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Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

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Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

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Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

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Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

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Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

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Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_nlist() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 420

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

Warning: ftp_pwd() expects parameter 1 to be resource, null given in /home/customer/www/crentnews.com/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php on line 230

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Is Drew Brees retiring? What we know about Saints quarterback’s plans for 2021

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Adam Schefter’s comment mostly went unnoticed on a busy Sunday in Week 17, but the ESPN insider suggested that these are the final days of Drew Brees’ NFL career.

Speaking on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown, Schefter said, “Everybody expects after this season Drew Brees will retire.”

The Saints qualified for the postseason as the NFC’s No. 2 seed and will host the Bears on Sunday, Jan. 10. That prolongs any question of Brees’ retirement until whenever New Orleans’ playoff run is complete. Brees, who turned 42 on Jan. 15, is in his 20th NFL season, one in which he dealt with 11 fractured ribs and a collapsed lung. 

Here’s what we know right now about the prospect of Brees calling it quits.

MORE: Drew Brees’ limitations could be costly to Saints in playoffs

Will Drew Brees retire?

The basis for the Brees retirement speculation is that Schefter comment in Week 17: “Everybody expects after this season Drew Brees will retire.” 

Signs before the season pointed to Brees potentially sticking around for two years, with him signing a two-year deal with the Saints before the 2020 season. That came after there was already curiousity surrounding the idea of a Brees retirment following the 2019 season.

The injuries Brees dealt with in 2020 could be part of the influence on such a decision. A big hit from the 49ers in Week 10 fractured 11 of Brees’ ribs and collapsed one of his lungs. He didn’t return to action until Week 15, and even then, he laughed at a reporter who asked if he was 100 percent.

Since his return from that injury, Brees threw for three touchdowns in two separate games while throwing for 311 yards in the one game he didn’t throw a touchdown in. His arm strength has dropped off late in his career, although that wasn’t necessarily his calling card to begin with.

If not for Tom Brady still going strong at 43 years old, Brees would be the gold standard for quarterback play in his 40s. Prior to 2020, Brees led the NFL in completion percentage in three consecutive years, twice setting the new NFL single-season record. When his receivers are healthy and he gets protection up front, Brees can certainly still play.

A Brees retirement decision could be impacted by what the Saints accomplish in the 2021 playoffs. A run to the Super Bowl could impact the final call, one way or the other. But Schefter’s language in his report was certainly strong — now it just comes down to what Brees expects himself to do.

Drew Brees NBC contract

Making matters potentially easier for Brees is the contract he’s got to join NBC following his retirement. NBC reportedly won the bidding war for Brees in April over Fox and ESPN.

According to reports, NBC has Brees lined up to be a game analyst on the network’s Notre Dame broadcasts on Saturdays and then a studio analyst for NBC’s “Football Night in America” on Sundays. 

If Brees indeed retires, he’ll get a full-circle moment very early in his tenure calling Notre Dame. On Sept. 18, 2021, the Fighting Irish host Purdue. That’s Brees’ alma mater. 

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What’s next for Saints after Drew Brees? Exploring 2021 QB options, from Taysom Hill to NFL Draft

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It’s looking more like Drew Brees is headed into retirement after the Saints’ 2021 playoff run. Brees, who turned 42 on Friday, already has a post-playing career lined up with NBC Sports and there’s no doubt New Orleans officials are already thinking about quarterback succession plans.

Brees has showed physical decline tied to his arm strength the past two seasons and for being one of the league’s most durable QBs for a long time, he has missed 9 of the past 32 regular-season games because of injury. The Saints have gone 8-1 with other quarterbacks starting in his place, so there’s some promise for Sean Payton’s offense even without Brees for good.

Here’s a look at where the Saints might be headed at QB for next season, starting with Plan A in house:

MORE: Sean Payton’s Taysom Hill man crush, explained

Will the Saints replace Drew Brees with Taysom Hill full time?

When Brees had to miss four games in 2020 because of an injury to his ribs, Hill made the most of his strong audition to show he can more than a gadget player, better suited to run and catch the ball. 

Hill was comfortable making all the throws with good efficiency. He hit on some nice-looking deep throws with his underrated arm at 6-2, 221 pounds. He also offered the dynamic rushing element to complement Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray well.

