NFL Playoffs: Divisional Round Preview

The march toward the Super Bowl continues with this weekend’s divisional round playoff games.  After the music stopped last week, the Baltimore Ravens remained the only wild card team standing.  The Ravens defense propelled them past the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road.  This weekend their excursion toward the Super Bowl takes them through Foxborough to face the New England Patriots….again.  The Ravens and Patriots share recent playoff history; their last meeting came during the Ravens’ Super Bowl winning season in 2012.

Two of the hottest teams to finish the regular season meet in Seattle as the defending champions face the Carolina Panthers.  Both teams are mirror images of each other; they are led by strong defenses, good running games, and mobile quarterbacks.  When the teams met during the regular season, it was a defensive struggle with Seattle winning 13-9 on the road.  The biggest difference is now Seattle has home field advantage and their fans are playing the role of ruckus 12th man.  Carolina’s defense won’t be helped by Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson like they were by Cardinals QB Ryan Lindley.  The Dallas Cowboys are a sterling 8-0 on the road this season.  This confidence will come in handy as they travel to the frozen tundra to face the Green Bay Packers.  The Packers are also very confident, they are 8-0 at home this year; it will be strength vs. strength.

Last but not least, the Indianapolis Colts will face the Denver Broncos.  The Colts cut Peyton Manning in 2012 after several neck operations to take Andrew Luck with the first overall pick in the 2012 draft.  Everything has worked out for Manning, Luck and the Colts: no one is wishing for a DeLorean at the moment.  It will be the biggest test in Luck’s young career.  The NFL playoffs are always high on drama.  The march toward immortality continues this weekend.

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