DAR Sports: NFL Divisional Round Preview

The NFL playoffs continue with the Divisional round coming this weekend. The 8 remaining teams are all in prime position for the Super Bowl and it doesn't feel like there is a true underdog here. All 4 games could honestly go either way, making this an interesting week in football. Let's get into it.

Divisional Round week. After a boring and crazy Wild Card weekend, 4 teams in each conference remain, that being AFC: the Steelers, Patriots, Broncos, Chiefs. NFC: Packers, Seahawks, Cardinals, Panthers.

*Panthers vs. Seahawks
-I see an upset happening. The Panthers are great, but I think the Seahawks will leave North Carolina with a W. I think the defense is better, and the offense will get back on track, only scoring 10 points last week.

Winner: Seahawks

*Cardinals vs. Packers
-Bigger edge than Green Bay on both sides of the ball.

Winner: Cardinals 

*Steelers vs. Broncos 
-Unless Peyton Manning is on a roll like he was against Green Bay (the only game he performed well all season), I don't see Denver winning. The defense will get to Big Ben without a doubt. But can the secondary stop the receiving core?

Winner: Steelers 

*Chiefs vs. Patriots
-I'm only choosing the Chiefs because I hate the Patriots and the Chiefs are on an 11 game winning streak.

Winner: Chiefs

Well, that escalated quickly.

As I don't really have a dog in this fight, I find myself watching these games because FOOTBALL. I'm not all that enthralled with any of the matchups, even if they promise good games. With that said, let's get into my divisional picks.

*Cardinals over Packers
-I know that we probably won't get another rout like Arizona gave Green Bay. But, I don't see Green Bay being a better team than Arizona. Yay, Packers! You beat the Skins. But, the NFC East sucked. It's like beating the Browns. It's still a win, but it's nothing to really gloat about. Carson Palmer's playing at a level that no one could've foresaw going into this season. So...yeah. Sorry, Cheeseheads.

*Panthers over Seattle
-The Seahawks pulled off an ugly upset of the Vikings in the Wild Card round. But, that's where their luck ends. While Seattle took Carolina to the wire in the regular season, Cam Newton has more to prove than Russell Wilson, in my opinion. And while the 'Hawks have the experience, experience will only get you but so far when you're going up against a team who's been making the impossible possible for a huge chunk of the season.

*Broncos over Steelers
-It's not even because I hate Pittsburgh (which I do). Actually, no. It's kind of because I hate the Steelers. Realistically, I feel that these teams are evenly matched--even if the record doesn't outright show it. But, Pittsburgh is a bit more banged up than you'd like a team to be going into a rough game. Plus, Peyton Manning is healthy.

*Kansas City over New England
-LULZ. Just...LULZ. Kansas City has been on a tear the past 10 or so games. Meanwhile, New England's been hampered by injuries. So...yeah, gotta go with the hot hand.


*Chiefs vs Patriots 
-The Chiefs have been the hottest team in the league to this point and often going into the NFL Playoffs, the hot team tends to do the most damage. Unfortunately for KC, they get to deal with the New England Patriots. I don't expect them to be able to keep up with the Patriots offensively so their defense is really gonna have to do work. If they can slow the Patriots offense down, they have a chance. However I'm going with the Patriots to win 21-17.

*Packers vs Cardinals 
-Don't let the Packers late domination of the Skins fool you. Their run offense isn't that good. The Skins run defense is just that bad. The Cardinals are arguably the best team in the NFC and the playoffs overall and as much as I hate his guts, Carson Palmer has had a great year at QB. The Cardinals defense has been solid for the last few years and just needed the offense to catch up. The last time these two teams met, Arizona made Green Bay look silly to the tune of a 38-8 blowout. Aaron Rodgers hasn't looked like Aaron Rodgers recently and that Arizona pass rush is no joke. The win won't be as devastating, but Cardinals win 31-24. 

*Seahawks vs Panthers
-The potential Game of the Week here. The Seahawks have been playing some tough football to get to this point and the regular season dominating Panthers are coming off a first round bye. The obvious question is whether or not there will be any rust for Carolina. I fully expect them to start out a little slow and then get their footing later in the game. This should come down to the last drive just as their first meeting this year did with one exception...Seahawks win 34-31. 

*Steelers vs Broncos
-Peyton Manning returns to lead the Broncos into this game. Big Ben is coming off a shoulder injury but I don't think anyone expects him not to play. The guy is a damn tank. More concerning is the chance that Antonio Brown doesn't play due to a concussion from Vontaze Burfict's dirty hit at the end of the wild card game. That is a big loss for Pittsburgh as Brown is truly one of the most dynamic playmakers in the league and as close to unguardable (is that a word?) as someone can get.  What remains to be seen is how Peyton will look having not played a full game in a while. I got the Steelers pulling this one out in a defensive struggle 17-14.


