Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith said his left knee feels "fine" and that he hopes to be ready to play Sunday against the 49ers in the NFC divisional playoffs.

"I will be all right," Smith said after Friday's practice in Charlotte, N.C. "I should be OK."

Panthers coach Ron Rivera listed Smith, running back Jonathan Stewart and defensive tackle Colin Cole as questionable -- or 50 percent -- for Sunday on the team's injury report.

Smith sprained his posterior cruciate ligament in a Week 16 win over New Orleans and has not played since.

NFC playoffs: Seattle's chance at making amends for what happened in last season's playoffs arrives Saturday when it hosts New Orleans in the NFC divisional playoffs. The Seahawks lost 30-28 at Atlanta last January after erasing a 20-point fourth-quarter deficit.

The Seahawks are the top seed in the NFC and well aware anything short of a trip to the Super Bowl would be an even bigger disappointment.

"We never want to feel that feeling again," Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman said this week. "I think as motivated as New Orleans is from what happened to them the last time they came here (34-7 loss at Seattle in Week 13), we're just as motivated from what happened in Atlanta."

AFC playoffs: Tom Brady has been leading successful comebacks for more than a decade. Andrew Luck is just getting started. One of them should have a chance to do that again Saturday night when the New England Patriots meet the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC divisional round.

The Colts are here with the second biggest comeback in NFL postseason history. They outlasted the Kansas City Chiefs in a wild-card game 45-44 after trailing 38-10 early in the third quarter. The Colts had other impressive comebacks in the regular season -- beating Houston after trailing by 18 in the third quarter and overcoming fourth-quarter deficits to win three other games.

Easing up with a big lead on the Patriots also can be dangerous. They erased a 24-point halftime deficit to beat Denver in overtime, topped New Orleans on a touchdown pass with 5 seconds left and scored two touchdowns in the last 61 seconds to come from 12 points back and beat Cleveland by one.

  • Dan Dierdorf will call the game with play-by-play partner Greg Gumbel and then call it a career after 30 years as a broadcaster. The Hall of Fame former NFL player spent 12 seasons on the Monday Night Football crew.

    Raiders: Assistant coach Tony Sparano has signed a two-year contract to remain with Oakland, the team announced on its Twitter account. Sparano will retain his position as assistant head coach as well as offensive line coach.

    Protocol violations: Two players violated league concussion protocol during last weekend's wild-card games, according to a letter sent by the NFL's head, neck and spine committee chairmen to all team doctors and trainers.

    The players weren't identified, but one was Green Bay tackle David Bakhtiari, who went into the game against the 49ers for an extra-point try despite being examined for a concussion and not cleared. The other player was Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis, who remained on the sideline but did not get back on the field.

    The doctors found "no fault" in how the team medical staffs conducted themselves, and no fines will be imposed for the violations.

    Buccaneers: Tampa Bay hired former San Jose State star Gill Byrd as its cornerbacks coach. Byrd previously worked under new Bucs coach Lovie Smith in Chicago.

    Staff writer Jerry McDonald contributed to this report.