WEAKNESS: Pittsburgh's defense is no longer the menacing group it was during three Super Bowl trips from 2005-11. The Steelers were 18th in total defense and 27th against the pass. Ike Taylor and Troy Polamalu were hurt and Cortez Allen failed to develop into a shutdown CB.
1,Wholesale Jerseys China
. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS:
"This time of year you have to be able to control the line of scrimmage,Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic
," coach Jim Caldwell said.
3,China Jerseys Cheap
. PITTSBURGH STEELERS:
STRENGTH: Justin Forsett ran for a career-high 1,266 yards. He gives Joe Flacco time to pick from Torrey Smith, Steve Smith and Owen Daniels. That formula enabled the Ravens to score 17 fourth-quarter points against Cleveland when Forsett had runs of 27 and 26 yards.
WEAKNESS: Seattle's O-line remains shaky in pass protection. The front five are good at opening lanes for Marshawn Lynch,Cheap Jerseys China
, but too often Russell Wilson is asked to improvise out of sheer survival.
"I don't think the kid ever feels any pressure," coach Chuck Pagano said. "I think he performs best when his back's to the wall."
6. DETROIT LIONS:
WEAKNESS: Arizona's problems at quarterback may finally be too much. Carson Palmer was 6-0 before his season-ending knee injury. Effective backup Drew Stanton sprained his right knee and an infection slowed his recovery. That means Ryan Lindley gets the nod.
STRENGTH: The defense was the backbone of the team for much of the year but it is coming off its two worst performances of the season. Todd Bowles loves the blitz and brings it from all sorts of angles, relying on man coverage from his secondary.
5. ARIZONA CARDINALS:
"Right now we're playing better than we have all of last year. Guys are putting their egos to the side, guys are buying in and playing for one another," defensive end Bruce Irvin said.
STRENGTH: With apologies to Rob Gronkowski, the addition of cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner gets the nod here. They have greatly improved New England's pass defense. The emergence of second-year linebacker Jamie Collins also has been a big plus.
STRENGTH: Behind Luke Kuechly, the Panthers' defense was dominant during a 4-0 December run. Cam Newton tends to play much better when his defense is making stops and he's not forced into making big plays. He has won both of his starts since his auto accident.
4. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS:
"I think the more experience you have, the different types of games you've been through, those things can certainly help you," Manning said. "But it usually comes down to kind of who executes better."
2. GREEN BAY PACKERS:
WEAKNESS: The Cowboys aren't getting many difference-making plays from their cornerbacks. Orlando Scandrick picked off a pair of passes and high-priced veteran Brandon Carr went without an interception for the first time in his seven-year career.
WEAKNESS: The Packers don't travel well. They were 4-4 on the road and 8-0 at Lambeau Field. If Seattle and Green Bay win in the divisional round, the Packers' road to the Super Bowl would go through the Great Northwest, where they were thumped 36-16 in the opener.
"This team is completely different than some of those teams in years past," Romo said. "We're much better up front."
"The game gets a little faster and certainly everything's on the line," Denver quarterback Peyton Manning said of the playoffs, where he's experienced plenty of pain — 12 losses — to go with lots of euphoria — 11 wins.
1. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS:
STRENGTH: Even with all the blunders and bruises, Andrew Luck has an uncanny knack for winning. The Chiefs saw his genius in the playoffs last year, when he rallied the Colts from a 28-point deficit. Luck's finishing touch means anything is possible this postseason.
"If there was a word of a greater magnitude than respect, that's what I have for Aaron," defensive lineman Mike Daniels said.
STRENGTH: A limping Aaron Rodgers is better than most healthy QBs. His notorious grit was especially impressive last weekend when he fought through a left calf injury to help the Packers beat Detroit. At home, Rodgers threw 36 TD passes without a single interception.
STRENGTH: Antonio Brown has become as big a part of the offense as Ben Roethlisberger. His 129 catches were the second-highest single season total in NFL history, and he led the league with 1,698 yards receiving to go with a team-record 13 TD catches.
"To open those runs up in the fourth quarter, to finish the game, that's what you need to do," coac