3. Cincinnati Bengals (13-4) @ 2. New England Patriots (12-4)
Saturday, 4:35 PM ET, CBS
In a strange twist of fate and irony, Marvin Lewis will finally snag that long-awaited playoff victory. However, it’ll be with A.J. McCarron and not Andy Dalton during the Wild Card Round.
After that victory, Andy Dalton will come back and run into Tom Brady and what we expect to be a healthy offense (Julian Edelman).
Patriots 38, Bengals 17
5. Green Bay Packers (11-6) @ 2. Arizona Cardinals (13-3)
Saturday, 8:15 PM ET, NBC
Remember just a few weeks ago when Aaron Rodgers was pummeled into submission by that nasty Arizona Cardinals front seven? He was sacked an incredible eight times and put under heavy pressure all day long.
Well, it’ll be more of the same in this one.
Bruce Arians have his team equipped to handle the playoffs – as opposed to a season ago in which they didn’t have a quarterback.
Cardinals 35, Packers 24
6. Seattle Seahawks (11-5) @ 1. Carolina Panthers (15-1)
Sunday, 1:05 PM ET, Fox
In the shocker of the postseason, the defending NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks will go into Carolina and knockout the once undefeated Carolina Panthers.
One thing that still remains a huge question mark for Ron Rivera’s squad is that right-arm of Cam Newton. Sure, the man deserves the MVP running away this season. What he’s done on offense – with a less than stellar cast around him – was something special.
Having said that, it’ll be a very interesting scene as he faces a much rejuvenated Legion of Boom. Seattle closed the season very sneaky solid, and could pose a real problem for the Panthers passing game should they get down early.
This will be the game we all remember as the best postseason slobber-knocker from the season. Both defenses will be flying around trying to rip heads off.
Seahawks 23, Panthers 20
4. Houston Texans (10-7) @ 1. Denver Broncos (12-4)
Sunday, 4:40 PM ET, CBS
With the controversy still at a fevered pitch (surrounding the starting of Peyton Manning), the Denver Broncos will catch a major break as they’ll welcome in the young Houston Texans.
Winning that first game against the Chiefs will have been the season for Houston. They won’t be ready for such an environment at Mile High Stadium.