He’s the Man-ning! Yesterday, Denver Broncos Head Coach Gary Kubiak announced that legendary QB Peyton Manning will be starting in their first playoff game next week. This selection was a surprise to no one, after QB Brock Osweiler was benched mid-game in favor of Manning during last week’s victory against the San Diego Chargers. While Manning didn’t exactly earn the spot (he has a League high 17 interceptions), the team managed to play better with him in the game. A disappointed Osweiler will return to his role as backup, in case one of Manning’s many residual injuries flare up.
You want to play? That’s silly. It’s Kobe’s turn. It’s always Kobe’s turn. Last night the Sacramento Kings almost blew a 27-point lead to the Los Angeles Lakers, but were able to squeak out a victory (118-115). It was the first game back for Lakers guard Kobe Bryant after missing 3 games due to a sore shoulder, and he showed some of that old Kobe brilliance throughout the game. Rookie and 2nd overall draft pick D'Angelo Russell had the best game of his career, coming off the bench to score 27 points but rolling his ankle in the final minutes. None of this is really news, because the Kings have been having a bad season, and the Lakers have been having a terrible season. But it is news that the Lakers have consciously decided to make this entire season the Kobe Show.
Huh? What do you mean? You may remember that Kobe made a poetic announcement that he would retire from basketball at the end of this season. Since that time, Kobe has been on an extended farewell tour, receiving adoring fans wherever he goes. The problem is that he’s no longer the superstar he used to be. For the most part, he’s been playing poorly and for a lot of minutes. Fans and critics alike were left asking when they would bench Kobe and start developing their young talent. Just this week, the Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak basically replied, Young talent, schmoung schmalent. This season is about Kobe. While many basketball fans don’t understand how the Lakers can sacrifice all this potential, Kobe fans just want more Kobe. The proof is in the pudding. Kobe is still leading in the All-Star game polling with 300,000 votes above this season’s likely MVP Steph Curry.
Last night's game was a big exception to the rule, with Kobe looking like his old self and sitting on the bench during the 4th quarter to watch the young players close out the game. We'll see if he's able to keep up the efficient scoring and be a mentor to players like Russell.
Spotlight on the NFL Playoffs
The NFL Playoffs will begin this Saturday with the Wild Card Round. We have been spotlighting a different game each day, so you know what to look out for when you’re watching this weekend.
Today’s feature is the NFC matchup between the #5 Green Bay Packers @ the #4 Washington Redskins, airing on Sunday at 4:40pm ET.
No it’s ok, we can right this ship. The Packers have made it to the playoffs the past 7 years and they won the Super Bowl in 2010, so this should be old hat to them. Except there’s a problem. The Packers have lost their past 2 games and have been shaky the rest of the season. What is going on? Their receivers have not been able to get open and the offensive line has not been able to protect QB Aaron Rodgers. It’s not all bad news for the Packers, though. They have one of the best secondaries in the league, which forces their opponents to make very short plays and holds them to very few yards. For instance, in last week’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings, QB Teddy Bridgewater was only able to throw for 99 yards. Also, let’s not forget that Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks in the game. He has the highest career passer rating (rating system based on QB statistics) and lowest career passing interception percentage in NFL history. Let’s see if Rodgers and the defense can pull together a victory.
Who wouldn’t like that? Take what you just read about the Green Bay Packers. Now pretend it’s opposite day. That’s the Washington Redskins. The last time Washington made it to the Playoffs was 2012 and they lost. Robert Griffin III was their QB and Kirk Cousins was his backup. This time around Cousins is in the driver’s seat, after earning the starting position earlier this season. Cousins is arguably the hottest QB in the game right now. He has the highest NFL completion percentage for this season, and has thrown only 1 interception in the past 6 games. What’s his secret? It could be that he has been meticulously preparing for this chance at the starting role over the past 3 seasons, planning his daily activities in 15 minute intervals. Or it could be his sweet catch phrase, “You Like That!” which is now going to appear on all the Rally Towels during this Sunday’s game. But most likely, it’s the fact that Cousins has his pick of players who can make big plays in TE Jordan Reed, WR DeSean Jackson, and WR Pierre Garcon. That’s all well and good, but skeptics will point out that the Redskins haven’t beaten a team with a winning record all season.
This weekend look out for all those Playoff Games we’ve been telling you about all week! Have no idea what I’m talking about? Find our past NFL playoff game summaries here:
- AFC: #5 Kansas City Chiefs @ #4 Houston Texans - Saturday 4:35 PM ET
- AFC: #6 Pittsburgh Steelers @ #3 Cincinnati Bengals – Saturday 8:15 PM ET
- NFC: #6 Seattle Seahawks @ #3 Minnesota Vikings – Sunday 1:05 PM ET
- NFC #5 Green Bay Packers @ #4 Washington – (Look up, silly goose!) Sunday 4:40 PM ET
TEASER >>>> COLLEGE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Don’t get the Sunday night blues… you have something to look forward to! The College Football Championship game is Monday, with Clemson playing Alabama. Even though going back to work will be the pits, you can look forward to our post!