Week 12 Recap

Mike the Ace and D.K. review two matchups: one with the defending Super Bowl champs and another with a team still trying to keep their name in contention for playoffs.


Kansas City Chiefs @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (27-24 Chiefs)
Mike The Ace @TheAceWriter

Two of the better teams in the NFL clashed on Sunday afternoon. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs lined up against Tom Brady’s Buccaneers. This game can be used as a blueprint for whom the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs are at their best, while also showing their biggest weakness.

The headliner of the game was star wide receiver, Tyreek Hill. Hill broke the game open early with big plays down the field, and the Bucs were fighting to keep up the rest of the way. With about 7 minutes left in the first quarter, Patrick Mahomes found Tyreek Hill deep down the right sideline for a 75-yard touchdown. The Chiefs would get the ball back on their following drive, and get the ball moving again. Mahomes would find Hill for another touchdown, this one from 44 yards out. Tyreek Hill finished the first quarter with a total of 203 yards.

With a strong first half from Hill, and a good showing from the Chiefs’ defense, this game really should have been a blowout. Patrick Mahomes had a costly red zone fumble in the 2nd quarter but the Chiefs appeared to be headed towards a 20 or 30-point win, regardless. While their high-octane passing attack is what separates the Chiefs from other teams in the league, their biggest flaw reared its ugly head as well.

With a 20-10 lead, the Chiefs were able to maneuver another solid drive that ended with another Tyreek Hill touchdown. Hill would end the game with 13 catches, 269 yards, and 3 total touchdowns. With a 27-10 lead, and 7:00 left in the 3rd quarter, Kansas City would not find the end zone again. The Buccaneers were able to stifle the Chiefs’ running game, while grabbing two interceptions off of Patrick Mahomes in the last quarter and a half. I want to give credit to the Bucs’ defense, as they made the necessary adjustments to give themselves a chance in this game.

I really wanted to see the Chiefs turn to their running backs to generate offense. LeVeon Bell & Clyde Edwards-Helaire are good at both running and receiving the football, but they didn’t get involved the way I expected them to. Andy Reid is usually a mastermind at getting the ball to his running backs, but they struggled to do so in the 2nd half of this game. 

The Chiefs have consistently had a problem with extending leads this season, and this game was another example of that. Long drives that end in points are the ideal way to seal a victory once you have the lead. Touches to the running backs generally eat up more clock, and allow the defense to get some rest. Kansas City will need to prioritize this element of their offense, or they could end up blowing a lead in the playoffs.

Tom Brady and his crew were almost able to complete the comeback, but the Chiefs offense did just enough to stay alive. It wasn’t pretty, but the defending champions moved to 10-1 on the season.

Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

Carolina Panthers @ Minnesota Vikings (27-28 Vikings)
DK @ayeyoo_biggs

In one of the craziest games of the year, the Vikings were able to get a game winning touchdown from an unlikely hero at the last minute. This win keeps the Vikings alive in the playoff race. This game was a thriller down to the last minute, with both teams having a chance to come out victorious. 

Kirk Cousins went 34 for 45, with 407 yards, and 3 TDs. He had a good game, overall. Kirk Cousins did have a fumble in this game though, which led to a Panthers touchdown. Dalvin Cook also had a fumble as well, which led to another Panthers’ touchdown. This helped to get  them in an early 21-10 hole. The Vikings’ defense was able to hold in the second half, making way for a comeback. 

Minnesota was about to get the ball back, down 3, with a little under two minutes left. The Panthers punted the ball back to the Vikings, but the return was fumbled by Chad Beebe. Following the recovered fumble, the Panthers had a chance to close the game out, but the Vikings’ defense held them to a field goal. 

Down 21-27, Kirk cousins drove the Vikings down the field, which led to the Chad Beebe redemption story. After working the ball down the field, Cousins found the guy who fumbled earlier, Chad Beebe, in the back of the endzone for a touchdown. The Panthers did get the ball back with time, and got a chance to win the game. The Panthers’ offense drove down the field, but the kicker missed a 54 yard field goal. 

