2014 NFL Playoffs: Divisional Round TV Schedules, Betting Lines, Predictions
2014 NFL Playoffs: Divisional Playoffs Preview, Prediction
The 2014 NFL playoffs are underway and with the wild card week under our belts, it's time to look forward to the divisional round matchups -- itching one step closer to the Super Bowl in New York. With many teams worthy of a Super Bowl berth, only one can take the crown and there are eight teams remaining.
This season has had no shortage of quality play, surprises and disappointments. On the quality play end of things, the eight teams left in the playoffs can be classified under that category with their solid seasons and ability to get past the wild card round of the playoffs either by winning or earning a bye.
It seems like the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks have been the best teams in their respective conferences this season with both finishing the season strong after starting the season strong. Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson have both had MVP-type seasons and both of their teams look to be the favorite in their respective conference to make it to the Super Bowl -- almost what fans are hoping for.
When talking about surprises of the 2013 season, you could easily point to the Kansas City Chiefs -- who are now out of the playoffs -- as well as the Carolina Panthers and San Diego Chargers. Watching all of these teams come back from mediocre seasons in 2012 was a treat for all NFL fans.
Easy call on the disappointments of 2013 as we saw the Houston Texans, Atlanta Falcons and Washington Redskins fall way short of expectations and miss the playoffs miserably.
With just a few weeks remaining in the NFL season, there is still some time left to see some quality games and what better time to do so than in playoff football?
Take a look at the divisional round preview, prediction and TV schedule for each game.
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks
When: Saturday, January 11 at 4:35 p.m. EST on FOX
Where: CenturyLink Field
Weather: High 49, Low 41
Line: Seattle (-7.5)
The New Orleans Saints have one of the best quarterbacks in football in the last 10 years and the best tight end in football as well. Drew Brees will have a hard time, however, passing on one of the best secondaries in the NFL -- if not the best -- and if his connection with Graham doesn't happen successfully, the Saints will have a hard time pulling this one out on the road.
Russell Wilson couldn't quite get the Seahawks to the Super Bowl last season, but one more year of maturity and a better overall season may end up getting him there. The Seahawks are going to be the team to beat moving forward.
PREDICTION: Saints 20, Seahawks 28
Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots
When: Saturday, January 11 at 8:15 p.m. EST on CBS
Where: Gillette Stadium
Weather: High 53, Low 47
Line: New England (-7.5)
Saturday night will feature an intriguing matchup between the up-and-coming Indianapolis Colts and the we've-been-there-before New England Patriots. Andrew Luck will have a hard time playing against a tough team like the Patriots in the playoffs after struggling mightily against the Kansas City Chiefs' defense. Luck can be relatively turnover prone, but if he can take care of the ball, there's no reason why he won't be able to lead the talented Colts offense.
New England is simply far more experienced and that could be the difference-maker in this one -- other than home-field advantage. Tom Brady is tough and this is the kind of playoff atmosphere he thrives in -- no Rob Gronkowski will only make him stronger.
PREDICTION: Colts 17, Patriots 27
San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers
When: Sunday, January 12 at 1:05 p.m. EST on FOX
Where: Bank of America Stadium
Weather: High 61, Low 38
Line: San Francisco (-1)
While the San Francisco 49ers are traveling to Carolina for this contest, they are still a far more experienced and talented team. Although Colin Kaepernick hasn't had the ideal season, he is still one of those players that can instantly change the outcome of the game with is arm and his legs.
This could be more of a defensive battle than anything, but Frank Gore and Vernon Davis could be difference makers in the run and receiving game, respectively. Cam Newton is one of the best young quarterbacks in football, but the stage may just be too big for him in this one.
PREDICTION: 49ers 21, Panthers 20
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos
When: Sunday, January 12 at 4:40 p.m. EST on CBS
Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High
Weather: High 44, Low 27
Line: Denver (-9.5)
The San Diego Chargers are easily the biggest surprise of the 2013 season and they have taken down the Denver Broncos earlier in the season. Oh yeah, and that game was on the road. However, Peyton Manning will not let that happen again as he is possibly the MVP of the league and as title hungry as any player in the league.
Philip Rivers has been one of the best quarterbacks in the league this season, but the fact that the Chargers don't have a very solid defense will hurt them against the best offense in football.
PREDICTION: Chargers 27, Broncos 38