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No. 6 Oakland Raiders at No. 1 New England Patriots
This is a rematch of the Week 4 game when New England visited Oakland Coliseum and walked out with a 31-19 win. This time around, the game is in chilly Foxborough, MA and always with a chance for snow, this could be a game reminiscent of the infamous "Snow Bowl" in 2002.
Although there probably won't be any more tuck-rule business, the game will probably have its fair share of storylines and surprises. The Patriots defense is a shell of itself when they were on the top of their game early last decade and is easily the worst team against the pass. It needs to continue living off of the turnover and take advantage of mistakes made by Carson Palmer and his offense, which they should, earning the Patriots their first playoff win since 2007.
New England 34, Oakland 17
No. 5 Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 2 Baltimore Ravens
The final AFC North battle of the season will come in the AFC Divisional Round. The Ravens swept their rivals this season and look to complete the trilogy with a strong win to move on to the AFC Championship game. Both teams still employ aging defenses but they remain among the top 10 in the league.
Don't expect this to be a high-scoring affair; it should be decided on the ground. The Ravens, however, have the edge and that's Ray Rice. Joe Flacco will test the Steelers deep but with Rice, he won't have to often as Rice should play well enough in both the run game and on screens.
Baltimore 27, Pittsburgh 21
No. 5 Detroit Lions at No. 1 Green Bay Packers
The Detroit Lions are a new team and after advancing from the Wild Card Round, they get to face their rival Packers for the third time in the cold tundra they call Lambeau. Judging by how well Detroit performs in Week 17, this could change but the Packers will show the Lions who the better NFC North team was this season.
Detroit's defense may scare Packer fans early with a big play but Rodgers should be on the top of his game and put the Lions away relatively early.
Green Bay 42, Detroit 17
No. 3 New Orleans Saints at No. 2 San Francisco 49ers
This is going to be one of the most anticipated matchups of the playoffs. Record-setting Drew Brees is red-hot and is going up against one of the best, young defenses in the league. This game will be close all the way as both QBs should test their opposing defenses through the air but will have a healthy dose of the running game.
The 49ers are a breath of fresh air around the other usual crop of annual playoff teams but the Saints are playing on another level right now, which might be too much for them to handle.
New Orleans 28, San Francisco 21