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PFT’s wild-card picks

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The regular season is over. MDS won the picks contest. He gets the prize that goes along with it.

The prize package consists of satisfaction and continued employment. (The consolation prize was simply continued employment.)

But the slate is now clean, with the 256-game marathon replaced by an 11-game sprint. For the first four playoff games, we disagree on two of them. All picks and analysis for the wild-card round appear below.

Chiefs at Texans

MDS’s take: The Texans’ season started with a loss to the Chiefs in which coach Bill O’Brien botched the quarterback situation by pulling Brian Hoyer for Ryan Mallett. That set the team back, but O’Brien deserves a lot of credit for the way his team held it together late in the year after Hoyer was hurt and they had to play T.J. Yates and Brandon Weeden. But I think Andy Reid deserves even more credit for the way he kept his team going after the injury to Jamaal Charles. In fact, the Chiefs have arguably the NFL’s best running attack, which is incredible given how important Charles was thought to be to the offense. I think it’s going to be that running game, led by Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware, that controls the game and gives the Chiefs a hard-fought win.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 23, Texans 20.

Florio’s take: The Chiefs have won 10 in a row. The only win not in that streak came in Week One, when Kansas City plastered the Texans in Houston. And so the reasonable conclusion is that it will happen again. But that was 17 weeks ago, and long regular-season winning streaks only add pressure at this point. The Texans have the home-field advantage and a chip on their shoulder. The Chiefs vividly recall the collapse in Indy from two years ago, and they carry the burden of being expected to win. It all adds up to the supposedly inferior team, sparking by a pregame frenzy that looks like a KISS concert, advancing to the next round. They may not get any farther, but that’s a matter to be addressed next week.

Florio’s pick: Texans 23, Chiefs 20.

Steelers at Bengals

MDS’s take: If Andy Dalton were healthy for this game, I’d pick the Bengals and I wouldn’t think twice about it: Yes, Dalton has struggled in the postseason, but he was off to an excellent start this season before suffering a thumb injury. Unfortunately for the Bengals, it looks like Dalton will sit and AJ McCarron will start. That’s a rough break, as McCarron did not play well in the Bengals’ loss to the Steelers in December. I expect McCarron to struggle and Ben Roethlisberger to play well, as the Bengals lose yet another wild card game.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 28, Bengals 20.

Florio’s take: It’s Round Three between the Steelers and the Bengals, just like 10 years ago. That time, the Steelers knocked out quarterback Carson Palmer on the home team’s first play from scrimmage, paving the way for a win. This time, the Steelers already have dispensed with Andy Dalton, who broke a thumb while making a tackle after an interception. While the “nothing to lose” mentality could help the Bengals and backup A.J. McCarron, the Steelers already have spent a week staring into the abyss of having their season end after not going all out in Baltimore. On Saturday night, Pittsburgh throws Cincinnati into the pit.

Florio’s pick: Steelers 27, Bengals 20.

Seahawks at Vikings

MDS’s take: With the way the Seahawks are playing lately, the Vikings may come to regret beating the Packers to win the NFC North. Russell Wilson has been the best quarterback in football over the second half of the season, and Seattle’s defense was ferocious in shutting down the Cardinals’ offense in Week 17. The Vikings, meanwhile, aren’t getting much out of their passing game, as Teddy Bridgewater threw just 14 touchdowns, by far the fewest of any quarterback who started all 16 games this season. Adrian Peterson is the league’s leading rusher, but I think the Seahawks’ front can hold him in check and the Seahawks’ secondary can shut down the Vikings’ receivers. This game won’t be close.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 30, Vikings 17.

Florio’s take: The Seahawks destroyed the Vikings when the two teams last got together, with a 38-7 trouncing. But for a late-game kickoff return (featuring 50 yards of high stepping from Cordarrelle Patterson), it would have been a shutout. So why would it be any different now? Intensely cold weather could flatten out the talent gap. So maybe the Seahawks only win by 16 this time.

Florio’s pick: Seahawks 30, Vikings 14.

Packers at Washington

MDS’s take: Washington is on a roll heading into the playoffs, with Kirk Cousins playing his best football, while Green Bay is stumbling with Aaron Rodgers struggling as much as he has in years. And yet I’m going to pick the Packers. I think Rodgers is ready for a big game against a suspect Washington secondary, and I’m betting on the Packers’ strong pass defense to give Cousins a rough outing.

MDS’s pick: Packers 24, Washington 20.

Florio’s take: Washington is much better than anyone expected them to be. The Packers are worse. Much, much worse. Despite winning 10 games, the Packers have gone 4-6 since starting 6-0. So should it be a surprise if Washington finds a way to beat Green Bay? And would it be a surprise if up-and-coming quarterback Kirk Cousins outplays Aaron Rodgers, who for whatever reason isn’t the guy he has been for most of his career? Not for me.

Florio’s pick: Washington 26, Packers 24.

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2016 NFL coach and G.M. changes tracker

SAN DIEGO - AUGUST 25:  Coaches headsets are placed on the San Diego Chargers bench in preparation for the game with the Seattle Seahawks on August 25, 2008 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.  The Chargers won 18-17.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) Getty Images

Cleveland Browns

Fired head coach Mike Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer.

Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam announced Sashi Brown has been promoted from general counsel to executive vice president of football operations. With this move, Haslam said the team will prioritize hiring a head coach before a general manager; the new GM will answer to Brown.

Scheduled an interview with Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase for Wednesday.

Set up an interview with Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin.

Reportedly set up an interview with Doug Marrone.

Requested permission to interview Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.

Scheduled a Thursday interview with Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott.

Will interview Bengals coordinators Hue Jackson and Paul Guenther Sunday.

Hired former Major League Baseball general manager Paul DePodesta as chief strategy officer, a role that reportedly puts him behind only Haslam and team president Alec Scheiner on the team’s organizational chart.

Set up an interview with Cowboys defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson, a former Browns assistant.

Interviewed Gase Wednesday, then moved on to an interview with Austin.

Interviewed Marrone.

Interviewed Henderson.

Interviewed Matt Patricia.

Interviewed Sean McDermott before moving on to Hue Jackson.

Confirmed a second interview with Hue Jackson but said no offer has been made.

Hired Hue Jackson.

Set up an interview with former Lions general manager Martin Mayhew.

Detroit Lions

Lions Owner Martha Ford said Sunday that no decision has been made on head coach Jim Caldwell’s future.

Set up interviews for the team’s vacant general manager position with Bob Quinn of the Patriots and Trent Kirchner of the Seahawks.

Cowboys exec Will McClay turned down an interview request and will remain in Dallas.

Bengals exec Duke Tobin turned down an interview request and will remain in Cincinnati.

Set up an interview with Giants assistant general manager Kevin Abrams.

Hired Bob Quinn as general manager.

Announced that Jim Caldwell will remain head coach.

Miami Dolphins

Fired general manager Dennis Hickey.

Hired Chris Grier as general manager.

Interviewed former Falcons coach Mike Smith.

Scheduled an interview with Mike Shanahan for Tuesday.

Scheduled an interview with Adam Gase for Thursday.

Set up an interview with Teryl Austin.

Requested head coaching interviews with Patriots coordinators Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia.

Scheduled a Sunday interview with Hue Jackson.

Interviewed interim coach Dan Campbell before moving on to an interview with Doug Marrone.

Hired Adam Gase.

New York Giants

Ton Coughlin stepped down as head coach.

Set up an interview with defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

Requested an interview with Adam Gase.

Interviewed offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo.

Confirmed interviews with Spagnuolo, McAdoo and Teryl Austin.

Confirmed an Friday interview with Gase and scheduled a Saturday interview with Doug Marrone.

Scheduled an interview with Mike Smith.