So the Saints already have proved they can tailor Payton’s offense with Hill’s dual-threat skill set to maximize him as an athletic passer. They invested plenty in Hill to extend him through the 2021 season. He got $16.3 million and New Orleans to set to take a cap hit that almost matches that money in 2021.

What’s interesting is that Hill will be 31 next season and is unsigned for 2022. The Saints have set up an extended look at Hill to see if he can become more than a mid-career bridge QB. Payton’s offense gives Hill a high floor as he’s well indoctrinated in the offense. Hill is the easiest, most natural transition the Saints can make and the money says he’s the most likely short-term solution (at worst) for no Brees.

(Getty Images)

Does Jameis Winston have a shot to replace Drew Brees?

There was speculation that Winston would the get the first chance to fill in for Brees instead of Hill. But he didn’t come close to getting that opportunity, as the Saints took advantage of a favorable schedule in Brees’ absence and got more than what they needed offensively to win all but one of those games with Hill.

Winston signed a bargain-basement one-year deal to try to resurrect his career after the Buccaneers, who took him No. 1 overall in the 2015 draft, locked into Tom Brady to replace him. Winston was helped most by absorbing concepts of a new offense behind Brees vs. live reps, as he saw mop-up duty in only two games.

There’s a fair chance the Saints re-sign Winston as a cheap, high-end backup. But Winston, knowing Hill has the fast inside track to succeed Brees, could try to find a situation where he has a better potential of starting in 2021.

What other free-agent QB should appeal to the Saints?

The Saints are facing the worst salary-cap situation in the NFL and although Brees’ retirement would bring some relief in that area, after they figuring out who they’re cutting and keeping, they simply can’t be active spenders in free agency.

Philip Rivers had a solid season with the Colts but he like fellow former Charger Brees, may not return to play in 2021 and made $25 million in 2020. The Cowboys should be locking up Dak Prescott soon. So that leaves the classic bridge QBs at $10 million or less, led by Tyrod Taylor and Ryan Fitzpatrick.

When weighing all that, Hill, already under a reasonable contract in relation to starting QBs around the league, is the Saints’ most cost-effective veteran option, too.

MORE: Why did Drew Brees leave the Chargers in 2005?

Can the Saints find a QB in the 2021 NFL Draft?

The Saints are looking at another late first-round draft pick. The Saints should be among those teams in the mix for the second wave of QB prospects in a strong 2021 class. There’s a good chance, however, that BYU’s Zach Wilson, North Dakota State’s Trey Lance and Alabama’s Mac Jones are all gone before their turn, but Florida’s Kyle Trask would be an intriguing option who can be molded well in Payton’s offense.

With the cap issues, however, the Saints might need that pick to help Hill (or the defense) vs. replacing him. Because of Hill showing what he can do and doing it rather well, QB now seems more like a luxury pick New Orleans — at least before the second round.

For now, it would be shocking for the Saints to roll with anyone other than Hill at QB after Brees. It would also make sense to draft a high-upside developmental option outside of Day 1 Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett?) given Hill’s one-year contract status.

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Browns victimized by ‘worst rule in NFL’ as Rashard Higgins fumble costs Cleveland a touchdown vs. Chiefs

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Peak Browns.

Down 16-3, Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield connected with wide receiver Rashard Higgins with just under two minutes left in the first half. Higgins stretched for the goal line when Chiefs safety Daniel Sorenson nailed Higgins — resulting in catastrophe for the Browns.

The Sorenson hit, which some questioned as illegal helmet-to-helmet contact, forced Higgins to fumble the ball just shy of the goal line, with the pigskin crossing the plane and careening out of bounds in the end zone for a touchback.

MORE: Why is CBS down? Outage during Chiefs vs. Browns playoff matchup panics viewers

By rule, a ball fumbled short of the goal line and out of bounds in the end zone is ruled a touchback, giving possession to the opposing team. For years, the rule has sparked debate regarding the severity of the punishment.

The play isn’t exactly “classic” Browns — they did make it to the divisional round after all — but it still reaches “peak Browns” level. The Chiefs scored a field goal on the ensuing possession, taking a 19-3 lead into the half as opposed to a 19-10 lead.

