2014 NFL Playoff predictions: Divisional Championship Round

After a wonderful week of games in the Wild Card Round, this round should bring equally exciting games with no matchup that should be a mismatch. Despite some serious differences in seeding, all teams have shed their seeds and proved that anything can happen once the playoffs roll around. Even though the home teams this week have a combined record of 29-3 at home, 3 of 4 of the home teams lost last round. There should be some excellent games this week as the second round of the playoffs comes around.

NFC

(6) New Orleans Saints vs. (1) Seattle Seahawks

The Saints are a really good team, but the Seahawks are on another level. I know that the home team lost more often than not last week, but playing in Seattle is a totally different concept. I don’t see the Seahawks losing another game in this conference with the home field advantage, and I think the Saints will be their first victim. Seattle’s defense vs. the Saints offense will be a great matchup, and the first time they went head-to-head saw the Seahawks blow out the Saints. If that game is any indication of this one, it should be another win for the Seahawks, although I don’t see it being so much of a blowout. Score prediction: Seahawks 27, Saints 20

(5) San Francisco 49ers vs. (2) Carolina Panthers

I think the Panthers finished 12-4 was the biggest surprise of the season, and to see them make the playoffs as a 2nd seed is even more eye-opening. This team is for real, but it’s really based on their defense. Their offense might not be strong enough to put up points against top defenses, and they have no playoff experience whatsoever. Despite this, I have a gut feeling that they’re going to com out on top in this one by a narrow margin in a defensive battle. I feel like the 49ers should win, but I think their shaky play last week will come back to haunt them this week. Score prediction: Panthers 20, 49ers 13

AFC

(4) Indianapolis Colts vs. (2) New England Patriots

This is one of the most classic playoff matchups of the last decade, but it now features a different QB matchup in Brady vs. Luck. Is Brady’s time in the postseason over? I’m rather surprised the Patriots did so well in the regular season, and I’m even more surprised that the Colts did so well last week. I think the momentum of last week’s game will be enough to fuel an upset for the Colts in this one as Luck begins the revolution of the QBs of the 2010s. Out with the old, in with the new. Andrew Luck can really prove himself to be a top QB if he plays well in this one, and Brady has already started to drop off a bit. Score prediction: Colts 28, Patriots 24

(6) San Diego Chargers vs. (1) Denver Broncos

This is the game I’m most torn over, believe it or not. Going into the postseason, the Chargers looked like the weakest AFC team and the Broncos looked like the strongest, but after last week’s performance by San Diego, I’m starting to wonder what can happen in this one. These two teams traded wins in the regular season, with the road team winning both times. I picked the Broncos to win the Super Bowl at the beginning of the year, but something tells me they’re in for a surprise in this one. Who knows, maybe Philip Rivers really should be in the MVP race. And with the way the Chargers have been running the ball recently, they have become a much scarier offensive team. Score prediction: Chargers 31, Broncos 30

I don’t know if others would agree, but I think my picks could be seen as bold or unadvised. Well, after going 2-2 in the first round of the playoffs, I looked for a common theme for the winners and losers of the games. The winner was always the team with the most wins against playoff teams in the regular season, and I’m fully going on that way of thinking for these picks. Who knows, I could be totally wrong with these picks, but it was worth a shot.

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