Reached out to Hue Jackson and scheduled an interview for Thursday, but Jackson accepted the Browns’ job on Wednesday.

Hired Ben McAdoo.

Philadelphia Eagles

Fired Chip Kelly on Dec. 29.

Announced that Howie Roseman and Tom Donahoe will lead the personnel department and coaching search.

Interviewed Duce Staley.

Interviewed Pat Shurmur.

Scheduled an interview with Adam Gase for Tuesday.

Set up interviews with Doug Marrone and Teryl Austin.

Scheduled an interview with Ben McAdoo.

Reached out to former Giants coach Tom Coughlin.

Interviewed Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson.

Reportedly decided to hire Doug Pederson when the Chiefs’ season is over.

San Francisco 49ers

Fired head coach Jim Tomsula.

Announced general manager Trent Baalke will remain in his job and will hire the new head coach.

Requested permission to interview Hue Jackson, and will do so in Cincinnati on Sunday.

Set up an interview with Bills assistant head coach and running backs coach Anthony Lynn, which happened Wednesday.

Reportedly met with Chip Kelly.

Interviewed Mike Shanahan.

Set up an interview with Browns offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.

Interviewed Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter.

Interviewed Hue Jackson for five hours on Sunday.

Interviewed Tom Coughlin.

Hired Chip Kelly.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Fired coach Lovie Smith.

Set up an interview with Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin.

Interviewed offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter.

Reportedly set up an interview with Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott.

Hired Dirk Koetter.

Tennessee Titans

Fired general manager Ruston Webster.

Confirmed that interim coach Mike Mularkey will interview for the job.

Reached out to Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta.

Reached out to Bengals exec Duke Tobin but were told he’s staying in Cincinnati.

Expressed interest in Chris Polian of the Jaguars and Jon Robinson of the Buccaneers.

Interviewed former Lions general manager Martin Mayhew.

Interviewed Giants exec Marc Ross and former Broncos general manager Ted Sundquist.

Scheduled an interview with Chiefs exec Chris Ballard.

Scheduled coaching interviews with Doug Marrone and Teryl Austin.

Interviewed defensive coordinator Ray Horton.

Hired Jon Robinson as general manager.

Hired interim coach Mike Mularkey as head coach.

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2016 NFL teams’ home and away opponents

Here is the complete list of NFL teams’ home and away opponents for the 2016 season.

AFC EAST
1. New England Patriots
Home: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans, St. Louis Rams, Seattle Seahawks
Away: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers

2. New York Jets
Home: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts, St. Louis Rams, Seattle Seahawks
Away: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers

3. Buffalo Bills
Home: Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers
Away: Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams, Seattle Seahawks

4. Miami Dolphins
Home: Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers
Away: Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, San Diego Chargers, St. Louis Rams, Seattle Seahawks

AFC NORTH
1. Cincinnati Bengals
Home: Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins
Away: Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants

2. Pittsburgh Steelers
Home: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants
Away: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins

3. Baltimore Ravens
Home: Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins
Away: Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants

4. Cleveland Browns
Home: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, New York Jets, San Diego Chargers, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants
Away: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Tennessee Titans, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins

AFC SOUTH
1. Houston Texans
Home: Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, Cincinnati Bengals, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions
Away: Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings

2. Indianapolis Colts
Home: Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions
Away: Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, New York Jets, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings

3. Jacksonville Jaguars
Home: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, Baltimore Ravens, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings
Away: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions

4. Tennessee Titans
Home: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings
Away: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions

AFC WEST
1. Denver Broncos
Home: Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers
Away: Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Cincinnati Bengals, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2. Kansas City Chiefs
Home: Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, New York Jets, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Away: Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers

3. Oakland Raiders
Home: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Buffalo Bills, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers
Away: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

4. San Diego Chargers
Home: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Away: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers

NFC EAST
1. Washington Redskins
Home: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers
Away: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals

2. Philadelphia Eagles
Home: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Washington Redskins, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers
Away: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Washington Redskins, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals

3. New York Giants
Home: Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals
Away: Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, St. Louis Rams, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers

4. Dallas Cowboys
Home: New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals
Away: New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers

NFC NORTH
1. Minnesota Vikings
Home: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts
Away: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans

2. Green Bay Packers
Home: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts
Away: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans

3. Detroit Lions
Home: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, St. Louis Rams, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans
Away: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, New Orleans Saints, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts

4. Chicago Bears
Home: Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, San Francisco 49ers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans
Away: Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts

NFC SOUTH
1. Carolina Panthers
Home: Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Minnesota Vikings, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers
Away: Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, St. Louis Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders

2. Atlanta Falcons
Home: Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers
Away: Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, St. Louis Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Philadelphia Eagles, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders

3. New Orleans Saints
Home: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, St. Louis Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders
Away: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Home: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, St. Louis Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders
Away: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers

NFC WEST
1. Arizona Cardinals Home: St. Louis Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Redskins, New England Patriots, New York Jets
Away: St. Louis Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins

2. Seattle Seahawks
Home: Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins
Away: Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, New York Jets

3. St. Louis Rams
Home: Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New York Giants, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins
Away: Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, New York Jets

4. San Francisco 49ers
Home: Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis Rams, Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, New York Jets
Away: Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins

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Black Monday: Who’s safe, who isn’t, who’s already out?

635600335332654909-100279619 Getty Images

Like Black Friday, Black Monday seems to get started earlier and earlier every year. So with the process of passing out pink slips about to launch, let’s look at who’s safe, who isn’t, and who’s already out.

Buffalo: Owner Terry Pegula recently issued a statement making it clear that G.M. Doug Whaley and coach Rex Ryan will be back next year, without specifically saying so.

Miami: Coach Joe Philbin was fired during the season. G.M. Dennis Hickey and the Dolphins “parted ways” on Saturday.

Browns: Owner Jimmy Haslam has fired coach Mike Pettine and G.M. Ray Farmer. New executive V.P. of football operations Sashi Brown has control over the 53-man roster.

Colts: Coach Chuck Pagano, whose contract is expiring, reportedly is out. The fate of G.M. Ryan Grigson remains undetermined.

Jaguars: Owner Shad Khan has announced that coach Gus Bradley will return in 2016.

Titans: Coach Ken Whisenhunt was fired during the season. G.M. Ruston Webster won’t be retained. Interim coach Mike Mularkey is expected to become the permanent head coach.

Chargers: Coach Mike McCoy will be back, even if the team moves to L.A.. G.M. Tom Telesco received a new contract before the season started.

Cowboys: The Cowboys repeatedly have said coach Jason Garrett is safe.

Eagles: The Eagles fired coach Chip Kelly on Tuesday.

Giants: Coach Tom Coughlin has “stepped down.” G.M. Jerry Reese will be back.

Lions: G.M. Martin Mayhew was fired during the season. Coach Jim Caldwell’s fate is expected to be decided by the next General Manager.

Falcons: Some believe G.M. Thomas Dimitroff could be in trouble, but coach Dan Quinn has publicly declared that he wants Dimitroff to return.

Saints: Speculation has been swirling for weeks regarding the future of coach Sean Payton. He has said he wants to stay; the team has said nothing. Some think he will be essentially traded to a new team.

Rams: Coach Jeff Fisher reportedly is safe. It’s unclear whether G.M. Les Snead is at risk.

49ers: G.M. Trent Baalke is staying. Coach Jim Tomsula has been fired.

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NFL morning after: Rex Ryan’s revenge headlines a wild Week 17

ORCHARD PARK, NY - JANUARY 03:  Head Coach Rex Ryan of the Buffalo Bills and Calvin Pace #97 of the New York Jets exchange congratulations after the Buffalo Bills beat the New York Jets 22-17 at Ralph Wilson Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) Getty Images

My favorite part of Week 17 of the NFL season, every year, is when a team with nothing to play for beats a team with everything to play for. And it was particularly special yesterday in Buffalo.

