If the Vikes can top Seattle on what’s supposed to be a frigid day, they’ll take on the Cardinals in the divisional round.
But the shadow of the Cardinals and the Panthers lies over proceedings. Cam Newton threw for 297 yards and three touchdowns, and the Packers were limited to 71 rushing yards.
“Did I expect this?”
If the cost of that is that some teams received home-field advantage that didn’t deserve it, whatever that means, I think that’s a decent tradeoff for the entertainment value that we get from the divisional races. Before the season started I felt it was our strongest roster ever. Ditto for the Packers, who were blown out by the Cardinals in Week 16, with that game also being played in Arizona. The QB matchup is problematic for them, however: a rookie (AJ McCarron) against a savvy veteran (Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger). Carolina has been around only since 1995, but has consistently been one of the best recent expansion teams, winning the NFC crown in 2004 before losing the Super Bowl to the New England Patriots.
While it should come to no one’s surprise that the Cardinals emerged out of the NFC in this model used by Pro Football Weekly to measure teams efficiency and quality, the Bengals are a surprising pick.
In an ESPN Insider piece (subscription required), Field Yates has ranked his top 20 most important players in this year’s playoffs.
All of which has rather eclipsed what’s been happening in the AFC. Both were victimized by the Giants, who did not have a week off, in the division round after being regarded as hot Super Bowl contenders. Considered to be the Holy Grail of sports broadcasts, the CBS and NBC tapes of the game were either lost or recorded over and no full video version of the game has existed – until now. He was injured, then benched, then hit by performance-enhancing drug allegations (which he vehemently denies).
Seahawks’ running back Marshawn Lynch, who has missed the past eight games with an abdominal injury, is scheduled to play in the Seahawks’ wildcard playoff game at 10 a.m. on January 10 on the road against the Minnesota Vikings.
But for arguably the two greatest quarterbacks of their era, a fairy-tale ending in Santa Clara is unlikely. It would take a lot, as the Bengals need to get past a tough Steelers team that beat them in Cincy less than a month ago.
The network will broadcast “Super Bowl I: The Lost Game”, a restitching of the inaugural Super Bowl between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Over in the NFC, it’s a similar story. Can’t help you. Want to follow a team that wins Super Bowls more than anyone and whose only success in most any stretch of this century you want to include is surpassed only by the Patriots? This time they picked up after a spotty start, delivering that trouncing to Arizona on the final Sunday. Their run defense has been solid most of the time. But, miraculously, things settled down in mid-season.
Many of the National Football League games also will be available in Spanish on TV and digital platforms.
But that’s exactly the situation we find ourselves in as the Packers have struggled through the last few weeks of the seasons, while the Redskins have looked explosive.