NFL Divisional Round Preview
Ravens @ Patriots Sat 4:35pm
The Ravens and Patriots will square off for the 4th time in 5 years in the NFL playoffs, and for the 4th time the matchup will be in New England. Last time these two met in the playoffs, the Ravens cemented a trip to the Super Bowl with a 28-13 victory in 2013. This is a completely different team this year though as only 18 players remain from that the Super Bowl roster; but this is also a different Patriots team. The main pieces still remain though, Brady vs. Suggs, Belicheck vs. Harbaugh, Patriots Nation vs. Ravens Nation. In this matchup, I think it will come down to the Ravens pass defense vs Patriots pass offense. Pressure on Tom Brady is critical for the Ravens success. Patriots will need to attack the Ravens inexperience secondary, mainly down the field. Brady will have to get rid of the ball early and I don't think that dink-n-dunk style will work against this front 7. The x-factor like always will be Joe Flacco. He has outplayed Tom Brady before and he will have to do it one more time in order for the Ravens to move on to the next round. I think this will be a close game with some controversy, Ravens win 28-24.
Panthers @ Cardinals Sat 8:35pm
The Seahawks and Panthers met earlier this season, Seahawks winning in Carolina 13-9. Carolina made it into the playoffs with a losing record but the Seahawks should be familiar with achieving that feat also. The problem with the Panthers is they lack the playmakers needed to help Cam out. Jonathan Stewart had a good game against the Cardinals, rushing for 123 yards on 24 carries, but can he do it again? Remember he has been sharing carries since entering the league 7 years ago. I think the Panthers will have to play a perfect game in order to beat the Seahawks. The Seahawks walked into the playoffs as the hottest team in the league plus they have home field advantage. If they play their game, they'll win easily, Seahawks walk away with this one 28-3.
Cowboys @ Packers Sun 1:05pm
Cowboys-Packers I think will be the best game of the weekend. This game could go either way and it all depends on which defense can make the most stops. The Cowboys have the better run game and offensive line which gives them the edge. Tony Romo has played his best football this season and is coming off a comeback victory against the Lions. More than likely it will be very cold in Lambeu Field, so running the rock should be the Cowboys main priority. The Boys are 8-0 this year on the road while the Packers are 1-5 at home in the playoffs dating back to 2007. One thing the Packers do have on their side is the 2014 NFL MVP (calling it now), Aaron Rodgers. If Rodgers can get into a groove early, then the Cowboys defense might have a long day. The x-factor will be Eddie Lacy who hasn't made his presence known in the playoffs yet. I expect the Cowboys defense to come up with some big plays late in the game while Demarco runs wild, Cowboys win 38-36.
Colts @ Broncos Sun 4:40pm
Colts-Broncos will be good for the TV networks and QB junkies. I actually think the Colts are overrated, along with Mr. Luck. Luck is a very talented QB, one of the best in the league, but like his team I think the media puts him too high on the pedestal. The Colts come in with the best offense statistically but they also play in the AFC South, with two of the worst teams in the league. They have a very inefficient running game which makes them one dimensional, and I don't think they will be able to beat the Broncos with Luck airing it out. Broncos have some great players on defense, all with playoff experience, especially on that defensive line. Of course Peyton Manning will do what he do, unless the cold weather makes him uncomfortable. I don't think this game will be as close as people think, Broncos win 31-17.