Fans watching the game engaged in spirited debate surrounding the rule, which was called the “worst rule in the rule book” by some. (No debate here).

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Did Chiefs’ Daniel Sorensen commit helmet-to-helmet penalty against Browns on controversial touchback?

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The Browns were victims of a controversial NFL rule in their divisional round playoff game against the Chiefs on Sunday, on a play that resulted in a 10-point swing in favor of Kansas City.

Lost in the argument of whether fumbles should result in touchbacks, however, was this: Did Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen commit a penalty for helmet-to-helmet contact on the hit that dislodged the ball from Rashard Higgins’ grasp?

Here’s a closer look at the play:

MORE: Browns victimized by ‘worst rule in NFL’

With the play slowed down, it does look as if Sorensen not only lowered his head and led with the crown of his helmet, but also initiated the contact. That raised a debate over why said play isn’t reviewable, as it is in college football. Had that been the case, then the play could have resulted in a first-and-goal from the 1 for Cleveland, giving the Browns a chance at their first touchdown of the game and a more manageable halftime deficit. Instead, Kansas City took over at its 20 and ended up kicking a field goal with two seconds remaining in the half to go up 19-3.

That particular aspect of the play — much like Higgins’ fumble — was the subject of intense debate on Twitter:

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Chad Henne’s late-game heroics vs. Browns preserve Chiefs’ season, inspires own hashtag

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Chad Henne finally stepped up against a team from Ohio.

The former Michigan quarterback (who was 0-4 vs. Ohio State) and longtime NFL backup was called into action against the Browns under the worst of circumstances Sunday after starter Patrick Mahomes exited the game — and was later ruled out — with a concussion.

Mahomes’ injury, which occurred with 7:44 remaining in the third quarter, forced Henne to lead to lead the team in its bid to repeat as Super Bowl champions. He quarterbacked three drives against the Browns, completing 6 of 8 passes for 66 yards and an interception but also rushing twice for 12 yards. That might not seem like a lot, but those miniscule stats — compared to Mahomes’, anyway — helped Kansas City hold off a resurgent Cleveland team.

MORE: Patrick Mahomes injury update

Henne’s first drive finished with a Harrison Butker 33-yard field goal. That was followed by a bad — really bad — interception into the end zone and, eventually, running out the clock with a 22-17 lead as the clock hit 0:00. Henne made his biggest contributions in the final moments of the game: One play after he took a 6-yard sack at the two-minute warning, making it third-and-14 for the Chiefs from their 35, he responded with two monumental plays.

The first was a 13-yard scramble that made it fourth-and-inches from the Chiefs’ 48.

On the next play, Henne hit Tyreek Hill for a 3-yard gain, allowing Kansas City to kneel on the next play and end the game:

Twitter, naturally, was astounded that Andy Reid and Co. would choose to go for it on fourth down near midfield, and with a backup QB, no less. But Twitter was also quick to sing Henne’s praises as he helped the Chiefs to the AFC championship game against the Bills:

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Kevin Stefanski explains Browns’ fateful decision to punt with chance to upset Chiefs

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Kevin Stefanski may have become the latest line worker in the Factory of Sadness.

Cleveland was oh so close to stunning the world and tripping up the Chiefs in their AFC divisional matchup on Sunday, with a chance to win the game and time winding down in the fourth quarter.

But facing a fourth-and-9 situation with just over four minutes left, the Browns decided to punt the ball away to the Chiefs and quarterback Chad Henne, who was under center in relief of a concussed Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs would go on to win after a series of heroic plays from Henne and guts from Andy Reid.

The punt, though, wasn’t seen as the best decision, according to some:

So, why didn’t Stefanski go for it there?

MORE: Browns screwed by the ‘worst rule in the NFL’

Why did the Browns punt?

Kevin Stefanski put it simple following the game: The decision to punt came down to the down and distance, according to the head coach. 

“Nah, it was just probably just too long there, Tony, that distance,” Stefanski told Browns reporter Tony Grossi postgame. “If it was tighter, without a doubt.”

The decision ultimately proved costly, with the Chiefs taking the ball and eventually running the clock down on a 22-17 victory. 

