Wildcard Weekend Recap: Injuries, injuries, and more injuries

Image

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

A preview of the Baltimore Ravens – Pittsburgh Steelers game by NFL.com

Standard

The backstory

The Steelers won their last four games to take the AFC North, with their defense rounding into form late in the season. The Ravens won three of their last four, but their offense struggled down the stretch. Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell’s recent injury is one of the rare things in this game not trending toward the Steelers.

Matchup to watch

Steelers receivers vs. Ravens cornerbacks

Veteran Baltimore cornerback Lardarius Webb has played better of late, but he’s not back to his pre-injury level of play.

Steelers O-Line vs. Ravens defensive line

The return from suspension of Ravens nose tackle Haloti Ngata gives the Ravens defense a huge boost.

Stats

The Steelers were 5-1 against playoff teams in 2014, while Baltimore was 1-6 against teams with winning records. The Steelers averaged 34 points-per-game against playoff opponents. … Pittsburgh has won both playoff games against Baltimore since Flacco was drafted. Flacco has more road playoff wins than any quarterback in NFL history. … Flacco and Roethlisberger are 19-8 combined in the playoffs.

Full Story on NFL.com

NFL playoff picks and analysis for Wild Card Weekend via the Washington Post

Standard

NFC: No. 6 Lions at No. 3 Cowboys (Sunday, 4:40 p.m. ET)

The Cowboys went only 4-4 at home this season, compared to 8-0 on the road. The Lions certainly have the offensive capabilities to give the Dallas defense trouble. But it feels like the Lions had their chance Sunday in Green Bay to set themselves up for greater postseason success, when Rodgers exited the game for the NFC North title before returning later, and squandered it.

Pick: Cowboys

NFC: No. 5 Cardinals at No. 4 Panthers (Saturday, 4:35 p.m.)

The chances of Drew Stanton returning for the playoffs probably were eliminated when he was forced to undergo arthroscopic surgery for an infection in his injured knee. So while the Cardinals are a solid all-around team with a superb coach, it’s difficult to rely on a quarterback with two career touchdown passes and 11 interceptions — Lindley’s regular season totals — to win a playoff game.

Pick: Panthers

AFC: No. 6 Ravens at No. 3 Steelers (Saturday, 8:15 p.m.)

The key could be Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. The former Super Bowl MVP struggled mightily in the first three quarters against the Browns on the heels of a miserable outing a week earlier at Houston. But he threw two touchdown passes and had a perfect passer rating of 158.3 in the fourth quarter Sunday against Cleveland.

Pick: Ravens

AFC: No. 5 Bengals at No. 4 Colts (Sunday, 1:05 p.m.)

Quarterback Andy Dalton makes his fourth playoff appearance for the Bengals and seek his first postseason triumph. His top wide receiver, A.J. Green, exited the game Sunday night in Pittsburgh and now is subject to the NFL’s concussion protocol, meaning that he must be cleared by an independent neurologist to practice and play.

Pick: Colts

Read the whole article at Washington Post