I will say, the Panthers did not play poorly, overall. They have been in every game this year and am thoroughly impressed with the way Teddy Bridgewater has played this season. He did have an interception, but that was at the end of the game. The star today for the Panthers was rookie Jeremy Chinn. He was able to score two defensive touchdowns in less than 10 seconds. The first was on a fumble recovery following the strip sack of quarterback Kirk Cousins. The next one was on the Vikings’ very next offensive play. Chinn stripped Dalvin Cook and returned *that* fumble for a touchdown. 

The Vikings are still on the right path to the playoffs. I don’t necessarily trust Kirk Cousins, but I love the rookie wideout Justin Jefferson. His play, along with the run game led by a healthy Dalvin Cook, will give Minnesota a chance. They may be able to make a late run for a wildcard spot. 


Week 5 Recap

Mike the Ace and D.K review two nail-biting games from NFL Week 5.

 Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Minnesota Vikings @ Seattle Seahawks (27-28 Seahawks)
Mike The Ace @TheAceWriter

The Minnesota Vikings have had a rough start to this season. Losses to the Packers, Colts, and Titans left them with an 0-3 record to start the year. Minnesota was able to grab their first win in week 4 against the Texans, but faced one of the best teams in the league in week 5.

The Seattle Seahawks have started the season on the opposite end of the spectrum. The Seahawks had been able to grab wins in all four of their games, scoring over 30 points in each victory.

The Vikings defense came out strong in this football game, holding the Seahawks scoreless through the first half. Their pass rush was able to generate pressure, sacking QB Russell Wilson 4 times. Offensively, the Vikings were poise and methodical, using the running game to control the line of scrimmage.

All of Minnesota’s defensive success absolutely fell apart at the start of the second half. The Seahawks were able to score 21 points in just 10 offensive plays. The Vikings were able to stay afloat offensively in the 2nd half, and the game was decided on one final Seahawks’ drive.

Down 26-21, Russell Wilson drove the Seahawks offense 94 yards for the game winning score. Wilson was fantastic on this final drive, taking care of the football and converting in clutch situations. The biggest conversion was on a 4th & 10, where Wilson found WR D.K. Metcalf for a 39 yard gain. Wilson would end the drive finding Metcalf again for a 6 yard score.

The Seahawks have been one of my favorite teams to watch this season. Their defense is very poor at times, but their offense has been really explosive. If they can get healthy and tighten up on defense, I think they have a great chance to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

(AP Photo/Brett Duke)

San Diego Chargers @ New Orleans Saints (30-27 Saints)
D.K. @ayeyoo_biggs

The score of the game was 30-27 the Saints way and they were in a battle pretty much start to finish. We have seen steady improvement from Justin Herbert every week, while on the same hand watching Drew Brees will the Saints to another win without Michael Thomas.

In only his 4th start Justin Herbert continued to prove that the Chargers were right in making him the #6 pick in the 2020 draft. Herbert went 20 for 34 with 264 yards. What I really like about the game was the way he was distributing the ball. He completed a pass to 8 different receivers, with Mike Williams leading the way with 5 catches, 109 yards, and two touchdowns. I think this is key because there are times in a young quarterbacks career where he might try and force it to the main threat on the offense. Something else they might do, is only go to a guy they have good chemistry with in practice. This game showed that he was good at going through his progressions and can make the right throws when needed.

Drew Brees had a Drew Brees game going 33 for 47 with 325 yards and a TD. The offense was a little choppy at the beginning of the game. Brees was under pressure even throwing an interception in the first half. They couldn’t get the run game going and the Chargers have an above average defensive line with Nick Bosa. Slowly but surely, Brees willed them to a win, feeding Emmanuel Sanders for 15 catches and 122 yards. Sanders doing his best Michael Thomas impression. Alvin Kamara also made some great plays with 119 all purpose yards.

The Saints won the game but I was more impressed with the Chargers. I like the development of Herbert and I’m excited to see what he does this season. Drew Brees and Co. did win the game, but Father Time is catching up to him and I’m not sure how much magic he has left in that arm.

NFL Breakout Players 2019 – NFC North Edition

Michael Lipscomb

Breakout players emerge every season. A new coaching staff, new schemes, or rehab from an injury, are a few valid reasons to see major improvement in an athlete. I will be giving you 32 names to watch for the 2019 NFL season. One player per team.

