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January 7, 2014

NFL Boilers: Brees wins on road; playoff notes

After directing the Saints to their first road playoff victory Saturday night at Philadelphia, Drew Brees will get another chance at Seattle.

New Orleans lost there in Week 13, getting beaten soundly, 34-7, on Monday Night Football. But the Saints will try to avenge the loss on Saturday.

The Seahawks are expecting a challenge. Cornerback Richard Sherman calls Brees the second-smartest quarterback in the NFL, behind Peyton Manning.

"He makes incredible adjustments during the game," Sherman told Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback. "He'll struggle for a stretch and then go to the sidelines and look at pictures and then come back and attack the defense a new way. It's almost like they installed a whole new game plan."

Smarts is probably one reason for Brees nomination as a finalist for the FedEx Air NFL Player of the Year.

During the regular season, Brees completed 68.6 percent of his passes for 5,162 yards, with 39 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

Former Boilermakers suffered several injuries during the Wild Card weekend.

Nick Hardwich left the Chargers' win at Cincinnati early after suffering a recurrence of his neck stinger from earlier in the season.

The injury didn't force the center to miss any starts then, and San Diego's hopeful for the same now. But no word yet on how much Hardwick will be able to practice this week, with SD headed to take on Denver this weekend.

Packers linebacker Mike Neal also was forced to leave his game early, suffering a knee injury during Green Bay's first defensive drive. The injury, however, isn't thought to be serious.

Shaun Phillips, the Denver linebacker, is feeling ill this week, forcing him to miss Monday's practice.

The following is a look at the NFL Boilers playing in the 2014 playoffs and their Wild Card round statistics.

Carolina Panthers (12-4, BYE in Wild Card round; host San Francisco at 1:05 p.m. Sunday)

No.Pos.PlayerRoleGame Statistics
#99DTKawann ShortReserven/a

Denver Broncos (13-3, BYE; host San Diego at 4:40 p.m. Sunday)

No.Pos.PlayerRoleGame Statistics
#90LB/DEShaun PhillipsStartern/a

Green Bay Packers (8-8-1, 323-20 loss to San Francisco)

No.Pos.PlayerRoleGame Statistics
#96DE/LBMike NealStarterOne tackle

New England Patriots (12-4, BYE; host Indianapolis at 8:15 p.m. Saturday)

No.Pos.PlayerRoleGame Statistics
#50LB/DERob NinkovichStartern/a

New Orleans Saints (12-5, 26-24 win at Philadelphia; play at Seattle at 4:35 p.m. Saturday)

No.Pos.PlayerRoleGame Statistics
#9QBDrew BreesStarter20-of-30 passing for 250 yards, 1 TD / 2 int., for a 75.7 QB rating

Philadelphia Eagles (10-7, 26-24 loss to New Orleans)

No.Pos.PlayerRoleGame Statistics
#67RTDennis KellyNot activen/a

San Diego Chargers (10-7, 27-10 win at Cincinnati; play at Denver at 4:40 p.m. Sunday)

No.Pos.PlayerRoleGame Statistics
#61CNick HardwickStarterChargers gained 196 yards rushing; line allowed one sack

Seattle Seahawks (13-3, BYE, host New Orleans at 4:35 p.m. Saturday)

No.Pos.PlayerRoleGame Statistics
#56DECliff AvrilReserveOne int.

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