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Chicago Bears

The Breakdown: Mitch Trubisky

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Mitch Trubisky came into the 2016 college football season as an unknown junior from Mentor, OH. Today, Trubisky is considered one of the elite prospects in the 2017 NFL Draft cycle and has a chance to be taken with the first overall pick. This deadly accurate, athletic quarterback ascended in a relatively lackluster North Carolina Tar Heel offense and assaulted opponents with intermediate passes all season long.

Trubisky, like any draft prospect, is not a perfect specimen. Aspects of his game are incredibly efficient and others lack the refinement that necessitates success at the NFL level. Seeing how he performs at the NFL Combine will be quite interesting, as he’s a fine athlete along with a very efficient pocket passer.

Positives:

First and foremost, Trubisky passes the eye test when it comes to NFL quarterbacks. At 6’3″ and weighing 225 pounds, he has the prototypical quarterback size and a muscular build. Athletically, this kid can move extremely well and uses his speed and size to get around the pocket while also keeping his eyes down the field. It’s rare to see a quarterback with this kind of height and weight be as shifty and athletic as Trubisky is.

Building off the previous point, there were times, specifically against Florida State, that Trubisky eluded multiple defensive lineman in the pocket and got away from the pass rush. Not every time will result in a completion or even a positive gain, but the extension of plays is only a positive with how athletic NFL defenses are becoming.

While he may not have the best arm talent in this draft, Trubisky makes up for it with incredible accuracy and touch on his deep to intermediate throws. This sounds like a negative, but his arm strength is more than adequate enough for the next level. In the North Carolina offense, many of the plays were telegraphed or near the line of scrimmage, so it was difficult to always gauge how strong of an arm the young quarterback possessed in terms of distance. Players like DeShone Kizer from Notre Dame likely have stronger arms, but he lacks the accuracy and downfield touch that sets this kid apart.

Accuracy and decision making is truly where Mitch Trubisky sets himself apart from the rest of the quarterbacks in this draft class. When I scouted players like Kizer and Deshaun Watson I was surprised at just how many passes were off target or simply bad decisions. In Watson’s case, it seemed like he was always trying to hit the big play or feed the football to the electric Mike Williams. Kizer, on the other hand, lacks sufficient talent around him on his offensive line and at wide receiver. Trubisky has the same deficiencies at skill positions and from his blockers, but doesn’t make the same mistakes as the far more experienced Watson and Kizer (Watson may have the top receiving threat in the nation).

In certain plays, Trubisky will cheat a defense with his eyes and hit his second read in a split second. It’s very rare that the young quarterback makes a poor decision passing the football or inaccurate throws down the field (look to negatives to see the counter argument to this point). Trubisky takes his shots down the field, but they are usually after he decimated the opposing defense with countless check-downs that got his offense first downs. The quick plays show how fast Trubisky’s mind and arm move, as he doesn’t always hit his first read on these plays. In the 2017 draft cycle, this kid has the fastest mind out of the entire crop of quarterbacks.

One last positive about Trubisky is his pocket presence. Not one time in the five games I scouted from 2016 did I see him feel ‘phantom pressure’ from nowhere. To me, that’s one of the true positives of his game. I don’t see a player that is afraid to take a hit and he will throw through the pressure smothering him for a completion. At times, this can lead to sacks and fumbles, but he always keeps his eyes down the field and is looking to pull the trigger on the first player he sees open. If no receiver is open, Trubisky can fit through a small lane and pick up positive yardage on the run. Against Florida State, the ability to outrun a defense and fit through small creases came into play when he ran for a touchdown on what was supposed to be a screen pass.

Negatives:

Many of the negatives that hover around Trubisky’s game are part of the North Carolina offensive philosophy. In many of the ways I was critical of Marcus Mariota at Oregon, I have to be critical of Trubisky at UNC. The difference is that Mariota utilized his athleticism far more often than the less experienced quarterback. There are remarkable similarities between the two offenses aside from the designed quarterback runs that Oregon was known for. UNC’s offense consists of the spread out of the shotgun, screen passes and the option.

From repeated viewings of tape, it doesn’t seem like the North Carolina offense is incredibly complex and Mitch Trubisky is asked to make far more telegraphed plays and throws than the typical NFL quarterback will make. Quarterbacks all have their reads and who the ball should go to on routes, but that’s not how it seems to work at UNC. The major concern here is whether or not Trubisky is able to read complex NFL defenses.

