Fireworks are guaranteed in the 2013 NFL playoff schedule.
This weekend, the Elite Eight of professional football will face off to determine who moves on to the Final Four—the AFC and NFC Championships. With just two games between players and the Super Bowl, intensity will be at an all-time high.
Here’s a preview of and when to watch each heated Divisional Round showdown.
Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos
When to Watch: Saturday, Jan. 12 at 4:30 p.m. ET
The Broncos QB has his team atop most analysts’ power rankings riding an 11-game winning streak entering Saturday’s action. Few are giving the Ravens much of a chance, but Joe Flacco could silence his critics forever by leading a successful upset effort.
Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers
When to Watch: Jan. 12 at 8:00 p.m. ET
This is the only game this week with two quarterback battles: Colin Kaepernick versus Aaron Rodgers and Colin Kaepernick versus Alex Smith.
Kaepernick must prove he deserves to start over Smith against Green Bay. The second-year passer is backed by a superior stop unit and rushing attack. All eyes will be on him to sink the inconsistent yet dangerous Packers.
Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons
When to Watch: Jan. 13 at 1:00 p.m. ET
Seattle’s magical run has become less impressive the past two weeks and at the Georgia Dome, its Cinderella story could end altogether. But while the Falcons seem to have a notable edge, Matty Ice has yet to not melt in a playoff game.
Something has to give.
Houston Texans at New England Patriots
When to Watch: Jan. 13 at 4:30 p.m. ET
Not many outside of H-Town believe the Texans are capable of knocking out the Pats, let alone keeping it close. At one point, Houston was the league’s hottest team. But it’s cooled off considerably while New England has stayed hot.
Can a Matt Schaub-led offense keep up with a Tom Brady-led one? That’s the ultimate question in this potentially ugly showdown.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.