NFL announces matchups for the five international regular-season games in 2019

The National Football League today announced the matchups for its five 2019 international regular-season games – four in the UK and one in Mexico.

The quality of the 2019 international offering is apparent in three division games and five playoff participants, including the NFC Champion Los Angeles Rams.  Two of the four London Games will feature teams playing in the UK for the first time, while Mexico City will host a meeting of long-time AFC West division rivals.

​​The 2019 international games:

​Country Visiting Team Home Team
Mexico Kansas City Chiefs Los Angeles Chargers
UK Carolina Panthers Tampa Bay Buccaneers
UK Chicago Bears Oakland Raiders
UK Cincinnati Bengals Los Angeles Rams
UK Houston Texans Jacksonville Jaguars​​

Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium will host a matchup between the AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers. Both teams, who finished the 2018 regular season with identical 12-4 records, will be playing in Mexico City for the first time.

The AFC South champion Houston Texans – who face the division-rival Jacksonville Jaguars – and the Carolina Panthers – who face their NFC South foes the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – will both make their London debuts. It will bring the total number of NFL teams to have played in the UK to 31 in 28 regular-season games by the end of the 2019 season. The Jaguars will be playing a home game in London for the seventh consecutive season.

The Rams, who will face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII, will host a London game for the fourth time when they take on the Cincinnati Bengals, while the Oakland Raiders will return to London for the second straight year, facing the NFC North division champion Chicago Bears.

The NFL will play two games at Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium, with two at Wembley Stadium.

Dates, kickoff times and venues for all international games will be announced in conjunction with the release of the full NFL schedule this spring.

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Coaches from Chargers, Cowboys selected to lead Pro Bowl teams

The coaching staffs of the LOS ANGELES CHARGERS and DALLAS COWBOYS were selected to lead the 2019 Pro Bowl teams in Orlando, Florida, the NFL announced today.

The 2019 Pro Bowl presented by Verizon will be played on Sunday, January 27, at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium. Tickets to the game, which kicks off at 3:00 PM ET and will be televised live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and Disney XD and simulcast on ABC, are on sale now at NFL.com/ProBowlOnSale.

ANTHONY LYNN and the coaches from the Los Angeles Chargers and JASON GARRETTand the coaches from the Dallas Cowboys will lead the AFC and NFC teams, respectively.

Each conference will also be led by two Legends Captains – one offensive and one defensive. Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback JIM KELLY (offense) and linebacker DEMARCUS WARE (defense) will lead the AFC, while Pro Football Hall of Fame running back EMMITT SMITH (offense) and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker BRIAN URLACHER (defense) will lead the NFC.​

NFL announces Wild Card and Divisional Playoff Schedule

The NFL announced tonight the schedule of sites, dates and times for the National Football League Wild Card Playoffs on January 5-6 and Divisional Playoffs on January 12-13.

 

NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS

Saturday, January 5
AFC   4:35 PM (ET)  Tennessee-Indianapolis winner at Houston (ESPN, with simulcast on ABC)
NFC:    8:15 PM (ET)  Seattle at Dallas (FOX)

Sunday, January 6

AFC:    1:05 PM (ET)  Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore (CBS)
NFC:    4:40 PM (ET)  Philadelphia at Chicago (NBC)​

NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS

Saturday, January 12

AFC   4:35 PM (ET) Baltimore/Los Angeles Chargers/Indianapolis or Tennessee at Kansas City (NBC)
NFC:    8:15 PM (ET) Chicago/Dallas/Seattle at Los Angeles Rams (FOX)

Sunday, January 13

AFC   1:05 PM (ET) Houston/Baltimore/Los Angeles Chargers at New England (CBS)
NFC:    4:40 PM (ET) Dallas/Seattle/Philadelphia at New Orleans (FOX)

In the Divisional Playoffs, the division champion with the best record in each conference will host the lowest seeded Wild Card survivor.  Once teams are seeded for the playoffs, positions do not change:

American Football Conference

National Football Conference

  1. Kansas City (12-4), AFC West champion
  1. New Orleans (13-3), NFC South champion
  1. New England (11-5), AFC East champion
  1. Los Angeles Rams (13-3), NFC West champion
  1. Houston (11-5), AFC South champion
  1. Chicago (12-4), NFC North champion
  1. Baltimore (10-6), AFC North champion
  1. Dallas (10-6), NFC East champion
  1. Los Angeles Chargers (12-4)
  1. Seattle (10-6)
  1. Indianapolis/Tennessee (10-6)*
  1. Philadelphia (9-7)

The NFC (FOX, 3:05 PM ET) and AFC (CBS, 6:40 PM ET) Championship Games will be played on Sunday, January 20.