For a player like Marcus Mariota, who I had the exact same concerns with, it took some development and coddling from the Tennessee Titans to really push his development forward. Mariota is a fine NFL quarterback in 2016, but 2015 was a rough year based on his downfield accuracy and confidence throwing the deep ball. I see many parallels between the two, even with Trubisky being more of a pocket passer, and he could have the same type of developmental period as the former Oregon Duck.

Another potential negative for Trubisky is the amounts of vicious hits he takes from not reading defensive blitzes correctly. Some of these issues are based on the limited experience the first year starter has, but there were a plethora of plays in which a defensive end would take an outside angle and he would have absolutely no feel for the defensive player bearing down on him. Plays like the one I just described lead to lame duck passes, fumbles and injuries. Experience should correct Trubisky’s inability to feel a pocket from anywhere but in front of him, but some NFL starters are never able to learn that trait.

A real question mark I have is what happened against Duke and Virginia Tech. With only four interceptions on the year and eight over the course of three seasons in Chapel Hill, it’s safe to say that Trubisky is extremely efficient with the football. However, against Duke and Virginia Tech, he threw his entire seasons worth of picks and both games ended in Tar Heel losses. Virginia Tech was easily the worst game of his season, as he completed less than 40 percent of his passes and had no touchdowns in the 34-3 blowout. While the game was literally played in a hurricane, the biggest issue in the loss was his overall decision making and grip on the football.

Most of these issues will improve with experience, but the biggest question is how long it will take for him to develop these skills and become a viable NFL starter.

NFL Comparison: 

Comparing Trubisky to other NFL quarterbacks was a difficult task. The arm talent he exhibits, along with his size, screams Sam Bradford. Like Bradford, Mitch Trubisky makes quick decisions and methodically dissects opposing defenses with short and intermediate throws. After lulling the defense into a false sense of security, Trubisky will take his deep shots down the field and make the defense pay.

A simple comparison to Sam Bradford doesn’t tell the whole story, however. Unlike Bradford, Trubisky is an above average athlete for the position and will run with the football and escape pressure in the pocket. He combines his solid pocket awareness with his athleticism to extend plays and give his receivers time down the field. When Trubisky pulls down the football and decides to take off, I see some young Donovan McNabb in his game.

Consider Trubisky a combination of Sam Bradford and Donovan McNabb. While Trubisky isn’t as accurate as Bradford or athletic as McNabb, the combination of each of their skill sets shows why he is likely to be one of the first players taken in the 2017 NFL Draft if he decides to declare.

Grade/Projection:

Mitch Trubisky comes away with an elite first round grade after I watched multiple games of tape from the 2016 season. Unlike other draft eligible quarterbacks, Trubisky ascended and brought his play to en elite level in his first year as a starter. Don’t be shocked to hear his name called in the first five picks with the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears likely to be picking near the top this coming April.

There are definitely issues with his game, namely the lack of experience and offense he plays in, but he is easily the top quarterback in this class when talking about the prototypical NFL quarterback.

Seeing where Trubisky ends up could affect his development, as each one of the aforementioned teams have offensive deficiencies beyond the quarterback position. The best fit for him may be the Cleveland Browns, as they have focused on building their receiving talent with players like Terrelle Pryor and Corey Coleman. The Browns also have Hue Jackson manning the helm and his work with Andy Dalton and Carson Palmer can’t be ignored because of how poorly his tenure with Cleveland has started.

Chicago Bears

Bears’ Mitchell Trubisky Explains Poor Performance

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Mitchell Trubisky

Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is under fire for what is considered to be a terrible performance in the team’s season opening loss to the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night, in Chicago.

Trubisky, 25, finished 26-of-45 for 228 yards and an interception, for a horrendous passer rating of 62.1, and fans and media alike are taking him to task over it, asking if only taking three snaps during the preseason contributed to the poor play.

“I know you guys [the media] are going to try and draw comparisons like that, but really, the snaps in the preseason have nothing to do with the way we executed, or the sloppiness tonight,” Trubisky said, according to ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson.

“We weren’t doing that in practice. We were smooth in practice. … It just seemed a little scattered tonight with all of our personnels, and trying to find a rhythm and trying to find our identity on offense. We just put ourselves in bad situations and shot ourselves in the foot. You can maybe contribute it [to the lack of preseason action], but I think it’s kind of a stretch.”

“Definitely left a lot of plays out there,” Trubisky said. “Just myself as an offense, we really couldn’t find a rhythm there. Struggled on third down, obviously. That was apparent. We’ve got to be better on first and second down, to stay in manageable situations on third down. I felt like I made some good throws here and there, made some good decisions for the most part, but I think it was just sloppy by myself and as an offense as a whole, just going through all our procedures. It was just tough. We couldn’t find a rhythm.”

