An upset of New England and Texans previous follies pave way for Jackson and Mahomes

Ravens, Chiefs await winners of Wildcard Weekend

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The AFC playoff picture is set.

Dolphins do it big

DeVante Parker worked potential Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore and the ageless wonder Ryan Fitzpatrick passed for 320 including the above score that would decide the game. The Dolphins looked anything but a tanking team on their way to hanging with the Patriots and handing the Pats a loss that put them in danger of missing a bye for the first time since 2009.

The Patriots have never won the Super Bowl without having a bye. They have never made it to the Super Bowl in the Brady era without the bye. New England will host

Chiefs take bye from Pats, send Rivers home sad

Philip Rivers maybe finished his career with the Chargers with an interception as the Chiefs were too much for the Chargers in the season finale. A win and Patriots loss would get the Chiefs a bye for the second time with Patrick Mahomes as their starter. Mahomes and company did their part while getting help from the Dolphins.

The Chiefs will finish as the two seed with Baltimore the one seed. The Chiefs were the first team to hand the Ravens a loss this year, but that was in Kansas City. If the Chiefs get another shot at the Ravens it will be in Baltimore this time.

This is as tough a 1-2 punch at the top of the AFC that we have seen in a long time. The Chiefs have it going on both sides of the ball while the Ravens will get two weeks of rest after taking it easy in the final week of the regular season.

Texans early season stumbles doom bye chances

The Texans started A.J. McCarron in a game that ultimately meant nothing for them. The Titans would win and secure the final AFC playoff spot.

It should have meant more for the Texans.

Houston has to be kicking themselves for two really hard to understand losses on their schedule. Early in the year they laid an egg against Kyle Allen and the Panthers and later in the year Denver came to town and Drew Lock lit the Texans up. They were two really bad losses and ultimately cost the Texans at a meaningful game in week 17 that could have had the Texans in a position for a bye.

Bill O'Brien has won four division crowns but he has never played week 17 controlling his own destiny for a bye. That puts much more pressure on the matchup with the Bills next weekend.

Texans hosting Bills

Josh Allen feels like a bad matchup for the Texans defense. He likes to toss bombs and the Texans have been known to blow a coverage or two. He also has a dangerous slot weapon in Cole Beasley and a tight end he trusts to make plays in Dawson Knox. Devin Singletary and Frank Gore provide a very solid rushing attack with Singletary shouldering the load more lately.

The Bills defense is fantastic this season. Led by Tre'Davious White in the secondary and an underrated safety duo the Bills are a nightmare for passing games. They are one of three teams to allow less than 200 passing yards per game this season. A few weeks ago the Ravens struggled to move the ball and settled for 24 points in their win over Buffalo.

The Texans will be mocked heading into this game and most will expect them to lose the game. Under Bill O'Brien they have lost every game in the playoffs when facing the team's regular starting quarterback. Last year, the Colts embarrassed the Texans. J.J. Watt should make his return to the field in this game. With a week of rest under their belts for their key players, the Texans have to show up better than their previous playoff trips under O'Brien.

It isn't crazy to think the Texans might have too much on offense for the Bills but Buffalo can slow down Watson and company and a defensive score would really set the Bills up for an upset victory.

Patriots hosting Titans

The Patriots have to contend with the toughest possible sixth seeded team. The Titans have been red hot with Ryan Tannehill under center and boast a formidable passing attack as well as a solid rushing attack. Tom Brady won't be able to keep up with the Titans if they are scoring at will.

The Patriots defense is the much better unit but the Titans have had plenty of successful bend-don't-break games including a win vs Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes. That was at home though, this will be in New England. Tannehill was frustrated earlier in December by a beaten up Texans defense, it would stand to reason the Patriots have enough to slow down the Tennessee offense. However, Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins put on the Patriots in a must-win for the bye scenario. Perhaps there are more cracks in than formidable defense than recently imagined.

It would be a real surprise if the Tannehill revival tour went to New England and got a win.

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ROCKETS BEAT THUNDER

Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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