Bills coach Rex Ryan led his team to a surprising win over his former team, eliminating the Jets from playoff contention. It was the first time in NFL history that a coach had knocked the team he coached the previous year out of the playoffs.

“There’s a lot of teams that would have mailed it in. This team fought through a lot of outside negativity,” Ryan said after the game.

He’s right about that: There are a lot of teams that would have mailed it in. We saw some of those teams yesterday. I thought the Cowboys, in particular, looked like they simply didn’t care yesterday, as they fell behind Washington 24-0. Some teams, when they’re out of the playoff race, give up.

But Ryan didn’t let his team give up, and that made for a compelling Week 17 matchup. Another team that didn’t give up was Miami, which upset the Patriots and upended the AFC playoff picture in the process. Even teams that came up short, like the Chargers and Raiders, played tough, competitive games against playoff teams. It was a fun Week 17 because several teams played better than we had any reason to think they would.

Ryan did not have a good first season coaching the Bills. He has to fix his defense, and if he doesn’t he’s going to be on the hot seat a year from now. But he did have a very good Week 17.

Here are my other thoughts from the final day of the regular season:

Passing numbers have become silly. I mentioned that the Cowboys fell behind 24-0 to start the game against Washington. That meant that most of the game was garbage time, and in today’s NFL, a mediocre quarterback can put up huge numbers in garbage time. So Cowboys quarterback Kellen Moore ended the game with 435 yards. That’s an incredible total — Hall of Fame Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach never had more than 339 yards in a game in his entire career. But these days, a 435-yard game isn’t really anything special. It’s just something a mediocre backup quarterback can do in garbage time.

Chuck Pagano had a pretty good run. Although Pagano won’t be back as the Colts’ head coach, he had a good four years in Indianapolis: During his tenure, the Colts never had a losing record and won three playoff games. Not many coaches can say they had three playoff wins and no losing seasons in four years, but Pagano can. And he’s gone anyway.

Cam Newton plays like no quarterback ever. Yesterday Newton scored the 43rd rushing touchdown of his NFL career, tying Steve Young’s NFL record for a quarterback. Newton has now had two different seasons with 3,500 passing yards, 20 passing touchdowns and 10 rushing touchdowns, something no other player has ever done, even once. And Newton has had at least 500 rushing yards, five rushing touchdowns and 4.8 yards a carry in all five of his NFL seasons. Not only is he the only quarterback in NFL history who has done that, but only four running backs in NFL history have five such seasons. Newton is already a unique figure in NFL history, and he’s only 26 years old.

Peyton Manning is back. Broncos coach Gary Kubiak made the right call when he benched Brock Osweiler for Manning yesterday. The Broncos were trailing the Chargers 13-7 when Manning took the field, but they won 27-20 with Manning leading the way. I don’t believe Manning will ever deliver one of his vintage 400-yard games of old, but I do believe Manning can beat opposing defenses with his mind even if he can no longer do it with his arm. With the regular season over and the playoffs beginning, there’s nothing more exciting heading into January than one more chance to see what Peyton Manning can do.

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Week 17 early inactives

T.J. Yeldon, Brent Grimes, Jelani Jenkin AP

Every week we bring you all the inactives from the early games in one post, constantly updated with the latest information. Check back often to see the full list as it becomes available.

Saints at Falcons

Saints: WR Marques Colston, OL Andrus Peat, LB Dannell Ellerbe, QB Garrett Grayson, T Terron Armstead, TE RaShaun Allen, DT Kaleb Eulls

Falcons: RB Tevin Coleman, S Robenson Therezie, LB Tyler Starr, G Ben Garland, T Bryce Harris, TE D.J. Tialavea, DE Malliciah Goodman

Jets at Bills

Jets: RB Bilal Powell, QB Bryce Petty, CB Dee Milliner, S Dion Bailey, LB Taiwan Jones, OL Dakota Dozier, DL Josh Martin

Bills: LB Nigel Bradham, RB LeSean McCoy, WR Dezmin Lewis, QB Josh Johnson, LB Max Valles, DT T.J. Barnes, DE LaVar Edwards

Eagles at Giants

Eagles: WR Seyi Ajirotutu, CB Byron Maxwell, QB Thad Lewis, WR Jonathan Krause, CB Jaylen Watkins, LB Steven Means, T Tanner Hawkinson

Giants: S Craig Dahl, T Marshall Newhouse, S Cooper Taylor, WR Dwayne Harris, WR Geremy Davis, OL Emmett Cleary, DE Kerry Wynn

Lions at Bears

Lions: DE Jason Jones, WR Corey Fuller, RB George Winn, T Corey Robinson, DL Khyri Thornton, DT Jermelle Cudjo, DT Gabe Wright, OL Braxton Cave

Bears: C Hroniss Grasu, DE Jarvis Jenkins, WR Eddie Royal, CB Jacoby Glenn, OL Tayo Fabuluje, DL Terry Williams, TE Zach Miller

Ravens at Bengals

Ravens: QB Jimmy Clausen, CB Tray Walker, CB Sheldon Price, CB Jumal Rolle, S Jermaine Whitehead, LB Albert McClellan, DE Kapron Lewis-Moore

Bengals: QB Andy Dalton, TE Ryan Hewitt, WR Mario Alford, OL Eric Winston, DT Marcus Hardison, DT Pat Sims, DE Will Clarke

Steelers at Browns

Steelers: QB Mike Vick, WR Sammie Coates, CB Doran Grant, RB Jordan Todman, LB L.J. Fort, T Byron Stingily, DE Leterrius Walton

Browns: QB Johnny Manziel, CB Tramon Williams, RB Glenn Winston, WR Marlon Moore, DB Charles Gaines, WR Dwayne Bowe, LB Armonty Bryant

Redskins at Cowboys

Redskins: S Dashon Goldson, CB Quinton Dunbar, T Trent Williams, RB Matt Jones, QB Robert Griffin III, LB Perry Riley, DE Jason Hatcher

Cowboys:  QB Jameill Showers, WR Rodney Smith, DB Morris Claiborne, LB Sean Lee, G La’el Collins, T Chaz Green, WR Vince Mayle

 

Jaguars at Texans

Jaguars: RB T.J. Yeldon, LB Telvin Smith, CB Demetrius McCray, T Jermey Parnell, WR Bryan Walters, TE Nic Jacobs, DE Chris Smith

Texans: LB Jadeveon Clowney, WR Cecil Shorts, DE Jeoffrey Pagan, TE Garrett Graham, S Rahim Moore, G Oday Aboushi, LB Justin Tuggle

Titans at Colts

Titans: T Taylor Lewan, QB Marcus Mariota, WR Kendall Wright, WR Damaris Johnson, CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, S Josh Aubrey, DE Ropati Pitoitua

Colts: QB Andrew Luck, QB Matt Hasselbeck, LB Trent Cole, QB Stephen Morris, S Winston Guy, LB Sio Moore, DT Kelcy Quarles

Patriots at Dolphins

Patriots: WR Julian Edelman, LB Dont’a Hightower, DE Chandler Jones, CB Justin Coleman, T Sebastian Vollmer, LB Jonathan Freeny, DT Sealver Siliga

Dolphins: QB Logan Thomas, CB Jamar Taylor, C Mike Pouncey, T Ja’Wuan James, LB Jelani Jenkins, OL Shelley Smith, DT Earl Mitchell

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Week 17 injury report roundup

Greg Olsen, Dont'a Hightower AP

Over the course of the week, there are a lot of posts about the most prominent injured players but we know that you might not see all of them and that some others may fall through the cracks. As a result, we’ll comb through all the injury reports every Friday afternoon so that there’s one stop for all the news from every team playing on Sunday. In Week 17, that’s all 32 teams so, without further delay, the final injury report roundup of the regular season.

