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NFL Playoffs 2012: The News and Drama You Need to Know

Ray TannockSenior Analyst IJanuary 5, 2012

NFL Playoffs 2012: The News and Drama You Need to Know

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    The 2012 NFL Playoffs are set to begin this weekend and there are plenty of headlines and "drama" surrounding the postseason challenges ahead.

    I thought it would be a nice twist on the normal output here at B/R if I was to quickly gather up a few tidbits from around the league, and put them into a convenient slideshow for all of you to peruse.

    Some of these slides will not be just about the upcoming playoffs, as there will be some player news mixed in to tickle your fancy, too.

    So, if you have time for a cup of coffee and a quick read, come check things out.

Greg Jennings Returns to Practice Early

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    Rob Demovsky on Twitter has reported that Greg Jennings—along with Brian Bulaga and Randall Cobb—have all returned to practice this week.

    Obviously, the the return of Jennings—a week ahead of schedule—is a huge relief for Packers fans nationwide, which means the Packers will be at full strength against whomever they wind up playing in two weeks.

    The return of Bulaga and Cobb is simply icing on the cake.

Big Ben Reveals Setback with Ankle?

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    This latest headline provided by Ed Bouchette on Twitter isn't as bad as it sounds, and I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that Big Ben will be fine for his tasty matchup against the Denver Broncos (4:30 PM EST on CBS).

    Apparently the setback in question happened against Cleveland, but it doesn't appear to be worrisome enough for the Pittsburgh brass to show any real concern, so Steelers fans can breathe a faithful sigh of relief here.

    The Pittsburgh Steelers should have little trouble against a Broncos team ranked 18th against the pass and 22nd against the run, but Broncos sensation Tim Tebow should help make things a bit interesting.

Chargers Won't Tag Vincent Jackson

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    The San Diego Union-Tribune is reporting that the Chargers are "unlikely" to place their franchise tag on wide receiver Vincent Jackson.

    The issue here is that the Chargers have a laundry list of player needs, because of which they simply can't justify allocating $13 million dollars to one single player—what Jackson would get if tagged.

    The news, however, does suggest that the Chargers could aggressively pursue Jackson in hopes of locking him up into a long-term deal in an effort to not only preserve their veteran offensive weapon, but free up some much needed checkbook space for other potential signings.

Is 2012 a Make or Break Year for Andy Reid?

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    After expressing  "disappointment" in the 2011 season, Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie announced that head coach Andy Reid will in fact be back in 2012, but does that make the 2012 season a make or break season?

    While there hasn't been any official word suggesting the fact, the notion is certainly hinted upon after Lurie's candid comments regarding the season.

    To be honest, this is to be expected from an owner as passionate as Lurie, and in his defense, he quickly defended his decision to retain Reid by saying: "If our focus is on trying to win a championship next year, the best coach for that is Andy," - (philadelphiaeagles.com)

    However, one has to imagine that if Reid—a guy who has taken his team to the playoffs nine of the past 12 years—doesn't make the playoffs next year, his days in Philly could perhaps be over.

    Only time will tell, I suppose.

Playoff Fun Facts

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    Historical facts are as entertaining to NFL fans as the games they watch, so take a look at some of these fun facts regarding this weekend's festivities, and thanks so much for viewing this little slide.

    Bengals versus Texans: Did you know that the Bengals are 0-7 against playoff challengers? Not to worry too much, though; the Bengals have also run for more than 100 yards in nine straight games, and this upstart squad has tremendous potential, so there is a glimmer or hope.

    Steelers versus Broncos: The last time these two teams met in the playoffs was in 1995. The Broncos were the No. 2 seed and the Steelers were the No. 6 seed. The Steelers went on to win that contest handsomely, 34-17.

    Saints versus Lions: The Saints were "born" in 1967, while the Lions were "born" in 1933...so why is this important? Well, because aside from this game being billed as the game of the weekend, these two teams have never met in postseason play. Quite the interesting build-up to an already potential monumental matchup, wouldn't you all say?

    Falcons versus Giants: Probably the most boring collective history here (sorry fans), but there are some interesting tidbits to bite on, nonetheless. The Giants lost the NFL's first Championship game in 1933 to the Chicago Bears, 23-21.

    Similar to the Saints-Lions matchup, these two teams have never met in postseason play.

    I hope you guys found this piece informative and fun.

    Facts drawn from NFL.com / History

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