2015 NFL Playoffs: Divisional Round Preview

January 10, 2015

This is late. Like, so late that probably no one will read this post before actually watching this weekend’s games. But to some extent I post these previews simply so that there is physical evidence of the games that I predicted correctly.

At any rate, since I correctly predicted all four games last weekend, my picks that you can see on my Twitter aren’t going to change. But for the sake of repetition, I’m posting them here as well.

Here is the Divisional Round preview

AFC Divisional Round

#6 Baltimore Ravens at #1 New England Patriots (Saturday, 4:35 PM ET – NBC)

The Ravens looked good against a Le’Veon Bell-less Pittsburgh team last Saturday, but the Patriots are a different beast entirely. And unless Baltimore gets to Tom Brady and knocks him silly (for the record, I think that Big Ben did in fact get concussed in the fourth quarter), he is going to complete a lot of passes in this one.

Joe Flacco is capable of playing very well in Foxborough, but I just don’t see it being enough against New England.

My Pick: 31-23 New England

#4 Indianapolis Colts at #2 Denver Broncos (Sunday, 4:40 PM ET – CBS)

The Colts took care of the Bengals at home last weekend, which could be viewed as unimpressive considering the way that Andy Dalton played. But the Indianapolis defense is at least partially responsible for that performance, and I think that it could be a factor once again in Denver. The Broncos are balanced offensively, so it will not be an easy task. The Colts are better against the pass than they are given credit for, though.

Offense will obviously play the biggest role in this game, but if Indianapolis is to win this game as I believe it will, the defense will be the X-factor.

My Pick: 37-34 Indianapolis

NFC Divisional Round

#5 Carolina Panthers at #1 Seattle Seahawks (Saturday, 8:15 PM ET – FOX)

Carolina beat Arizona last Saturday in what has to be the worst played playoff game I have ever witnessed. The Panthers held the Cardinals to under 100 total yards of offense, but the offensive effort by Ryan Lindley & Co. was just terrible. Carolina won’t be able to get away with sloppiness on the offensive end against Seattle, because Russell Wilson will test the defense.

These are the two best defenses in the NFL at this point, but Seattle has the better offense. Unless Cam Newton has his best playoff performance to date, the Seahawks will win this one fairly comfortably.

My Pick: 28-13 Seattle

#3 Dallas Cowboys at #2 Green Bay Packers (Sunday, 1:05 PM ET – FOX)

This feels like the one matchup that a lot of people are expecting to see the visiting team pull out a victory. Just how effective will Aaron Rodgers be on an injured calf? But more importantly, how well will Dallas be able to get to Rodgers, who has been protected well by his offensive line this season?

My guess: not well. The Cowboys were No. 28 in the league in sacks during the regular season and only got to Matthew Stafford three times last weekend. Additionally, Tony Romo was downed six times. This will be the difference and the Packers will survive another week.

My Pick: 27-21 Green Bay

– K. Becks

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