*Chiefs v. Patriots
-Two words: Tom Brady. Kansas City is facing a different battle. It won't be easy at all. These aren't the Texans. Brady's been playing with a chip on his shoulder since "deflategate."

Winner: Patriots

*Steelers v. Broncos 
-Pittsburgh is a scary team. When Big Ben does Big Ben things, we know what's going to happen. Peyton Manning is coming back after a rough season and he may play with something to prove. I believe the Steelers will come out victorious.

Winner: Broncos

*Seattle v. Carolina
-This is the game to watch. We all know what Seattle is capable of. But I truly hope that don't underestimate the Panthers. I want Carolina to win it all and I believe they can.

Winner: Panthers 

*Packers v. Cardinals 
-Aaron Rodgers aren't facing the Redskins again. The Cardinals have been quietly making noise, if that makes sense. Arizona's defense will have to bring its a-game. One thing is for sure - this match-up won't be a blow out.

Winner: Cardinals


*Kansas City vs New England 
-I'm impressed with the Chiefs and they have a shot to beat the reigning champs. They limit mistakes and they have a great defense. However, the Chiefs are gonna be without Maclin and hes the best receiver. Hes opens up the field for Kelce. Julian Edelman will be back in the lineup and with an extra week of rest that's good for the Patriots. I see New England putting up more points which will lead to a victory.

Winner: Patriots

*Pittsburgh vs Denver 
-This is tough. I can see this game going either way. But ill lean towards the Broncos winning this one. It looks as if Antonio Brown might not play, if he doesn't I don't think they can edge it out in the end. Denver's secondary is too good for the great but inconsistent Steelers wideouts sans Brown. The running game will underperform without D'Angelo Williams. Peyton will be back and Denver will run the ball alot and he will trick that young defense.

Winner: Broncos

*Cardinals vs Packers
Aaron Rodgers may have found his rhythm and with Tyrann Matthieu out the Cardinals secondary doesn't seem as scary. However I think it's destiny for the Cardinals to make it to the championship round. The Packers just aren't as good of a team now, they're inconsistent. 
Winner: Cardinals

*Seattle vs Carolina 
As much as I think Seattle has regained it's swag. They haven't. In all honesty, the Vikings should be here not the Seahawks. As cold as the game was, I saw no inspiration outside of Russell Wilson offensively. If Beast Mode returns I have Seattle winning but if not it's time for Cam to Dab on these fools on his way to the championship game. Carolina is fresh and poised for another rout. Let's see how it plays out.

Winner: Panthers


*KC vs NE
-Kansas City has been on a run since starting 1-5, but that comes to an end this week. It'll be a tough game for both teams but Brady and the Patriots will emerge victorious.

Winner: NE

*GB vs ARI 
-I honestly can't even say much about this game, it's simple Arizona stomps all over the Packers just like they did a few weeks ago.

Winner: ARI

-This is the game of the week, a hot Seattle team going up against the even hotter 15-1 Carolina Panthers. Carolina already took the W once this year, but will they be victorious this time? I think Cam Newton will be the victor in this one.

Winner: CAR

*PIT vs DEN 
-If Big Ben can get healthy enough this will be an easy decision and Pittsburgh will have an easy win, BUT if it's up to the man Landry Jones which I support him as much as I can because he came from Artesia, New Mexico which is 30 mins from here but he won't be able to lead them to victory.

Winner: PIT

For the record, early on in the season I made a Super Bowl prediction. Both teams are here in the Divisional round. I'll get to that later.

*Panthers beat the Seahawks 24-10
-The Vikings should have advanced. The Seahawks barely made it here. With that being said, Cam is rested and should be more than ready to come out with guns blazing at the Seahawks.

*Chiefs beat the Patriots 17-14
-This will come down to a field goal. The Chiefs will win this game however. The Patriots will keep the game close but fatigue will come into play against the Patriots I believe late. Chiefs win.

*Broncos beat the Steelers 30-17
-I think this game will see a return of Peyton Manning to form that we haven't seen in quite some time. He's healthy. He seems focused. I believe the Broncos will win this one decisively. It helps that Steelers have some possible injuries that could limit their top players.

*Cardinals beat the Packers 34-24
-Another solid game, but the Packers haven't looked like a great team in some weeks. Rodgers will play well but the Cardinals will be even better.

What are your picks for this week coming up? Leave us your predictions below.



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