Saints at Falcons

Wide receiver Marques Colston (chest), linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hip) and offensive lineman Andrus Peat (concussion) will not play for the Saints. Tackle Terron Armstead (knee) is questionable. Falcons running back Tevin Coleman (concussion) remains out after his ill-fated shower tumble and the Falcons’ 53-man roster is otherwise in good shape for the final game of the year.

Jets at Bills

Tackle Breno Giacomini (ankle) and running back Bilal Powell (ankle) are both questionable and Powell missed practice all week. The Bills will try to spoil the Jets’ playoff hopes without the help of linebacker Nigel Bradham (ankle) and running back LeSean McCoy (knee).

Lions at Bears

Lions center Travis Swanson (shoulder) won’t play and defensive end Jason Jones (neck, doubtful) is expected to miss the game as well. Running back Ameer Abdullah (shoulder) and wide receiver Calvin Johnson (ankle) are listed as questionable and expected to play. Center Hroniss Grasu (knee) and wide receiver Eddie Royal (illness) are doubtful for the Bears. Running back Matt Forte (back) is questionable, but expressed no doubt about what could be his final game for the franchise.

Ravens at Bengals

Linebacker Albert McClellan (ankle) is questionable for the Ravens and the rest of the current roster is healthy for Week 17. Quarterback Andy Dalton (right thumb) and tight end Ryan Hewitt (knee, illness) won’t play for the Bengals, but tight end Tyler Eifert (concussion) is expected back in the lineup and quarterback AJ McCarron (left wrist) is probable.

Steelers at Browns

Wide receiver Martavis Bryant (illness) and cornerback Doran Grant (groin) are questionable to play in a must-win game for the Steelers. Quarterback Johnny Manziel (concussion), wide receiver Marlon Moore (concussion), cornerback Tramon Williams (concussion) and running back Glenn Winston (concussion) are all out for the Browns. Tackle Joe Thomas (knee) is questionable, but his consecutive games and snaps streaks are expected to continue.

Redskins at Cowboys

The Redskins ruled out cornerback Quinton Dunbar (quadricep) and safety Dashon Goldson (shoulder, rib). Running back Matt Jones (hip) and linebacker Perry Riley (foot) are doubtful to play and five regulars — cornerback DeAngelo Hall (calf), defensive end Jason Hatcher (neck, knee), wide receiver DeSean Jackson (knee), running back Pierre Thomas (knee) and tackle Trent Williams (knee, foot) — are questionable. Dallas rookie guard La’El Collins (ankle) is doubtful while cornerback Morris Claiborne (hamstring) and linebacker Sean Lee (hamstring) are questionable.

Jaguars at Texans

Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon (knee) will miss the final game of his rookie season. Defensive tackle Abry Jones (knee) and linebacker Telvin Smith (shoulder) are going to miss the game as well. Texans quarterback Brian Hoyer (concussion) is set to return to the lineup, but linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (foot) and wide receiver Cecil Shorts (hamstring) won’t play.

Titans at Colts

The season is already over for Titans tackle Taylor Lewan (concussion), quarterback Marcus Mariota (knee) and wide receiver Kendall Wright (knee). The same is true for Colts linebacker Trent Cole (concussion), quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (shoulder, rib) and quarterback Andrew Luck (abdomen, kidney) unless a perfect storm of results lifts Indy into the playoffs.

Patriots at Dolphins

Cornerback Justin Coleman (concussion), wide receiver Julian Edelman (foot), linebacker Jonathan Freeny (hand), linebacker Dont’a Hightower (knee), defensive end Chandler Jones (abdomen, toe) and tackle Sebastian Vollmer (ankle) will all sit out for the Patriots. Nine others are questionable, including wide receiver Danny Amendola (knee) and safety Devin McCourty (ankle). The Dolphins listed linebacker Jelani Jenkins (ankle) and center Mike Pouncey (foot, ankle) as doubtful while guard Jamil Douglas (ankle), tackle Ja’Wuan James (toe), wide receiver Rishard Matthews (ribs), defensive tackle Earl Mitchell (calf) and wide receiver Kenny Stills (thigh) are all questionable.

Eagles at Giants

Eagles interim coach Pat Shurmur won’t have wide receiver Seyi Ajirotutu (ankle), defensive tackle Bennie Logan (calf) and cornerback Byron Maxwell (shoulder) in the lineup for a finale between disappointing clubs. The Giants will go without safety Craig Dahl (concussion), tackle Marshall Newhouse (concussion) and safety Cooper Taylor (concussion). Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (ankle) is questionable.

Seahawks at Cardinals

It’s another game without running back Marshawn Lynch (abdomen) for the Seahawks. Guard J.R. Sweezy (concussion) and tight end Luke Willson (concussion) are also out while tackle Russell Okung (calf) is doubtful. Safety Kam Chancellor (pelvis) is questionable. Wide receiver Michael Floyd (knee), linebacker Dwight Freeney (knee), safety Rashad Johnson (ankle, illness) and defensive tackle Frostee Rucker (ankle) are questionable for the Cardinals after getting in limited practices on Friday. Linebacker Markus Golden (knee) and defensive tackle Josh Mauro (calf) are out.

Buccaneers at Panthers

The Buccaneers placed safety Chris Conte (knee) on injured reserve Friday, leaving them with no one listed as anything other than probable. Running backs Jonathan Stewart (foot) and Fozzy Whittaker (ankle) are out for Carolina. Wide receiver Ted Ginn (knee) and safety Kurt Coleman (foot) are likely out after being listed as doubtful.

Chargers at Broncos

Offensive line injuries have been a constant for the Chargers this season and Week 17 brings more of the same. Guard Orlando Franklin (concussion) is out, tackle King Dunlap (ankle) is doubtful and tackle Chris Hairston (abdomen) and center Trevor Robinson (concussion, shoulder) are questionable. Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (foot) is probable and expected to back up Brock Osweiler on Sunday. Linebacker Brandon Marshall (ankle) and safety T.J. Ward (ankle) are questionable.

Raiders at Chiefs

Cornerbacks D.J. Hayden (ankle) and Neiko Thorpe (neck) are questionable for the Raiders. Safety Charles Woodson (shoulder) is probable for his final NFL contest. Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston (knee) practiced Friday for the first time in more than a month. He’s listed as questionable, as are safety Husain Abdullah (concussion), linebacker Tamba Hali (thumb, knee) and tackle Jah Reid (knee).

Rams at 49ers

Rams running back Todd Gurley (foot) is doubtful for the final game of a strong rookie season and tackle Andrew Donnal (knee) is questionable. 49ers defensive tackle Quinton Dial (back) and linebacker Michael Wilhoite (ankle) won’t play and center Marcus Martin (concussion) and safety Jaquiski Tartt (knee) are expected to join them on the inactive list after drawing doubtful tags.

Vikings at Packers

Vikings defensive tackle Linval Joseph (foot) is expected to miss the game after being listed as doubtful, but the Vikings are otherwise in good shape healthwise for Sunday night. Tackle David Bakhtiari (ankle), defensive tackle Mike Daniels (groin), linebacker Mike Neal (hip), defensive tackle B.J. Raji (concussion) and cornerback Sam Shields (concussion) are questionable for the Packers, who didn’t practice Friday and often update the status of players after a Saturday workout.

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PFT’s Week 17 picks

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The Colts need nine games to fall their way in order to get to the postseason. In comparison to that, I feel pretty durned good about my chances of overcoming the two-game lead in the picks contest to which MDS clings.

