Congratulations to the Baltimore Ravens and Carolina Panthers for advancing to the next round of the NFL Playoffs, but luck played a huge role in their victories. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals were far superior teams.  Here are the lucky factors that lead to Saturday’s results:

Le’Veon Bell out with injury

The Ravens BY FAR didn’t face the best team Pittsburgh could field, as they were without Le’Veon Bell for Saturday’s match-up. Bell was 2nd in the NFL in rushing yards this season, amassing 1361 yards on 290 carries (103 fewer carries than the top rusher in the league). Add in the 854 additional yards  Bell gained through the passing game on 83 receptions and you start to get the idea how big of a threat the 11-touchdown-scoring RB is for the Steelers.


Justin Forsett: Journeyman Juggernaut

The Baltimore Ravens were lucky to have any sort of running game this year, given the issues they had with Ray Rice and the early-season injury to Bernard Pierce. Journeyman Forsett could have easily been out of the league this year, after 7 years in the league and 5 teams. The 29-year-old never had a season where he gained over 120 carries in a single campaign. For the Ravens to not only roster him after he failed to start a single game for the lowly Jaguars in 2013 (and only getting 6 carries all season), there’s certainly a fair amount of luck involved. While Forsett didn’t have a ton of success against the Steelers, he’s certainly a big part of the reason that Pittsburgh had to host their division rivals instead of another team which might’ve been less familiar with the Steelers.


Cardinals Quarterback Shuffle

How many other teams have played 4 different Quarterbacks this season like the Arizona Cardinals? Starter Carson Palmer was out for 10 games this season with injuries, and backup Drew Stanton couldn’t complete the season after an injury of his own. The Cardinals went from being the best team in the NFL to being a Wild Card team at 11-5. The Panthers got to face Ryan Lindley on Saturday, who had fewer than 50 completions this season (and fewer than 100 attempts). It’s no wonder Lindley failed to throw for even 100 yards in the Wild Card game. Star runningback Andre Ellington being out for the Cardinals starting in week 14 is worth a mention, though not a category of its own.

Suggs Knee-Interception

With 8 minutes remaining in the 4th Quarter and the Steelers trailing 23-15, Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs manages to “catch” an interception… with his knees. With his knees. Enough said.