The Packers wanted to force Trubisky to beat them, and the way the game played out played right into the Packers’ plans.

“We wanted to make Mitch play quarterback,” Packers cornerback Tramon Williams said. “We knew they had a lot of weapons, we knew they were dangerous, we knew all of those things. But we knew if we could make Mitch play quarterback, that we’d have a chance.”

Now the Bears will have to hope they, and Trubisky, can bounce back as they travel to Denver to face the Broncos and former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.

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Chicago Bears

Ex-NFL Running Back Cedric Benson Dies After Motorcycle Crash

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Cedric Benson

Former NFL running back Cedric Benson died at the age of 36 following a motorcycle crash in Austin, Texas on Saturday, according to CBS Austin.

Benson was one of two people who died in a collision between a minivan and a motorcycle on Saturday night at 10:22 pm, with the report stating that a “vehicle and person on fire” on the scene.

Benson was driving the motorcycle with a woman passenger, who also died as a result of the crash.

Furthermore, two other people involved in the crash refused to be treated by medical professionals, per the report.

“Police said Benson and a woman were on a motorcycle heading down RM 2222 when a minivan pulled out on Mount Bonnell Road and hit them”, according to KVUE.

The report stated that police said that “speed and poor visibility were the biggest factors in the crash.”

“If you’re not really careful, or you’re going slightly over the speed limit, it is very difficult to stop,” Sergeant Eric Wilson said.

Benson as drafted with the fourth overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft by the Chicago Bears and spent 8 years in the NFL.

While he didn’t live up to his lofty draft status with the Bears, Benson was much better during his four-year tenure with the Cincinnati Bengals, where he rushed for over 1,000 yards in three seasons with Cincy.

Benson played in five games with the Green Bay Packers in 2012 before suffering a foot injury that would ultimately put an end to his career.

Benson ended his career rushing for 6,017 yards and 32 total touchdowns.

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Arizona Cardinals

2018 Opponents Set For Each NFL Team

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Now that the 2017 regular season in the books, it’s time to look forward to the 2018 season right?

Just like eating at some of the top restaurants in the nation, it’s good to know what’s on your plate next, regardless of how far away you are from your next dish.

Here is the rundown of the opponents for each NFL team in 2018:

AFC EAST

 

New England Patriots
Home: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings
Away: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans

Buffalo Bills
Home: Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Chargers, Tennessee Titans
Away: Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings

Miami Dolphins
Home: Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans
Away: Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings

New York Jets
Home: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings
Away: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans

AFC NORTH

 

Pittsburgh Steelers
Home: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, New England Patriots
Away: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Baltimore Ravens
Home: Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Away: Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Tennessee Titans

Cincinnati Bengals
Home: Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Away: Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers

Cleveland Browns
Home: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, New York Jets
Away: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

AFC SOUTH

 

Jacksonville Jaguars
Home: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Redskins
Away: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants

Tennessee Titans
Home: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins
Away: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Chargers, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants

Indianapolis Colts
Home: Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants
Away: Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins

Houston Texans
Home: Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants
Away: Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins

AFC WEST

 

Kansas City Chiefs
Home: Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers, Oakland Raiders, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars, San Francisco 49ers
Away: Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers, Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks

Los Angeles Chargers
Home: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans
Away: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks

Oakland Raiders
Home: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks
Away: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers

Denver Broncos
Home: Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks
Away: Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Oakland Raiders, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers

NFC EAST

 

Philadelphia Eagles
Home: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Washington Redskins, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings
Away: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Washington Redskins, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans

Dallas Cowboys
Home: New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans
Away: New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Seattle Seahawks

Washington Redskins
Home: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts
Away: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans

New York Giants
Home: Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans
Away: Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, San Francisco 49ers

NFC NORTH

 

Minnesota Vikings
Home: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers
Away: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks

Detroit Lions
Home: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Carolina Panthers, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks
Away: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers

Green Bay Packers
Home: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers
Away: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins

Chicago Bears
Home: Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Away: Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers

NFC SOUTH

 

New Orleans Saints
Home: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Redskins
Away: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants

Carolina Panthers
Home: Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks
Away: Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Redskins

Atlanta Falcons
Home: Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants
Away: Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Redskins

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Home: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins
Away: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants

NFC WEST

 

Los Angeles Rams
Home: Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles
Away: Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders

Seattle Seahawks
Home: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings
Away: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders

Arizona Cardinals
Home: Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders, Washington Redskins
Away: Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings

San Francisco 49ers
Home: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders
Away: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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