The 2019 Pro Bowl (ESPN, with simulcast on ABC, 3:00 PM ET) will be played on Sunday, January 27 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida and Super Bowl LIII will take place on Sunday, February 3 (CBS, 6:30 PM ET), at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.

*NOTE: Should the Indianapolis-Tennessee game end in a tie, Pittsburgh will be the AFC No. 6 seed and play at Houston in the Wild Card playoffs.

Chargers-Chiefs is 2nd most-watched Thursday Night Football Game this season

Capped off by the Los Angeles Chargers defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 29-28 last night, the 2018 Thursday Night Football Presented by Bud Light season delivered an average audience of 14.9 million viewers, including FOX, NFL Network, FOX Deportes, NFL digital, FOX Sports digital, Amazon and Yahoo Sports, up +4% versus the 2017 10-game Thursday Night Football average (vs. 14.2 million).

The Nielsen-measured audience averaged 14.3 million viewers (8.7 HH RTG), up +3% versus the 2017 10-game Thursday Night Football average (vs. 13.8 million viewers; 8.4 HH RTG).

Across all digital platforms (FOX Sports app, NFL.com, NFL app, Amazon Prime, Twitch, Verizon, Yahoo!) through eleven games this season, Thursday Night Football produced an average minute audience of 728K, up +66% over last year’s 10-game Thursday Night Football average (vs. 439K). Through eleven games this season, Amazon Prime Video and Twitch delivered an average minute audience of 499Kviewers, up 52% versus the 2017 10-game Thursday Night Football average (vs. 328K).

The 2018 finale matchup on Thursday Night Football Presented by Bud Light on Thursday, December 13 was seen by an average audience of 18.1 million viewers across all platforms, including FOX, NFL Network, FOX Deportes, NFL digital, FOX Sports digital, Amazon and Yahoo! Sports, making it the second most-watched Thursday Night Football game this season. Last night’s 18.1 million viewers is up +67% versus last year’s comparable Week 15 matchup (vs. Denver @ Indianapolis; 10.9 million viewers).

The Nielsen-measured audience for last night’s game was 17.4 million viewers (10.5 HH RTG) – up +64% versus the 2017 Week 15 Thursday Night Football game (vs. 10.6 million viewers; 6.5 HH RTG).

Digital streaming across Amazon Prime Video, Twitch, NFL digital platforms, FOX Sports digital platforms and Yahoo Sports for last night’s game produced an average minute audience of 897K – an increase of +104% versus the 2017 10-game Thursday Night Football average (vs. 439K) and up +209% versus last year’s Week 15 Thursday Night Football matchup (vs. 290K).

Amazon Prime Video and Twitch reached a total of 2.4 million combined viewers worldwide for the FOX NFL Thursday pregame show and the Chargers-Chiefs game. For the Chargers-Chiefs game alone, 2.2 million worldwide viewers initiated a stream on Prime Video or Twitch. The average worldwide audience watching Thursday Night Football for at least 30 seconds on Prime Video or Twitch was 622K.

NFL playoff scenarios for Week 14; Saints, Chiefs, Pats, Chargers, Texans can clinch playoff spots

Another week in the NFL, another week where more teams can clinch playoff spots.

Here’s who can clinch playoff spots in Week 14 of the NFL:

NFC

CLINCHED: Los Angeles Rams – NFC West division title

LOS ANGELES RAMS (11-1) (at Chicago (8-4), Sunday night, 8:20 PM ET, NBC)

Los Angeles clinches a first round bye with:

1)    LAR win

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (10-2) (at Tampa Bay (5-7), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

New Orleans clinches NFC South division title with:

1)    NO win or tie OR

2)    CAR loss or tie

New Orleans clinches a playoff berth with:

1)    MIN loss + PHI loss or tie + WAS loss or tie

AFC

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (10-2) (vs. Baltimore (7-5), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, CBS)

Kansas City clinches a playoff berth with:

1)    KC win or tie OR

2)    MIA loss or tie + IND loss or tie + TEN loss or tie

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (9-3) (at Miami (6-6), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, CBS)

New England clinches AFC East division title with:

1)    NE win or tie

HOUSTON TEXANS (9-3) (vs. Indianapolis (6-6), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, CBS)

Houston clinches AFC South division title with:

1)    HOU win + TEN loss or tie OR

2)    HOU tie + TEN loss

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (9-3) (vs. Cincinnati (5-7), Sunday, 4:05 PM ET, CBS)

Los Angeles clinches a playoff berth with:

1)    LAC win + MIA loss or tie + DEN loss or tie + IND loss or tie + TEN loss or tieOR

2)    LAC tie + MIA loss + DEN loss + IND loss or tie + TEN loss or tie as long as both IND and TEN both don’t tie

NFL schedule changes for Week 13 & 14

The NFL announced today the following schedule changes for Week 13 (December 2) and Week 14 (December 9).

