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The NFL playoff field is set!

NFL football fans were on the edges of their seats this Sunday, as the playoff scenario came into focus one game at a time. There were some exciting performances, and the day was capped off by one heck of a showdown in the original home of the Lombardi Trophy itself!

Big Ben and the Steelers are back in another postseason.

In the AFC, the New England Patriots were hoping to secure home field advantage when they went into Miami to take on Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins. it didn’t go as planned as Tom Brady and the Patriots struggled all game and lost 20-10 to the fins. This left them watching the scoreboard, as the Denver Broncos sought to secure the top AFC seed against the San Diego Chargers. Brock Osweiler had done a nice job of holding down the fort, including leading an exciting overtime win against Brady’s crew earlier in the season, and he threw for 262 yards and a score on Sunday–but it was the third quarter return of Peyton Manning that stole the show, as he came in to lead his team to victory as the home crowd cheered. Things just felt different with Manning back under center and healthy again, and the Broncos went into the postseason looking fully intact and like a real threat to go all the way. JJ Watt and the Houston Texans pounded the Jacksonville Jaguars 30-6 to finish 9-7 and win their division, but the Cincinnati Bengals hung on at home against the Baltimore Ravens, winning 24-16 and taking the third seed at 12-4. The 11-5 Kansas City Chiefs took care of the Oakland Raiders in the final NFL  game of the legendary Raiders defensive back Charles Woodson, and the Chiefs will go into the playoffs as the 5th seeded wild card. And the second wild card game was decided in two thrilling games, as the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers both looked to make the second season.

In Buffalo, Rex Ryan was eager to knock his old team out of the playoffs as the Buffalo Bills tried to beat the Jets for the second time this season. And to start things off, the Bills had the Jets of balance. Ryan Fitzpatrick missed open throws, and the Jets’ offense clearly missed the presence of dual-threat running back Bilal Powell, who was absent due to injury. The Jets righted the ship somewhat, closing to 22-17 in the fourth quarter; they drove all the way down into field goal range, when Fitzpatrick threw a terrible-looking pick in the Bills’ end zone to kill their drive. By the time the Jets got the ball back, it was for a last-second desperation push that came close to working out as Kenbrell Thompkins somehow found a gap up the right sideline and had the ball in his hands! Had he caught it, he might have dodged the final defender and coasted into the end zone. Alas, the ball was jarred from his hands at the last second, and the Jets wound up losing 22-17–the same score by which they had lost to the Bills earlier in the season. Meanwhile, in Cleveland, the Browns tried to play spoiler against Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers. It looked close for a while, especially when the Steelers turned it over with the game still close–but then, as Browns fans have unfortunately come to expect, they turned it right back over and the Steelers took over. They won 28-12, and their sideline was all smiles when the final score of the Jets game was announced, Meanwhile, the rest of the AFC sighed, as a dangerous and experienced playoff team was able to squeeze into the tournament.

Russell Wilson finished another great season in Seattle.

In the NFC, Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers made easy work of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to go 15-1. Unfortunately, they lost cornerback Charles Tillman for the rest of the year to a torn ACL. Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks destroyed the Arizona Cardinals 36-6, roaring into the playoffs on a mission to get back to the big game. And in the Sunday night game, the NFC North was decided in a game that started out slowly but ended in #FanCrazy fashion. The Minnesota Vikings went into Lambeau Field, trying to beat the Green Bay Packers and win the division in the final game of the year. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers struggled to move the ball early on, and uncharacteristically, the home crowd even booed a bit. The Vikings’ defense even ran back a Rodgers fumble the second half that put the home team in real trouble. But then the Packers seemed to remember their old ways, moving the ball up the field and coming to within 20-13 with a few minutes to go. When Adrian Peterson exited briefly due to injury, it looked like the Packers might be set up for another miraculous home win. Then when Cordarrelle Patterson ran a kick back 71 yards only to have a fumble forced by kicker Mason Crosby, it really looked like Lambeau magic was in effect! But then Rodgers threw an interception in the Vikings end zone with just over two minutes to go. But then–on the very next play, the Vikings fumbled a handoff to Peterson and the Packers almost had the ball back in the red zone. AP fought to recover the ball, but in case you thought this one would end without some more drama, the Packers’ defense forced a punt. It came down to a long throw as time expired, and for a second it looked like Rodgers might complete yet another home field Hail Mary…but it was knocked down, and the Vikings secured the North and will go on to host the Seahawks next week.

Next Saturday, the wild card round kicks off with the Texans hosting the Kansas City Chiefs and the led Cincinnati Bengals hosting the Steelers. On Sunday, the Seahawks go to Minnesota and Kirk Cousins and Washington will host the Packers. Who will advance in the first round? Will Brady and Manning face off in the postseason yet again? Will Cam and the Panthers go all the way? Hit us up @Brackethead on Twitter and tell us what you think. If you really want to show your stuff and win stuff while you support your team, head to www.gofancheer.com and download the app to Play, Shout and Win!

May the brackets always bust in your favor,

Brackethead & the folks at FanCheer

Another record-setting week in the NFL

Well, football fans, NFL records seem to be dropping like flies this year. Let’s just jump right into the Week 7 action!

