Last weekend the four road Wildcard teams all won away – for the first time ever in the NFL – this week they are all on the road again.
Kansas City Chiefs @ New England Patriots – Sunday 10.35am
The Chiefs destroyed the Houston Texans last weekend 30-0 and this week they move onto Foxborough to face a Patriots team that lost their last two games of the regular season. The Chiefs are gunning for a 12th straight win and as it’s always said the NFL is all about momentum.
The Patriots have had an injury ravaged season however they always seem to find their “next man up”. Wide Receiver and last year’s Superbowl hero Julian Edelman should return from a broken foot for this one. The Patriots are favoured at home by 5.5 points – possibly about right – however the Chiefs defence could make Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady’s life difficult if on song.
They will not want to forget last season’s matchup between these two teams so expect a tight game.
Green Bay Packers @ Arizona Cardinals – Sunday 2.15pm
The Packers head to the desert to play NFC West Champions the Arizona Cardinals. The Packers hit their offensive straps in last weekend’s game versus the Washington Redskins to easily cement their presence in the next game – Quarterback Aaron Rodgers looked back to his best.
The Cardinals have had a week off however they lost key safety Tyrann Mathieu late on in the regular season and were also whelped by Seattle at home in their final regular season game. How they respond to that will be key. Arizona are favourites by 7.5 points however Green Bay have a good chance of getting closer than that.
Seattle Seahawks @ Carolina Panthers – Monday 7.05am
The Seahawks were gifted their win at Minnesota last week with the much publicised final field goal miss. They were beaten to the punch in most aspects of the game bar one fluky Seattle throw that eventually led them to a touchdown.
They still don’t look like the team they were and Carolina should on form take this. Only a 2.5 point favourite MVP favourite Cam Newton has been lights out this season and will want to lead his team to a conference championship game.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos – Monday 10.40am
The Steelers played in one of the roughest wildcard games seen for a while however that’s what happens when two divisional rivals face each other in a playoff. Presently Steelers quarterback “Big Be” Rothlisberger is questionable to play with a shoulder injury as are two other offensive players in DeAngelo Williams and Antonio Brown. On the other side of the field Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning starts for his team after a 4 game layoff where back up Brock Osweiler did a reasonable job.
This could either backfire with Manning getting punished by the Steelers stellar defence or be a game changer and get the Broncos offence firing. Denver are a 7 point favourite purely based on the doubtful nature of key Steeler players however if “Big Ben” comes right it could be curtains over for the Broncos.
All games on ESPN, TVNZ on Demand or Freeview Channel 13
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