NFL Playoffs podcast with Joe Hawkes: A look at all the playoff teams this weekend

houstonchronicle.com: Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) fights for yards against Tennessee Titans defensive back Tramaine Brock (35) as he makes a first down reception during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game at Nissan Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, in Nashville.

On the NFL Playoffs podcast with J Hawkes:

#1 On Saturday AFC Playoffs It’s the Houston Texans hosting the Buffalo Bills the Texans are 2.5 point favorites

#2 The Tennessee Titans are in New England to face Tom Brady and the Patriots. The Pats with home field advantage are favored by 4.5.

#3 Sunday’s NFC games: Taking a look at the New Orleans Saints led by quarterback Drew Brees will be in Minnesota. The Saints are favored by eight.

#4 Seattle is the slight underdog as they come calling in Philadelphia against the Eagles who are favored by 1.

J Hawkes will take you right through the NFL playoffs each Friday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

NFL Playoffs Podcast with David Zizmor: A look at eight teams that’s battling it out for the Super Bowl

Photo credit: @NFL

NFL Playoff Podcast with David Zizmor:

Sunday’s game AFC: Jacksonville 10 Buffalo 3

AFC Divisional Round

Saturday: Tennessee Titans @ New England Patriots

Sunday: Jacksonville Jaguars @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Sunday’s game NFC: New Orleans 31 vs. Carolina 26

NFC: Divisional Round

Saturday: Atlanta Falcons @ Philadelphia Eagles

Sunday: New Orleans Saints @ Minnesota Vikings

David goes through the NFL Playoff schedule for this weekend at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

 

 

Turnovers cost Raiders on the road 34-14; Bills improve season record to 4-4

Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy (25) runs with the ball as Oakland Raiders middle linebacker NaVorro Bowman (53), safety Shalom Luani (26) and cornerback T.J. Carrie (38) try to bring him down during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

By Jeremy Kahn

OAKLAND — After a huge come-from-behind victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, the Oakland Raiders headed out on the road for a two-game road trip and their first stop was not a good one.

Rookie linebacker Matt Milano returned a fumble 40 yards to the end zone, helping the Buffalo Bills defeat the Raiders 34-14 at New Era Field.

The Milano fumble was one of four Raiders turnovers on the afternoon, as the Raiders have now lost four out of their last five games since beginning the season with a 2-0 record.

Tyrod Taylor also threw a six-yard touchdown pass to former Raiders wide receiver Andre Holmes. Taylor also scored on a one-yard run, as they improved their record to 5-2 on the season.

LeSean McCoy picked up a season-high 151 yards and also scored on a 48-yard touchdown run to help the Bills to the 20-point victory.

The Bills are now 4-0 at home, their best start at home since they started 5-0 during the 1995 season.

This is the best Bills start during their 17-year playoff drought, the longest drought by any team in the four major sports.

Derek Carr went 31-for-48 for 313 yards passing and a four-yard pass to DeAndre Washington. Carr also threw two interceptions on the afternoon. Following a Jamize Olawale touchdown run, the Raiders failed to get on the board on their next eight possessions.

Those next eight drives ended with four punts, three turnovers and they were unable to score at the end of the first half.

Without the suspended Marshawn Lynch, the Raiders gained just 54 yards on the ground.

NOTES: With their next game in Miami against the Dolphins, the Raiders will stay on the east coast for the next week and will be in Sarasota, FL. until they head to Miami before their Sunday Night matchup.

Rookie Shalom Luani started in place of Karl Joseph, who missed the game due to a groin injury and Dexter McDonald started for David Amerson, was out of the game with a foot injury.

Raiders travel to Buffalo for Week 8 matchup with Bills Sunday

Photo credit: @BNBlitzNow

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

OAKLAND — After having 10 days off, the Raiders get back on the football field this Sunday as they travel east to take on the Buffalo Bills in a key matchup for Week 8.

Kickoff is at 1:00 p.m. ET or 10:00 a.m. PT for all you (including me) west coasters.

Last Thursday night, the Silver and Black got back into the win column with a 31-30 comeback victory over their bitter rival, the Kansas City Chiefs. Oakland (3-4) were down six late in the fourth quarter before starting quarterback Derek Carr engineered an 11-play, 85-yard drive in 2:25 that resulted on a 2-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Michael Crabtree as time expired.

Kicker Giorgio Tavecchio’s PAT on the next play proved to be the difference maker, snapping Oakland’s four-game losing streak following a 2-0 start.

