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NFL AFC & NFC Division Predictions
Updated: April 2014

If the excitement of the Wild Card round is any indication, this weekend’s Divisional Round should be an NFL fan’s dream. Three of the four games will feature rematches of games played earlier this season. Here is a preview.

NFC DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF
Saturday, January 11th, 2013

New Orleans @ Seattle
Just five weeks ago, the Seahawks, led by QB Russell Wilson, handed New Orleans its worst loss of the season, a 34-7 beatdown on Monday Night Football. The rematch will feature the league’s best pass defense (Seattle) against the NFL’s best passing team (New Orleans). Saints QB Drew Brees threw for 5,000 yards again (5,162) and has four receivers that each had 70 or more receptions. TE Jimmy Graham is enjoying his best season ever – 86 receptions, 1,215 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Seattle will have to hold the Saints’ ground game in check like they did in their previous meeting. New Orleans ran for just 44 yards in that game, but in last week’s win over Philadelphia a resurgent Mark Ingram ran for 97 yards and Saints tallied 185 total yards on the ground. The last time the Seahawks were at home in the playoffs was three years ago…against New Orleans. They won 41-36 thanks, in large part, to a 67-yard TD run by RB Marshawn Lynch. Look for it to happen again…Seattle 38, New Orleans 34.

AFC DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF
Saturday, January 11th, 2013

Indianapolis @ New England
Indianapolis and New England feature two of the league’s better QBs, the Colts Andrew Luck and the Patriots Tom Brady, but both teams lost their top receivers to injury during the season. Reggie Wayne was lost by the Colts in week seven and the Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski blew out a knee in week 14.

In their absence a pair of not-so-well-known receivers has picked up the slack T.Y. Hilton had 13 catches for 224 yards and two TDs in last week’s comeback win for Indianapolis over Kansas City. Julian Edelman, a former college quarterback, recorded 105 catches for 1,056 yards as Brady’s No. 1 target. The last meeting between the two teams was last season, a 59-24 win by New England. The Colts will have to play outdoors in the elements something Brady and the Patriots are used to…New England 20, Indianapolis 13.


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NFC DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF
Sunday, January 12th, 2013
San Francisco @ Carolina
In Week 10 of the NFL season, the Panthers traveled to San Francisco and proved that they belonged among the league’s best with a 10-9 win. To prove they are Super Bowl worthy they will have to get past the 49ers once again, this time at home. This should be as physical a game as any as both teams feature top ten defenses, top ten running games, each has a young QB that can beat you with his arm and his legs.

The Panthers Cam Newton (3,379 yards passing, 585 yards rushing, 30 total TDs) is enjoying his best season since being the No. 1 draft pick in 2011. The 49ers Colin Kaepernick has thrown for 3,197 yards and had 98 yards rushing last week which helped San Francisco beat Green Bay in the wild card round. This game should be much like the first and, while Carolina won on the road, give them the advantage of playing at home in the playoffs…Carolina 14, San Francisco 13.

AFC DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF
Sunday, January 12th, 2013
San Diego @ Denver
The Chargers last loss was to Cincinnati, the team it just beat a week ago in the wild card round of the playoffs. Since, San Diego has won five straight, including a 27-20 victory over this week’s opponent, Denver, in week 15 of the regular season. San Diego’s running game, led by Ryan Matthews (1,255 yards) and opportunistic defense have been big keys in their run of five straight wins. But, they will face arguably the league’s best team.

QB Peyton Manning is having an MVP season having broken the NFL records for yards passing (5,477) and TD passes (55) in a season. Thanks to Manning and his supporting cast – RB Knowshon Moreno, WR Eric Decker, and Demaryius Thomas – the Broncos have the league’s best offense averaging over 37 points per game. In two previous meetings, the Chargers held Denver to a total of 48 points. If they can do it again, they will advance. Don’t expect it, though…Denver 34, San Diego 27.



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