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Updated! Welcome back to day two of the divisional round!
The second round of the 2015 NFL playoffs get going Saturday and Sunday with divisional round matchups. The weekend opens on Saturday with the New England Patriots hosting the Kansas City Chiefs at 1:35 p.m. PT, and the Arizona Cardinals hosting the Green Bay Packers at 5:15 p.m. Sunday features the Carolina Panthers hosting the Seattle Seahawks at 10:05 a.m., and then the Denver Broncos hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers at 1:40 p.m. The winners advance to square off in the AFC and NFC championship games a week from Sunday.
The wild card round featured two entertaining games, and two slightly dull games. The Pittsburgh Steelers stunned the Cincinnati Bengals thanks in large part to a fumble and two personal foul penalties. Pittsburgh is dealing with serious injury issues. Ben Roethlisberger suffered a separated shoulder that includes some ligament damage. Antonio Brown is in the concussion protocol and reports are not optimistic for Sunday. DeAngelo Williams remains sidelined with a foot injury. They are traveling to face the Denver Broncos, with Peyton Manning making his first start since Week 10.
It is safe to say 49ers fans will have some things to watch this weekend. Last weekend saw the Kansas City Chiefs win their first wild card game since 1994. Alex Smith & Co. head to Foxboro to face the New England Patriots this weekend. The big news for the Patriots is that Julian Edelman is practicing. He was listed as limited, but the expectation is that he will be able to play this weekend. That would be a huge boost for the Patriots offense.
The Seattle Seahawks are traveling to face the Carolina Panthers. Seattle beat the Minnesota Vikings last week in a wild finish. Minnesota seemed like they were going to take down the defending NFC champions, but a fourth quarter rally with a string of significant breaks helped propel Seattle to victory. It was all capped by Blair Walsh missing a 27-yard field goal that would have won it for Minnesota. They face a Panthers team that looked like they might go undefeated, but came up just short. The Panthers welcomed Jonathan Stewart and Ted Ginn back to practice, and both will play this weekend. Seattle could have Marshawn Lynch back. He was a full participant in practice on Wednesday, but he was listed as full all last week before being downgraded to out.
The NFC West gets a second matchup this weekend with the Arizona Cardinals hosting the Green Bay Packers. I thought the Packers would lose in Washington last week, but they had a strong resurgence from the offense. Aaron Rodgers and company got off to a slow start, but finally turned things around to win with relative ease. Can they do it a second week in a row against a better Cardinals team?
Seahawks vs. Panthers
Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
When: Sunday, January 17, 10:05 a.m. PT
Announcers: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman
Radio: Seahawks Radio Network | Panthers Radio Network
Online Streaming: FOXSportsGo
Odds: The line opened at Panthers -1.5, but quickly moved up to a field goal. It currently sits between 2.5- and 3-points, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.
Seahawks blog: Field Gulls
Panthers blog: Cat Scratch Reader
Steelers vs. Broncos
Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver
When: Sunday, January 17, 1:40 p.m. PT
Announcers: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms
Radio: Steelers Radio Network | Broncos Radio Network
Online Streaming: CBS Sports
Odds: The line opened at Broncos -2.5, and Steelers injury news has led to it moving to 6.5-points at some sportsbooks. A lot of sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark have not provided a line due to the questions about Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger.
Steelers blog: Behind The Steel Curtain
Broncos blog: Mile High Report
Chiefs vs. Patriots Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro
When: Saturday, January 16, 1:35 p.m. PT
Announcers: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
Radio: Chiefs Radio Network | Patriots Radio Network
Online Streaming: CBS Sports
Odds: The Patriots opened as five-point favorites, and the line has held steady at most sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.
Chiefs blog: Arrowhead Pride
Patriots blog: Pats Pulpit
Packers vs. Cardinals Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ
When: Saturday, January 16, 5:15 p.m. PT
Announcers: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth
Radio: Packers Radio Network | Cardinals Radio Network
Online Streaming: NBC Sports
Odds: The Cardinals opened as a touchdown favorite, and the line remains steady at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.
Packers blog: Acme Packing Company
Cardinals blog: Revenge of the Birds