The Wild Card weekend has come and gone, with a combination of some surprises and unexpected performances, as well as teams holding to form. This weekend though is the single favorite weekend for many NFL fans, the Divisional Playoffs, with four great games lined up. Here’s a breakdown of the four games of the weekend and our official 2013 NFL playoff picks, predictions & odds.
1/12 4:30 ET At Denver -9 Baltimore 46
One of several rematches of the weekend, the Baltimore Ravens will visit the Denver Broncos on Saturday afternoon. The Ravens are riding a wave of emotion right now, with the return of Ray Lewis to the lineup and his exceptional performance last weekend. The Broncos are well rested and ready to make a Super Bowl run with Peyton Manning at the helm. You have to like the Broncos at home, especially with how they won in Baltimore earlier in the year. Take Denver to win, Baltimore to beat the spread.
1/12 8:00 ET At San Francisco -3 Green Bay 44.5
The second rematch of the weekend comes on Saturday night, when the Green Bay Packers pay a visit to the San Francisco 49ers. They opened the season against one another, and doesn’t that seem like a world ago? It is, in many ways, as Green Bay was struggling at that point, and is now red hot, while the 49ers were utilizing Alex Smith then, and have since switched to Colin Kaepernick. Both teams have a lot to prove, and each has a lot of confidence right now. But Aaron Rodgers is a game-tested, Super Bowl and MVP winning quarterback, Kaepernick still is learning on the job. Take Green Bay to win.
1/13 1:00 ET At Atlanta -2.5 Seattle 46
It’s put up or shut up time for the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday afternoon, as the Seattle Seahawks come to town. The Falcons are used to making the postseason, but they aren’t used to winning big games once they’re there. Now, they face a very hot and confident Seattle club, led by Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch. Seattle took a blow though in the loss of one of their key defensive players this week, and that could be the difference here. Take Atlanta to win the game and advance to the NFC Conference Championship.
1/13 4:30 ET At New England -9.5 Houston 47.5
The final game of the NFL Divisional weekend is also the third rematch of the weekend. The Houston Texans got absolutely trounced when they played in New England just a few weeks ago. So what’s changed now? Not much, although the Texans will have the extra motivation of erasing that memory and awful showing to help get them going. New England is just a better team. It won’t be a blowout this time, but the Patriots and Tom Brady will continue their winning ways. Better yet, it’s Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady once again in the AFC Conference Championship game next weekend.