Wildcard Weekend Recap: Injuries, injuries, and more injuries

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wildcardrecapOne way to sum up NFL Wildcard Weekend for 2015? Injuries. Third-string quarterback Ryan Lindley couldn’t provide any spark to an already Andre Ellington-less Cardinals offense. The Pittsburgh Steelers offense severely lacked any rushing attack with the absence of Le’Veon Bell. The Bengals lost two starting offensive weapons in A.J. Green and Jermaine Gresham. It shouldn’t be a surprise that each of these teams lost. Additionally, those three teams’ offenses combined for a total 43 points, meanwhile, the Panthers, Ravens and Colts combined for 83 total points.

The Detroit-Dallas game didn’t feature any injuries to key players and thus turned out to be a shootout with the Cowboys winning 24-20.

The Cowboys will face off against  the Green Bay Packers next SUNDAY at 1:05pm EST on FOX.

The rest of the divisional round is

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots – SATURDAY 4:35pm EST on NBC

Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks – SATURDAY 8:15 pm EST on FOX

Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos 4:40pm – SUNDAY EST on CBS

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Peter Clarke at @PlayerInsiders is up with his NFL Playoff predictions including Wildcard forecasts! (Chiefs?!)

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Peters Predictions:

NFC East – Philadelphia Eagles
NFC West – Seattle Seahawks
NFC North – Green Bay Packers
NFC South – New Orleans Saints

Wildcard 1: Carolina Panthers – I’m a sucker for a team with a great defense and this team has it. I fell in love with their defense so much last year that I coined the term on twitter #TheDefenseIsReal whenever they played. Who knows how they will score points with that offense, but I like Kelvin Benjamin and with Cam Newton aka Superman, anything is possible.

Wildcard 2: Arizona Cardinals – If you look at the 2nd half of the year for the Cardinals, there offense was one of the best in the league. Palmer would be on pace to throw for 4700 yards and almost 30 TDs. They have a top 10 defense. Their offensive line will be their biggest question..

AFC East – New England Patriots
AFC West – Denver Broncos
AFC North – Cincinnati Bengals
AFC South – Indianapolis Colts

Wildcard 1: Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs almost stole the division from the Broncos last year. This will be their 2nd year under Andy Reid and their defense, despite getting worn down at the end of the year last year, is for real.

Wildcard 2: Miami Dolphins – Last year I said the Dolphins were 1 year away. They almost went out there and got a playoff spot last year. This year, they will be running an offense similar to the Eagles and they have so good solid talent on both sides of the ball.

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CBS will be airing 8 Thursday NFL Games this year starting in Week 2, which will feature Jay-Z, Rihanna & Don Cheadle

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“CBS will televise eight Thursday night games in 2014 and will feature play-by-play announcer Jim Nantz and color analyst Phil Simms on every game, according to a Wednesday announcement by CBS and the NFL.”

“Now the home of “Thursday Night Football,” CBS is sparing no opportunity for fanfare, with plans to open each game of the series with Jay-Z’s Grammy-winning song “Run This Town,” featuring Rihanna. The opening will also be accompanied by narration from actor Don Cheadle, setting the scene for the kick-off.

“Thursday Night Football” will feature a customized opening each week that highlights the teams and division rivalries. The reel was filmed in an airplane hangar, and was produced and directed by Emmy-winning producer Pete Radovich, who also serves as CBS Sports’ creative director.”

Full Schedule:

Sept. 11 (Week 2):  Steelers at Ravens        Oct. 9 (Week 6):         Colts at Texans

Sept. 18 (Week 3):  Buccaneers at Falcons  Oct. 16 (Week 7):       Jets at Patriots

Sept. 25 (Week 4):  Giants at Redskins         Oct. 23 (Week 8):       Chargers at Broncos

Oct. 2 (Week 5):     Vikings at Packers          Dec. 20 (Week 16):    Chargers at 49ers/Eagles at Redskins

Story and 2nd Story

A brief history of the Seahawks and Packers in Thursday Night NFL games (Hint: GB’s record is 2-1, Seahawks are 2-2)

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2006
San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks
Final Score: Seahawks lose 24-14

Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers
Final Score: Packers win 9-7

2007
Green Bay Packers @ Dallas Cowboys
Final Score: Packers lose 27-37

Neither played a Thursday Night Football game in 2008, 2009 or 2010

2011
Philadelphia Eagles @ Seattle Seahawks
Final Score: Seahawks win 31-14

2012
Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers
Final Score: Packers win 23-10

Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers
Final Score: Seahawks lose 6-13

2013
Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals
Final Score: Seahawks win 34-22

Overall records
Packers: 3 games played, 2-1
Seahawks: 4 games played 2-2

NFL.coms @judybattista @ChrisWesseling @Gil_Brandt @CoachBillick @greggrosenthal make their NFC Wildcard predictions!

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NFC GAMES

NFC WILD CARD 1

Judy Battista: Chicago Bears. They certainly would have been a playoff team last season if the defense had been even marginally better.
Brian Billick: Green Bay Packers. Even with a steady rushing attack, the Packers aren’t anything without Aaron Rodgers — keeping him healthy has to be priority No. 1. Green Bay gave up 45 sacks last season; only the Cardinals have given up more since 2009. If Rodgers plays all 16 games, the Packers make the playoffs.

Gil Brandt: San Francisco 49ers. I think San Francisco has a chance to have as good a defense as any in the NFL, even with the uncertain availability of NaVorro Bowman and Aldon Smith. That should carry the Niners, though Frank Gore and the running game will slow down.

Gregg Rosenthal: Arizona Cardinals. In Bruce Arians we trust. (And Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Ellington, Michael Floyd and John Brown.)

Chris Wesseling: 49ers. Jim Harbaugh has a lot working against him this year, but the other wild-card contenders just aren’t strong enough to overtake his team.

NFC Wildcard Game 2

Judy Battista: San Francisco 49ers. The expected extended absences of Aldon Smith and NaVorro Bowman are the difference between winning the division and getting a wild-card spot.

Brian Billick: 49ers. The 49ers are the second-best team in the NFC, but unfortunately for them, they are also the second-best team in their division. San Francisco will make the playoffs for the fourth time in four seasons under Jim Harbaugh.

Gil Brandt: Carolina Panthers. I think everybody’s kind of writing off the Panthers, given how much receiving talent they lost, but the pass catchers they ended up with — including first-round pick Kelvin Benjamin — are as good as last year’s guys. Plus, their defense is still excellent.

Gregg Rosenthal: Bears. The defense has to get better, but the passing game should be among the league’s best.

Chris Wesseling: Lions. Defenses can’t find a way to double-team Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush, Golden Tate and Eric Ebron.

Source: NFL.com

ABC’s @rtv6 believes “the Chicago Bears will ride a roller coaster to a wildcard berth”

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“The Packers won’t be as explosive as everyone expects. The Lions will underwhelm with Jim Caldwell. The Bears will ride a rollercoaster to a wildcard berth. This is the Vikings division to lose.”

Source: TheIndyChannel