LOS ANGELES, January 8, 2015 — The NFL 2015-2015 Wildcards are in the history books. Now it is time to see who goes to the AFC and NFC Title Games. The Divisional round is when some of the greatest upsets in NFL history have taken place Some of those upsets have taken place in recent years with the very same teams playing this weekend.
With the exception of a couple of party crashers, the usual football royalty are seeking to continue their dominance.
Here is the NFL 2014-2015 Preview and Bettor’s Guide, with point spreads provided by FootballLocks.com and all times Eastern.
Saturday, January 10, 2015
4:30 p.m. on NBC
Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots (-7) — Three years ago these teams met in the AFC Title Game and the Ravens outplayed the Patriots before losing in heartbreaking fashion. Two years ago in the rematch, the Ravens just beat the daylights out of New England. The 10-6 Ravens know how to win on the road, but they no longer have the element of surprise. New England has lost some home playoff games in recent years, but this year is different. The 12-4 Patriots have loaded up for one more Super Bowl trip. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are retired. Yes they were getting old when they left, but they provided the emotional leadership and football is a game of emotion. The Patriots have a running game, which will take some pressure off of Tom Brady. Patriots win, but fail to cover.
8:00 p.m. on FOX
Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks (-11) — For three straight years, including this year, the Seahawks have gone into Carolina and beaten the Panthers. All three of those games were ugly defensive slugfests. However, this time the game is in Seattle. The Seahawks, after a 3-3 start, righted the ship to finish 12-4, while the Panthers started 3-8-1 before rattling off four straight wins. This week order is restored. The Seahawks are the better team. The Legion of Boom should unload on Cam Newton early and often. The Seahawks are too focused to take the Panthers for granted, but this game is a tune up before the NFC Title Game. Carolina could get a garbage touchdown to make the game closer than it will be. Seahawks win, but fail to cover.
Sunday, January 11
1:00 p.m. on FOX
Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers (-6)
The Cowboys have been a feel-good story this year, but this is the game where reality sets in. Both teams finished 12-4 but the Cowboys barely survived against Detroit at home in a game they should have lost. This is not the Ice Bowl. The Tundra at Lambeau field will not be frozen. What matters is that Aaron Rodgers really is that good. Jason Garrett and Tony Romo have plenty to be proud of, but the Packers have too many offensive weapons even against the improved Dallas defense. If DeMarco Murray can run hard the Cowboys could keep it close, but Green Bay is expected to handle this game, especially on offense. Packers win, but fail to cover.
4:30 p.m. on CBS
Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos (-7) — Forget the Andrew Luck against Peyton Manning storyline. The Colts are tomato cans and everybody knows it. The Broncos are way too smart to give the Colts bulletin board material, but Indianapolis is just like San Diego, Houston, Cincinnati Kansas City and the rest of the also-rans that are just not at the elite level. Manning and Brady are on a collision course in the AFC Title Game. The Colts are a speed bump and Manning is too disciplined to take them lightly. The Colts offense malfunctions on the road away from the dome. Manning has so many weapons and he will pull out all the stops. Broncos cover.