In Week 13 (December 2), the Los Angeles Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers game originally scheduled for 1:00 PM ET on CBS will move to 8:20 PM ET on NBC. Additionally, the San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks game will move from 8:20 PM ET on NBC to 4:25 PM ET on FOX.

In Week 14 (December 9), the Los Angeles Rams at Chicago Bears game scheduled for 1:00 PM on FOX will move to 8:20 PM ET on NBC. The Pittsburgh Steelers at Oakland Raiders game originally scheduled for 8:20 PM ET on NBC will move to 4:25 PM ET on FOX.

The following is the final Week 13 NFL schedule (all times ET):

Thursday, November 29

New Orleans at Dallas 8:20 PM FOX/NFLN/Amazon

Sunday, December 2

Baltimore at Atlanta 1:00 PM CBS
Denver at Cincinnati 1:00 PM CBS
Los Angeles Rams at Detroit 1:00 PM FOX
Arizona at Green Bay 1:00 PM FOX
Cleveland at Houston 1:00 PM CBS
Indianapolis at Jacksonville 1:00 PM CBS
Buffalo at Miami 1:00 PM CBS
Chicago at New York Giants 1:00 PM FOX
Carolina at Tampa Bay 1:00 PM FOX
Kansas City at Oakland 4:05 PM CBS
New York Jets at Tennessee 4:05 PM CBS
Minnesota at New England 4:25 PM FOX
San Francisco at Seattle 4:25 PM FOX
Los Angeles Chargers at Pittsburgh 8:20 PM NBC
   

Monday, December 3

Washington at Philadelphia 8:15 PM ESPN

The following is the final Week 14 NFL schedule (all times ET):

Thursday, December 6

Jacksonville at Tennessee 8:20 PM FOX/NFLN/Amazon

Sunday, December 9

New York Jets at Buffalo 1:00 PM CBS
Carolina at Cleveland 1:00 PM FOX
Atlanta at Green Bay 1:00 PM FOX
Indianapolis at Houston 1:00 PM CBS
Baltimore at Kansas City 1:00 PM CBS
New England at Miami 1:00 PM CBS
New Orleans at Tampa Bay 1:00 PM FOX
New York Giants at Washington 1:00 PM FOX
Cincinnati at Los Angeles Chargers 4:05 PM CBS
Denver at San Francisco 4:05 PM CBS
Detroit at Arizona 4:25 PM FOX
Philadelphia at Dallas 4:25 PM FOX
Pittsburgh at Oakland 4:25 PM FOX
Los Angeles Rams at Chicago 8:20 PM NBC
 

Monday, December 10

Minnesota at Seattle 8:15 PM ESPN

Kellen Winslow Sr. reflects on Chargers-Dolphins classic encounter from 1982(Video)

Hall of Fame tight end Kellen Winslow Sr. was a special player, and he proved how special he was on January 2, 1982, in Miami. The Chargers faced the Dolphins in the divisional round of the playoffs in the 1981 season. On that hot day in Miami, Winslow did everything. He caught 13 passes for 166 yards and one touchdown.

One of the most iconic shots from that game is Winslow being helped off the field by his teammates after a herculean effort in that contest. However, the five-time Pro Bowler believes he receives too much credit for what happened on that day in Miami.

“I get too much credit for that game,” Winslow recently said at  U.S. Army-Pro Football Hall of Fame Award for Excellence Luncheon. “Everybody on that field had similar circumstances. The Dolphins just happened to be kicking my boot that day, and they did a very good job of it.”

The Chargers were up  24-0 after the 1st quarter. Miami would cut to the lead to seven at halftime, and eventually, the game would be tied at 31 by the of the end of third quarter. Late in the game with the scored tied at 38, Winslow blocked a possible Dolphins game-winning field goal, which helped the Chargers send the game to OT. Ultimately, the Chargers would win 41-38.

