The New England Patriots, thanks to the number one seed in the AFC, are one of four teams (the others being the AFC's number two seeded Denver Broncos, and the NFC's top seeds; the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers) are currently enjoying their bye week. The other eight playoff teams, however, have to play this weekend.
Let's take a look at today's games.
|Arizona Cardinals||4:35 PM ET (ESPN)||Carolina Panthers|
|11-5 (2nd NFC West)||Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte NC||7-8-1 (1st NFC South)|
|Head Coach: Bruce Arians||Statistical Comparison||Head Coach: Ron Rivera|
|24th (19.4/gm)||Points Offense||19th (21.2/gm)|
|5th (18.7/gm)||Points Defense||21th (23.4/gm)|
|16th (0.7/gm)||Point Differential||23rd (-2.2/gm)|
|5th (+8)||Turnover Differential||13th (+3)
The Arizona Cardinals (11-5, 2nd NFC West) visit the Carolina Panthers (7-8-1, 1st NFC South) today to kick off the tournament. The Cardinals will start their third string quarterback, Ryan Lindley, today. Lindley enters the playoffs having thrown only two career touchdown passes. The Panthers, on the other hand, are one of two teams in NFL history to host a playoff game with a losing record (the other being the 2010 Seattle Seahawks).
|Baltimore Ravens||8:15 PM ET (NBC)||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|10-6 (3rd AFC North)||Heinz Field, Pittsburgh PA||11-5 (1st AFC North)|
|Head Coach: John Harbaugh||Statistical Comparison||Head Coach: Mike Tomlin|
|8th (25.6/gm)||Points Offense||7th (27.2/gm)|
|6th (18.9/gm)||Points Defense||18th (23.0/gm)|
|6th (6.7/gm)||Point Differential||10th (4.2/gm)|
|14th (+2)||Turnover Differential||16th (0)
For the third time this year, the Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5, 1st AFC North) and Baltimore Ravens (10-6, 3rd AFC North) meet. While the first matchup (week 2, in Baltimore) was won by the Ravens 26-6, the last game between the two AFC North foes (week 9, in Pittsburgh) saw the Steelers win 43-23. The Steelers will miss star running back Le'Veon Bell: he has already been declared out for today's game.
EDIT: Feel free to discuss the two games below.