Chiefs-Broncos, Cowboys-Eagles set for Saturday

The NFL finalized today the schedule for Week 18, Season Finale on Saturday, January 8 and Sunday, January 9.

The week begins with a Saturday doubleheader:

At 4:30 PM ET, the Kansas City Chiefs will visit the Denver Broncos.

Then at 8:15 PM ET, the Dallas Cowboys will visit the Philadelphia Eagles.

The regular season will conclude with the Los Angeles Chargers against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday Night Football.

The Week 18 schedule (all times ET, pm):

Saturday, January 8

 

Kansas City at Denver

ESPN/ABC

4:30

 

Dallas at Philadelphia

ESPN/ABC

8:15

Sunday, January 9

 

Pittsburgh at Baltimore

CBS

1:00

 

Cincinnati at Cleveland

FOX

1:00

 

Green Bay at Detroit

FOX

1:00

 

Tennessee at Houston

CBS

1:00

 

Indianapolis at Jacksonville

CBS

1:00

 

Chicago at Minnesota

FOX

1:00

 

Washington at New York Giants

FOX

1:00

 

Seattle at Arizona

FOX

4:25

 

New Orleans at Atlanta

FOX

4:25

 

New York Jets at Buffalo

CBS

4:25

 

San Francisco at Los Angeles Rams

FOX

4:25

 

New England at Miami

CBS

4:25

 

Carolina at Tampa Bay

CBS

4:25

 

Los Angeles Chargers at Las Vegas

NBC

8:20

 

 

Washington’s Rivera is hoping the team will turn things around in second half of season

The Washington Football Team head into their bye week on a four-game losing streak after falling to the Denver Broncos on the road 17-10.

During this losing streak, Washington has played some pretty good teams, including losses to the Packers, Saints, and the Chiefs. When they return after the bye week, Washington hosts the world champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Last season, after eight games, Washington was 2-6, but they finished the season 5-3, including a four-game winning streak, and ultimately, Washington was able to win the NFC East. 

Over the years, Ron Rivera-coached teams have done well in the second half of the season, and on Monday, Rivera explained why that is the case.

“Well, just because I’d like to believe that as we progress through the year, through the season, especially my early years as a head coach, a lot of things seem to come together,” Rivera said. “That’s what I kind of feel with last year; things kind of came to go at the right time for us. I like to believe we are on the same path. Just because I think some of the things that we’ve done have helped us to trend in the right direction. I mean, obviously offensively, we’ve outgained the last two teams we’ve played. Unfortunately, we just haven’t outscored them. And that’s important. 

“Defensively, we’ve been able to hold certain aspects of our opponents in check. We played against a couple of good running teams, and we’ve held them both under a hundred yards rushing. We played a very dynamic quarterback in Aaron Rodgers and kept him under his numbers. We still haven’t won. But the thing that you can sit there and say is it’s coming together. It’s not where we want to be, obviously, but if we continue to trend in the right way, we have a chance. So that’s really what we’re looking at.”

Health has not been on Washington’s side this season. Key players that Washington was counting on this season like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Curtis Samuel, Brandon Scherff, Logan Thomas, and Sam Cosmi have missed time.

Rivera is hoping to get those key players back on the field at some point this season.

“We haven’t had the guys on the field that we feel could really help us to play better and hopefully win some football games,” Rivera said. “I think it’s going to be huge, being able to get Brandon [Scherff] and Sam [Cosmi] back on the football field. I think it could be very helpful having a healthy Curtis(Samuel) and Logan(Thomas) out there working together with our offensive guys. I think defensively, trying to figure out how we are, where we are. That’s a little bit more of a work in progress. I think some of the things that we’ve done lately have really shown that we have the potential to get it going again, but we just got to keep working on that. But finding who we are got a lot to do with the guys that we haven’t been able to use and play with, So I think coming out of this, we’ll see how we respond to it, especially if we do get those guys back on the football field.”

Fortunately for Washington, the schedule does get a little easier as they play the Eagles twice, Giants, but they still have games against the Cowboys(2X), Panthers, and Las Vegas. So, it should be interesting to see if Washington can turn things around in the second half of the season.

Giants’ Jones: ‘We’ve got to do a good job of taking care of the ball’

Many people call Giants quarterback Daniel Jones’s 2021 season a make-or-break year, and yesterday epitomized what we have seen out of Jones in his short career.

We saw some decent moments from Jones, including a 37-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard that gave the Giants an early 7-3 lead. However, in the third quarter, with New York trailing 17-7 and driving deep into Broncos’ territory, Jones fumbled after a 15-yard scramble, which Denver recovered. 

After the fumble, the Broncos would add a field goal to take a commanding 20-7 lead.

“Yeah, turnovers are always going to hurt you at any point in the game, and they’re big plays,” the third-year quarterback said. “We’ve got to do a good job of taking care of the ball, and you’ve gotta do a good job. But we’ll keep moving forward and keep improving.”

Giants head coach Joe Judge added: “We’ve got to do a better job as a team eliminating the penalties and turnovers. That’s a team focus right there, so this isn’t about any one player. It’s about a team improving and, look; good teams improve week to week. As I talked to the team, that’s what our focus has to be, to be a better team in Week 2 and a better team in Week 3. It’s a long season. We literally have an entire season ahead of us, okay. Any other year, it was 16 games; we have 16 games ahead of us that we have to improve week by week and keep climbing and make sure we’re the best team we can be.”

This loss is not all on Jones. The Broncos were able to move the ball against the Giants effectively. Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was 28/36 for 264 yards with two touchdowns, and Melvin Gordon had 101 yards rushing, including a 70-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. 

