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Sunday, January 12, 2020

Divisional Sunday

Whereas a lot of people were amazed that the Titans won. I wasn't even remotely surprised. They're a solid, well-coached team across the board whereas the Ravens are overly reliant upon RGIII 2.0, whose long-term utility I continue to seriously doubt despite his incipient MVP status. I was even less surprised by the Vikings' loss to the 49ers, since it was clear from the first possession that the offensive line could not get Dalvin Cook going.

As for what I expect today, it is Chiefs over Texans, easily, and Green Bay over Seattle.

BREAKING NEWS: The Cleveland Browns have hired their next head coach. Former Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski is the Browns’ new head coach, according to multiple reports.

Good for him. Although I have to say, on the basis of yesterday's game, I would have gone with Robert Saleh.

It's Houston 21, Kansas City 0. This is why I don't bet on football.

UPDATE: I did not like O'Brien's decision to kick the field goal to go up 24. But I did not see it coming back to bite him so fast and so hard. The lesson, as always, is this: if you are the underdog, never take your foot off the gas.

The sooner you lose the momentum, the more likely it is that you lose the game.

Labels:

82 Comments:

Blogger carnaby January 12, 2020 11:42 AM  

Hawks for the W, let's go!

Blogger Wayne January 12, 2020 11:47 AM  

That performance by the Titans defense reminded me of the Denver defense that stopped Cam Newton in the superbowl. The Ravens needed Jackson's feet more than his arm and the Titans provided a blueprint of to stop him in the future. Go Chiefs!

Blogger Daniel January 12, 2020 12:03 PM  

Overlooked in the Derrick Henry show is the development of Tannehill. He had a big splash of raw talent at Miami but could not find his way to being a real quarterback. He looked like little more than a poor man's Marriota.

Humbled and grateful for a second chance, he played within the scheme and developed discipline. This was a guy who, as a rookie, could not name the teams in the AFC divisions.

Blogger R Devere January 12, 2020 12:15 PM  

Who cares who wins??? That's Old School, okay...Boomer?

It's the stats I need to for my fantasy team to win that count!

Blogger Jack Amok January 12, 2020 12:28 PM  

The thing that keeps getting me about this post-season is how badly flawed all of the teams in it are. Which is even more interesting considering how big the divide between the top half of the league and the bottom half. Least parity across the whole league that I can remember for a long time, but most parity across the playoff teams.

Blogger Azimus January 12, 2020 12:38 PM  

I will say I have been pleasantly surprised with LaFleur - I thought they were getting rid of the wrong man in the McCarthy-Rodgers feud and I was wrong.

McCarthy was awful at preparing his team for the playoffs though, so I think we'll see a Packers team step it up a notch - particularly on defense. That said its 1st year head coach vs 15th year coach and I think that will be a huge factor today. It all depends if the Packers play 4 quarters or just show up for the 2nd half like they usually do. Packers by a nose.

Blogger Dave January 12, 2020 1:28 PM  

The trend towards younger coaches continues, Kevin Stefanski only 37.


This was a guy who, as a rookie, could not name the teams in the AFC divisions.

That's not that unusual, some athletes are more dedicated to honing their craft within the game and have little interest in being a fanatic of the sport.

Blogger MagisterLudi January 12, 2020 1:31 PM  

"Lamar Jackson has revolutionized the game"

That's what they said about RGIII, Cam Newton, etc. One injury, and they are never the same mobile QB again

Blogger Logos Bear aka vessel January 12, 2020 1:38 PM  

💚💙

Blogger Talios Hammerfist January 12, 2020 1:48 PM  

I hope that after this season, we can always remember these Titans as Super Bowl champs.

Blogger KPKinSunnyPhiladelphia January 12, 2020 2:06 PM  

I dunno, I was actually shocked by the Titans win -- a bit shocked that they won, and totally shocked that they won by the margin they did.

If you were to hand the stat sheet minus the score and turnover margin -- Team A and Team B -- you would have seen that Team B

--had 300 more yards than Team A,
--nearly 40 more plays than Team A,
--twice as many first downs at Team A,
--better third down efficiency than Team A, and
--more time of possession.

You would have concluded, naturally, that Team B crushed Team A. But the opposite happened. Why?

The 3 turnovers were more deadly than 3 turnovers might have been in the context of such offensive dominance. And when the Ravens HAD to convert on 4th down they couldn't do it.

