NFL Playoff Picks 2016: Odds, Predictions for Final Divisional Games

Ryan McCrystalFeatured ColumnistJanuary 17, 2016

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 03:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos runs the offense against the San Diego Chargers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 3, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Chargers 27-20.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Just two games remain before we're down to the NFL's final four. 

The Arizona Cardinals and New England Patriots booked their tickets to the conference championship games on Saturday, and now two more teams will do the same on Sunday.

It should be two great matchups, with four high-profile quarterbacks squaring off.

Three of the four starting quarterbacks on Sunday have been to the Super Bowl, making a combined eight trips.

Cam Newton, the lone quarterback who has yet to make his Super Bowl appearance, is the likely NFL MVP and is hoping to lead the Panthers to their first championship in franchise history. 

Here's at look at the odds for Sunday's matchups and a quick breakdown of each game.  


Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers (-2.5)

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Seahawks might finally be close to full strength heading into Sunday's showdown in Carolina:

Marshawn Lynch sent ESPN's @Kenny_Mayne a two-word text about his status for Sunday's game vs. Carolina: "I'm ready." Beastmode.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 15, 2016

Seattle survived in Minnesota last week thanks to a career-high 21 carries from Christine Michael, but a healthy Marshawn Lynch could reignite the Seahawks rushing attack.

When these teams met in Week 6, Lynch carried the ball 17 times for 54 yards—a surprisingly light workload considering Seattle led for the majority of the second half.

The Panthers are slightly favored in this matchup, but the Seahawks are not the typical No. 6 seed playing on the road. 

Seattle enters this showdown on a six-game road win streak, which includes two victories in Minnesota and one in Arizona. 

Prediction: Seahawks 31, Panthers 28


Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos (-7.5)

Unfortunately the injury report is the major storyline entering this game.

Two of the Steelers' most valuable offensive weapons, wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back DeAngelo Williams, have both been ruled out for Sunday's game, according to Bob Labriola of

The Steelers survived their first playoff game without Williams, relying on a combination of Fitzgerald Toussaint and Jordan Todman in the backfield. Playing without Brown, however, will be a new challenge for Ben Roethlisberger.

Prior to this weekend, Brown hadn't missed a game since 2012.

With a severely depleted offense going up against the Broncos' top-ranked defense, it's difficult to envision Roethlisberger lighting up the scoreboard. 

That said, Peyton Manning is a big unknown for the Broncos. 

In Manning's nine starts this season, the Broncos won by more than seven points just twice.

With Manning failing to cover 7.5 points against teams such as the Ravens and Browns, it would certainly seem like a tall task to ask him to get it done in the playoffs against the Steelers. 

Prediction: Broncos 17, Steelers 13


Betting information courtesy of Odds Shark.


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