Today the 2015 NFL Playoffs kicked off and all NFL enthusiasts must be thrilled to have some football action back. The following is a quick recap of the latest news and updates on the NFL teams as we enter the first day of Playoffs action:
The Pittsburgh Steelers will try to win their first playoff game since 2010 without star running back Le’Veon Bell. Bell did not practice this week after hyperextending his right knee last Sunday night and the Steelers have ruled him out for their AFC wild-card playoff game Saturday night against the visiting Baltimore Ravens. Bell was injured in the Steelers’ 27-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals when he took a helmet hit to his knee from safety Reggie Nelson.
Bell, who has played in 29 consecutive games, led the AFC with 1,361 rushing yards this season. The 2013 second-round draft pick set a Pittsburgh season record with 83 receptions, and his teammates voted him Steelers’ MVP last week. source: http://espn.go.com/
On a different note, since starting quarterback Carson Palmer’s last start in Week 10, the Cardinals’ highest-scoring game has been 18 points at Atlanta in Week 13, and they’ve failed to score at least 20 points in every game. Whether it was Drew Stanton or (now) Ryan Lindley, the offense has failed to move the ball. Yet the Cardinals have been 3-4 over that span. The Cardinals can certainly win this game. Heck, they could probably come close with any of us playing quarterback, but they’re not going do so with some Disney-movie fantasy in which Lindley has the game of his career.
If the Cardinals win, it will be because their defense is not only good or great but absolutely dominant.
Additionally, Cam Newton (QB Panthers) has tried as hard as possible this season to be a more effective pocket passer. The Panthers offense has looked its best in 2014 when Newton has been able to drop back, find an open receiver and deliver strikes. Newton will be tasked with extending plays here. He will be under duress. How Newton is able to get out of the pocket will be measured against how he deals with pressure and how well the aged (or seemingly ageless, at times) Foote will be able to track him down.
At this point of the Playoffs there have been reports of several players injured such as:
DeAngelo Williams (RB Panthers)—Probable, Hand – The Panthers run game has been largely a disappointment this year, but having a number of bodies to throw headlong at the Cardinals defense will be a must. If the Panthers get one-dimensional on offense, the game is already over.
Larry Foote (LB Cardinals)—Questionable, Knee
I spotlit Foote on the last slide, as the Cardinals expect him to go. If he can’t, or if things flare up on him, manning the middle will fall to Kevin Minter, who is physically the better player but doesn’t bring the experience or veteran savvy that Foote does.
Timmy Jernigan (DL Ravens)—Questionable, Foot
The Ravens win in the trenches and have the bodies (maybe even without Jernigan) to win there against Pittsburgh. Still, when so little has consistently gone right for the Ravens in many games this season, having the strength of the team as strong as possible would be a boon.
Other Notable Injuries:
Drew Stanton (QB Cardinals)—Out, Knee
Troy Polamalu (S Steelers)—Probable, Knee
Eugene Monroe (OT Ravens)—Questionable, Foot
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