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Horse Tracks: Wild Card Saturday Preview

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Good Morning Broncos Country! The first round of the NFL playoffs kickoff today

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

While the Denver Broncos players sit at home and rest up for next weekends Divisional Round of the Playoffs, 8 teams will play in this weekends wild-card round. Two of these games will played this Saturday while the other two will be played tomorrow.

Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers, Saturday, 4:35 p.m. ET, ESPN

The first of these two games will feature two intriguing stories. The Arizona Cardinals will head to North Carolina to take on the Panthers. ESPN finally gets a playoff game, and they get a Ryan Lindley led Cardinals team taking on the 7 win Carolina Panthers.

Because of injuries to starter Carson Palmer, and backup Drew Stanton, the Cardinals will be going with third string Quarterback Ryan Lindley. Lindley's .167 (1-5) record as a starter will be the worst career winning percentage to start a playoff game since at least 1950. His 50.3 career passer rating is the lowest by any postseason quarterback in the last 30 years.

The Cardinals do boost a good defense, but their offense is what has/will be holding them back in the playoffs.

The seven win Carolina Panthers have had a up and down season(included a 7 game winless streak), but recently turned things around because of their defense and run game. The Cardinals defense will be tough to run against, so look for Newton to have to make some key throws during the game.

Prediction:

The Cardinals had a great regular season, but the injuries will be too much to overcome. It's going to be a low scoring ugly game, but look for the Panthers to come away with the victory.

Carolina Panthers 17. Cardinals 9

Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers, Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET, NBC

This should be a good one.

The Baltimore Ravens will be heading to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers in what will be the third matchup between these two teams this year. The two teams split their first two games in the regular season.

The big story surrounding this game will be the absence of Steelers star running back Le'Veon Bell. Bell hyper-extended his knee during the season finale game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Rookie running back Josh Harris will get the start for the Steelers.

The story of this game will be play of each teams secondaries. The Steelers have some explosive receivers in Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, and Martavius Bryant. These receivers will look to challenge beatable Ravens secondary.

Now the Steelers secondary isn't that great either. Look for Joe Flacco to target Steve Smith and Torrey Smith often. The key here will be the play of Flacco. He has been shakey as of late, but he has shown he can turn it on in the playoffs.

Another thing that will be a factor will be the weather. The forecast for game time is calling for a 90 to 100% chance of rain and freezing rain. This certainly will make things extra interesting.

Prediction:

I think the absence of Bell will be the undoing of the Steelers. I have been favoring them, but I think Baltimore will be able to pull off the upset in cold/rainy Pittsburgh. It's going to be close hard fought game between these two rivals. Look for things to get physical and probably chippy as well.

Baltimore Ravens 24, Pittsburgh Steelers 20

Who do you think will win today?

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