WildCard Weekend has come and gone. We saw the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks squeak by their games due to their opponent's miscues while the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs thrashed the competition. Now move on to the second round of the playoffs: Divisional Round.
The competition is going to be greater as the remaining AFC and NFC teams travel to face the two best teams of their conferences (Denver Broncos and New England Patriots in AFC and Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals in the NFC). But even with the higher level of competition, it just means that a trip to Super Bowl 50 is one game away.
Now let's see who will be facing who this round of the playoffs, shall we?
Saturday, Jan. 16
4:35 p.m. ET
Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots (CBS)
Kansas City leads the series (17-13-3)
Normally, the easy pick would be the Patriots since of their potent offense (3rd in points per game with 29.1 compared to the fact the Chiefs cannot score as fast (9th in scoring with 25.3 ppg). But there’s just too many questions surrounding the Pats’ offense: Can WR Julian Edelman be explosive and make cuts in the slot with a metal plate in his broken? How bad is QB Tom Brady’s high ankle sprain? Is TE Rob Gronkowski going to play with a bad back and bad knee? The Chiefs have their own question mark with injuries (i.e. WR Jeremy Maclin’s high ankle sprain), but they have a front 7 led by the likes of DE/OLBs Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, DT Dontari Poe, and a secondary led by one of the game’s top safeties in Eric Berry. Last year, the Patriots were destroyed 41-14 against the same Chiefs squad. Though the score won’t be as bad, it’s not looking good for the Patriots.
8:15 p.m. ET
Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals (NBC)
Green Bay leads the regular season series (47-24-4) while the postseason series is tied (1-1)
Last week, the Packers were able to pick apart and expose a Redskins squad that was 27th in overall defense (allowing 380.6 ypg), including 26th against the run (allowing 122.1 ypg). This time they face a much stronger defense in the Cardinals (5th overall in total yards allowed with 321.7, including 6th against the run with allowing 91.3 ypg and 8th against the pass in allowing 230.4 ypg). Not to mention that the Packers defense, which has been mediocre in 2015 (15th overall in total yards allowed with 346.7) will be going up against arguably the number one offense (racking up 408.3 ypg and 30.6 ppg) in the NFL.
Sunday, Jan. 17
1:05 p.m. ET
Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers (FOX)
Seattle leads the regular season series (7-3) and postseason series (2-0)
You have two teams that mirror each other. Both teams can pound the rock up the middle (Seattle 3rd best rushing offense and Carolina 2nd best rushing offense), both teams have mobile quarterbacks who can also throw the ball on a dime (Russell Wilson & Cam Newton), and both teams have a stout defense that plays physical. It’ll come down to experience versus youth. As stated before, this Seattle squad has two years of consecutive Super Bowl appearances and has a chance for its third one compared to a Carolina squad with little to no players with any playoff experience. Either way, this will be the ‘Game of the Week’ in a lot of people’s eyes.
4:40 p.m. ET
Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos (CBS)
Broncos lead the regular season series (18-11-1) and the postseason series (4-3)
Things are not looking up the Pittsburgh Steelers. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be without RB DeAngelo Williams and WR Antonio Brown in this game and will be battling a separated shoulder he suffered in last week’s victory over the Bengals. Although Broncos QB Peyton Manning has had a season to forget, people tend to overlook that one of his better games was in a week 8 match up against the Green Bay Packers coming off the bye week (21-for-29, 340 yards, 1 INT). Now with extra time off to heal and rest up, look for a reinvigorated Peyton to lead the Broncos over the bang-up Steelers.
Support WBOB Sports