For the players on the field, the fans watching and everyone in between, Wild Card Weekend lived up to its name—and it only gets better now with the eight teams remaining and the stakes raised even higher as we get closer to the Super Bowl.
Each team has some pros and cons to consider when figuring out who will come out on top in the Divisional Round. Let's start in the AFC:
The Broncos come in having won 11 straight and have Peyton Manning playing some of his best football, while their defense is also playing. But with that week off, potential cold weather and Manning's less-than-stellar playoff record (9-10), could things go bad?
The Patriots beat the Texans to help set themselves up for the No. 2 seed and the playoff bye that comes with it. They look primed to make a potentially big playoff run and have the offense to do it. But will their defense end up being their downfall?
The Texans showed against the Bengals that they can still be the dominant team on defense that we saw for most of the season. Their offense showed progress towards a good working unit too, but will its inability to create TDs instead of FGs in the red-zone end its Super Bowl dreams early?
The Ravens ran heavy on emotion during Ray Lewis's last home game before retirement and played a great game to stop Andrew Luck's rookie season in its tracks. Will they be able to do it again on the road next week against a QB that has always exploited their defense?
And now the NFC:
The Falcons grabbed the No. 1 seed behind an opened-up offense and a defense that made big plays. But was this just a product of an easy schedule? And can they finally break through in the playoffs?
The 49ers have completely changed themselves on offense from being a team that pounds the ball down a team's throat to one that has the ability to be explosive. Can that push them farther than their offense did last year, or will their conflicting identity on that side of the ball cause problems?
The Packers found a way to shut down Adrian Peterson and the Vikings offense and attacked the Viking D with some new balance in their run game. Will the new-found balance be enough to overtake a team that thoroughly handled them earlier this year?
The Seahawks proved once again that they can win a rough game on the road behind their strong defense and unflappable rookie QB. Will they be able to keep that magic going, or does Wilson finally hit that rookie wall?
Let's move forward and figure out the answers!