And one other reason -- Mark Ingram as a non-factor.

Kudos to the Titans, and yes, Mike Vrabel is a very good coach. But the Ravens, as currently constituted, would beat the Titans 8 times out of 10, and in some instances by a very large margin.

I think it is highly possible Lamar Jackson has a career arc like Russell Wilson. In the meantime, the Ravens will not abandon the formula that got them into the playoffs -- Mark Ingram or some equivalent running back running for 80 to 100 yards a game, Jackson running the same, and passing for 250, and all of sudden you look up and you see 500 yards gained and the opposition steamrolled.



Blogger Bobiojimbo January 12, 2020 2:10 PM  

I hope Green Bay wins. Go Packers!

Blogger Talios Hammerfist January 12, 2020 2:13 PM  

I also smell a Texans upset.

Blogger Dave January 12, 2020 2:20 PM  

Interestingly Titans 3rd in current SB Odds:

San Francisco +175
Kansas City +190
Tennessee +500
Green Bay +800
Seattle +1400
Houston +2000

Odds may vary slightly but I'm seeing the same order everywhere.

Blogger Daniel January 12, 2020 2:33 PM  

That's not that unusual, some athletes are more dedicated to honing their craft within the game and have little interest in being a fanatic of the sport.

You don't need to be a fanatic to be aware of the names of the teams you will be competing against. Most qbs grow up obsessed with the NFL. Tannehill was a WR latecomers to the position, and showed that rawness for years. Good thing he was, unlike most humbled qbs, able to adapt. His sense of yesterday's situations was excellent. This year is the first time he has looked like a seasoned pro, instead of a flashy liability. Good for him.

Blogger Daniel January 12, 2020 2:39 PM  

Lamar Jackson is nowhere near Russell Wilson. Titans left those giant gaps open in the middle of the field for a reason: they knew he was dumb enough to take the bait.

Blogger Lazarus January 12, 2020 2:41 PM  

MagisterLudi wrote:That's what they said about RGIII, Cam Newton, etc. One injury, and they are never the same mobile QB again

Kaepernick was hyped like that till he got the mental injury.

Blogger Megamerc January 12, 2020 2:46 PM  

Last weekend I said this about the Titans:

Megamerc wrote:Fortunate turn of events for KC. I'd bet the Chiefs would rather play Houston over the Titans right now. Derrick Henry is a monster

I was not at all surprised by Baltimore's loss. The Titans are playing very well and have been for weeks.

Talios Hammerfist wrote:I also smell a Texans upset.

Maybe I will eat my words considering Vox is predicting the Chiefs will win, but I do not think the Texans will upset them. Houston has not been playing well enough and Andy Reid is too difficult to beat off of a bye, not to mention Mahomes is healthy and the Chiefs defense is much better than when Houston beat them earlier in the season

Blogger Patrick Kelly January 12, 2020 2:55 PM  

In the playoffs superior coaching > superior talent.
The Titans didn't just pull off upsets, they manhandled and exposed their opponents in a very unflattering manner.
Kudo's to the Titans for riding the spoiler wave quite well.

If the Texans pull off the upset today I will root for them next week, Texas blood being thicker than whatever.

Blogger Dave January 12, 2020 2:55 PM  

It's been a remarkably steady statistic throughout the history of the NFL. Teams that win the turnover battle win approximately 80% of their games. The average amount of the turnover differential per game has declined from over three to just under two. Take it to the bank, teams with two more turnovers than their opponent will win almost 80% of those games.

Blogger RobertDWood January 12, 2020 2:55 PM  

Paging Michael Vick and Collin Kaepernick...

Blogger TRF009 January 12, 2020 3:15 PM  

Go Hawks!

Blogger James Lovebirch January 12, 2020 3:19 PM  

Seeing those box scores where Lamar Jackson threw 20 passes week after week, I doubted his ability to carry in the playoffs too.

@11

I didn't watch the whole game, but it seemed like stuffing the Raven offense was merely a matter of holding Jackson to 4YPC, which the Titans didn't do in a way that was particularly lucky.

Blogger David Ray Milton January 12, 2020 3:19 PM  

Strong start for the Texans. Lot of time left. Chiefs need to wake up.

Blogger Lazarus January 12, 2020 3:20 PM  

Oops.

