The Wild Card round did not disappoint as three of the four games were absolute thrillers. Expect the same dynamic football this weekend in the divisional round with each game being a rematch from the regular season. Enjoy!
Last Week: 2-2
Indianapolis at New England: Saturday 8:15 p.m. CBS- The Colts pulled off one of the biggest comebacks in the history of the NFL after trailing by 28 points to the Chiefs in the second half. The miracle was spurred by the magnificence of Andrew Luck. The sophomore quarterback started out slowly but rebounded with an historic performance. The concern for Indianapolis will be their defense which was shredded by Alex Smith. Can they stop Tom Brady and the Pats in New England?
The Colts and Patriots have a history but the young gunslinger has yet to face the legendary Brady in the playoffs. New England will use their bevy of running backs to keep pressure off of their passing game. When the chips are down, however, Brady should find plenty of down field opportunities against the Colts’ secondary. Luck will play well enough to keep the game close but in the end Belichick will devise a masterful scheme to propel New England to the AFC Championship game. NE 34 IND 27
San Diego at Denver: Sunday 4:40 p.m. CBS- The Chargers looked stagnant early but dominated the Bengals in the second half. Their defense and running game were outstanding with Phillip Rivers making big plays when it mattered. The defense held a very good Cincinnati offense in check harassing Andy Dalton into turnovers in a very impressive road victory. The Lightning Bolts are a hot team that already owns a road victory over Denver.
The Broncos will be well rested and will benefit from a week off in terms of health as both Julius Thomas and Wes Welker should be good to go. Many are pointing to San Diego being the hot team and their ability to run the ball as huge advantages. There is no doubt that recent precedence has been set as wild card participants have found surprising success. However, winning twice in Denver in one season is a monumental task. Peyton Manning and his mates solve the Charger puzzle to host next week’s AFC Championship game. DEN 33 SD 23
New Orleans at Seattle: Saturday 4:35 p.m. FOX- The Saints finally won on the road in the playoffs as they out grinded the Eagles in Philadelphia. Their strategy included a physical ground attack and tight defense. Drew Brees’ play was uneven but he made several big plays when it counted. They now travel to Seattle to face a Seahawks team which throttled them 34-7 in week 13.
Seattle’s play wasn’t at top notch the last quarter of the season but make no mistake this squad will be ready, especially in front of the best crowd in the league. Expect the Saints to attempt to pound the ball to avoid the fierce pass rush of the Seahawks. This will be a much closer game than their last match-up but Russell Wilson again proves why he is on his way to becoming an upper echelon quarterback. SEA 27 NO 23
San Francisco at Carolina: Sunday 1:05 p.m. FOX- One of the best games of the year took place Week 10 in San Francisco where the Panthers defeated the 49ers 10-9. It was an old school, blue collar, bruising contest in which both defenses dominated. The Niners are a different animal now with a healthy Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree. Crabtree’s return in particular has invigorated their offense and increased the play of Colin Kaepernick.
Carolina’s Cam Newton gets a lot of credit, understandably so to some degree, but their defense is the key. Luke Kuechly and his mates will be a force but the Panther offense will struggle, especially without a healthy Steve Smith. Expect another slobber knocker between two of the best defenses and most athletic quarterbacks in the league. The Panthers are heading in the right direction but San Francisco is on a mission. Kaepernick again leads the Niners to the NFC Championship game. SF 23 CAR 17
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