The week began with another disappointing performance from Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers, who were pummeled by the Seattle Seahawks 20-3. Russell Wilson was sacked multiple times yet again, but Marshawn Lynch ran for triple-digit yards once again and the Seahawks took a step toward being back in the playoff race.

Tanehill had one of week 7’s record-breaking performances.

Another NFL record was broken in Foxoboro: with a 335-yard game, performance, Tom Brady became the fifth NFL quarterback ever to pass for 55,000 yards. The New England Patriots also came from behind to stay undefeated and beat the New York Jets, whose dropsies and gaffes kept the Pats in the game early in the fourth. The Jets’ final gaffe came after they had recovered an onside kick with 15 seconds left–they threw down the middle with no timeouts, then in their rush to line up and clock it, Brandon Marshall was offsides, resulting in a ten-second runoff. Ouch.

In Miami, Ryan Tannehill started the game 18 for 18 after ending last week with 7 completions in a row last week. This gave him  a record-breaking (yes, again) 25 consecutive completions over the course of two games, aHe threw for four scores in what felt like the first five minutes of the game! His teammate Lamar Miller had a big day too, rushing for 175 yards while adding 61 receiving yards and a touchdown reception. The Miami Dolphins pounded the Houston Texans 44-26, and adding injury to insult, the Texans lost Arian Foster to a non-contact achilles injury. Foster’s been somewhat snakebitten, and lots of folks have their fingers crossed on his behalf.

Meanwhile, the St. Louis RamsTodd Gurley piled up 128 rushing yards, 35 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns for a HUGE day against the Cleveland Browns. And on Sunday night, Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers took down the Philadelphia Eagles to go 6-0. That makes five 6-0 teams as of Week 7, which is the farthest into a season that many teams have gone without a loss! Cam is having the kind of total-package breakout year many have waited for him to have, and tight end Greg Olsen continues to be his top target.

The week ended in thrilling fashion, with the Arizona Cardinals stopping a thrilling Baltimore Ravens comeback in the last seconds of the game with a pick in their own end zone! Steve Smith, Sr. had another big receiving game for the Ravens, and Chris Johnson‘s power runs for the Cardinals proved he’s not as old as people say he is! The Ravens are 1-6, but all of their losses have been by 8 points or less…that’s a lotta heartbreak for one football team.

Who are your favorites in each divisional race? Which undefeated team will be the last one to lose its first game? Will the Patriots go 16-0? Is Cam Newton‘s turnaround for real? Hit us up @Brackethead on Twitter and tell us what you think. If you really want to show your stuff and win stuff while you support your team, head to www.gofancheer.com and download the app to Play, Shout and Win!

May the brackets always bust in your favor,

Brackethead & the folks at FanCheer

NFC East beatdown!

Another week, NFL fans, and another round of exciting football. There were two more overtime games this week, after last week’s three–proving parity still rules in the NFL. Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos played a three-hour game of hot potato with Josh McCown and the Cleveland Browns, winning an ugly one 26-23. And in Detroit, Matt Stafford and Jay Cutler had themselves a duel. After a back-and-forth thriller, Stafford rolled to his right and launched a mortar shot to Calvin “Megatron” Johnson, putting the Lions in position for a walkoff field goal with only 2:29 left in OT! The final was 37-34, but believe it or not it was even more exciting than that sounds.

Cam Newton’s play is finally matching his celebrations.

Gang Green and the New York Jets continued their rise to prominence, thumping Washington 34-20 as QB Ryan Fitzpatrick ran one in from 18 yards out. Andy Dalton led the Cincinnati Bengals to 6-0, with a 34-21 pounding of the injury-riddled Buffalo Bills. Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins clobbered Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans 38-10, while Adrian Peterson‘s off day didn’t stop the Minnesota Vikings from beating the disappointing Kansas City Chiefs 16-10.

In the 4pm round of games, Cam Newton led  the Carolina Panthers on a daring last-minute drive against the Seattle Seahawks, hitting tight end Greg Olsen in the back of the end zone with half a minute left for their first and only lead of the game! Every time you start to wonder if Newton is really legit, he pulls out a game like this. Jimmy Graham is becoming more and more a part of the Seahawks offense, but it wasn’t enough to help them here.

On Monday night, the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles squared off for what was supposed to be an NFC East showdown. Instead it was an NFC East beatdown, as the Eagles pounded the Giants 27-7. Eli Manning and the Gmen marched down the field with ease on their first possession to take a 7-0 lead, and they didn’t score for the rest of the night as they were beaten up n every phase of the game. The Giants and Eagles are now tied at 3-3 for the divisional lead, and the playoff race remains wide open.

Who are your favorites in each divisional race? Which undefeated team will be the last one to lose its first game? Is Cam Newtown’s turnaround for real? Hit us up @Brackethead on Twitter and tell us what you think. If you really want to show your stuff and win stuff while you support your team, head to www.gofancheer.com and download the app to Play, Shout and Win!

May the brackets always bust in your favor,

Brackethead & the folks at FanCheer