In the process, Carr earned his NFL-leading 12th comeback victory since 2015. Carr completed 29-of-52 passes for 417 yards and three touchdowns with 101.2 passer rating.

Amari Cooper had a career-night, hauling in 11 receptions for 210 yards and two touchdowns of 38 and 45 yards. Cooper’s 210 yards ranked second in single-game franchise history to Art Powell’s 247 yards in 1963.

Cooper was named the AFC’s Offensive Player of the Week for his offensive outburst against the Chiefs.

Just to put Cooper’s performance in a bigger perspective: after recording five catches for 62 yards and one touchdown in Oakland’s 26-16 victory in Tennessee in Week 1, Cooper struggled, recording just 13 catches for 84 yards and no touchdowns in Weeks 2-6.

Tight end Jared Cook made big plays also against a good Chiefs defense, catching six passes for 107 yards, including a 27-yard reception on the Raiders’ final drive to setup Oakland at the Kansas City 1-yard line.

On defense, newly signed middle linebacker NaVorro Bowman led Oakland with 11 tackles on the night.

During pregame introductions, Bowman was greeted with a loud ovation from Raider Nation. Bowman spent his first seven seasons with the San Francisco 49ers where he was voted to three Pro Bowl teams (in 2012, ’13, ’15) and four All-Pro teams (in 2011-13, ’15).

Oakland will head into Buffalo without the services for starting running back Marshawn Lynch, who has been suspended by the NFL for one game after making contact with an official during Thursday’s contest.

Lynch was ejected in the first half after he ran onto the field and made contact with an official after trying to separate Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters from a scrum that broke out. The Raiders starting running back was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and ejected.

Lynch and Peters are cousins from West Oakland. Peters actually testified on Lynch’s behalf at his appeal hearing, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Buffalo (4-2) is coming off a 30-27 victory at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 7.

Bills starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor completed 20-of-33 passes for 268 yards and one touchdown with a 98.5 passer rating. Taylor is a mobile quarterback that can give the Raiders problems as he can make plays in the running game too.

Running back LeSean McCoy racked up 91 yards on 23 carries and two touchdowns against Tampa Bay. Not only does McCoy lead the Bills with 370 yards rushing on 110 carries this season, but he’s Buffalo’s top receiver, leading the team with 32 catches and his second behind tight end Charles Clay with 220 yards receiving through six games.

Clay leads Buffalo with 258 yards receiving.

Defensively, Buffalo ranks fourth in the NFL in points surrendered, allowing just 16.8 points per game. Oakland’s offense ranks 15th in the league, scoring 22.1 points per game.

Buffalo ranks seventh in the league in stopping the run, allowing just 84.5 yards rushing per game.

Buffalo’s secondary is one of the strongest in the league, led by safety Micah Hyde who is tied for the league lead with four interceptions. Hyde signed a five-year, $30.5 million deal with Buffalo in the offseason after spending his first four seasons with the Green Bay Packers.

Sunday’s game in Buffalo marks the first of a two-game swing through the AFC East for Oakland. The Raiders travel to Miami to take on the Dolphins in Week 9.

Oakland is already 1-0 against the AFC East this year, after blasting the New York Jets 45-20 in Week 2 in the Raiders’ home opener.

The Raiders have won two of the last three meetings with Buffalo (in 2014 and ’16), while the Bills last defeated Oakland in 2011.

 

 

 

 

Raiders start slow, finishes fast in home win against Bills

AP photo: Oakland Raiders receiver Amari Cooper (89) and running back Jalen Richard (30) jump for joy after Cooper scores touchdown in the second half at the Oakland Coliseum Sunday against the Buffalo Bills

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

OAKLAND, Calif — The Silver and Black found themselves down early, out of sync on offense, but found a way to erase a 24-9 deficit in the second half to pull away from the visiting Buffalo Bills, 38-24, Sunday afternoon at the Oakland Coliseum.

Now at 10-2, Oakland remains one game in front of the 9-3 Kansas City Chiefs ahead of this week’s showdown for AFC West supremacy on Thursday Night Football at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.

Kansas City squeaked by the Falcons 29-28 in Atlanta earlier in the day.

Oakland scored 29 unanswered points in the second half and forced two turnovers created by the havoc-wreaking Khalil Mack that dashed any hopes of a Buffalo victory.

Derek Carr completed 19-of-35 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Raiders to their sixth straight win.

Carr tossed a 3-yard score to wide receiver Michael Crabtree to cut Buffalo’s lead to 24-16 with 5:17 left in the third quarter.