I feel even more durned good about it given that, after two weeks of no disagreements, we differ on five games this weekend.

And so the chips are in to the middle of the table. If I sweep the five games or go 4-1, the season title is mine. If I win 3-2 or if he prevails by any margin, it’s his.

Whatever the outcome, one thing is clear: MDS and I are the only people on the planet who give a durned about it.

With that said, here are our picks for the last weekend of the regular season.

(Before I get to that, here’s the part where I point out that last week we were both a pathetic 8-8. For the year, he’s 153-87 (63.75 percent), and I’m at 151-89 (62.9 percent).)

Saints at Falcons

MDS’s take: Both of these teams showed last week that they’re still playing hard late in a rough season. This should be a fairly entertaining game, as meaningless Week 17 games go, and I’ll take the Falcons to win at home.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 24, Saints 21.

Florio’s take: The Falcons won their bowl game last week against the Panthers. The Saints are committed to finishing strong.

Florio’s pick: Saints 24, Falcons 20.

Jets at Bills

MDS’s take: Can Rex Ryan knock his old team out of the playoffs? I don’t see it. The Jets are playing very well on offense, and Rex’s defense has struggled. The Jets will win and clinch a wild card.

MDS’s pick: Jets 28, Bills 17.

Florio’s take: The Bills are giving off the vibe of a franchise that already has given up on the season, making a victory that could keep the Jets out of the playoffs less likely. New York has continued to improve in recent weeks, and coach Todd Bowles’ calm demeanor will keep the team from getting too freaked out by the unlikely opportunity they now have.

Florio’s pick: Jets 27, Bills 20.

Buccaneers at Panthers

MDS’s take: The Panthers are no longer undefeated, but they are one win from home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. They’ll get that win on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 24, Buccaneers 16.

Florio’s take: The Bucs have lost three in a row, and they may as well make it four in order to enhance their draft position. The Panthers are trying to get their swagger back before the postseason, and to ensure that they get the top seed in the NFC.

Florio’s pick: Panthers 31, Buccaneers 21.

Lions at Bears

MDS’s take: In the battle for last place in the NFC North, the Bears’ defense will turn in a good game and win a low-scoring affair.

MDS’s pick: Bears 13, Lions 10.

Florio’s take: Adam Gase makes his closing argument for a head-coaching job. Jim Caldwell makes his closing argument to keep the one he has.

Florio’s pick: Bears 27, Lions 21.

Ravens at Bengals

MDS’s take: The Bengals need to win and get help for a first-round bye. I don’t think they’ll get the help they need, but I do think they’ll win.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 24, Ravens 17.

Florio’s take: Coach John Harbaugh is trying to instill a culture of winning among the various losers who remain available to play. The Bengals are sliding toward another potential one-and-done playoff berth.

Florio’s pick: Ravens 27, Bengals 20.

Steelers at Browns

MDS’s take: Last week’s loss to the Ravens means the Steelers are now a long shot to make the playoffs. They’ll take their frustrations out on the Browns and dominate, winning a game that does nothing more than show Pittsburgh is the best team not to make the playoffs.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 38, Browns 10.

Florio’s take: The Steelers can only blame themselves for missing the playoffs, if the Bills don’t beat the Jets.

Florio’s pick: Steelers 30, Browns 13.

Washington at Cowboys

MDS’s take: It’s a meaningless game for Washington, which is locked into the NFC No. 4 seed, which means they may rest many of their top players. But I still think they should beat a Kellen Moore-led Cowboys team.

MDS’s pick: Washington 20, Cowboys 12.

Florio’s take: The Cowboys beat Washington in their building. Washington now gets a chance to return the favor. It’s a meaningless game for both teams, but it’s one last chance for the Cowboys to do something positive in one of the most negative seasons the team has had in recent years.

Florio’s pick: Cowboys 17, Washington 13.

Jaguars at Texans

MDS’s take: The Texans can clinch the AFC South with a win, and that’s exactly what they’ll do. Although the injury-plagued offense has its problems, the Texans’ defense is pretty good and should force Blake Bortles into some game-changing turnovers.

MDS’s pick: Texans 17, Jaguars 14.

Florio’s take: Houston storms into the postseason with the kind of momentum that should make their first-round playoff game not a blowout loss.

Florio’s pick: Texans 27, Jaguars 17.

Titans at Colts

MDS’s take: The Colts may be starting a quarterback who’s been on the team less than a week. But I just can’t pick a Titans team that is one loss away from the first overall pick. The Colts’ defense will find a way to win this one.

MDS’s pick: Colts 13, Titans 10.

Florio’s take: The Titans only need to lose one more time to get the No. 1 overall pick. Even they can’t screw that up, right? Right?

Florio’s pick: Colts 17, Titans 6.

Raiders at Chiefs

MDS’s take: The Chiefs are playing as well as anyone in the AFC right now and will keep their winning ways going with a big regular-season finale.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 35, Raiders 20.

Florio’s take: The Chiefs have won nine games in a row. The Raiders stand in their way of finishing the season with 10. And the Raiders are good enough to do it. It’s Oakland’s bowl game, with a chance to send Charles Woodson into retirement with a win, to end the season 8-8, and to lay the foundation for a run at the postseason in 2016.

Florio’s pick: Raiders 27, Chiefs 24.

Patriots at Dolphins

MDS’s take: The Patriots are a win away from home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, and they should get that win against a Dolphins team that looks beaten up and ready to pack it in.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 34, Dolphins 14.

Florio’s take: The Patriots are vulnerable, but the Dolphins gave up on this season a while ago.

Florio’s pick: Patriots 30, Dolphins 17.

Eagles at Giants

MDS’s take: There’s nothing to play for but pride on Sunday, and I think the Giants’ players will be playing to show they haven’t quit on Tom Coughlin, against a team that quit on its coach long ago.

MDS’s pick: Giants 31, Eagles 10.

Florio’s take: Giants coach Tom Coughlin still has a sliver of hope. The Eagles are turned upside down. Advantage, team that hasn’t gotten its coach fired yet.

Florio’s pick: Giants 23, Eagles 16.

Seahawks at Cardinals

MDS’s take: There’s no team in the NFL I’d pick to win at Arizona right now. The Cardinals are a dangerous team heading into January.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 30, Seahawks 20.

Florio’s take: Arizona treats every game like a playoff game, and this one could give them the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.

Florio’s pick: Cardinals 27, Seahawks 24.

Chargers at Broncos

MDS’s take: The Broncos can secure the division and a bye with a win, and that’s exactly what they’ll do against an overmatched Chargers team.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 28, Chargers 17.

Florio’s take: The Broncos are on a short week after an emotional, overtime win that clinched a playoff berth. The Chargers had four extra days to get ready for this one. And Peyton Manning will be looming over Brock Osweiler’s shoulder. But the importance of a bye will be enough to help the Broncos overcome what should be a stiffer challenge than expected.

Florio’s pick: Broncos 23, Chargers 17.

Rams at 49ers

MDS’s take: In a meaningless game to end the season, Jeff Fisher will get the Rams to eight wins for the first time since 2006.

MDS’s pick: Rams 21, 49ers 20.

Florio’s take: The climb to 8-8 is complete for the most up-and-down team in the league.

Florio’s pick: Rams 27, 49ers 13.

Vikings at Packers

MDS’s take: The Packers have been an inconsistent and at times disappointing team this year, but they played well in their previous game against the Vikings and should wrap up the NFC North with a win at home.

MDS’s pick: Packers 28, Vikings 21.

Florio’s take: The Vikings lose by winning, with an NFC North crown giving them the right to host the Seahawks again. But the Vikings desperately need the burst of confidence that comes from beating the Packers at Lambeau Field. If the Lions and Bears can do it, so can the Vikings.

Florio’s pick: Vikings 27, Packers 20.

