Good morning! This is Playoff Watch 2017, the early buzz on NFL playoffs.
HOUSTON, TX – JANUARY 07: Jadeveon Clowney #90 of the Oakland Raiders lines up against the Oakland Raiders during the first half of their AFC Wild Card game at NRG Stadium on January 7, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Houston, a 16-point underdog according to bovada.lv, is the largest playoff underdog in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Few are giving them a chance to pull off the upset of quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
But could third-year defensive end Jadeveon Clowney lead a massive insurrection and shock the football world?
Clowney, the former South Carolina standout who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 draft, had a breakthrough season and was picked for his first Pro Bowl.
With J.J. Watt’s season cut short because of back surgery after three games, Clowney’s play has been vital to the Texans’ defense remaining top-notch.
He had 16 tackles for losses, six sacks and 17 quarterback hits in the regular season. Clowney will need to make more than few spectacular plays to help the Texans.
He had a dynamic interception against Oakland in the wild-card round.
Clowney’s play and a Raiders penalty left the Texans with the ball on the 4-yard line. Houston scored on the next play to take a 10-0 lead and went on to a 27-14 victory.
“That interception that was a really instinctive play … the back came at him,
Houston coach Bill O’Brien told the Associated Press. “He understood what was coming at him. He saw the quarterback through the back. He basically backpedaled to get in the throwing lane, tipped the ball to himself. He did several things on that play to really change the game at that point.”
The Raiders were playing with Connor Cook at quarterback and he was making his first NFL start.
The seasoned Brady won’t likely tip off his throws.
Last season, Clowney had two sacks against New England.
“You’ve got to get after him … we’ve got to go in there and execute the game plan and force him into some bad throws, some turnovers and try to get him where we want him,” Clowney said.
Terry Bradshaw admits: I shouldn’t have called Mike Tomlin a cheerleader, according to the Sporting News.
Pittsburgh linebacker Bud Dupree was fined for his hit on Miami quarterback Matt Moore. Both the NFL and the NFLPA are investigating the handling of the concussion protocol the Dolphins used. Moore missed only one play and was re-inserted in the game. Dupree, who played at Wilkinson County and Kentucky in college, is part of the slew of players from Georgia still alive in the playoffs.
Here’s your full divisional round injury report. Seattle running back C.J. Prosise returned to practice from a broken clavicle and could play against the Falcons. Green Bay wide receiver Jordy Nelson (ribs) did not practice.
Playoff Watch 2017 will appear Monday through Friday mornings.
SI.com breaks down the AFC Divisional playoff matchup between the Houston Texans and the New England Patriots.
ATLANTA FALCONS REGULAR SEASON RECAP
GAME 16: Falcons 38, Saints 32
5 things we learned from the Falcons win over the Saints
Falcons defense sags late but hangs on vs. Brees
Julio Jones says bye week will be ‘great for me’ with sore toe
GAME 15: Falcons 33, Panthers 16
5 things we learned from the Falcons win over the Panthers
NFL playoffs: Falcons clinch NFC South title
Third-and-21, no problem for Coleman
What Dan Quinn had to say after the win over the Panthers
GAME 14: Falcons 41, 49ers 13
5 things we learned from the Falcons’ win over the 49ers
What Matt Ryan had to say about the win over the 49ers
PHOTOS: Falcons win over the 49ers
GAME 13: Falcons 42, Rams 14
REPORT CARD: Falcons handled their business against woeful Rams
GAME 12: Chiefs 29, Falcons 28
5 things we learned from the Falcons’ loss to the Chiefs
Falcons still control their playoff destiny
PHOTOS: Falcons have a bad day at the office
Matt Ryan tormented by Berry’s big interceptions
Beasley becomes a double-digit sacker
GAME 11: Falcons 38, Cardinals 19
5 things we learned from the Falcons’ win over the Cardinals
MARK BRADLEY: The Falcons keep getting better as they go
Julio Jones gets calls this time
