10 Things To Watch For In NFL’s Divisional Weekend
Things To Watch For In NFL's Divisional Round
The best weekend in sports is upon us. The divisional round of the NFL playoffs. Four games. All huge ones. For the right to represent the AFC and NFC respectively. It should be fun. All four of the match ups are juicy ones.
We'll start off with the Indianapolis Colts at the New England Patriots. The dynamic between Andrew Luck and Tom Brady and the great Bill Belichick should be must see TV. Can the second year phenom knock off the perennial Super Bowl contending Patriots? You won't want to miss that one.
The other AFC tilt sees a rematch between the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos. If you remember, Phillip Rivers and the Chargers went into Denver and took out the Broncos. They are also winners of their last five. This is the hottest team in football, folks. This will be no easy chore for the Broncos and Peyton Manning. Another game primed to be a tight knit shootout type of ball game.
Perhaps the defensive battle of the season will be between the San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers. These are two stout defensive ball clubs with front 7's that really get after it. I wouldn't expect this game to be filled with points on the scoreboard. It may come down to which athletic, young quarterback, either Cam Newton or Colin Kaepernick, makes the play that wins their club the game at the end.
Finally, we have the New Orleans Saints, who recently got over their road playoff woes, traveling to Seattle to take on the Seahawks. Good luck. CenturyLink Field is an asylum. It is nearly impossible to communicate. The last time the Saints traveled to Seattle on Monday Night Football it was a house of horrors. Sean Payton and Drew Brees are good at adjusting. While this may look like a mismatch on paper, I have a feeling it may get interesting.
The greatest weekend in football and all of sports is upon us. Get geared up. Let's take a look at 10 things to watch for in the NFL's divisional round.
Can Andrew Luck Stay Hot?
Andrew Luck lit it up last week with 445 passing yards and four touchdowns. He battled back through adversity, some self-inflicted, and got the job done. Can he do it again against the genius that is Bill Belichick? Why not. The kid is wise beyond his years and the Patriots are battling injuries all over their defense. Luck will have the last laugh on Saturday night.
Will T.Y. Hilton Explode Again?
T.Y. Hilton burst onto the playoff scene with 224 receiving yards and two touchdowns, as he torched the Chiefs secondary. Can he have a repeat performance? I find it hard to believe. Bill Belichick is a master at taking away the opposing squad's main weapon. Lock down corner Aqib Talib will be responsible for keeping Hilton in check. Luck may have to look for other options on Saturday night...
Will New England Patriots' Rash of Injures Finally Do Them In?
The injury news doesn't get any easier for the New England Patriots. They lost starting linebacker Brandon Spikes for the year. They are now minus two starting backers between him and Jerod Mayo. They also lost their anchor in the middle earlier in the season in Vincent Wilfork. It is becoming tricky for the Pats just to field 11 men on defense. I believe the road stops here for the Pats due mainly to the fact that they have been decimated by injuries on defense.
Can Phillip Rivers Do Unthinkable And Beat the Broncos Twice?
Phillip Rivers worked his magic in the wild card round. He has been the hottest quarterback in football in the second half of the season. Will his success carry over to Denver? That's the real question. I believe it will. The Broncos secondary is nothing to write home about and Rivers is playing lights out. I just don't know if they will be able to keep up with the Broncos and all of those weapons on the scoreboard.
Can Peyton Manning Get Off the Playoff Schneid?
Peyton Manning may very well go down as the greatest regular season quarterback of all time. It is the playoffs throughout his career that have been his enemy. He has a 9-11 career playoff record and it would drop to an unimpressive 9-12 if the Chargers took out the Broncos. Despite all his accolades, Manning still has a lot to prove in these playoffs. I believe this is the year for Manning to make his legacy.
Do New Orleans Saints Have Any Shot At Going Into Seattle And Winning?
The New Orleans Saints face the extremely tall task of having to go into CenturyLink Field and pull out a home win. History is against them. The Saints have not fared well on the road in the playoffs, and just recently won their first playoff road game. They also aren't too fond of Seattle as seen earlier in the season. Drew Brees and Sean Payton won't go quietly though. I just think the home field and the talent that Seattle has on both sides of the ball will prove to be too much in the end.
What Impact Will Percy Harvin Have In His First Game Action?
Percy Harvin makes his long awaited debut. Boy are the Seahawks happy about it. They have been anemic in spots in the down field passing game. Harvin changes all that. His presence alone will have defenses playing this team differently, and that will open up running lanes for Marshawn Lynch and company. It may be a long day for the Saints.
How Will Cam Newton Fare In His Playoff Debut?
Cam Newton makes his long awaited playoff debut. He certainly isn't facing any pushovers. The 49ers are as loaded as any team in football. Newton has a tough task ahead even at home. I believe the Niners' talent on both sides will be too much for the young quarterback to overcome.
Will San Francisco 49ers Exact Revenge On Panthers?
The 49ers are looking to pay the Panthers back for their road victory in Candlestick Park. Colin Kaepernick had perhaps his worst outing of the season as the Niners were anemic offensively in a 10-9 loss. I believe things will be different the second time around. Jim Harbaugh is a master at adjusting a game plan and they will know how to attack the Panthers. I see the Niners going into Charlotte and taking out the Panthers.
How Effective Will Main Weapon Steve Smith Be For Carolina Panthers?
Steve Smith recently admitted he isn't cutting and exploding the way he wants to in practice. This isn't a good sign. Even with Smith at 100 percent the Panthers had a huge challenge on their hands in the Niners. With their main weapon hobbled, it will be extremely tough sledding for the Panthers on Sunday.