NFL Playoff Picks: Predicting Shocking Upsets in the Divisional Round
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Every year as the playoffs roll on there are always a few very surprising games and upsets. Now, as teams and fans prepare for the first games of the divisional round on Saturday, expect this round to have a few big surprises up its sleeve.
Baltimore Ravens vs Denver Broncos
The first big upset will waste no time this weekend. The first matchup of the weekend takes place on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET between the Ravens and the Broncos and will also be the first upset of the NFL Divisional Round.
The Ravens are coming off of their worst regular season since 2009, going just 10-6 with four losses in the last five weeks of the season. The Ravens even dropped a game to a Pittsburgh team without Ben Roethlisberger in Week 14.
The Ravens had a rough go during the end of the regular season but were able to pull off a big win over Andrew Luck and the Colts in the Wild Card round.
Now the Ravens are preparing to take on the No. 1 seed in the AFC as they travel to Denver to play the Broncos, the same team that beat the Ravens 34-17 in Week 15.
Looking at this matchup, it looks like Peyton Manning will roll on to the AFC Championship. The Broncos will trot out the fifth best passing attack in the league against the Raven's passing defense that ranks in the bottom half.
Unfortunately for Manning and the Broncos, their playoff journey ends on Saturday. The Ravens may not look like they have a chance on paper, but they're coming into the game with a little added incentive from one of the best motivators in the NFL, Ray Lewis.
Ray Lewis' return to the Ravens will help spark the black and purple to an epic victory over the returning Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
The Ravens explosive playmakers on offense like Ray Rice, Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith combined with their big-play defense and Jacoby Jones in the return game will allow the Ravens to steal a huge upset victory over the Broncos on Saturday.
PREDICTION: Ravens win 35-31, with a defensive touchdown and a huge day from Ray Rice.
Seattle Seahawks vs Atlanta Falcons
An even more shocking upset will come on Sunday afternoon at 1 ET. The Atlanta Falcons are coming off of their first round bye and a 13-3 regular season campaign, while the Seahawks are fresh off of a huge playoff win over RGIII and the Redskins.
The Seahawks are going to beat the No. 1 seed in the NFC on Sunday because of two simple factors: their run game and talented secondary.
The Falcons only had three losses in the regular season. All three losses came to teams that rushed for at least 140 yards. The Seahawks average over 160 yards on the ground per game, which is third best in the league. Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson will tear up the Falcons 21st ranked run defense and put up huge numbers running on the turf of the Georgia Dome.
The defensive secondary will also be pivotal for the Seahawks on Sunday. The Seahawks hold their opponents to just over 200 yards through the air on average and have the third most takeaways in the NFL.
To help the Hawks, last time Matt Ryan and the Falcons hosted a playoff game in the divisional round they got trucked 48-21 by the Green Bay Packers.
PREDICTION: Seahawks win 27-21 as Marshawn Lynch goes for over 150 on the ground.
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