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother January 12, 2020 3:26 PM  

Your sense of smell is keen so far, Talios.

Anonymous Anonymous January 12, 2020 3:31 PM  

But the Ravens, as currently constituted, would beat the Titans 8 times out of 10, and in some instances by a very large margin.

Who cares? All that matters is what actually happened. The rest is merely the massive waste of resources that is sports talk shows.

Blogger David Ray Milton January 12, 2020 3:39 PM  

I don’t care how fast he is... why the hell would you put a guy in who only received one punt this year when they already lack momentum?

Catching punts is literally the most stressful job in football. Tactical fail on the coaching staff.

Blogger SouthRon January 12, 2020 3:41 PM  

Looks like the Vox curse is in effect.

Blogger The Masked Menace January 12, 2020 3:47 PM  

I respect and admire our dear The Dark Lord, but Kansas City is overrated and the Texans are better than most think. Now maybe KC makes a comeback, but I had picked a Houston upset in this game.

Blogger HAHHouse January 12, 2020 3:50 PM  

Wow.

Sooo is it safe to assume this game with KC is over???


Blogger The Masked Menace January 12, 2020 3:50 PM  

It's a new day in the NFL don't you know boys? It's a "passing league now" boys. You don't need to run the ball or play defense, right? Hell, all you need a flashy QB.




Blogger Dave January 12, 2020 3:54 PM  

You don't need to be a fanatic to be aware of the names of the teams

You said name the teams in the AFC divisions. I know many so-called fans that couldn't name all the teams in each division. Some athletes are obsessed but not every athlete follows their own sport that closely; younger pro athletes are notorious for knowing little of the history of their sport or the previous generations of players.

Blogger Erasmus January 12, 2020 3:57 PM  

"Chiefs over Texans, easily" kiss of death

Blogger The Masked Menace January 12, 2020 3:59 PM  

@29
No, he's just making the rational logical pick. However momentum and morale are extremely important in American football and so far both Tennessee and Houston are peaking at the right time.

P.S. I'm also leaning towards a Seattle upset tonight. If Houston holds on, that will mean a possible three out of four games end in an upset.

Blogger The Masked Menace January 12, 2020 4:00 PM  

@31
No.

Blogger Damelon Brinn January 12, 2020 4:22 PM  

The Chiefs have a long tradition of early playoff exits, especially after a bye. If Mahomes can break that streak....well, I was gonna say he'll be even more loved in KC, but that's not possible.

Blogger Erasmus January 12, 2020 4:24 PM  

Now we've got a game.

Blogger Jack Amok January 12, 2020 4:26 PM  

Texans and Chefs both trying to out-Seahawk the Seahawks.

Blogger Steve Canyon January 12, 2020 4:26 PM  

Anyone who watched the Oilers Bills chokejob in the 90's is having flashbacks

Blogger Megamerc January 12, 2020 4:29 PM  

I should have said this when they were down 24-0 for it to carry more weight, but I still do not think Kansas City will be upset by Houston.

24-21 and not yet half time. Things change quick.

Blogger The Depolrable Podunk Ken Ramsey January 12, 2020 4:30 PM  

The Texans and Chiefs have one crazy crapshoot going on.

Blogger Billy January 12, 2020 4:43 PM  

Kelce he good

Blogger Dave W. January 12, 2020 4:55 PM  

And the Chiefs punch back. Chiefs ahead 28-24 at halftime.

Blogger David Ray Milton January 12, 2020 4:59 PM  

I know Mahomes and Kelce just put on a clinic... but Sorensen was the one who turned this game around with those two key special team plays.

Blogger Dantheman January 12, 2020 4:59 PM  

Bill O’Brian made some terrible mistakes in the second quarter. I hope Andy Reid balances those mistakes out with his own mistakes in the 4th quarter.

Blogger KPKinSunnyPhiladelphia January 12, 2020 5:02 PM  

Daniel wrote:Lamar Jackson is nowhere near Russell Wilson. Titans left those giant gaps open in the middle of the field for a reason: they knew he was dumb enough to take the bait.

I said it was possible, I didn't say it was true now. People really need to learn how to read.

Blogger KPKinSunnyPhiladelphia January 12, 2020 5:04 PM  

bodenlose Schweinerei wrote:But the Ravens, as currently constituted, would beat the Titans 8 times out of 10, and in some instances by a very large margin.

