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

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are 7-point favorites to beat the Baltimore Ravens

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Las Vegas made their odds available for the Patriots versus Ravens Divisional round playoff game and their statement is pretty clear: Ravens are going to get whooped-on.

Baltimore is a touchdown underdog to New England in what is expected to be a shootout with more than 48 points potentially scored. Check out the official line below:

Baltimore Ravens
New England Patriots(-7)
Over/Under total: 48.5 points

Vegas has the Pittsburgh Steelers as favorites to win against the Baltimore Ravens – even with Le’Veon Bell’s status unknown

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Big Ben and the Pittsburgh Steelers have one thing going for them — they are favorites to win against the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Wild Card game on Saturday. It’s unclear whether stud RB Le’Veon Bell will be able to play after suffering a hyper-extended knee, so this point spread could go even higher, maybe placing the Steelers as favorites by a full touchdown if Bell ends up starting. What is clear is that Oddsmakers in Las Vegas expect Pittsburgh to win the game, placing them firmly into the next round to face off against the New England Patriots. Check below for the official line:

Baltimore Ravens
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3)

Over/Under 47 total points

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

New Article: Chargers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions all favored to be NFL Wildcard teams by Vegas

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Las Vegas sets lines(odds) for NFL teams to win or lose each week during the regular season. Some teams will be favorites to win games while others will be projected to lose.

One hidden gem Vegas also offers are odds for which NFL teams are likely to make the playoffs. Since Vegas isn’t in the business of losing money, the odds they set for these types of sporting events can be a good starting point if we are trying to determine what teams have the best chance of making the playoffs.

Below are Sportsbook lines for teams that are likely to make the playoffs:

San Diego Chargers +180
Detroit Lions +175
Chicago Bears +135
Pittsburgh Steelers +115
Cincinnati Bengals -105
Philadelphia Eagles -165
Indianapolis Colts -200
New Orleans Saints -225
Green Bay Packers
San Francisco 49ers -250
Seattle Seahawks – 360
Denver Broncos -500
New England Patriots -550

If you are looking at this list you’ll notice two things; The teams at the top are least favorite to make the playoffs while the teams at the bottom are heavy favorites to make the playoffs. Secondly, I have listed 13 teams when only 12 will actually get in. I have included 13 teams as they are the closest in terms of odds, while the rest of the NFL teams are heavy underdogs to make it into the playoffs.

So what can we learn from this list?

First, The Broncos and Patriots are very likely to make the playoffs. Secondly, The Seahawks, 49ers, Packers, Saints, Colts and Eagles and Bengals are are favorites or heavy favorites to make it in.

The interesting thing here is the Steelers, Bears, Lions and Chargers are all in the mix to make it into the playoffs as Wildcard teams. This is a pretty important distinction to make from the rest of the teams on the list, as it gives us a look into which NFL teams are expected to have the best record from their conference, but not necessarily win their division.

If the Divisions were expected to pan out the way these odds indicate, it would look something like this

AFC East winner – Patriots
AFC North Winner – Bengals
AFC West Winner – Broncos
AFC South Winner – Colts
AFC Wildcard Teams – Steelers, Chargers

Of note here is the Steelers are considered likely to be in the wildcard matchup, but are so close to the Bengals(in terms of odds) that either could end up winning the division and the other would get in as a wildcard team.

NFC East Winner – Eagles
NFC North Winner – Packers
NFC West Winner – Seahawks
NFC South Winner – Saints
AFC Wildcard Teams – (Two of Three) Bears, Lions, 49ers

The AFC is a lot of fun to look at. The Seahawks are favorites to win the NFC West which would mean the 49ers would have to get into the playoffs as a wildcard team, which would then knock out either the Bears or the Lions. The odds also indicate (+135, +175 respectively) that the Bears and Lions are very close to being in a dead-heat going in, even though only one is expected to make it in.

To wrap this up, these of course are predictions based on numbers set by people in Vegas, and are ever-changing based on many different factors that seem to pop up in the NFL. If we can view this list as a ‘Power-ranking-odds-system’ of what teams are projected to do, it can be a good starting point of what to watch for throughout the NFL regular season and how each week the playoff race may shape up.