The Wild Card playoff weekend was definitely wild, with heartbreaking losses by both the Cincinnati Bengals and Minnesota Vikings along with convincing wins by the Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers. Following Green Bay’s embarrassing losses in Week 16 and 17 of the regular season, many doubted if they would still be able to get it done come playoff time. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was looking like his old self, though, and helped his team hang 35 points on the surprisingly resurgent Washington Redskins.
As we prepare to move on to the Divisional Round of the playoffs, all eyes are turning toward the Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots. Both will be playing tough teams carried by a lot of momentum coming into the next round as they face off against the Seattle Seahawks and Chiefs, respectively. The Pats will be looking for their fifth Super Bowl championship since 2001 while the Panthers are hoping to make it to the big game for the first time in more than a decade.
The Patriots are once again among the favorites to go all the way to the championship, but the road to the Super Bowl certainly won’t be easy. Luckily for the Pats, Sports Illustrated reports that wide receiver Julian Edelman will be back in action in time for the game against the Chiefs. Edelman has been on the sidelines since suffering a knee injury in week 10 against the New York Giants. The return of Edelman is a huge deal for the Patriots, who have noticeably struggled on offense with the absence of one of Brady’s favorite targets. This should greatly improve the team’s chances against a Chiefs squad that has 11 straight victories coming into the matchup.
ESPN reveals that Brady told listeners during his weekly appearance non WEEI that he is well aware of the capabilities of the Kansas City Chiefs and that his team won’t be taking Andy Reid’s side lightly when they face off. “Kansas City does a great job protecting the ball and taking advantage of their scoring opportunities,” Brady noted. “They have a good rush, a good front. That’s the mark of a good team and that’s why they’re at this point.
The Pats still remain one of the favorites to make it all the way to the Super Bowl along with the 15-1 Carolina Panthers. Should the two make it to the championship, it would be a rematch of Super Bowl XXXVIII and make for what would be sure to be a thrilling game, to say the least. Betfair has some great insights and predictions for this year’s Super Bowl if you’re looking to find a more in-depth analysis of the team’s chances. The Chiefs are listed as a 4.5-point underdog for the divisional round against New England, though with the current wave of momentum that Kansas City is riding, we would definitely hedge our bets for the upcoming game. Meanwhile, the number-one seeded Carolina Panthers are the favorites to win their match against the Seattle Seahawks and the Legion of Boom, but just barely. Carolina is sitting at -3 over Seattle to win at home in what’s sure to be a heart stopper of a match. Stay tuned!