Then at the start of the fourth quarter, Carr hooked up with wide receiver Amari Cooper, who beat rookie cornerback Kevon  Seymour with a double-move, up the Bills’ sideline for a 37-yard touchdown catch that got Oakland within a point, 24-23.

Crabtree led the Raiders with seven catches for 74 yards (11 targets) and a touchdown, while Cooper hauled in two catches for 59 yards and a score.

The 22-year-old Cooper became just the seventh player 22-years-old or younger in NFL history to record 2,000 yards receiving within his first two years in the league.

Running back Latavius Murray finished with 82 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns. Murray’s 11 rushing touchdowns is second only to Dallas rookie running back Ezekiel Elliot’s 12 among all running backs.

Murray also became the first Raiders running back to score 10+ rushing touchdowns in a season since LaMont Jordan accomplished that feat in 2005 when Jordan had 10.

But Buffalo jumped out early on Oakland, scoring on their first two drives of the game to claim a 10-0 lead in the first quarter thanks to Buffalo’s sound running game and an intermediate passing attack.

LeSean McCoy gashed Oakland’s defense for 130 yards on 17 carries while dealing with cramps in the second half for Buffalo, and fellow running back Mike Gillislee scored two touchdowns on eight carries for 49 yards.

Buffalo (6-6) took it to Oakland on their opening drive of the second half for 66 yards on two running plays that set up their second touchdown of the game. McCoy darted up the middle of Oakland’s defense for a 54-yard run followed by quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s 12-yard scamper that gave Buffalo a 17-9 lead.

Taylor completed 18-of-35 passes for 191 yards and one interception and McCoy led all Bills with seven catches for 61 yards.

But when Oakland’s defense needed a play, it appeared that Mack would be the one who would  make it for the Silver and Black.

Mack tipped a Taylor pass at the line of scrimmage that was intercepted by safety Nate Allen, then Mack sealed the game with strip-sack and fumble recovery on the final play.

The Raiders stellar defensive end recorded a sack for the seventh consecutive week, the longest active streak in the league this season. No other player has more sacks than Mack during that span.

 

 

 

 

 

Raiders face tough test with Bills coming to Oakland

AP photo: Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) fires a pass against the Carolina Panthers last Sunday at the Oakland Coliseum

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

OAKLAND, Calif — Two years ago, the Silver and Black were in shambles at 2-12 when the 8-6 Buffalo Bills came into town looking to earn the franchise’s first trip to the postseason since 1999.

But that was two years ago when quarterback Derek Carr, who was a rookie at the time, displayed early on the talent that many football experts believe will tab Carr as this year’s league MVP that day when he found wide receiver James Jones for the game-winning touchdown in the final seconds giving Oakland a 26-24 victory, eliminating Buffalo from playoff contention.

With both teams tasting the playoffs as the season heads into the final month, Sunday’s matchup at the Oakland Coliseum at 1:05 p.m. will have the feel of a playoff game which should make for a very competitive game.

Carr has the 9-2 Raiders riding a five-game winning streak, and a win Sunday would put Oakland on the doorstep of the franchise’s first playoff appearance since 2002.

Oh yeah, that team reached the Super Bowl that season.

It is still relatively unknown if Carr, who completed 26-of-38 passes for 315, with two touchdowns, and an interception in last week’s 35-32 victory over the visiting Carolina Panthers, will wear a glove in Sunday’s game to protect his dislocated pinkie on his right hand.

During Wednesday’s practice, Carr was seen wearing a glove on his right hand.

Carr took a snap on Oakland’s first drive of the second half and immediately jumped back holding his pinkie. It appeared that Carr pulled from under center too fast, causing the injury.

Carr left the game briefly with the Raiders holding a 24-7 lead, but Carolina would score 18 unanswered points in the third quarter that gave the Panthers a 25-24 lead that left the sellout Raider Nation crowd stunned.

Following a Cam Newton 44-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, Carr would throw a 12-yard score to tight end Clive Walford in the fourth quarter to go along with a 23-yard field goal by kicker Sebastian Janikowski to put seal the win for Oakland.

On the season, Carr has thrown for 3,115 yards, 22 touchdowns to just five interceptions while leading the league’s fourth-best passing offense.

As much as Oakland’s high-powered offense (27.9 ppg) has to do with most of the team’s success this season, it has been the play of the defense, most notably defensive end Khalil Mack.

Mack, who was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Month for November, has been a force for Oakland after a slow start of the season.

Against Carolina, Mack was one-man wrecking crew, intercepting the reigning league MVP and returning the pass for a 6-yard score right before halftime, then registering a sack, a forced fumble and recovery on Carolina’s final play of the game.