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Taking a look at Chip Kelly’s possible options

Tennessee Titans v Philadelphia Eagles Getty Images

Chip Kelly has become available for a ride on the looming coaching carousel, five days before the annual game of musical chairs begins. Which puts him in play for both of the current vacancies and some of the other ones that will arise.

Indeed, one or more vacancies could arise simply because Kelly is now available.

So where could he land in 2016? Let’s take a look at the possibilities.

1. Tennessee.

From the moment Commissioner Roger Goodell declared that the Titans had selected Marcus Mari-o-to in late April, the possibility of Kelly reuniting with his Oregon star quarterback loomed. But as Frank Wycheck of the Titans Radio Network pointed out during Wednesday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio, the Titans may not be interested in Kelly primarily because the Titans are committed to employing an offense that keeps Mariota healthy. Kelly’s system isn’t conducive to that.

Of course, Kelly could try to persuade the Titans that he’ll use the modified version that helped keep perpetually brittle Sam Bradford in one piece (mostly) this year. And then, if Kelly gets the job, he can do whatever he wants — as long as he wins.

2. Cleveland.

The Browns tried to hire Kelly three years ago, before they drafted the quarterback that Kelly once recruited to play at Oregon. With the Browns trying to figure out what to do with Johnny Manziel, keeping him and hiring Kelly becomes an option.

3. San Francisco.

The fact that the job isn’t available hasn’t kept Mike Holmgren from openly politicking for it. And the fact that Kelly is available should make the powers-that-be at least consider the possibility of hiring Kelly. He could resurrect the career of Colin Kaepernick. Kelly also could make the 49ers relevant after a season in purgatory, which has seen more and more empty seats at the team’s home stadium.

Of course, the 49ers would have to be willing to tolerate Kelly, who is prone to power struggles and generally pissing people off. But he can’t be any worse than Jim Harbaugh, and if it helps them win games again, who cares?

4. Miami.

The Dolphins recently fired offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, the former Eagles quarterback coach who tried to implement Kelly’s system. But having Kelly implement it himself could bring about different results — and quarterback Ryan Tannehill definitely has the athleticism to make it work.

5. Indianapolis.

The prospect of quarterback Andrew Luck, who has the same size and physical attributes at Cam Newton, running Kelly’s system is intriguing. But after Luck missed half the year with a lacerated kidney, the Colts won’t want to take risks with him.

Also, if G.M. Ryan Grigson remains, he knows enough of the folks in Philly to hear all of the horror stories about Kelly.

Ultimately, whoever hires Kelly will have to take a leap of faith regarding his position that he’s not interested in running the team’s personnel department. Then again, just two days ago Kelly said he wasn’t running the personnel department in Philadelphia. So if he doesn’t want to run the personnel department with his next team the way he wasn’t running the personnel department in Philly, he wants to run the personnel department with his next team.

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Letter from Jeffrey Lurie regarding Chip Kelly

Jeffrey Lurie AP

[Editor’s note: Eagles Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie issued on Tuesday night a letter explaining the decision to release coach Chip Kelly. The full text of the letter appears below.]

I have made a decision to release Chip Kelly this evening. I spent the last three seasons evaluating the many factors involved in our performance as a team. As I watched this season unfold, I determined that it was time to make a change.

As we move forward, the search for a new head coach will begin and will be led by myself, Don Smolenski and Howie Roseman. To the extent that we are able, we will try to keep you informed as we go through this process.

Pat Shurmur will be our interim coach for the Giants game Sunday.

We have also released Ed Marynowitz, vice president of player personnel. Tom Donahoe, who has been our senior football advisor since 2012, will assume the role of senior director of player personnel.

I am determined and excited to select a new coach to help us obtain our ultimate goal.

Thank you for your consistent and enthusiastic support. It is always appreciated.

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Transcript of Drew Brees on PFT Live

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[Editor’s note: Saints quarterback Drew Brees appeared on Tuesday’s edition of PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio. Hopefully, you heard it. If you didn’t, you can read it.

Q: When you hear someone say future ‘Hall of Famer,’ does that make you feel good? Or do you think don’t jinx it, don’t give me the label yet?”

Brees: “No there’s still a long way to go for me before any of that talk. You know, I still feel like I have a lot to prove.”

Q: “You don’t feel like the hay is already in the barn though to get to Canton?”

Brees: “Regardless I kind of cringe a little bit. I’ve got a lot of football games left to be played, I hope. So that’s where my minds at.”

Q: “You said back in July of 2014 when you guys were at the Greenbrier here in West Virginia for the first time, that you’d like to play until you’re 45. You’ve got two more football seasons that you’ve played since then. Are you still feeling 45 is attainable?”

Brees: “I certainly think it’s attainable, you know. I think physiologically it’s possible. I think we can push the envelope with that. I mean, there’s challenges. Obviously, as you kind of get up there in age and that kind of thing but I think so much of it’s just what’s in your mind and what’s in your heart. And that kind of controls your body. But I said it then and I’ll say it now. As long as I’m having fun and I’m playing at a high level and I’m able to stay healthy then why wouldn’t I? Obviously I’m different than when I started in this league. I have a family now with four kids ages six, five, three, and one. So that presents its level of challenges but also excitement and fun. They’re starting to get into football and football season and they know players from other teams. They follow it and every time I get home they want to play catch and wrestle and tackle and all that stuff. They love going to games. They love being a part of that Superdome atmosphere and so that too also makes me want to play even longer.”

Q: “You have the injury that you suffered last Monday night, the torn plantar fascia in your foot. How did that effect you, turning around on a short week and playing on a Sunday? How did that make it different for you than a normal game?

Brees: “Just mobility, really. The challenge was obviously being a short week and Christmas and just all those things last week. Last week was crazy and just trying to experiment with how I could be as functional as possible on Sunday. So different tape jobs and orthotics and this and that. Just trying to play with how effective I could be in throwing the ball and pushing off and just all those things. So I felt like we had a really good plan going into the game. Obviously I was limited but felt like the game plan and just kind of the way everything unfolded I ended up being okay.”

Q: “Do you anticipate it being any better this weekend against the Falcons? Or are you going to have to deal with the same challenges to get yourself into a position where you can go out and perform? Not just perform but perform very well?”

Brees: “I’m sure there will be challenges but I can definitely say I feel better right now as I talk to you versus last week at this time. So hopefully the foot will continue to improve. I mean, the fact that I’m playing on it, it’s not really giving it a chance to rest and heal. That’s what the offseason will be for but, yeah, I’m hoping that I will be able to do a little bit more come this Sunday

Q: “Where does the motivation come from once the playoffs are unattainable? The motivation to go out and play hard, win. That same motivation you had back when the postseason is still a possibility.”

Brees: “Well, first of all, I take a lot of pride in what I do as a professional football player and representing the fleur-de-lis that’s on my helmet. The New Orleans Saints, our city, our community, I mean I really do. And so regardless of what we’re playing for with playoffs or not, I feel like I always have something to prove and something to represent. Like a great sense of responsibility.

“I’m also thinking about next year. I’m also thinking about could something happen in these last few weeks with our team that becomes a catalyst for something in the future. Like some type of tipping point. Maybe it’s just for one individual player. Or all of a sudden there’s just this moment where it’s a huge confidence boost and then that’s going to allow them to accomplish something great in the future that’s going to help us win and win a championship. I mean because that’s what it’s all about. And I feel like we’re building something really great with our team. I feel like we have great character, great leadership, and some young talent that will continue to get better and better with experience. This is where you begin to build and create that type of culture and foundation for what you’re going to accomplish in the future.”

Q: “How do you reconcile thinking about a future with the Saints with the business side of it that could get in the way of what happens next year?”

