up, everything that he’s succeeded at has been taken with a grain of salt. There was an underlying assumption that he was doing things that didn’t make sense, that this couldn’t last, it felt more like satire than a real inspirational story. But that was a legitimate win over the top ranked defense in the league on Sunday. The Broncos didn’t win in spite of Tebow, they won because of him. You can talk about his throwing motion, you can break down the numbers, you can say it doesn’t make sense. But it might be time to consider the Tim Tebow story as legitimate.

Losers

Atlanta Falcons: On a day when they dropped a turd, it made sense that they’d end up with a deuce on the scoreboard. Still winless in the playoffs in the Matt Ryan era, and there has to be questions surrounding head coach Mike Smith.

Dick LeBeau: Another side-effect of Tebow. When he tears your defense up, you will be questioned and scruntinized because it’s never suppose to happen.

Phil Simms: Paraphrasing what I heard while he was commentating the Steelers-Broncos game: “For it to be a forward pass, it has to go forward.”

The referee doing the overtime coin toss in Denver: It seemed like he forgot his cheat sheet while explaining the new overtime rules. Thankfully, Tebow saved the officiating crew from any misinterpretation of the rules in overtime.

John Elway: Just because from now on, when they talk about “The Drive”, they will also mention “The Overtime Pass” by Tebow. The two of you are stuck together forever.

Fans: Just seven more football games left until the off-season.

 

- @steven_lebron

seeing as the LeBron NFL circus is over, how'd you think Jerome Simpson would fare in the NBA with moves like he has?

He was the MVP of his state championship game in high school, so he has some skills. Only 6’2” and 195, and his athleticism exceeds his route-running, so he’s probably a combo guard in the Association. He could potentially be a Shannon Brown type - great dunker, limited in other areas - and considering that the police found eight pounds of weed at his house, you’d have to think he’d end up on the Blazers.

(Sean Keane)

Behind The Inside Of The Numbers: Cincinnati at Houston

Today, Cincinnati visits Houston in the Texans’ first playoff game ever, which means David Carr can finally cut his hair. Houston is a four-point favorite, meaning that that the Gamblo-American community (TM Scribbly Tate) thinks the teams are virtually even on a neutral field. How do we separate such close teams? Let’s look Behind The Inside Of The Numbers!

Quarterback Names

If your name is “T. J. Yates,” you have no choice to become an NFL quarterback, a NASCAR driver, or a bootlegger. “Andy Dalton” sounds like an investment banker or someone’s high school boyfriend. Cincinnati would be better off if he was “Andrew Dalton” or even “Drew Dalton,” but T. J. Yates is really tough to beat.

ADVANTAGE: Houston

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