Denver converted 10 of 18 third and fourth-down opportunities, and according to Giants safety Logan Ryan, the defense did not play well on Sunday.

“It wasn’t our standard,” Ryan said. “We were terrible early last year in a similar way on third and fourth downs. We have to be better.”

Disappointing game for the Jones and the Giants’ defense, but fortunately for them, they get back at it on Thursday night in D.C against the Washington Football Team.

Tebow on playing tight end: ‘I know it will be a challenge, but it is a challenge I embrace’

Tim Tebow is back in the NFL, but this time at a new position. Jacksonville Jaguars have signed TE Tim Tebow, the team announced on Thursday.

Tebow, who won the Heisman Trophy with current Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer at Florida, played three seasons in the NFL as a quarterback, including leading the Broncos to a victory in the playoffs back in 2011.

After playing for the Jets in 2012, the Florida native tried to catch on with the Eagles and Patriots, but both times he was cut by both teams before the start of the season. Tebow tried his hand at baseball and spent three seasons(2016-19) in the Mets’ minor league system before retiring in 2020.

“I want to thank the Jaguars for the opportunity to compete and earn the chance to be part of this team,” Tebow said. “I know it will be a challenge, but it is a challenge I embrace. I am dedicated to taking the direction of our coaching staff and learning from my teammates. I appreciate everyone’s support as I embark on this new journey.”

Tebow, 33, has never played tight end on any level and has not played an NFL regular-season game in nine years, so this transition won’t be easy. Clearly, this brings more eyes and ears to the Jaguars, and clearly, Tebow is loved in the state of Florida, but it could be a distraction. 

However, it will be fun to see if he can make the transition, and if he does, “Tebowmania” will be off the charts.

 

Gary Kubiak retires after 36 years in the NFL

Minnesota Vikings Offensive Coordinator/Assistant Head Coach Gary Kubiak has announced his retirement from the NFL. Kubiak retires having appeared in nine conference championship games and seven Super Bowls as a player or coach.

Kubiak has been part of four World Championship staffs during his career, most recently as the Head Coach of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50.

In 10 seasons as a head coach with Houston and Denver, Kubiak had 87 wins including postseason games. Kubiak spent 36 seasons in the NFL, playing for nine and 27 in coaching and personnel. Gary Kubiak has issued the following statement:

“It’s been the honor of my lifetime to work for 36 seasons as an NFL player and coach. I’ve been on a football field for most of my life, and now I look forward to stepping away from the game and enjoying more time with my family and friends. I offer my sincere thanks to the owners and fans of the Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers for giving me opportunities to be a part of this great game and for treating me and my family so well over the years. I’ll miss the competition, the planning, game days and being part of a team. But, more than anything, I’ll cherish the friendships I’ve made along the way with players, coaches and staff. I love the game of football and will forever be its biggest fan.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer has issued the following statement on the retirement of Gary Kubiak:

“Gary did a tremendous job with us at the Vikings over the past two seasons. I have a great deal of respect for him as a coach and as a person, and I’m glad I was able to coach with him. He has had one heck of an NFL career as a player, assistant coach and head coach, and I am really happy for Gary and his wife Rhonda as they head off to their ranch. We will all miss Gary at the Vikings organization and wish him the very best.”

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman has issued the following statement on the retirement of Gary Kubiak:

“Gary Kubiak is leaving an impressive legacy in the NFL, and his impact will be shown for decades to come in the players he’s guided and the coaches he’s mentored. There’s not a better man in our business than Gary. The entire Vikings organization appreciates what Gary did for us and what he has meant to the game.”

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Would Cam Newton or Jameis Winston be a good fit in Denver? Is Drew Lock the man for Denver? What was Atwater’s greatest performance? He will let you know!

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Vikings’ Cousins on defeating Broncos: ‘It was a special win’

Down 20-0 at halftime, it seemed that the Minnesota Vikings were on their way to a very disappointing loss to the Denver Broncos at home, but fortunately for the Vikings, the team woke up in the second half, and they were able to defeat the Broncos 27-23 on Sunday.

After taking the lead in the fourth quarter, the Minnesota faithful had to sweat this one out. Denver was able to move the ball down to Minnesota’s 4-yard line with 10 seconds left and no timeouts, but the Vikings’ defense stiffened, and Minnesota was able to escape with the victory. 

“It was an exciting game, obviously. It’s nice to come back,” Vikings head Mike Zimmer said. “Showed a lot of heart, showed a lot of guts, showed a lot of courage. Obviously, we didn’t play very well in the first half. We had penalties, fumbles, gave up big plays. Just did not play very well. But we came together, we fought pretty darn good in the second half and made just enough plays to win.”

One of the reasons the Vikings were able to make a comeback was QB Kirk Cousins(29-35, 319 yards, 3 TDs), who threw three touchdown passes in the second half, including the game-winner to TE Kyle Rudolph.

“It was a special win,” Vikings QB Kirk Cousins said. “Like you said, it’s not common to do it. It wasn’t looking good there, but we kept playing and got enough explosives and scored fast enough to have time on the clock, and our defense only allowed three points in the second half, which is crucial to any comeback, and that often gets lost in a comeback is how much your defense keeps you in it when you’re down. So obviously, then, the final plays they made in the red zone were enormous as well.”

According to ESPN.com, this was the first time in five years — a span of 100 games including the playoffs — that an NFL team won after trailing by 20 or more points at halftime.

Great win for Vikings, and while they need to play better moving forward, they get the win, they move to 8-3, and now it’s off to enjoy the bye.