Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams met with foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte on Monday, and was ruled out for Sunday’s Divisional round matchup against the Denver Broncos. Williams missed last week’s crazy Wild Card game against the Cincinnati Bengals with the same injury.
Whatever the Seahawks are doing on offense this week, you can rest assured that Doug Baldwin will be a focal point. Obviously, the Panthers have Josh Norman to match up with him when he’s outside, and that’s going to be a great battle to keep an eye on. Baldwin will have his hands full with Norman, Cortland Finnegan, and the rest of Carolina’s defensive secondary, but the Panthers’ cornerbacks and safeties won’t have a cakewalk out there either. This is no longer a “pedestrian” receiver corps in Seattle.
But Kansas City’s biggest weapon may be quarterback Alex Smith’s ability to protect the football. Smith only threw one interception this season and went 312 consecutive pass attempts without throwing a pick. (Though it could be tough for the Chiefs to produce much offense if Jeremy Maclin winds up sitting out with a reported high ankle sprain.)
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This will be the first time Andy Reid has faced Bill Belichick in the playoffs since the Patriots narrowly edged the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX, meaning he may have revenge on his mind. Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton also worked under Rex Ryan when the Jets knocked off the Patriots in the Divisional round in 2010.
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New England is rightfully the favorite in this game but the Chiefs may prove to be a tough out — especially if their dominant pass rush can take advantage of a porous Patriots offensive line and get to Brady. The Patriots might very well advance, but it probably won’t be easy.