Divisional Round Preview/Predictions
Wow, what a Wild Card weekend! With all road teams coming away with victories, the road warriors will look to do the same in the Divisional round. The Chiefs, after an embarrassment of the Houston Texans last weekend, travel to the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots to try and knock off Tom Brady. The Green Bay Packers look to avenge their terrible week 16 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Cam Newton and the 15-1 Panthers look to continue their winning ways with defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks travel into their house. The Pittsburgh Steelers, barring all their key injuries, will attempt to knock off the Denver Broncos.
Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) at New England Patriots (12-4)
- Kickoff: Saturday at 3:35 PM CST
- Location: Gillette Stadium (Foxboro, MA)
- Odds: NE -5
- Over/Under: 44.0
After a dominating win last week, the Chiefs are gaining respect throughout the NFL. Their defense held the Texans to just 226 yards and forced 5 turnovers. The Patriots appear to have several players coming back from injuries that held them out for most of the season. Julian Edelman, Donte Hightower, Devin McCourty, and Danny Amendola are all returning to take some weight off of Tom Brady’s shoulders.
Prediction: New England 27, Kansas City 17
Difference of the Game: Tom Brady being Tom Brady.
Green Bay Packers (10-6) at Arizona Cardinals (13-3)
- Kickoff: Saturday at 7:15 PM CST
- Location: University of Phoenix Stadium (Glendale, AZ)
- Odds: ARZ -7.5
- Over/Under: 49.5
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers looked like their usual selves last week, handing the Redskins 35-18. Green Bay hopes to avenge their 38-8 loss to Arizona just a few weeks ago. The Cardinals, led by MVP candidate QB Carson Palmer, are one of the most consistent teams this season. The defense has many players that may give Rodgers a lot of trouble tonight in Arizona.
Prediction: Arizona 33, Green Bay 26
Difference of the Game: The Cardinals defense slowing down Rodgers for the 2nd time this season.
Seattle Seahawks (10-6) at Carolina Panthers (15-1)
- Kickoff: Sunday at 12:05 PM CST
- Location: Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte, NC)
- Odds: CAR -2
- Over/Under: 44.0
Russell Wilson and his Seahawks are coming off a win over the Vikings in the final seconds. While the offense struggled to score for most of the game, the Seattle defense held the Vikings to under 200 yards of total offense. Cam Newton and the Panthers are coming into the game with only one loss all season. While Cam has put up huge numbers for the lack of weapons he has on offense, the defense of this team has dominated all season long.
Prediction: Carolina 20, Seattle 17
Confidence: Very Low
Difference of the Game: The big play ability of Cam Newton.
Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6) at Denver Broncos (12-4)
- Kickoff: Sunday at 3:40 PM CST
- Location: Sports Authority Field at Mile High (Denver, CO)
- Odds: DEN -7.5
- Over/Under: 40.5
With a big win over the division rival Cincinnati Bengals has the Steelers coming into this game with a lot of confidence. This week, the Steelers will be without All-Pro WR Antonio Brown and RB DeAngelo Williams. Ben Roethlisberger is also banged up with a shoulder injury on his throwing arm. This will be tough to overcome going up against the good defense in Denver. With Peyton Manning being named starter, the Broncos hope to use his experience to get back to the Super Bowl. While the offense has been inconsistent all season long, the Denver defense has kept them in games.
Prediction: Denver 23, Pittsburgh 17
Difference of the Game: Too many injuries for the Pittsburgh offense to be able to compete against one of the league’s best defenses.
Next Week’s Matchups
New England at Denver (AFC Championship)
Arizona at Carolina (NFC Championship)