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Kansas City Chiefs shut out Houston in AFC Wild-Card game

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The Kansas City Chiefs are playing as if they’ll never lose again. The Chiefs, who started the season 1-5, won their 11th straight game Saturday when they blew out the Houston Texans, 30-0, in their AFC Wild-Card game. It was coach Andy Ried’s first playoff victory in Kansas City. Kansas City held Houston to only 226 yards of total offense and forced Texans’ quarterback Brian Hoyer into five turnovers, four of them on interceptions. Chiefs’ quarterback Alex Smith hit 17…

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Look for an unknown player or 2 to star wild-card weekend

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Aaron Rodgers, Adrian Peterson, Ben Roethlisberger, J.J. Watt and the other star players got their teams to the playoffs. With the season on the line, a lesser-known player often makes the difference. Remember Malcolm Butler? The Green Bay Packers won three road games as a sixth-seed in 2010 before they beat Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl. They wouldn’t have advanced if it weren’t for a surprise performance in the wild-card round, when rookie James Starks had 123 yards rushing in…

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A good year to be a wild card in NFL playoffs

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It looks like it’s a good year to be a wild card in the NFL playoffs. The oddsmakers certainly think so, making Kansas City (3 points), Pittsburgh (2 1-2), and Seattle (5 1-2) favorites on the road in the opening round of the postseason. The only wild card that is an underdog is slumping Green Bay, and by only a point at Washington. Those wise guys also have made the sixth-seeded Seahawks the third choice to win the NFC at…

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Cincinnati hoping for playoff success after unbeaten start

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The Cincinnati Bengals are dreaming large. They are 8-0 and fairly unchallenged, and they certainly don’t expect a lot of resistance in tonight’s Monday night football game against the 3-5 Houston Texans. Quarterback Andy Dalton has never been better, and the Bengals have scored at least 24 points in seven of eight games. Houston, on the other hand, has had a terrible running game in its five losses. However, despite their record, the Texans are only one game down in…

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Kicker, receivers lead suspects in latest Bucs’ defeat

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Blame the kicker, if you want. How could you help it? After all, Greg Brindza was wide on seven points when the game was winnable, so it’s a logical place to start with the Bucs’ latest defeat. It is one thing to kick the second-longest field goal in team history, but kicking is a job judged first by the straightness of it. Blame the drops, if you prefer. You couldn’t look away from them. The Bucs’ wide receivers batted down…

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Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston faces Texans team desperate for 1st win

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Tampa Bay rookie Jameis Winston will get a big test on Sunday against the Houston Texans after picking up his first NFL win last week. This year’s top overall pick will have to deal with a defense featuring last year’s Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt, and 2014 No. 1 pick Jadeveon Clowney. Winston is looking forward to the challenge. “I’m just like: ‘Wow, we get to play J.J. Watt,’” Winston said. “It’s amazing.” Watt, who is focused on…

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Texans’ Ryan Mallett hasn’t won any more than Jameis Winston

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Going against the Houston Texans, one the main disadvantages for the Bucs is simple: Jameis Winston has won only one time as a starting quarterback. On the other hand, Texans’ quarterback Ryan Mallett doesn’t have any more. So can either team score? Mallett hasn’t won since a 30-20 victory over the Cleveland Browns last season. Last week, in a 24-17 loss to Carolina, Mallet completed 27 of 54 passes for 244 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Winston won…

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