Brees: “I think that lingers for every team come the offseason. I mean there’s, ‘Where do we need to make changes?’ or ‘Where are we trying to improve? What are we trying to add?,’ and that kind of thing. So bottom line is I don’t see myself in any other helmet but a Saints helmet. I don’t see myself playing for any other coach than Sean Payton, but I know there’s all kinds of speculation. Especially when you’re not heading to the playoffs. Everybody immediately wants to jump to, ‘Well what are they gonna do this offseason and how is it gonna look for next season?’ But I’m confident that a plan was laid out last offseason for how kind of how we were going to build this thing back to a point where we can make a run. Like we made a run in ’09, ’10, ’11 and that’s where my mind’s at and I feel like there’s a lot of people that feel that same way.”

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PFT’s Week 17 Power Rankings

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1. Cardinals (13-2; last week No. 2): Nine straight wins, and a much-deserved leapfrogging of a team with one less loss.

2. Panthers (14-1; last week No. 1): If 16-0 in the regular season makes it harder to go 3-0 in the postseason, it’s better to go 15-1 en route to 18-1.

3. Patriots (12-3; No. 3): Marty Mornhinweg says, “Does this mean I finally get another head-coaching job?”

4. Broncos (11-4; No. 9): Peyton Manning will now have plenty of time to issue statements and give interviews disputing that Al Jazeera report.

5. Chiefs (10-5; No. 7): Nine straight wins makes them the hottest team in the AFC. And still no one believes in them.

6. Packers (10-5; No. 4): Last week, I said they’re just good enough to lose in the divisional round. I was wrong. They’re just good enough to get blown out in the divisional round.

7. Seahawks (9-6; No. 5): Suddenly, Marshawn Lynch’s return seems inevitable.

8. Vikings (10-5; No. 11): Are they better off as the No. 3 seed at home against Seattle or as the No. 5 seed on the road at Washington?

9. Bengals (11-4; No. 8): A.J. McCarron already plays as well as Andy Dalton — in prime time.

10. Jets (10-5; No. 10): Rex Ryan guaranteed to take Buffalo to the playoffs. He’ll have to settle for trying to knock out the team that fired him last year.

11. Washington (8-7; No. 12): At the outset of the season, Washington would have been ranked this high only if they had moved to the CFL.

12. Steelers (9-6; No. 6): They’re the most dangerous team in the AFC. Especially to themselves.

13. Texans (8-7; No. 13): The only thing standing in the way of a playoff berth is a chain of events that would end up being far more memorable that the inevitable one-and-done that’s looming.

14. Falcons (8-7; No. 19): Sunday’s performance against Carolina makes all the losses even more confounding.

15. Raiders (7-8; No. 14): The Raiders belong in Oakland, and the folks in Oakland deserve a better Raiders team. Maybe both will happen.

16. Rams (7-8; No. 20): They’re cobbling together just enough hope to justify staying the course, again.

17. Bills (7-8; No. 17): Rex Ryan guarantees that the Bills will field a team next year. Hopefully, he’ll be able to make good on that one.

18. Eagles (6-9; No. 15): Chip Kelly now says he wasn’t the G.M. Plenty of fans wish he also wasn’t the head coach.

19. Giants (6-9; No. 16): Tom Coughlin thinks his players shouldn’t worry about the coach’s future. Based on Sunday night’s game, they apparently aren’t.

20. Bears (6-9; No. 21): They should be better. They could be worse.

21. Buccaneers (6-9; No. 18): Three straight losses have killed what once seemed to be a stunning turnaround. They’ve still tripled their wins from a year ago.

22. Colts (7-8; No. 22): They’re getting closer and closer to signing Tim Tebow or Vince Young.

23. Lions (6-9; No. 23): Cooterball could still save Jim Caldwell.

24. Saints (6-9; No. 26): Based on Drew Brees‘ performance, quarterbacks throughout the league will be trying to tear their plantar fascia tendons.

25. Ravens (5-10; No. 29): Long dead, the Ravens were happy to potentially take the Steelers with them.

26. Jaguars (5-10; No. 24): That 51-point outburst seems like it happened a long time ago.

27. Dolphins (5-10; No. 25): Hopefully the Dolphins won’t cut Brent Grimes; his wife’s Twitter page is the most entertaining thing about the team.

28. Chargers (4-11; No. 27): Eric Weddle’s squabble with the team provides a nice distraction from the fact that the team is about to leave town.

29. Cowboys (4-11; No. 28): Sean Payton has long been linked to the Cowboys. After the team’s performance in 2015, maybe those rumors will finally gather some steam.

30. Browns (3-12; No. 30): If Johnny Manziel is posting those videos in order to get cut, he’s smarter than anyone realizes.

31. 49ers (4-11; No. 31): Jim Tomsula said he’s the coach until someone tells him otherwise. More than 75 percent of the fan base already has volunteered to be the messenger.

32. Titans (3-12; No. 32): They don’t know how to do much, but they know how to nail down the No. 1 seed.

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Sunday has 11 games with playoff implications

Minnesota Vikings v Green Bay Packers Getty Images

We basically know which teams are in the playoffs: Carolina, Arizona, Minnesota, Green Bay, Washington and Seattle have clinched the six NFC spots. New England, Denver, Cincinnati and Kansas City have clinched four spots in the AFC, with Houston almost certain to win the AFC South and the Jets having the inside track for the final wild card.

But with one exception — Washington is the NFC No. 4 seed — we don’t know what order those teams will be in for the playoffs. Here are the 11 Sunday games that will determine that:

PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS FOR BOTH TEAMS
Seahawks at Cardinals, 4:25 p.m.: The Cardinals clinch home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs if they win and the Panthers lose. The Seahawks will be the No. 6 seed if they lose or the Vikings beat the Packers. The Seahawks will be the No. 5 seed if they win and the Packers beat the Vikings.

Vikings at Packers, 8:30 p.m.: The winner is the NFC North champion and the NFC No. 3 seed. If the Packers lose, they’re the No. 5 seed. If the Vikings lose and the Seahawks win, the Vikings are the No. 6 seed. If the Vikings and Seahawks both lose, the Vikings are the No. 5 seed.

PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS FOR ONE TEAM
Jets at Bills, 1 p.m.: If the Jets win, they clinch a wild card.

Patriots at Dolphins, 1 p.m.: If the Patriots win, they clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

Ravens at Bengals, 1 p.m.: If the Bengals win out and the Broncos lose, the Bengals earn a first-round bye.

Steelers at Browns, 1 p.m.: If the Steelers win and the Jets lose, the Steelers are a wild card.

Jaguars at Texans, 1 p.m.: The Texans clinch the AFC South with a win. The Texans will also clinch the AFC South if they win the strength of victory tiebreaker with the Colts, which will probably happen. So this game, though not meaningless, is not particularly important.

Titans at Colts, 1 p.m.: The Colts can still win the AFC South, but they need to beat the Titans, the Texans need to lose to the Jaguars, and a lot of other things have to happen. The Colts will probably miss the playoffs even if they win. So this game, though not meaningless, is not particularly important.

Panthers at Buccaneers, 4:25 p.m.: The Panthers clinch home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with a win. The Panthers also clinch home-field advantage if the Cardinals lose.

Raiders at Chiefs, 4:25 p.m.: The Chiefs clinch the AFC West with a win and a Broncos loss.

Chargers at Broncos, 4:25 p.m.: The Broncos clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win and a Patriots loss. The Broncos clinch a first-round bye with a win.

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AFC playoff picture: Broncos are in, with plenty to play for

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 28:  Tight end Owen Daniels #81 of the Denver Broncos dives forward after a reception as cornerback Shawn Williams #36 and outside linebacker Vincent Rey #57 of the Cincinnati Bengals cover the play at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 28, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Broncos are in the playoffs after Monday night’s win over the Bengals. But they still have a lot to play for with one more game to go.