Taylor Gabriel continues scoring streak in win over Cardinals
Coleman scores TD in return from injury
Falcons’ offensive line ‘stepped up to the task’
GAME 10: Eagles 24, Falcons 15
5 things we learned from the Falcons’ loss to the Eagles
Ryan, offense slowed down to a crawl
Perkins stalls key drive with costly penalty
Defense gets blown of the line of scrimmage
Keanu Neal can expect fine but Falcons’ biggest issue is injuries (Trufant and Tamme)
Falcons go into bye week wrong way — beat up by Eagles
What Dan Quinn had to say after the loss to the Eagles
What Matt Ryan had to say after the loss to the Eagles
What the Falcons had to say after the loss to the Eagles
PHOTOS: Falcons fall to the Eagles
GAME NINE: Falcons 43, Buccaneers 28
5 things we learned from the Falcons’ rout of the Bucs
GAME EIGHT: Falcons 33, Packers 32
GAME SEVEN: Chargers 33, Falcons 30 in OT
5 things we learned from the Falcons loss to the Chargers
Dan Quinn’s gamble with house-money backfires
6 penalties ‘unacceptable’ for Falcons offensive line
Philip Rivers confounds Falcons with short passes: ‘He picked us apart’
Matt Ryan’s late-game interception leads to overtime loss
PHOTOS: Chargers rally to beat Falcons
GAME SIX: Seahawks 26, Falcons 24
5 things we learned from the Falcons loss to the Seahawks
MARK BRADLEY: The Falcons didn’t win, but they made one guy believe (me)
MARK BRADLEY: The Falcons got jobbed but did themselves proud
Matt Ryan’s turnovers were costly
What Dan Quinn had to say after the 26-24 loss to Seattle
Seattle slows down Falcons’ running backs Freeman, Coleman
Ryan Schraeder, offensive line rebounds in second half
Julio Jones: ‘It was just a missed call’
What the Falcons had to say after the 26-24 loss to Seattle
What Matt Ryan had to say after the 26-24 loss to Seattle
Richard Sherman non-commital on pass interference non-call
PHOTOS: Falcons at Seahawks in Seattle
GAME FIVE: Falcons 23, Broncos 16
5 things we learned from the Falcons upset of Super Bowl champs
MARK BRADLEY: The Falcons rock a rookie in the Rockies
What Dan Quinn have to say after the win over Denver
Coleman amassed 163 yards to power the offense
Vic Beasley has breakout game with 3.5 sacks
Kemal Ishmael moved to linebacker, led team in tackles
What the Falcons had to say after the win over the Broncos
Photos: Falcons battle the Broncos
GAME FOUR: Falcons 48, Panthers 33
5 things we learned from the Falcons’ 48-33 win over the Panthers
Tweetcap: Falcons 48, Panthers 33
Old pro Freeney shows new trick with Falcons
Falcons’ rookie Neal holds on vs. Olsen
What Julio Jones had to say after the 48-33 win over the Panthers
What Dan Quinn had to say after the 48-33 win over the Panthers
What Matt Ryan had to say after the 48-33 win over the Panthers
Alford battled; Collins to return
Early view in NFC South isn’t what most expected; Falcons on top
GAME THREE: Falcons 45, Saints 32
5 things we learned from the Falcons’ 45-32 win over the Saints
Falcons, Saints protest with unity circle before game
REPORT CARD: Falcons earned high marks for drubbing Saints
What Dan Quinn had to say after the 45-32 win over the Saints
What Matt Ryan had to say after the 45-32 win over the Saints
What the Falcons had to say after the 45-32 win over the Saints
Keanu Neal makes strong debut for Falcons
Falcons’ Deion Jones runs for glory, not survival, in return home
AJC POWER RANKINGS: Falcons best in NFC South?
GAME TWO: Falcons 35, Raiders 28
5 things we learned from the Falcons’ win over the Raiders
Trufant’s heads-up play saves the day
Tight ends help to power offense
Weatherspoon plays strong in first start since 2013
Matthews, Schraeder held Mack sack-less
JEFF SCHULTZ: Falcons put on offensive show and win
What Matt Ryan had to say after beating the Raiders
What Dan Quinn had to say after the win over the Raiders
GAME ONE: Buccaneers 31, Falcons 24
5 things we learned from the Falcons’ loss to the Bucs
No sacks for new-look Falcons pass rush
Julio Jones not worried about his ankle injury
Falcons have a case of the “no-huddle” blues
REPORT CARD: Falcons can’t ‘gift’ opponents 17 points
FILM REVIEW: Beasley missing in action
AJC’S NFL POWER RANKINGS: Where are the Falcons?
Hageman charged is domestic violence case