By Brad Carroll
The best weekend of the NFL season is upon us as the AFC and NFC Divisional Playoff games, with the elite eight of teams remaining, take place. On Saturday, it's the Ravens at the Patriots and Panthers at Seahawks and Sunday it's the Colts at Broncos and Cowboys at Packers. We preview and pick each of those games against the spread below. To make actual wagers on this game and more, click here.
Baltimore Ravens (10-6) at New England Patriots (12-4)
Saturday, 4:35 p.m., NBC
Betting Line: Ravens +7; Patriots -7
Ravens 27, Patriots 24
The Ravens have had great success at the home of the Patriots and that goes a long way in giving Baltimore a confidence boost heading into this game. The Ravens aren't as good as they have been in the past, but Joe Flacco plays his best football in the postseason and has Justin Forsett to lean on in the running game. It worked well in a victory over the Steelers last week. New England is a great team, for sure, but the Patriots have lost their postseason magic from years past.
Carolina Panthers (7-8-1) at Seattle Seahawks (12-4)
Saturday, 8:15 p.m., FOX
Betting Line: Panthers +11.5; Seahawks -11.5
Seahawks 31, Panthers 21
A spread this high is a surprise, even though one of the teams hasn't moved over .500 despite winning a playoff game. The Panthers have been a different team over the last quarter of the season, finally finding a defense. They beat up on the Cardinals last week, but Arizona was a shell of itself after injuries destroyed the team. Seattle has it all, with Russell Wilson leading the way. The Seahawks win easily, but the Panthers keep it close enough.
Dallas Cowboys (12-4) at Green Bay Packers (12-4)
Sunday, 1:05 p.m., FOX
Betting Line: Cowboys +6; Packers -6
Cowboys 24, Packers 21
With all the talk surrounding quarterbacks Tony Romo of the Cowboys and Aaron Rodgers of the Packers, this could be won by which running back is best Sunday. DeMarco Murray of the Cowboys and Eddy Lacy of the Packers are two of the best in the game and whichever offensive line paves the way better should win this game. Both offenses have playmakers all over the field, so all the pressure is on both defenses to make plays. The Cowboys have the better RB right now and will pull the upset.
Indianpolis Colts (11-5) at Denver Broncos (12-4)
Sunday, 4:40 p.m., CBS
Betting Line: Colts +7; Broncos -7
Broncos 34, Colts 24
It's always fun when Andrew Luck, the new face of the Colts franchise, and Peyton Manning, the old face of the Colts and now Broncos, square off. Luck is quickly becoming one of the best passers in the game, while Manning has hit a rough patch toward the second half of the season, as he hasn't been able to carry the team to victory as he did last year. CJ Anderson has stepped up in the running game, however. The Broncos aren't as good as they were last year, but are still a better team than the Colts.