Patriots

Patriots playoff picture: Steelers choke away top-two seed

Patriots playoff picture: Steelers choke away top-two seed

Another one bites the dust. 

The Pittsburgh Steelers choked away their chance at a first-round bye in the AFC Playoffs after blowing a 16-point halftime lead to the Chargers on Sunday night.

The loss moved them to 7-4-1 on the season, as they continue to show how undisciplined of a team they are by jumping offsides three times on the final play of regulation.

The current AFC Playoff picture as of 12/3:

1. Chiefs (10-2)

2. Patriots (9-3)

3. Texans (9-3)

4. Steelers (7-4-1)

5. Chargers (9-3)

6. Ravens (7-5)

Kansas City survived the now 2-10 Raiders 40-33 in their first game without running back Kareem Hunt, and the Texans and Chargers remain hot on the Patriots' heels at 9-3. 

The Patriots control their own destiny for the most part with their tiebreaker over the Chiefs, so here's a look at the remaining schedules for the top teams in the AFC. 

Patriots: @MIA, @PIT, BUF, NYJ

Chiefs: BAL, LAC, @SEA, OAK

Texans: IND, @NYJ, @PHI, JAX

Steelers: @OAK, NE, @NO, CIN

The Patriots could either put the Steelers to bed for good in this race after a trip to Miami or give them new life. If the Patriots win out, something they're very capable of, they'll need a Chiefs loss to secure home field throughout the playoffs.

Given the battle the Chiefs and Patriots had in the regular season, playing a potential AFC Championship in Foxboro could be a big difference. As far as holding on to the two seed, it seems like the Patriots have a firm hold on it. 

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How Tom Brady's 'chip on shoulder' attitude fires up his teammates

How Tom Brady's 'chip on shoulder' attitude fires up his teammates

Tom Brady has embraced an underdog mentality throughout the playoffs.

That was evident after Sunday night's victory over the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game when Brady said, "The odds were stacked against us, and it hasn't been that way for us for a while. And it certainly was for us this year."

It's also clear Brady's "chip on shoulder" attitude has had an effect on his teammates. Following a touchdown pass to Phillip Dorsett, a fired up Edelman approached Brady and sarcastically told him, "You're too [expletive] old. You're too old!"

On the latest Quick Slants Podcast, Jerod Mayo talked about the chip on Brady's shoulder and how it reminds him of the way Bill Belichick motivated the Patriots when he was on the team.

"I think it was very telling at the end of the game when Tom [Brady] was giving I think [Rex] Burkhead a hug and he was like, 'you're too slow, I'm too old', all those things," Mayo said. "And it brought me back to that Dolphins game that we talked about where Bill [Belichick] went through each individual player -- and I'm not sure if he did this or not -- and pretty much said what people thought."

"He went down, he said 'Randy [Moss], ah 50 touchdowns, you're washed up. Jerod [Mayo], good player, don't make any big plays. Whatever, just a good player. Vince [Wilfork] too slow, only can stop the run.' And he went through the coaches, it was like an hour he went through each individual person."

"When you walked out of that meeting, I mean if you didn't have a chip on your shoulder, you're ready to run through a brick wall and kill someone. And I kind of got that -- it kind of brought back a memory when I heard Tom saying those things because now it's like 'listen, we've proved them all wrong.' Even if it's an artificial chip, because I kind of think it is a little bit, but whatever you have to do to get going."

You can listen to the full episode of Quick Slants below:

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Quick Slants The Podcast: Mayo on Brady's "chip on shoulder"; Should Andy Reid be embarrassed?

Quick Slants The Podcast: Mayo on Brady's "chip on shoulder"; Should Andy Reid be embarrassed?

Jerod Mayo and Tom E. Curran cover the AFC Championship Game and another Patriots' trip to the Super Bowl from all the angles in the latest edition of Quick Slants The Podcast.

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2:30 - Mayo breaks down who he thought had standout performances for the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.
5:00 - Mayo explains how much Tom Brady’s "We get no respect" theme can be hugely successful in motivating teammates. 
9:00 - How much has the lack of Brady/Belichick drama this season led to the Patriots success?
11:00 - Mayo thinks Sean McVay will plan to exploit the Patriots run defense in the Super Bowl. 
12:30 - Mayo gives a player perspective on just how bad Dee Ford’s offside mistake was for the Chiefs.
14:00 - Mayo dishes on whether refs give players a heads up if they are offside.
16:00 - Should pass interference be reviewable?
19:00 - Tom E. Curran thinks Andy Reid should be ‘embarrassed’ for saying the refs should have told Dee Ford he was offside. 
23:00 - Just how brutal has Reid’s career been due to the Patriots?
25:00 - Just how badly does Brady’s "death by a thousand paper cuts" offense kill the morale of the defense? Mayo shares stories of how opposing offenses have deflated morale.
27:00 - Is Jared Goff the key to the Rams' success in the Super Bowl?

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