Chiefs #5 @ Patriots #2 (4:35 PM/ET) (CBS): This game to open the weekend’s games will be really entertaining. This will be a stellar defense in form of the Chiefs with no offense vs. a team with a pretty sketchy defense in the Patriots with a phenomenal offense, especially with Edelman coming back. Alex Smith will have to try and keep pace with the legendary Tom Brady. The run games don’t really exist and shouldn’t much of an X-factor here. I really am not sure the Chiefs have much of a hope but with it supposedly being pouring down rain throughout the game. I am not sure Alex Smith can make the difference to win a game against a real NFL starter, last week was Hoyer Chiefs fans don’t get excited. Patriots win 20 – 13 over the Chiefs.
Packers #5 @ Cardinals #2 (8:15 PM/ET) (NBC): Ok well the Packers woke up last week. That was the first time this season I have been impressed with their offense. They will need to keep that going this week as they go into Arizona against the incredible Cardinals defense which is backed by an offense that doesn’t know how to slow down. The Packer are going to need Aaron Rodgers, DeVante Adams, Cobb, Lacy and co. to really click this week to avoid the embarrassment they suffered in week 15 against the Cardinals from repeating itself. The Cardinals will just need to do what they do best use that defense and Carson Palmer to set the pace for their opposing teams to try and pace with. This game will not be as bad as the first one but I think it will have the same result. Cardinals win 32 – 27 over the Packers.
Seahawks #6 @ Panthers #1 (1:05 PM/ET) (FOX): Here is a matchup that through the past 3 years has been so exciting and fun to watch, this weekend will not be any different. Seahawks come into Carolina after a freezing game in Minnesota last week in one of the coldest games in NFL history. The only reason they are here is because of a missed kick from Blair Walsh. The Seahawks are going to be coming into a 45 degree game with a mixture of rain and snow throughout the day but the weather is a huge improvement from last week’s game. Russell Wilson will come into this thing and play fast and well. I think the Panthers are the favorite due to their record but I wouldn’t naturally call them a favorite. Cam is impressive and so is their defense and Jonathan Stewart has been solid this year. This team is going to be tough just because they play with so much spirit and energy a lot like college teams. This game is going to be slow paced early with stout defenses who will play fast and tough. The game will break open and pick up pace in the 4th quarter. Seahawks win 23 – 18 over the Panthers.
Steelers #6 @ Broncos #1 (4:40 PM/ET) (CBS): Peyton Manning is back under the helm and Big Ben will most likely be without Antonio Brown. These two teams will be where they are right now because of the Bengals technically. The Broncos win over the Bengals, the Steelers over the Bengals both placed them here. But neither one should have won those games which is the ironic part, though Denver’s was at least cleanly won just a little lucky. Pittsburgh honestly shouldn’t be here and it just shows the NFL is changing too fast rule wise and certain teams seem to get away with murder. Look the Burfict hit looked bad and maybe deserves a fine and possibly a flag. But he hit with his shoulder and his body started turning, late, but turned to the left as he made contract, away from him as much as possible. Now that isn’t even why I am mad. I am mad at the following flag, Pacman Jones?!?!? Why did he get flagged you might have asked? Let me tell you why, the NFL might be a little off to say the least because Joey Porter, the Steelers linebackers coach was a good 10 yards on the FIELD in the FACE of Pacman which is a complete violation of a rule in the NFL. He isn’t allowed as a coach to be provoking a player of the opposing team. Of course Pacman retaliated to him because the game is more emotional for the players on the field in that situation and Joey shouldn’t have been there at all. That play should have been a 15 yard penalty on the Steelers but instead it went the other way and put the Steelers inside field goal range. The Broncos are an interesting team with a good defense and the offense is like the Packers, a curious mystery. I am not sure what their issue is but with 36 degrees as the high this Sunday in Denver you could see some lack of offense even more. I really think without Antonio Brown the Steelers will struggle and Peyton Manning being playoff Peyton Manning might make this game close enough to give the Steelers hope for a late hope. Broncos win 35 – 24 over the Steelers
- Matt Koontz (157 – 104)
Green Bay Packers @ Arizona Cardinals. This is actually going to be a pretty decent game I would guess. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers woke up last week and made a statement, but the Cardinals are still a hot team. While most analysts will likely go with Green Bay this week, I'm going to go with Bruce Arians and Carson Palmer. The Cardinals win, giving Carson Palmer his first playoff victory. Final score: Arizona Cardinals 28, Green Bay Packers 27.
Seattle Seahawks @ Carolina Panthers. With a heavy series of injuries, Cam Newton and the Panthers are in the divisional round of the playoffs. This is new ground for the Panthers, but the Seahawks are used to pushing deep to the playoffs on a yearly basis. This year is no different and I expect the Seahawks to take care of business on the road, The Panthers will be a preseason Superbowl favorite next season, but they still have too many holes this year. Seahawks win. Final score: Seattle Seahawks 17, Carolina Panthers 7.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos. The Steelers are beaten up and dealing with major injuries following last week's gift of a win in Cincinnati (a free touchdown, a missed penalty that would have kept them out of fieldgoal range, and an implosion from a very poorly disciplined Cincinnati Bengals unit gave them the game). Roethlisberger is injured, Antonio Brown will miss the game, and the Steelers will once again be without DeAngelo Williams. I also still believe that the NFL wants a Brady-Manning bowl once again badly, which may lead officials to favor Denver in this game. Broncos win this one at home. Final score: Denver Broncos 38, Pittsburgh Steelers 14.
--Mike B. (155-105)