Who cares? All that matters is what actually happened. The rest is merely the massive waste of resources that is sports talk shows.


It's not an issue of "caring," asswipe, it's understanding a complex system from an analytical point of view. But perhaps that is too hard for your mental powers.

Blogger Iron Spartan January 12, 2020 5:07 PM  

What the hell is going on with the Chiefs/Texans? I walk away and Houston is set up for a blow out. Come back and the Chiefs are up

Blogger Daniel January 12, 2020 5:21 PM  

No. Dude, just stop. He could not name the teams in his own division, halfway through camp. It made Hard Knocks. It was hilarious because it was so uncommon.

Blogger Daniel January 12, 2020 5:22 PM  

If by "over," you mean in KC's favor, then maybe.

Blogger Erasmus January 12, 2020 5:27 PM  

"It's Houston 21, Kansas City 0. This is why I don't bet on football." Curse Reversed

Blogger Damelon Brinn January 12, 2020 5:37 PM  

Sooo is it safe to assume this game with KC is over???

That's not even the first time Mahomes has scored 4 TDs in the second quarter. The kid is really something.

Blogger Sterling Pilgrim January 12, 2020 6:00 PM  

Reid is a force to be reckoned with. I rarely make predictions, but I’m calling KC vs SF in the championship

Blogger John Best. January 12, 2020 6:00 PM  

See's this post, goes to look at the game, 48-31 KC. What happened.

Blogger RedJack January 12, 2020 6:18 PM  

Long suffering KC fan. You are probably right, but I'm enjoying it anyway

Blogger cyrus83 January 12, 2020 6:36 PM  

Wonder which one hurts worse for Houston, being up 35-3 in the second half only to lose to the Bills by a field goal a generation ago, or being up 24-0 at the start of the second quarter today only to head to the locker room down at the half and lose the game by 20.

This collapse should cost O'Brien his job.

Blogger NP_see January 12, 2020 6:38 PM  

KC is legit.

Blogger Daniel January 12, 2020 7:00 PM  

It is not possible. You are still wrong.

Blogger Megamerc January 12, 2020 7:20 PM  

This was a good warmup game for Kansas City prior to facing the Derrick Henry machine next week

Blogger Ska_Boss January 12, 2020 7:33 PM  

Biggest CHOKE in playoffs history. It was fun to watch though.

Blogger Gettimothy January 12, 2020 8:10 PM  

wow!

Blogger Shane Bradman January 12, 2020 8:41 PM  

What a stupid game for KC and Texans. Defense full of holes. KC will not make it to the Super Bowl if they do that again. High scoring and very exciting, but it's like an amateur game instead of a professional one.
Still hoping for a surprise Seahawks win, but Mr Death is standing right behind them.

Blogger Mister Bill January 12, 2020 9:04 PM  

Ok zoomer

Blogger Skyler the Weird January 12, 2020 9:34 PM  

This Houston team didn't lose to Frank Reich and the Bills. That was the Oilers/Titans who are now in Nashville.

Blogger Shane Bradman January 12, 2020 9:52 PM  

Unfortunate that Hawks went for a punt with 3 minutes on the clock. When it's that close and you're one TD from winning, you gotta go for it. Disappointing that it's over here, and Packers have almost no chance against 49ers.
I'd like to see 49ers vs Titans for the superbowl.

Blogger Jack Amok January 12, 2020 10:04 PM  

Well, typical Seahawk game. Maybe not completely typical - it didn't literally come down to the last play. As much as I dislike Santa Clara, I expect they'll dispatch the Packers easy enough. Watching SF try to stop Henry would be interesting.

Blogger Jill in StL January 12, 2020 10:17 PM  

Holy smokes, Batman - The Texans just had a complete implosion!! But, yay for my Packers hanging on to win against the Seahawks because the Hawks sure got hot in the 2nd half - I was getting very nervous. And, I am dreading the 49-34's/Packers matchup next weekend as well.

Blogger R Devere January 12, 2020 10:20 PM  

"Kaepernick was hyped like that till he got the mental injury."
=====================================

Kaepernick's "mental injury" was losing frame to his Moose-limb girl friend!

In layman's terms that's called getting PUSSY-WHIPPED!

Blogger JBurgess January 12, 2020 10:45 PM  

Im a big Packer fan, and I dont think there is much of a chance against the 49ers, but im happy they could finish the Seahawks in a playoff game. I way having 2014 flashbacks the whole second half.