Winslow was suffering through a lot of injuries on that day. He had a pinched nerve, a shoulder injury and cramps, but according to Winslow, he was not going to do let the Chargers lose on that day:

“I was not going to be apart of a team that was up 21-0; it might have been 24-0. I think the story gets bigger every year. We might have been up 30-0 where we were going to be up that many points and lose. That was not going to be apart of the legacy of the San Diego Chargers, especially not apart of a San Diego Chargers with Kellen Winslow on that team.”

The game would later be known as the “Epic in Miami.”

Listen below as Winslow talks about the Chargers-Dolphins epic playoff game:

 

Chargers’ Mebane on playing at home: ‘We just going to treat it just like a road game’

The Los Angeles Chargers still have a chance to make the playoffs after starting the season 0-4. For that to happen, the team needs to beat the Raiders on Sunday. Then, they need one of the following scenarios to happen:

1)  TEN loss or tie + BUF loss or tie OR

2)  TEN loss or tie + BAL win or tie OR

3) LAC tie + TEN loss + BUF loss or tie

The good thing for the Chargers is they play the Raiders at the StubHub Center. The bad thing for the Chargers could be that they play the Raiders at the StubHub Center.

As we have seen this year, playing at the StubHub Center has not always been an advantage for the Chargers. We have witnessed visiting teams’ fans take over the stadium. With the Raiders in town, and with many people in Los Angeles still Raiders’ fans, you wonder if Oakland’s fans will take over the StubHub Center on Sunday.

Last week, Chargers DT Brandon Mebane talked about some of the reasons other teams’ fans are able to take over StubHub Center:

“I think what happened was the Chargers’ fans wanted to come, but the venue that we play in is small, and those ticket prices are not like normal ticket prices for a stadium that could seat 65 to 70,000,” Mebane said. “I think the seating capacity there is only like 27,000, so the tickets are going to be a little higher, but the stadium still be filled. But it probably won’t be fans of the home team.”

Ticket prices at StubHub Center are the tenth-highest in the league, according to Boltbeat.com.

According to Mebane, the team understands that they may not have a home-field advantage, which has changed how the team approaches home games:

“Our team just came to the conclusion is just like, they may not outnumber us at home, but at the end of the day, we just going to treat it just like a road game or treat it just like a game period,” Mebane said. “Whoever boos, boos, cool. If you with us, then you with us. It came down to we can’t really control that, so at the end of the day, we just gotta play. It is what it is when it comes to that.”

Unfortunately for the Chargers, the team will have to play at StubHub Center for two more years before they can move into their new stadium that they will share with the Rams.

Should be interesting to which fan base will be louder on Sunday!

 

Brandon Mebane is not happy with Pro Football Focus(Listen)

In the world of football, analytics play an essential role in how we view players. Some love analytics, others hate it. For example, Chargers DT Brandon Mebane believes he is having a solid season. Mebane has 29 tackles, but no sacks in 15 games with the Chargers, but, according to Pro Football Focus, Mebane is not having a good year. At this point, Mebane has an overall score of 42, which is considered “poor.”

However, according to Mebane, they’re reasons for his numbers:

“I wish I would have gotten more single teams(laughs). It is what it is. I understand my role on the team,” Mebane told Go4it’s Paul Gant “It is what it is. That’s the way teams want to block me. I look at it as a sign of respect.   I’m 32-years-old, in my 11th year. They still want to double me.”

Mebane is not a fan of Pro Football Focus, and how they rank players:

“I seen like a blog today and it said I was like one of the most disappointing players of 2017. For the person that wrote that article, it’s to the point to where I would like to sit down and talk to that person and be like: ‘well, let’s watch the same film you be watching, or have you watched some film or are you going off somebody from Pro Football Focus? Because if you look at Pro Football Focus, Pro Football Focus all they go off on is stats,” Mebane said. “So, you’re telling me that you’ll say a person had a good year, but this person is on a 0-16 team. That don’t make no sense. It’s a team game, so how’s this person having a good year if he’s on a 0-16 team?  But he has so-called Pro Bowl stats? It doesn’t make sense. It’s like if you don’t win and your team is not successful then how’s he having success? If he’s that good of a player, then he should have his own success, and, it’s like okay, he’s making everyone else around him (better). It’s kind of like Magic Johnson. Now, Magic Johnson had a great team; guys were already talented, but I feel like, Magic Johnson took those guys to another level. They took each other to another level, so I’m saying is when you write these type of articles make sure you have your facts. And make sure you’re watching the film, and make sure you’re not just reading something, and like, ‘all I’m going to type something and just cause it looks good.’ I got a name. I been playing a long time, so it’s like alright, ‘lets just put this guy in here, score!’ And it’s like, well, if you’re getting doubled, then obviously you’re not going to get stats, so it’s just one of those things that I never really understood from people that write articles that have no idea about the game, and especially, have no idea about my position that I play. I would like to sit down and talk to him. It’s like do you actually know what I do? Do you actually know my position, in particular, keeps(helps) a lot of guys to make plays.”