In November, Mack recorded 12 tackles (11 solo), four sacks, six quarterback hits, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, two passes defensed, one interception returned for a touchdown all while leading Oakland to a 3-0 record.

But Buffalo (6-5) is a team that can give Oakland problems, especially with running back LeSean McCoy and the league’s top-ranked rushing attack, averaging 157.4 yards on the ground a game.

McCoy rushed for 103 yards on 19 carries and scored two touchdowns, one of which went for a career-long 75 yards in Buffalo’s 28-21 win at home in Week 12 over Jacksonville.

The eight-year pro from Pittsburgh is eighth in the league in rushing with 819 yards to go along with nine touchdowns.

Tyrod Taylor is following up his 2015 breakout season where he threw for a career-high 3,035 yards with 20 touchdowns and just six interceptions with another solid season for Buffalo, throwing for 2,101 yards, 11 touchdowns and four interceptions this season.

Defensively, Buffalo has some great players that Oakland’s stout offensive line will have to contend with on Sunday.

Inside linebackers Zach Brown and Preston Brown have combined for 194 tackles (121 solo), while outside linebacker and ex-Raider Lorenzo Alexander is having a career-year in his 10th year, pacing second behind Denver linebacker Von Miller (12.5) in the NFL in sacks with 10.

Buffalo’s 33 sacks as a team is second only to Denver’s league-leading 35.

The Bills secondary, which gives up just 227.7 yards through the air per game and plagued by injuries, will have their hands full with Oakland’s terrific wide receivers Amari Cooper (66 catches, 922 yards, 3 TDs) and Michael Crabtree (60 catches, 711 yards, 6 TDs) all game long.

 

 

Raiders to host Bills in home finale

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon

OAKLAND — Raider Nation will get to see their team at home for the last time this season when the Silver & Black host the very tough Buffalo Bills Sunday at O.co Coliseum at 1:25pm PDT. Oakland looks to rebound from a 31-13 defeat to the Chiefs in Kansas City in Week 15.

Oakland battled Kansas City tough, trailing the Chiefs 10-6 early in the third quarter but the roof caved in on Oakland as Kansas scored three unanswered touchdowns.

Chiefs’ running back Knile Davis ran in a score from 3-yards out, then after a fumble by Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, quarterback Alex Smith found tight end Travis Kelce for a 20-yard touchdown. Then Smith hooked up with Davis on a quick go-route for a 70-yard touchdown that ended Oakland’s day.

“You just can’t blame one area,” Carr said after Oakland’s (2-12) 10th straight road loss. Oakland fell to 0-2 in Missouri this season, who were dusted 52-0 in St. Louis in Week 13 by the Rams.

Carr finished the day 27-of-56 for 222 yards passing, and one touchdown late in the fourth quarter when the game was out of hand. Oakland’s signal caller was sacked four times.

Buffalo (8-6) kept their AFC playoff hopes alive with a gut-wrenching 21-13 home victory over the Green Bay Packers, thanks in large part to the Bills’ fifth-ranked defense.

Bacarri Rambo came off the bench to replace backup safety Duke Williams and made life miserable for Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, intercepting Rodgers twice on back to back drives, while defensive end Mario Williams forced a Rodgers’ fumble into the end zone for a safety with 1:51 left in the game.

Buffalo’s defense held Rodgers in check, limiting the Packers quarterback to 17-of-42 passing for 185 yards and the two interceptions.

“It was a testament to what we do,” said defensive tackle Kyle Williams after Buffalo’s win. “We’ve played against great quarterbacks, so the only expectation that we had was to play well and win a football game.”

Players to Watch

Buffalo, WRs, Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods

The Bills’ top pick in 2014 (No. 4 overall), has had a tremendous season for Buffalo leading the team in catches (59), yards (850), and touchdowns (5). His 14.4 yards-per-catch ranks in the Top-10 among rookie wide receivers.

Woods has taken some of the pressure off Watkins with his 54 catches, 608 yards receiving, and three touchdowns. If Oakland decides to double team Watkins, Woods could hurt the Silver & Black’s secondary.

Oakland, RB, Latavius Murray

Murray finished with just 12 carries for 52 yards on Sunday in Kansas City, but did have a nice 25-yard run after getting the start over running back Darren McFadden. Oakland must establish the run to support Carr and it starts with Murray, who has recorded 49 carries for 301 yards and two touchdowns this season. His 6.1 yards-per-carry are tops on the team.