NFL WildCard Weekend Preview
In the beginning of the 2015 NFL Season, 32 teams began a on a 17-week crusade for NFL glory and immortality. At the end of the season, only 12 teams remained to compete in the second season of the NFL, the coveted postseason. It took a while for all the six playoff slots in each conference to be set but after the final game of Week 17, they were finally set.
The following playoff seeding is as followed:
Now we look to the first round of the playoffs: Wild Card Weekend. As the number 1 and 2 seeds in each conference are off on their bye week, the remaining teams duke it out to see who will be able to move on to the Divisional Round. Here are the match ups.
Saturday, Jan. 9
Kansas City at Houston (ESPN/ABC) 4:35 p.m. ET
Kansas City leads the regular season series (4-3)
The Kansas City Chiefs are the hottest team in football that nobody is talking about right now. After going 1-5 in the first 6 weeks, they rolled off 10 straight victories. Although Houston has climbed out of the mediocre AFC South, they were dealt a critical blow when they lost LT Duane Brown to a gruesome quad injury against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 17. On the opposite side, the Chiefs will be getting back Pro-Bowler OLB Justin Houston after missing the past 5 weeks with a strained PCL. With that addition, it gives a boost to an already potent Chiefs defense.
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati (CBS) 8:15 p.m. ET
Pittsburgh leads the regular season series (56-35) & the postseason series (1-0)
If there is a game to watch in wildcard weekend, it’s this one. Already there’s friction between both teams from a Week 14 match up where Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict landed a controversial hit on Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger’s knees. The big question is whether or not Bengals QB Andy Dalton’s broken thumb will be fully healed although his back up AJ McCarron has been quite reliable in his place (184 yards passing per game, 4 TDs & 0 INT in last 3 starts). Stacked with a defensive front that can get to the QB and playing at home, this will be the game the Marvin Lewis-led Bengals will finally get their first playoff win.
Sunday, Jan. 10
Seattle at Minnesota (NBC) 1:05 p.m. ET
Seattle leads the regular season series (9-5)
For a fourth straight season, the Seahawks are going to be playing in the playoffs with a majority of the starters are still on from the same Seahawks squads that went to two consecutive Super Bowls. Plus the team has won 5 out of their last 6 games, scoring 30 points or more in each win. This includes a 38-7 throttling of Minnesota Vikings in Minnesota back in Week 13. And that is without RB Marshawn Lynch. Now that he’s back, the Seahawks look to take flight and get that third consecutive Super Bowl birth.
Green Bay at Washington (FOX) 4:40 p.m. ET
Green Bay leads the regular season series (18-13-1) while the postseason series is tied (1-1)
It’s an interesting case here. In their last 3 games, Green Bay has gone 1-2 and averaged 17.0 points per game (scoring less than 20 points twice in their final two games). In that same span, the Redskins went 3-0 and averaged 35.7 points per game. Although Aaron Rodgers has more playoff experience than Cousins, the Packers are limping into the playoffs and the loss of WR Jordy Nelson will finally takes its toll.
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