The NFL playoffs will keep rolling along this weekend as the Divisional Round is set to get underway. Both of the top two seeds in each conference will play their first playoff game of the year this weekend and should be well rested after having a bye last weekend. The San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons were the two biggest beneficiaries of the bye week as the defensive units for both teams needed the time off to let some injuries heal.
Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos – 4:30 PM ET Saturday, January 12th
The Baltimore Ravens will travel to Denver to face the Denver Broncos on Saturday afternoon. These two teams met in week 15 of the regular season with the Denver Broncos thoroughly defeating the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore by a final score of 34-17. In that game, Peyton Manning appeared to be in full control of the Denver offense as he was directing players all over the field en route to a 31-3 third quarter lead.
The offense for the Baltimore Ravens seemingly figured some things out in the second half of last weekend’s playoff victory over the Indianapolis Colts. All in all, the Ravens racked up 441 yards of total offense. Without two Ray Rice fumbles, the final score could have been a lot more lopsided than the 24-9 final.
Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers – 8:00 PM ET Saturday, January 12th
The Green Bay Packers will travel west to take on the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday night in what is also a rematch from the regular season. Way back in week one, the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Green Bay Packers by a final score of 30-22. Alex Smith was still the quarterback for the 49ers and the Green Bay Packers were still trying to sort out their offensive line issues. Since that game, both teams have taken on a new identity with Green Bay getting back to having a potent passing attack while Colin Kaepernick has taken over the quarterback position for the 49ers and provided a more explosive offensive punch.
In their victory over the Minnesota Vikings in round one of the playoffs, the Green Bay Packers spread the ball around to ten different receivers. With more players getting healthy for the Packers, quarterback Aaron Rodgers will have several excellent targets down field to get the ball to and should have another fine passing day so long as he has time in the pocket.
Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons – 1:00 PM ET Sunday, January 13th
The Seattle Seahawks will look to upset the top seed Atlanta Falcons on Sunday afternoon after defeating Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins on the road in the first round of the playoffs. Seattle will once again turn to their excellent defense in this game as they look to stop Matt Ryan and the Atlanta passing attack. Wide receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White will need to have a big game if the Falcons are going to move on to the NFC championship game as the Falcons have struggled to run the ball all season long.
If the Seattle Seahawks are able to move the ball effectively and efficiently on the ground against the Atlanta Falcons like they did against the Washington Redskins, it could be a long day for Matt Ryan and company as the Falcons will not have many opportunities to put points on the board.
Houston Texans at New England Patriots – 4:30 PM ET Sunday, January 13th
In another rematch from the regular season, the Houston Texans will travel to Foxborough to take on the New England Patriots. When these two teams met earlier in the year, the New England Patriots easily defeated the Houston Texans by a final score of 42-14. Tom Brady led the Patriots to a 21-0 halftime lead and they never looked back after that as he finished the game with 296 yards passing and four touchdowns.
In their victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in round of the AFC playoffs, the Houston Texans play a much more inspired game on defense. J.J. Watt was constantly getting pressure on Cincinnati’s quarterback Andy Dalton. In order for the Texans to prevail on Sunday against the Patriots, Watt will need to do much of the same while Arian Foster will need to shoulder more of the offensive load.