NFL Playoff Schedule 2013: AFC and NFC Divisional-Round Matchup Analysis

Pete SchauerCorrespondent IJanuary 12, 2013

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 05:  Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates after fullback John Kuhn #30 scores on a three-yard touchdown run in the second quarter against the Minnesota Vikings during the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Lambeau Field on January 5, 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

It's do or die this weekend for eight NFL teams looking to ride the road to Super Bowl glory.

According to Bet Online, the Broncos and Patriots are each favored by at least nine points while the 49ers are 2.5-point favorites and the Falcons were given a one-point edge over Seattle.

While you're stocking your fridge and waiting for the action to start, take a look at the analysis and predictions for every divisional-round game on tap this weekend.


Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos: Saturday, Jan. 12 at 4:30 p.m. ET

With an improved defense—anchored by the return of Ray Lewis—the Ravens will head to the mountains where they'll meet Peyton Manning and the Broncos.

Despite Baltimore's defensive efforts, it'll have its hands full with a Denver offense that ranks fourth overall.

Unlike Manning's teams in the past, he actually has a running game this season to keep opposing defenses off balance, as well as two big targets in 6'3" wideouts Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker.

The Broncos also boast the No. 2 overall defense, meaning Joe Flacco has to pitch a perfect game on Saturday to lead the Ravens to the AFC Championship Game. 

Denver has too many weapons on offense and an active defense that will be too much for Baltimore.

Prediction: Broncos 27, Ravens 17


Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers: Saturday, Jan. 12 at 8 p.m. ET

Sporting the ninth-best passing offense, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will hit the West Coast and see the 49ers, who boast the No. 3 defense in the NFL.

With Rodgers playing lights out of late and San Francisco having been idle last week, something tells me Green Bay is poised for an upset.

The key to this game will be if the Packers offensive line can hold its ground against the powerful Niners defense. 

A healthy Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews should do wonders for the Packers defense against Colin Kaepernick, who has never touched the field in an NFL playoff game.

In the end, I like the guy who's been there before and has won it all.

For a complete breakdown of this game, click here.

Prediction: Packers 27, 49ers 24


Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons: Sunday, Jan. 13 at 1 p.m. ET

The NFL playoffs are all about who gets hot at the right time and the Seahawks are blazing right now.

They've won six straight and are allowing the fewest points to their opponents (15.3).

The Falcons' 21st-ranked run defense is in for a nightmare against the beastly Marshawn Lynch, who's coming off a 132-yard day against the Washington Redskins.

This game is about Matt Ryan finally getting the monkey off his back, as he's 0-3 in postseason play, which you can read more about here.

With Seattle posting the league's fourth-best total defense, it's going to be extremely hard for Atlanta's offense—without much help from the rushing department—to win this game despite being in the Georgia Dome.

After this one's all said and done, Seattle advances to the NFC Championship Game and Ryan is still seeking his first playoff win.

Prediction: Seahawks 24, Falcons 17


Houston Texans at New England Patriots: Sunday, Jan. 13 at 4:30 p.m. ET

Week 14, anyone?

The Texans are still licking their wounds from the 42-14 beat down the Patriots put on them during Monday Night Football on Dec. 10.

While Houston's defense has gotten healthier and played convincingly well against the Cincinnati Bengals last weekend, all New England's offense has done this season is lead the league in total yards and points per game.

With the Patriots heavy favorites, the key for the Texans will be to get the rock to Arian Foster early and often, which I outlined here.

With a running game to go with Tom Brady, New England seems like no match for most AFC opponents this winter.

Prediction: Patriots 31, Texans 20


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