Hindsight, of course, is 20/20, but in real time, some were disappointed with Stefanski’s apparent lack of intestinal fortitude to try and win the game in that spot:

Others speculated that Stefanski’s decision to punt was a direct result of who was throwing passes for the Chiefs in the moment: With Henne in, there was less of a supposed threat that the Chiefs would score — or move the football — with around four minutes left in the game.

An aside and counterpoint: If the Browns really thought they could get a stop against a Henne-led offense, why not go for it in that position? Well, a few reasons: The Browns were on their own 32, and a few plays and a field goal could ice the game — or at least widen a lead — with time winding down. Assuming the Chiefs go three-and-out, a field goal from that spot would have been roughly 50 yards.

Regardless of the philosophy, the decision to punt proved not to be wisest, because Henne was, apparently, playing to win. A key third-and-14 run followed by a stunning fourth-and-inches play call punched Kansas City’s ticket to the AFC Championship game.

And as Andy Reid and Kansas City have proven time and time again in the league: No guts, no glory. The Chiefs icing the game with a fourth-down pass from Henne to Tyreek Hill was so gutsy that even Tony Romo was shocked that the Chiefs ran the play.

Herculean, shocking, surprising effort from Henne aside, at least the Cleveland head coach feels convicted in the decision to punt.

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Browns, Kevin Stefanski will evolve after franchise’s latest playoff heartbreak

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Cleveland and playoff heartbreak often go hand-in-hand, and the Browns’ latest postseason loss was no exception.  

It’s easy to harp on Rashard Higgins’ fumble out of the end zone in the first half after a controversial hit by Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen and label it “The Touchback.” It’s easy to wonder how the defense allowed backup quarterback Chad Henne’s third-down scramble and ensuing fourth-and-1 conversion to Tyreek Hill that closed out Kansas City’s 22-17 victory in the AFC divisional playoffs on Sunday.

VIDEO: Browns-Chiefs divisional playoff highlights

That type of playoff pain now runs through at least three generations of fans since the franchise’s last NFL championship in 1964.  

Here is the alternative viewpoint: Cleveland proved it belonged on this stage, and the franchise will be back on it in the near future under coach Kevin Stefanski. Sunday was a learning experience, and the Browns will benefit from it in the next few seasons.  

The biggest lesson? Cleveland did not take advantage of an opportunity to upset the defending Super Bowl champions when Patrick Mahomes left the game with a concussion.  

The Browns had the ball with eight minutes left and trailing by five after Karl Joseph intercepted an ill-advised pass from Henne into the end zone. They then ran six plays, burned a timeout and faced a fourth-and-9 from their 32-yard line with 4:19 remaining. Stefanski opted to punt, and that will be the decision that maybe sticks the longest.

MORE: Stefanski explains decision to punt

Stefanski might win NFL Coach of the Year, but the call gave Reid — who was dogged through 21 seasons as a head coach for not winning a Super Bowl before last season — the advantage right back.

It turned into a giant missed opportunity. That is how slim the margin for error is in the postseason. 

Henne made two big plays, a third-and-14 scramble and a veteran move on fourth-and-1 to snap the ball from his 48. Henne, who lost four straight games to Ohio State with Michigan from 2004-07, got some twisted, long-awaited payback in the pros.

MORE: Chad makes #HenneThingIsPossible trend on Twitter

Yeah, that’s going to hurt in Cleveland. It’s supposed to hurt. It’s the kind of pain the franchise hasn’t felt since the 1985 season. That’s when the Dolphins rallied from a 21-3 deficit behind Dan Marino for a 24-21 victory in the AFC divisional playoffs on Jan. 4, 1986.  

The Browns went to the AFC championship game three of the next four seasons, where they experienced next-level heartache at the hands of the Broncos. This loss, while painful, is nowhere near at that level for the second- and third-generation die-hards.

Can this generation’s Cleveland team get to that level?  

There should be reason for optimism. Baker Mayfield turned the corner in his third season. Stefanski maximized the quarterback’s abilities after Odell Beckham Jr.’s season-ending injury, and the tandem of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt felt like Kevin Mack and Earnest Byner all over again. Mayfield and Chubb have one year left on their respective contracts, and Hunt has two years remaining.  

