Hines Ward: With NFL playoffs approaching, teams need to lock in

Two-time Super Bowl champion and CNN Sport contributor Hines Ward talks his experiences from his 14 year...

Posted: Dec 6, 2018 12:22 PM
Updated: Dec 6, 2018 12:22 PM

Two-time Super Bowl champion and CNN Sport contributor Hines Ward talks his experiences from his 14 years in the NFL and other football observations. He was speaking to CNN's Perry Kostidakis.

What's it like in a locker room when you're making that final playoff push? There's a sense of urgency. It's about buckling down and committing to the rest of the season.

Football (American)

Hines Ward

Misc people

NFL

Sports and recreation

Sports organizations and teams

When I was in Pittsburgh, we would get together and have dinners, and after we'd watch and study game film. We'd be able to work together to see what each opposing team was doing, we'd talk about plays and other things we could do to put us a in a better position to win.

It really came down to doing everything you could to be ready, because you didn't ever want to look back and go, "I should've done more."

It's even bigger when you're trying to get one of those top seeds. Home field advantage is key, so you want to at least win your division since that guarantees you at least one game at home.

I mean, we won the Super Bowl as a sixth seed (in 2005), but that's practically impossible to do, go on the road three times and win. We were fortunate, and we were the first team to do it.

With everything that goes into playoff football, you definitely want your home crowd behind you. Playing on the road, in front of hostile fans, just gives you one more thing to worry about.

Especially when you know what teams you can expect to be there, teams like New Orleans and New England who have experience in the postseason.

Those are tough places to play. You need to do everything you can to put yourself in a position to be successful when December wraps up, and winning your last games is at the top of that list.

I've said it before, you want to be in playoff mode as soon as the last month of the season comes around. When we went into the playoffs as the sixth seed, teams didn't want to play us, because they knew that we were coming together and had things figured out.

You want to be playing at your best, you want to be getting hot. Take things one game at a time, keep doing what makes you successful, and finish strong.

Rapid reactions

I don't necessarily think that the Rams and Chiefs are locks for the top seeds. Having the best record right now doesn't matter when you have some games left. Now more than ever, it's a matter of not getting complacent. They both have still looked good, but Kansas City needs to keep winning to stay above the Patriots, and the problem for the Rams is they've still got to worry about the Saints -- who have the tie-breaker over Los Angeles.

The Cowboys might officially be the favorite in the NFC East now. They've still got a big game against Philadelphia, which should be a great matchup, but right now, Dallas looks good. The defense is playing great, Ezekiel Elliott has been running well, and I think those are the Cowboys' keys to a division title: run the ball, play great defense.

If I had to pick an MVP right now, it's got to still be Patrick Mahomes. I think what he's done, in his second year (really, first as a starter), has been amazing. He's crazy, crazy good: he's got 41 touchdowns to 11 interceptions and has taken the league by storm. Every week, he's must-see TV.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 41571

Reported Deaths: 1537
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin13328790
Ramsey5169232
Dakota265596
Stearns249619
Anoka2393111
Nobles16846
Olmsted125920
Washington125541
Mower9822
Rice8798
Scott8584
Clay61238
Kandiyohi5901
Blue Earth5632
Wright5285
Carver4691
Todd4022
Sherburne3625
Lyon3332
Freeborn3120
Watonwan2670
Steele2451
Benton2363
St. Louis22316
Nicollet20312
Martin1755
Cottonwood1420
Winona14115
Goodhue1408
Le Sueur1251
Crow Wing11312
Pine1120
Otter Tail1111
Chisago1071
McLeod1000
Dodge960
Carlton900
Polk883
Unassigned8838
Isanti810
Chippewa801
Waseca770
Murray730
Itasca7112
Douglas700
Pipestone694
Morrison641
Becker620
Meeker621
Faribault610
Sibley582
Jackson570
Pennington530
Beltrami470
Brown442
Mille Lacs392
Wabasha380
Renville372
Fillmore350
Rock340
Swift331
Houston320
Yellow Medicine310
Grant250
Roseau250
Redwood230
Wilkin223
Koochiching211
Norman210
Cass192
Big Stone170
Kanabec171
Lincoln170
Wadena170
Aitkin150
Marshall130
Pope130
Clearwater120
Stevens110
Hubbard100
Mahnomen101
Lake60
Traverse60
Lac qui Parle50
Red Lake40
Kittson20
Cook10
Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 34564

Reported Deaths: 747
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk7332184
Woodbury332944
Black Hawk249259
Buena Vista173711
Johnson14268
Dallas138531
Linn138183
Marshall109219
Scott103110
Dubuque94023
Story8575
Pottawattamie82112
Wapello71431
Muscatine68745
Crawford6803
Sioux5010
Tama48329
Wright3971
Louisa36513
Webster3655
Plymouth3465
Jasper34417
Warren3191
Dickinson2993
Cerro Gordo2841
Washington2519
Hamilton2011
Boone1681
Clay1491
Clarke1433
Allamakee1384
Clinton1321
Shelby1200
Mahaska11917
Carroll1131
Poweshiek1128
Bremer1107
Pocahontas1071
Franklin1040
Des Moines1002
Cedar951
Emmet950
Henry933
Hardin900
Cherokee831
Floyd812
Taylor810
Marion800
Monona780
Benton751
Guthrie754
Jones710
Butler682
Osceola680
Sac680
Buchanan631
Calhoun632
Iowa631
Jefferson620
Hancock601
Harrison600
Humboldt601
Fayette570
Jackson570
Lyon570
Delaware561
Madison552
Lee542
Monroe527
Palo Alto510
Clayton503
Grundy470
Mills470
Winneshiek460
Mitchell440
Davis421
Kossuth410
Union380
Howard370
Lucas354
Unassigned350
Winnebago340
Greene300
Chickasaw290
Cass280
Ida230
Keokuk231
Worth220
Appanoose213
Page210
Van Buren210
Audubon181
Adair170
Ringgold161
Decatur130
Montgomery122
Wayne110
Fremont100
Adams80
Rochester
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 67°
Mason City
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 67°
Albert Lea
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 66°
Austin
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 66°
Charles City
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 67°
Severe Thunderstorm Watch Until 8 P.M.; Sunday looks great
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Dave Main 10p Wx

Image

Virtual campaigning during pandemic

Image

Former NIACC coach Travis Hergert back in big league camp with the Phillies

Image

New ICE guidelines causing concern for international students

Image

Dave Main 6p Weather 7/11

Image

Connecting with a loved one with dementia during the pandemic

Image

Bruins set to host all-star game

Image

COVID-19 Cases Expected to Spike in North Iowa

Image

Training hard for a season that might not happen

Image

Sean's 6pm Weather 7/10

Community Events