Blogger Bobiojimbo January 12, 2020 10:56 PM  

Glad Packers won, but that was close.

Blogger vmax71 January 12, 2020 11:29 PM  

the kicking the field goal instead of keeping the foot on the Chiefs neck likely cost Houston the game. K.C. got the momentum shift back and that was that. You were spot on with that comment. It was eerie when they went for the field goal after the time out...I knew there would be problems

Blogger Mad Italian January 12, 2020 11:31 PM  

My friends have been saying that the NFL is setting up Chiefs - Packers cause that's a repeat of SB I.

Gonna be a good weekend for football.

Blogger Jack Amok January 12, 2020 11:49 PM  

Im a big Packer fan, and I dont think there is much of a chance against the 49ers, but im happy they could finish the Seahawks in a playoff game. I way having 2014 flashbacks the whole second half.

Somewhere, Brian Bostick is saying "if only they sacked Wilson on that 2-point attempt back then, I'd still have a job..."

Blogger Hank Archer January 13, 2020 12:16 AM  

Bit surprised that so many are writing off the Packer's chances against the 49rs. They just beat the Seahawks who came within fractions of an inch of beating SF last week.
I understand expecting SF to be favored, but the evidence seems to suggest that the Packers can be competitive.

Blogger Jack Amok January 13, 2020 1:44 AM  

Bit surprised that so many are writing off the Packer's chances against the 49rs. They just beat the Seahawks who came within fractions of an inch of beating SF last week.

Haven't you been paying attention this season? Beating the Seahawks, or losing to the Seahawks, by a thin margin just means you played the Seahawks. It says nothing about how good or bad your team is.

Blogger rondo1342 January 13, 2020 2:07 AM  

Royals and Chiefs fan here....hopefully (fingers crossed, as I was 17 months old last time the Chiefs were in a Superbowl, January of 1970 so that nobody has to look it up) this is the football equivalent of the 2015 Game 4 of the ALDS, when Houston had a 6-2 lead going into the top of the 8th....KC puts up 5 in the 8th, adds a couple more on a Hosmer tater in the 9th....I was at the following game 5 in KC...beautiful....Royals went all the way after that. Maybe....MAYBE....this is the Chiefs' year....but nothing is certain with Andy Reid......

But: never underestimate the ability of Andy Reid to snatch defeat from the the jaws of victory.....

Blogger Megamerc January 13, 2020 2:32 AM  

Jack Amok wrote:Bit surprised that so many are writing off the Packer's chances against the 49rs. They just beat the Seahawks who came within fractions of an inch of beating SF last week.

Haven't you been paying attention this season? Beating the Seahawks, or losing to the Seahawks, by a thin margin just means you played the Seahawks. It says nothing about how good or bad your team is.


I laughed at this one.

Blogger cyrus83 January 13, 2020 2:58 AM  

Even though the original Houston franchise moved, the fan heartache doesn't transfer to the new city, Titans fans don't care about the 1993 choke unless they were Oilers fans at the time.

How does O'Brien not have the guts to go for 4th and 1 on the Chiefs 13 but then thinks it's a smart idea to try a fake punt on 4th and 3 when on his own 31 the very next drive? That play call smelled desperate and the Texans never recovered from it.

Blogger Shane Bradman January 13, 2020 5:47 AM  

@76. Agree. The Seahawks have been in full control of whether or not they won or lost the game. Some matches they were the best team in the NFL, other matches they were one of the worst. Perhaps they had a bad case of PMS this season.

Blogger Damelon Brinn January 13, 2020 7:16 AM  

My friends have been saying that the NFL is setting up Chiefs - Packers cause that's a repeat of SB I.

Yeah, the NFL wants to match up two of the smallest markets in the league because of nostalgia for something even Boomers don't remember.

Could be the Chiefs were just the better team. They were 12-4 and would have been better if not for Mahomes's gimpiness in the middle of the season. They won their last six games of the regular season and the defense was showing improvement. If you take the special teams flukes out of this game on both sides, they win about 41-17 and no one is surprised.

Blogger JohnofAustria January 13, 2020 11:32 AM  

Yeah, especially an offensive match-up like Mahomes/ Kelce. Young QB who can put the ball anywhere and a TE who's a match-up monster on the line or in the backfield is hard to beat.

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