Mayfield will learn from this, too. He finished 23 of 37 for 204 yards, a TD and an interception the Chiefs failed to capitalize on, but he was also just 12 of 20 for 70 yards in the second half. The Browns rushed for just 18 yards in the first half; they finished with 112.  

Myles Garrett, who had a sack on the play before Henne’s scramble, is locked in through 2026. He had 12 sacks this season and will continue to lead a defense that needs to improve on the back end around cornerback Denzel Ward. The unit could not get that one stop in the end, but that, too, is part of the playoff process. 

Cleveland is no longer a joke. It was the last team left standing in the AFC playoffs among their divisional brethren, even if their loss came just one day after the Bills bounced the Ravens. The Steelers have more offseason questions than the Browns after their turnover-laced implosion in the wild-card round, and the Bengals are a few steps behind as they rebuild around No. 1 pick Joe Burrow.  

Thank Stefanski for that. He’s the franchise’s modern-day Marty Schottenheimer, and he proved it in an impossibly difficult 2020 season. Stefanski will learn from his decision, and the Browns should evolve. Cleveland will be picked to win the AFC North in 2021, and unlike in 2019, that prediction has substance.  

Of course, nobody will want to talk about that for the next 48 hours. Cleveland fans will lament the helmet-to-helmet hit on Higgins and the fumble-out-of-the-end-zone rule. They will wonder how Henne made that first down happen, and they will question Stefanski for his decision on fourth-and-9.

MORE: Browns victimized by ‘worst rule in the NFL’ 

They shouldn’t have to dwell on those forever. That’s another part of the playoff process, and for a franchise that knows all too well “there’s always next year,” those prospects will be far more exciting when the pain subsides, especially when they watch their Great Lakes cousins in Buffalo take a swing at Kansas City in the AFC championship game.  

This hurts, but it’s a different kind of pain. It should come with knowing that more playoff excitement is in the near future.

Success will be hand-in-hand soon enough.

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Saints’ Jameis Winston throws TD pass on Bears-inspired trick play vs. his old team

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“Famous Jameis” is . . . back?

Maybe.

In a game billed as Tom Brady vs. Drew Brees vs. Father Time, it was a much younger Saints quarterback who notched New Orleans’ first touchdown pass of Sunday’s NFC divisional round playoff game: Jameis Winston tossed a 56-yarder to Tre’Quan Smith for a go-ahead score midway through the second quarter.

And if the play looks familiar, it was essentially the same design from last week’s Saints vs. Bears wild-card matchup, when Chicago’s Javon Wims let a Mitchell Trubisky dime fall right through his hands.

Winston appeared in just four games for the Saints this season, attempting just 11 passes and not throwing a touchdown, so the 56-yarder was likely a very cathartic experience for the 2015 No. 1 overall pick. And he threw it against the team that let him walk in favor of Brady, no less. 

MORE: Live updates, highlights from Bucs-Saints

Winston was passed over for Taysom Hill while Brees was out with busted ribs in 2020, but he’s active for the Saints’ playoff game vs. the Bucs while Hill is out with an injury. The touchdown put the Saints up 13-10.

A season after then-Buccaneers starter Winston became the first player in NFL history to throw 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in a season, he throws a massive touchdown with a trip to the NFC championship game on the line.

What a difference a year makes.

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Should Drew Brees retire from Saints? Why losing to Tom Brady, Buccaneers in NFC playoffs can inspire return

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If Sunday’s 30-20 home NFC divisional playoff loss to rival Tom Brady and Buccaneers was Drew Brees’ last game as the Saints’ quarterback, then he would finish his Hall of Fame, Super Bowl-winning career with his worst playoff performance.

Brees (19-of-34 passing, 134 yards, one TD, three INTs, 3.9 yards per attempt, 74.9 passer rating) hit a single-game low in postseason efficiency, and all three of his turnovers were costly. The Saints’ best pass in the game was off a first-half trick play, when backup and long-shot successor Jameis Winston delivered a 56-yard touchdown.

MORE: Brees’ potential last NFL pass was a backbreaking INT

It has been assumed that Brees, who turned 42 on Friday, would retire after the 2020 NFL regular season and 2021 NFL playoffs even if New Orleans fell short of getting to Super Bowl 55, which it did. But if anyone can inspire him to change his mind and return, then it would be Brady.

