01/09/16 by Matthew S. Vandriak
The playoffs are finally here. After 17 weeks of regular season, the final 12 teams of 2015 remain. Only 2 will get to the Super Bowl, and the road there starts with Wild Card weekend. Let's take a look at the opening of the 2K15 playoffs.
Kansas City at Houston Saturday at 4:20pm
The Chiefs come in 11 and 5 and the 2nd place team out of the AFC West. The Texans are the AFC South division champions and come in with a record of 9 and 7. Both teams started off the season not looking much like playoff teams. Kansas City started off 2015 1 and 5 before winning their past 10 games. Houston was 2 and 5 before winning 7 of their final 9 games and 3 in a row coming into the playoffs. Both teams have pressed on to the playoffs without their star running back as well. The Chiefs lost Jamaal Charles to a season ending injury in Week 5, while the Texans lost Arian Foster for the season in Week 7. Kansas City is led by QB Alex Smith, who's passed for 3,486 yards and 20 TD's. Charcandrick West stepped in for Charles at running back, rushing for 634 yards and 4 touchdowns. WR Jeremy Maclin has 87 catches for 1,088 yards and 8 TD's. Houston is led by QB Brian Hoyer, who's thrown for 2,606 yards and 19 touchdowns. Alfred Blue has rushed for 698 yards and 2 TD's in Foster's absence. DeAndre Hopkins has 111 catches for 1,521 yards and 11 scores. On defense, the Texans J.J. Watt led the NFL with 17.5 sacks. For Kansas City, All Pro Justin Houston will be back after missing the past 5 games due to a knee injury. These teams met in the season opener, with Kansas City winning 27 to 20. Kansas City has lost their past 7 playoff games and are looking for their first playoff win in 22 years.
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati Saturday at 8:15pm
Round 3 between the 10 and 6 Steelers and 12 and 4 Bengals will pit teams with significant losses at key positions. Cincinnati will be without starting QB Andy Dalton, who was injured when these teams met last. In his place, A.J. McCarron will make his first playoff start. Pittsburgh will be without RB DeAngelo Williams, who took over as the Steelers starter after LeVeon Bell was lost for the season in the first meeting between these teams. In Williams place, Jordan Todman and Fitzgerald Toussaint are expected to split the carries. The Bengals will still have to deal with the duo of Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown. Roethlisberger has passed for 3,938 yards and 21 touchdowns, while Brown has caught 136 passes for 1,834 yards and 10 TD's. McCarron will look to A.J. Green, who has 86 catches for 1,297 yards and 10 scores. These teams split during the regular season with the visiting team winning both times. Cincinnati has lost their past 7 playoff games and are looking for their first playoff win in 25 years. Pittsburgh has also won 4 of the past 5 games against the Bengals and the last 2 meetings in Cincinnati.
Seattle at Minnesota Sunday at 1pm
The 11 and 5 Vikings are the NFC North champions. The 10 and 6 Seahawks finished 2nd in the NFC West and are one of the NFL's hottest teams. Seattle won 8 of their last 10 games, but Minnesota has won their past 3 games as well. These teams met in Minnesota in Week 13 with Seattle dominating the Vikings en route to a 38 to 7 win. The Seahawks outgained the Vikings in total yards 433 to 125, outrushed the Vikings 173 to 31, and held the NFL's leading rusher in Adrian Peterson to just 18 yards. Seattle boasts the NFL's top rushing defense, and will try to slow Peterson for a second time. Peterson has rushed for 1,485 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. Teddy Bridgewater has passed for 3,231 yards and 14 TD's. Rookie WR Stefon Diggs has caught 52 passes for 740 yards and 4 scores. Seattle will be without RB Marshawn Lynch, but will still have Thomas Rawls, who's rushed for 830 yards and 4 TD's. The Seahawks have been paced offensively by QB Russell Wilson, who's thrown for 4,024 yards and 34 touhdowns. His top target has been Doug Baldwin, who has 78 catches for 1,089 yards and 14 scores.
Green Bay at Washington Sunday at 4:30pm
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the 2015 playoff field are the 9 and 7 Washington Redskins, who won the NFC East. Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the 2015 playoff field is the Green Bay Packers, who after starting 6 and 0, finished 10 and 6 while conceding the NFC North to Minnesota. The Redskins playoff run has been led by the play of Kirk Cousins, who's passed for 4,166 yards and 29 touchdowns. His counter part on the Packers, Aaron Rodgers, cooled off down the stretch, but still passed for 3.821 yards and 31 TD's. The top targets on each team has been TE Jordan Reed for the Redskins, who's caught 87 passes for 952 yards and 11 scores. For the Packers it's been WR James Jones, who has 50 catches for 890 yards and 8 TD's. The ground games have been paced by Eddie Lacy for Green Bay, who's rushed for 758 yards and 3 TDs, and Alfred Morris for Washington, who has 751 yards rushing and 1 score. Washington is looking for their first playoff win in 10 years. If the Redskins beat Green Bay, it will be their first win of the season over a team with a better than .500 record. The Packers have won 5 of the past 6 meetings between these teams, most recently in 2013. But this is the first playoff meeting between these teams since 1972, when Washington won 16 to 3.
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