Denver can earn home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a Week 17 win and a Patriots loss, but Denver can also lose the division and have to go on the road as a wild card with a loss and a Chiefs win.

Here’s how the AFC playoff race shapes up heading into Week 17:

LEADERS
1. Patriots (12-3): New England will earn home-field advantage with a win over Miami next week, or a Broncos loss.

2. Broncos (11-4): Denver owns the head-to-head tiebreaker with New England, so if the Broncos win and the Patriots lose next week, the Broncos will be the AFC No. 1 seed. But if the Broncos lose and the Chiefs win, the Chiefs will win the AFC West and the Broncos will be a wild card.

3. Bengals (11-4): Cincinnati has clinched the AFC North but would lose the tiebreaker to both Denver and New England, so Cincinnati needs to win and Denver needs to lose next week for the Bengals to earn a bye.

4. Texans (8-7): The AFC South race has technically not yet been clinched, although the Texans will clinch with a win and will almost certainly win the division even with a loss.

5. Chiefs (10-5): The Chiefs have clinched a playoff spot and can still win the AFC West if they win next week and the Broncos lose.

6. Jets (10-5): The Jets are in the playoffs if they beat the Bills next week. They’d also make it if they lose and the Steelers also lose.

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
7. Steelers (9-6): To make the playoffs, the Steelers have to beat the Browns next week, and the Jets have to lose to the Bills.

AFC SOUTH RACE
Colts (7-8): The Colts need to win next week, have the Texans lose next week, and hope other games break their way so that they earn the strength of victory tiebreaker over the Texans. That’s a tall order.

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NFL morning after: The ’72 Dolphins deserve to celebrate

<> on August 20, 2013 in Washington, DC. Getty Images

If the 1972 Dolphins celebrated yesterday following the Panthers’ loss to the Falcons, I say good for them.

Members of the ’72 Dolphins contend that their celebrations have been overstated, and they don’t really get together for champagne every year when the NFL’s last remaining undefeated team loses. But what we saw yesterday when the Panthers fell from 14-0 to 14-1 with a loss to the Falcons is a good reminder of just how special a team the ’72 Dolphins were.

It’s really, really hard to finish an NFL season undefeated. The Panthers looked like they were the team with the best chance to do it since the Patriots came thisclose in 2007, but yesterday they simply had an off day while the Falcons had a good day, and Atlanta won 20-13. That’s the thing about life in the NFL: You’re going to have some off days, and your opponents are going to have good days. The gap between a very good team like Carolina and a mediocre team like Atlanta is really not that great, which means that if you’re not playing your best every single week, you’re going to lose at some point.

Unless you’re the ’72 Dolphins.

The ’72 Dolphins weren’t the only undefeated, untied champions in the history of the NFL because they never had a day like the Panthers had yesterday. The ’72 Dolphins were the only undefeated, untied champions in the history of the NFL because even when they had bad games like the Panthers had yesterday, they found a way to win. They were an incredible football team that always found a way to win. In Week 3 of the 1972 season, the Dolphins trailed 14-6 in the fourth quarter at Minnesota. They won 16-14. In Week 6, the Dolphins trailed the Bills 13-7 at halftime. They won 24-23. In Week 10, the Dolphins trailed the Jets 24-21 in the fourth quarter. They won 28-24. In the playoffs, the Dolphins trailed the Browns 14-13 in the fourth quarter. They won 20-14.

You can argue that the ’72 Dolphins weren’t the best team in NFL history precisely because they were involved in a lot of close games. The ’72 Dolphins weren’t a dominant team like the ’85 Bears, a wrecking crew that crushed the opposition, but the ’72 Dolphins were the only team in NFL history that found a way to win, every single week.

That’s a special thing, and a hard thing to do, as the Panthers found out yesterday. If the ’72 Dolphins want to celebrate their status as a unique team in the history of football, let them celebrate.

Here are my other thoughts from Sunday:

Johnny Football can run, but can he play quarterback? Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel had 108 rushing yards yesterday, the second-highest total for a quarterback in the NFL so far this year. But we’ve always known Manziel is a good athlete. The question is whether he’s a good quarterback, and that question remains unanswered. Manziel completed just 13 of 32 passes for 136 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception. That’s just not good enough. I like Manziel because he’s an exciting player to watch, but I’m just not convinced he has what it takes to be an NFL passer.

The rest of the season just got a lot more interesting. I thought heading into yesterday that we might be in store for a boring end of the season, but the results of yesterday changed all that: The Patriots lost, which means they don’t have home-field advantage wrapped up yet. The Jets won and the Steelers lost, which makes the AFC wild card race more competitive. The Chiefs won, which means the Broncos don’t have the AFC West wrapped up yet. We’ve got a good game tonight when the Broncos play the Bengals, and we’re in for a good Week 17.

Brandon Marshall has had a heck of a career. Marshall helped the Jets beat the Patriots yesterday and in the process recorded the sixth 100-catch season of his career. He’s the only player in NFL history with six 100-catch seasons, and he’s done it for three different teams, the Jets, Bears and Broncos. No one else has even had 100 catches with two different teams. Marshall has also had a 1,200-yard season with four different teams and is the only player to do so; only Terrell Owens has even managed 1,200 yards with three different teams. Marshall hasn’t always been the best presence in the locker room (which is why he’s been on so many different teams) but from all indications he’s been a good teammate as a Jet. He’s a special player.

Two big trades for the Jets. The Jets traded a fifth-round pick for Marshall and a sixth-round pick for quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick this offseason, and those two have been arguably the two most important players on a Jets team that’s now one win from the playoffs. It’s remarkable how much the Jets improved themselves by trading two late-round picks.

We should have a measured conversation about human growth hormone. Peyton Manning is strongly denying a report that he took HGH, which is banned by the NFL. If he’s telling the truth, it’s terrible that his reputation is being smeared. If he’s lying, it’s going to catch up to him eventually, as lies about PEDs caught up to Lance Armstrong, Mark McGwire, and hundreds of other PED cheats in sports history. But I wish we could have a discussion about HGH that isn’t about Manning so much as it’s about what HGH does and whether it should be banned. There’s very little evidence that HGH actually enhances performance for a quarterback like Manning: Researchers studying the effects of HGH say the only athletes it seemed to help were sprinters, and if there’s one thing we can say about Manning over the last few years it’s that he doesn’t seem to have done anything that boosted his speed. Some people think HGH can help an athlete recover from an injury, but if that’s what it does, why should it be banned? We don’t ban vitamin supplements or cortisone shots.

The Lions can no longer justify Calvin Johnson’s salary. Johnson had 77 yards for the Lions in yesterday’s win over the 49ers, which is one of his best recent games. But that’s just the problem: Johnson has reached a point in his career where 77 yards is one of his best games. And yet at $20.6 million, Johnson’s cap hit is by far the biggest for any wide receiver in the NFL. That cap hit rises to more than $24 million next year, and there’s simply no way to justify paying a declining player anything close to that kind of money. There’s no way any other team would trade for a contract like Johnson’s, so unless Johnson is willing to take a massive pay cut next year, the Lions are going to have to cut him in the offseason. It sounds crazy to say Detroit would cut the great Megatron, but that’s life in the NFL.

Cam Newton runs like no other quarterback, ever. Newton scored the 41st rushing touchdown of his career yesterday, taking him one step closer to the NFL record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback. The current record of 43, by Steve Young, will surely fall to Newton, likely some time early next season. This despite the fact that Newton has only played 77 games in his career, while Young played 169 games. Newton is a unique player in NFL history, even though he’s disappointed today that his team failed to accomplish something unique in NFL history.

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