Brady’s team won, but it’s not as if Brady thoroughly outplayed Brees. Brady (18-of-33 passing, 199 yards, three total TDs, 5.9 yards per attempt, 92.2 passer rating) didn’t have much success connecting on downfield shots against the Saints’ defense and was fortunate that he also didn’t have a multiple-interception game, barely avoiding major disaster on a few of his throws.

When Brees’ Saints dominated Brady’s Buccaneers twice in the regular season en route to taking the NFC South, Brady was the one making the big mistakes, starting with an interception returned for a touchdown in Week 1 and ending with three more interceptions at home in Week 9. A little more than a year ago, when Brady was 42 and playing in New England, he experienced a very un-Brady-like nightmare in a bad home wild-card loss to the Titans, with his final Patriots playoff pass turning into a pick-six.

At the time, there were questions, tied to his arm strength and decision-making, whether age had caught up to Brady. Instead of retiring, Brady broke up with the Patriots, hit free agency and found the perfect new home in Tampa, as confirmed by him advancing to a 14th conference championship game.

Brady refused to let that performance in Foxborough be his swan song. He turned back Father Time (again) to come back playing like his 30-year-old self. Will Brees do the same after Sunday, not wanting to go out in that way?

(Getty Images)

MORE: What we know about Brees’ plans for ’21

For how much he has meant to the Saints and city of New Orleans, it has to be hard to think about “Who Dat nation” not being able to give him a full goodbye, with less than a full house in the Superdome. It also was the end of a trying season beyond the limitations of COVID-19 protocols, as Brees missed four games with battered ribs a year after he missed five games with a thumb injury.

The Saints got a good glimpse into their likely near future when they went 3-1 with Taysom Hill throwing and running in Brees’ latest absence. They also made a contingency plan by signing Winston, the Buccaneers’ starter before Brady, late in free agency. Suddenly, one pass might give him a chance to fight for the starting job.

Just like coach Sean Payton and the rest of the Saints’ organization have wrapped their heads around playing without Brees permanently, it has no doubt crossed his mind many times, too. No doubt, he imagined an ending much better than this.

RIVERA: Brees still doesn’t understand point of protesting during anthem 

Like all highly competitive aging athletes facing the crossroads of retirement and chasing one last championship, the mind is one part of the decision, but the real conflict comes down to body vs. heart. 

Everyone might be thinking about how John Elway and Peyton Manning rode off into the sunset as Super Bowl winners for the Broncos. But that has been more the exception than the rule, seeing how it ended for Dan Marino and many other all-time great quarterbacks. With a fourth straight postseason of disappointment after being a division-winning NFC powerhouse, that expectation may no longer be reasonable for Brees.

Brady has blown everyone away with his age-defying play, and Brees has been right there with him. Aaron Rodgers — Brady’s NFC championship game counterpart and likely NFL MVP at age 37 — is headed down the same path of redefining the passing prime for an elite QB.

BENDER: Brady vs. Brees makes Bucs-Packers a potential classic

If Brees has any inkling that he can return healthier and play at a high level next season, then what Brady has done can serve as a strong suggestion to Brees that he should reconsider retirement, assuming he was leaning that way.

The difference between Brady’s situation last year and Brees’ this year is that Brees wouldn’t need to worry about a divorce from the Saints. If he wants to come back, then they would be totally behind him coming back and would stay committed to helping win big again.

There’s nothing “Big Easy” about Brees’ decision. Just maybe, seeing Brady and thinking that he, too, can rebound like that might ease him toward returning.

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NFL playoff schedule 2021: Updated bracket & TV channels for AFC, NFC championship games

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Three of the NFL’s top four playoff seeds advanced to the conference championship round this past weekend, setting up heavyweight matchups people have been looking forward to all year.

On the AFC side, the Chiefs will host the Bills at Arrowhead Stadium. On the NFC side, the Packers will host the Buccaneers at Lambeau Field.

All four teams have top-tier quarterbacks, though the status of Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes is uncertain after his concussion in the divisional round. Star defensive players litter the remaining contenders, but it will be those passers making Sunday a special occasion for postseason action with a significant national draw.