Do you agree? Disagree? Think I should have picked another player? Let me hear your opinions by tweeting at me: @TFINS_

Follow that twitter account for more articles and content! Follow us on Instagram too: thefutureisnowsports

Chicago Bears
Roquan Smith – Linebacker
6’1” 236 lbs
2nd year pro – University of Georgia

(Sept. 8, 2018 – Source: Stacy Revere/Getty Images North America)

2018 Statistics – 121 tackles (89 solo), 5 sacks, 5 passes deflected, 1 interception, 16 games started

Drafted 8th overall in the 2018 draft, Roquan Smith had high expectations for his rookie season. His first year in the league got off to a rocky start, as Smith held out of training camp due to contract disputes. Smith eventually signed, and had an instant impact on the regular season. Many of the traits that scouts fell in love with during the draft process, showed up on Sunday’s. His athleticism, instincts, and intensity made him a tackling machine, proving to be a force in the middle of that great Chicago Bears’ defense.

Despite the strong rookie season, Smith is often left out of the conversation for best linebacker in the NFL. It’s easy to understand why, with names like Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, and Eddie Jackson already on the Bears defense. I believe Smith will force more turnovers, improve in coverage, and gain respect as a top tier linebacker in 2019. Expect big plays (and big hits) from this inside linebacker this season.

Detroit Lions
TJ Hockenson – Tight End
6’5” 247 lbs
Rookie Season – University of Iowa

Sept. 8, 2018, in Iowa City, Iowa. (Matthew Putney, Associated Press)

Drafted 9th overall by the Lions. Winner of the Mackey Award, which is given to the best Tight End in college football.

I normally will stay away from listing rookies as breakout players. TJ Hockenson is an exception to this rule due to his position. Historically, tight ends get off to very slow starts in their pro careers. If you take a look at names like Zach Ertz, George Kittle, and Tyler Eifert, you will notice that their rookie seasons weren’t too inspiring. I think Hockenson avoids that trend and has a strong rookie season catching passes from Matthew Stafford.

Hockenson is one of the most athletic tight ends I have ever seen at the college level. He is an extremely versatile player that can line up in tight or flexed out at receiver. He is phenomenal after the catch, and a matchup nightmare for defenses. I believe Head Coach Matt Patricia will make it a point of emphasis to get Hockenson the ball in as many ways as possible. I predict Hockenson will catch around 60 passes, and find the end zone at least 4 times in 2019.

Green Bay Packers 
Josh Jackson – Cornerback
6’1” 196 lbs
2nd year pro – University of Iowa

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

2018 Statistics – 49 tackles (39 solo), 1 fumble recovery, 10 games started

The Packers had a lot of very good options to highlight as potential breakout players. They have one of the most talented, young rosters in the league. Second year cornerback Josh Jackson has the potential to shine as a playmaker in Green Bay’s secondary this season. Jackson is a lengthy, athletic corner who was a superior playmaker at the college level.

Although not the most technically sound in coverage, Jackson’s sheer athleticism makes him a strong corner in “off” coverages (5-7 yards away from the line of scrimmage). After leading the NCAA in interceptions in 2017, Jackson didn’t record a single interception during his rookie year. Following a full offseason in the NFL, I am confident we will see Jackson back to making plays in coverage. Quarterbacks beware, as Jackson has the speed to take those interceptions the opposite way for a touchdown.

Minnesota Vikings
Mike Hughes – Cornerback
5’10” 190 lbs
2nd year pro – University of Central Florida 

Minnesota Vikings

2018 Statistics – 22 tackles (19 solo), 1 interception (returned for touchdown), 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 3 passes deflected, 6 games played (2 games started)

Second year cornerback Mike Hughes was off to a great start to his rookie campaign. Hughes had seemingly earned his spot as a consistent starter for the Vikings, even recording a pick-six in his first regular season game against the 49ers. Unfortunately, Hughes tore his ACL during a 27-17 win against the Arizona Cardinals.

With an extended period of time to recover and a full offseason in Minnesota, I think we see a strong comeback for Hughes this season. Head coach Mike Zimmer likes to leave his corners in press-man coverage, where Hughes finds success. I expect Hughes to emerge as the clear No. 2 corner for the Vikings this season.