NFL's Bye Teams Doing Their Homework This Weekend
Four teams sit home this weekend and await their opponents as the wild card round continues today.
Which teams can take advantage of the bye, and which ones had momentum and needed to keep playing?
Seattle for one, got an early break when New Orleans upset Philadelphia, and they will avoid a possible matchup with San Francisco next week. The Seahawks may get Percy Harvin back on Saturday against the Saints, whom they defeated, 34-7, at home in Week 13. Still, it's tough to conquer an NFL foe twice in the same season; the Seahawks have their work cut out for them.
New England has a bye again, and this season, Bill Belichick has done one of his best coaching jobs -- spy cam or no spy cam -- considering the injuries to Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, and Rob Gronkowski and a receiving corps that keeps Tom Brady sleepless at night. New England could host Cincinnati or the Colts next week and Indianapolis is riding high after a stunning comeback victory over Kansas City yesterday.
Carolina could be a team that no one knows how to predict. How will they react in Cam Newtons's first big NFL playoff game? The Panthers are on a roll, winning 11 of their last 12 games, led by Newton and a stellar defense. Another big question for the Panthers is the health of Steve Smith, who injured his knee in Week 16 and missed Carolina's season-ending 21-20 victory in Atlanta. The Panthers need Smith in the lineup to advance, and the week off will help him.
Then comes Denver. They're probably still thinking about their choke job last year against the Ravens. The Broncos have lost Von Miller for the season and have played all year without Dan Koppen, their center. Peyton Manning is aiming for nothing less than a Super Bowl victory this season, so all the pressure will be on the Broncos next Sunday when they host either the Chargers or the Colts, both of whom beat them this season.
It sounds easy. The teams with the byes will have the chalk next week, being expected to advance to the NFL's final four. However, ask Denver about that last year or Green Bay the year before. It doesnt always work out that way.