In the divisional round, Kansas City beat Cleveland, Buffalo beat Baltimore, Green Bay beat the Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay beat New Orleans.

Here’s everything you need to know about the AFC and NFC championship games:

MORE: Watch NFL playoff games live with fuboTV (7-day free trial)

NFL playoff bracket 2021

(SN illustration)

Here’s a look at the complete NFL playoff bracket for 2021:

AFC

1. Kansas City Chiefs vs. 2. Buffalo Bills

1. Kansas City Chiefs vs. 6. Cleveland Browns
2. Buffalo Bills vs. 5. Baltimore Ravens

1. Kansas City Chiefs (bye)
2. Buffalo Bills vs. 7. Indianapolis Colts
3. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. 6. Cleveland Browns
4. Tennessee Titans vs. 5. Baltimore Ravens

NFC

1. Green Bay Packers vs. 5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1. Green Bay Packers vs. 6. Los Angeles Rams
2. New Orleans Saints vs. 5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1. Green Bay Packers (bye)
2. New Orleans Saints vs. 7. Chicago Bears
3. Seattle Seahawks vs. 6. Los Angeles Rams
4. Washington Football Team vs. 5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

MORE: NFL’s expanded playoff bracket, explained

NFL playoff schedule

Championship round

Sunday, Jan. 24

MatchupStart timeTV channelLive stream
Buccaneers at Packers3:05 p.m. ETFoxfuboTV
Bills at Chiefs6:40 p.m. ETCBSfuboTV

AFC, NFC championship game matchups

AFC

  • No. 1 Chiefs vs. No. 2 Bills

Patrick Mahomes suffered a concussion in the second half of the Chiefs’ divisional round game against the Browns, but Kansas City managed to escape with a win and advance to its third straight AFC championship. Coach Andy Reid and his staff now have an anxious week of waiting to see if Mahomes will be available to face the Bills. If the star quarterback is ruled out, then it would mean Chad Henne under center at Arrowhead Stadium. Henne was the late hero vs. Cleveland, converting a crucial first down as a sub to clinch victory, but he’s obviously a steep full-game downgrade from what Mahomes offers.

Buffalo showed it can shut down a high-powered playoff offense in holding the Ravens to three points in their own divisional contest. So, even if it is Mahomes slinging passes, it might be difficult to move the ball against the Bills.

Josh Allen will be on the road for the first time this postseason, providing its own sort of challenge for coach Sean McDermott’s squad. Allen avoided turnovers in the divisional round but was inaccurate throwing deep — a flaw that would potentially be season-ending should the AFC title game turn into a shootout. He certainly has the receivers to move downfield in chunks; it’s just a matter of hitting his targets.

The Chiefs will be heavily favored if they’re at full strength, but with Allen’s upside and a defense peaking at the perfect time, this will hopefully be an exciting game regardless.

NFC

  • No. 1 Packers vs. No. 5 Buccaneers

Fans have waited a long time to see an Aaron Rodgers vs. Tom Brady playoff game. It could have taken place in 2011, the year the Packers won their last ring, if not for Mark Sanchez’s Jets upsetting Brady’s Patriots in the divisional round. A meeting came even closer to fruition in 2015, but the Packers’ collapse against the Seahawks in the NFC championship game prevented them from meeting the Patriots in the Super Bowl. 

Rodgers and Brady will finally go head-to-head on Sunday with the NFC title on the line.

Rodgers was terrible by almost every measure when the Buccaneers beat the Packers 38-10 in October, but his uncharacteristic two-interception showing took place in the warm confines of Florida. Green Bay is 10-2 since that blowout and will host Tampa Bay at what could be a snowy Lambeau Field on Sunday.

Brady is used to tough winter conditions from his years in New England and is as composed as any quarterback in NFL history when asked to stage a road playoff upset. He will not be mentally rattled. Physically, though? Given his occasional shakiness throwing against the Saints in the divisional round, it’s not out of the question that he will be the mistake-maker in the duel of future Hall of Famers. It seems more likely, however, that Brady will put together the vintage performance we’ve come to expect from him in the biggest occasions. In that case, it could be an epic battle with Rodgers that would make for a fun part of any discussion about their respective legacies.

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