Eight teams remain in contention for the Super Bowl as the NFL’s Division Round kicks off this weekend. Let’s take a look at the four matchups and which teams could be headed to the NFC and AFC Championship games.
Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots
The Patriots enter as seven-point favorites in Tom Brady’s 16 th home playoff start, and though he’s gone 12-3 at home, he’s lost twice to Joe Flacco and the Ravens. New England used its first-round bye to rest up Brady and wide receiver Julian Edelman, while Baltimore dropped AFC North rival Pittsburgh for Flacco’s fifth straight postseason victory. In his last five starts Flacco’s thrown 13 touchdowns with no touchdowns and head coach John Harbaugh dubbed him as the best quarterback in football.
Patriots' top cornerback Darrelle Revis, who came up with two interceptions and 14 passes defended in the regular season, will have something to say about that. Revis makes his first postseason appearance since he was a member of the New York Jets in 2010. In six career playoff games, Revis has two interceptions.
Start Time: Saturday, 4:35 P.M. ET
TV Channel: NBC
Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks
Entering the weekend as the biggest favorite, the Seahawks haven’t allowed a touchdown in their last 10 quarters and finished the regular season as the top ranked defense in the league. In the midst of their Super Bowl title defense, Seattle’s let up 15.9 points and 267.1 yards per game.
Quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch lead Seattle’s attack. Wilson’s tossed six touchdowns to one interception in five career postseason starts, and during the regular season he threw 20 touchdowns and rushed for a career-high 849 yards and six touchdowns. But Lynch headlines the NFL’s top rushing attack with 1,306 yards and 13 scores.
Cam Newton and the Panthers are fresh off a 27-16 victory over Arizona in the Wild Card round. Notching his first postseason win, Newton went 18-for-32 for 198 yards and two touchdowns and running back Jonathan Stewart continued his stellar play with 123 yards and one score. The Panthers defense also forced three turnovers and surrendered only three third-down conversions.
Start Time: Saturday, 8:15 P.M. ET
TV Channel: FOX
Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers
One of the marquee quarterback matchups could prove disappointing due to injury. The Packers are seeking their first playoff victory in two years, but might struggle with All-Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers expected to play with a tear in his left calf muscle. Rodgers launched 38 touchdowns to five interceptions this season, but his mobility in the pocket could be the difference in the game.
Tony Romo and the Cowboys are enjoying their best late-season run in years. They’ve strung together five straight victories including last week’s 24-20 Wild Card win over Detroit. Romo shook off six sacks to go 19-for-31 for 293 yards and two scores - with the NFL’s leading rusher DeMarco Murray gaining 75 yards and one score. The Cowboys completed a fourth quarter comeback and got their first postseason win in five years.
Start Time: Sunday 1:05 P.M. ET
TV Channel: FOX
Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos
Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck meet for the first time in the postseason, and the Broncos are seven-point favorites. Manning’s age and arm strength have come under fire over the last few weeks, but he’s received a huge lift from second-year running back C.J. Anderson. In his last four games Anderson’s rushed for 313 yards and he’s reached the end zone seven times.
Luck wrapped up the second postseason victory of his career last week against Cincinnati, completing 31 of his 44 attempts for 376 yards and one touchdown. Running back Daniel "Boom" Herron came up huge, going for 56 rushing yards and one score, while totaling 10 catches for 85 yards.
The matchup could be a shootout, with top Indy’s top receiver, T.Y. Hilton, and Denver’s Demaryius Thomas both healthy. But the Broncos might hold the edge defensively. Denver finished third in the NFL in total defense, allowing 22.1 points per game and 305.2 yards per game, and in the first game of the season picked Luck off twice in a 31-24 victory.
Start Time: Sunday 4:40 P.M. ET
TV Channel: CBS