With a two week break between the Divisional Championship Round and the Super Bowl, both the 49ers and Ravens are able to heal up. Both teams have defensive stars recovering from an injury, and with an extra week to rest will only benefit, but San Francisco would have been better off playing this Sunday.
Both NFC teams have to be pleased with their injury status’ entering the biggest game of the season (so far). With no injuries forcing a player out of action, the NFC Championship will have both teams’ full roster on display. There is one defensive playmaker on each side that that will be less then 100% though, and this could be important in a game in which both teams will need as much help as possible to stop their opponent from scoring.
After 16 weeks of football, the 49ers and Cardinals enter the final game banged up. This is not a surprise, due to the nature of the sport, and injuries are something that all teams deal with. In this match-up it’s the 49ers that have more impact players listed as injured, and will be without the services of at least one key player. San Francisco will hope to avoid any more injuries in the season finale, as another injury could be disastrous for their playoff hopes.
The Sunday Night NFC West match-up between San Francisco and Seattle will be physical. The last time the two teams met it was deemed one of the most physical games of the season. With a lot riding on this game for both teams, the rematch figures to be just as brutal. To make matters worse, both teams are beat up, and the 49ers could be without a key player.
The Raiders once again will be without Richard Seymour. The veteran defensive tackle hasn’t played since November 4 with lingering knee and hamstring injuries. Safety Tyvon Branch is questionable with an ankle injury. For the Panthers, running back Jonathan Stewart might play for the first time since week 12. He’s been out with a high ankle sprain.
An injury report is rarely exciting, but this week 49ers should be hopeful that A.J. Jenkins may be called upon due to a (relatively) minor injury to Mario Manningham. If the rookie is not on the field at some point it will mean more snaps for Randy Moss, and indicate that Jenkins has not shown his coaches that he deserves to be playing.
Without running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson, the Raiders offense will be pass heavy. Also without Richard Seymour and Shawntae Spencer, the Raiders are limited on defense. Will the healthy players be able to fill their big shoes?
The Raiders have 16 players in the injury list while the Bucs have only four. But Tampa Bay is missing left guard Carl Nicks who is a big part of the Bucs offense. Can the Raiders defense exploit his absence?
The Oakland Raiders have a bye week this time around and it is coming right when they need it. a Growing injury list including Darrius Heyward-Bey, Darren McFadden, and Shawntae Spencer has the silver and black needing some R & R.
Both the Broncos and Raiders have depleted rosters, but it may be the Silver and Black that are hurt more by the injury report.
The 49ers are been lucky enough to stay healthy so far this year and may have Ted Ginn Jr. back as early as Sunday. The Vikings on the other hands have players missing on both sides of the ball and will have to upset the 49ers and do it short handed.
The Steelers have more depth and despite missing some big names like key defenders James Harrison and Troy Polamalu, but they’ll still be a tough challenge for an Oakland team which ranks near the bottom on both offense and defense.