Based on the sack numbers of Joey Bosa(11.5) and Melvin Ingram(10), you can argue that Mebane’s presence is helping those two players have success.  Mebane gave his thoughts on that subject:

“Those two guys(Bosa and Ingram) right there potentially could be Defensive Player of the Year. You have two guys on the defensive line, which in my 11 years I never had two guys on the defensive line that could be potentially Defensive Player of the Year,” Mebane said. “So, it takes four guys to rush the passer. It takes four guys or multiple guys, a lot of times, to stop the run. I think that people have to pay attention to that. It’s like two guys on the defensive line can’t do it by themselves; three guys can’t do it by themselves. It takes four, and then sometimes, certain teams have more than four guys. They rotate guys. They might have four behind them that can play just as well.”

Mebane explains why he believes writers would call him out:

“So, my thing is I feel like a lot of times when people write these articles they use these guys names: ‘Okay, let’s put Mebane’s name in, he’s been in there for 11 years.’ People see that article, and they might read it, ‘oh wow! Dang, that’s Mebane, wow!’ It’s like at the end of the day, man, people going to say what they say about me. It is what it is, man,” Mebane explained.

Mebane challenged Pro Football Focus to watch film with him:

“Like I said, people are going to say what they going to say. I can go toe-to-toe and talk about football with anybody. I’d love for that person or Pro Football Focus, or  whoever to sit down and watch some film, and I be like, ‘let’s go, let’s do it.’ I ain’t been doing this for 11 years for nothing,” Mebane said.

Mebane was not finished with Pro Football Focus:

“I try to focus on to use things like that person writing that article to show them I can play at 32, and you write that article you probably never picked up a football. You probably was a honor student at a school or something. Not that there’s nothing wrong with that., but you probably never threw a football before. So, it’s like how can you critique what I do for a living if you never, ever experienced (it). You probably watched it on TV, and another thing, too, the position I play is not a sexy position, so I’m not going to get crazy number stats, or I’m not going to get sacks, or create sacks out of this world,” Mebane explained.

Mebane has never been a high sack guy. His career high in sacks was 5.5 nine years ago with the Seahawks. Based on the sack numbers of Bosa and Ingram, maybe Mebane has a point. However, the Chargers are 32nd against the run, so it’s a mixed bag!

According to Pro Football Focus, grades are based on their film study of every single play.

Listen to the interview w/ Brandon Mebane below. He discussed Pro Football Focus at 13:20 mark:

Chargers’ Brandon Mebane: ‘I think we’re probably like one of the most talented teams in the NFL’

For the Los Angeles Chargers, things did not start out well. They started the season 0-4, and many thought at that point, the season was over. However, the team won 7 of the next 10 games and put themselves in position to possibly make the playoffs.

Chargers DT Brandon Mebane thinks very highly of his team. He believes the Chargers are one of the more talented teams in the NFL:

“I think we’re probably like one of the most talented teams in the NFL, but you know talent don’t usually win you ballgames,” Mebane told the Go4it podcast with host Paul Gant. “You know we done had sometimes during the season we wish we could of got back, some games that we wish would of got back, some plays out there we wish we would of got back, but I think at this point right now, all you can do is learn from it. Take these last two games and just try to do the best we can. And see what happens after that.”

The Chargers do have a lot of talent. They get after the quarterback with Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. On the offensive side of the ball, they have QB Phillip Rivers, who is playing some good football, along with WR Keenan Allen and RB Melvin Gordon, but the slow start hurt this team.

In order for the Chargers to make the playoffs, they will need some help. According to CBSSports.com, the Chargers would have to win their final two games and would need the Chiefs to lose out to win the AFC West. In terms of getting one of wild card spots, they’re a few different things that need to happen with the Ravens, Titans, and Bills.

It might be a long shot for the Chargers, but it’s the NFL, so anything can happen!