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NFL Divisional Round Playoff Picks

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The staff at SB Nation Dallas-Fort Worth takes a look at the NFL's divisional round of the playoffs.

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Wild Card Weekend featured a pair of upsets on Saturday with the Seahawks taking the defending champion Saints down while the Jets took out the AFC's Super Bowl representative down in the nightcap, beating the Colts. Not surprisingly, the Ravens handled the Chiefs with ease on Sunday. Michael Vick ended the Eagles season with an interception - something that is probably fairly glorious to some Cowboys fans.

Regardless, we're a day away from the beginning of the Divisional round of the playoffs. It's aptly named this year since the AFC features a pair rivalry games with the Steelers/Ravens and Patriots/Jets. The NFC has a pair of rematches as well, with the Packers headed to Atlanta where the Falcons won earlier this year while the Seahawks head to Chicago - where they defeated the Bears this year.

Here's how the staff at SB Nation Dallas-Fort Worth sees this weekend playing out:

Baltimore (1-0) at Pittsburgh (0-0) - The Ravens head into Pittsburgh where they won in Week 3 this year - but, there's a caveat with that: Pittsburgh didn't have Ben Roethlisberger for that game. The Steelers returned the favor in Week 13, beating the Ravens by three in Baltimore. Both teams hate each other, so this is a good way to kick off the weekend with a rubber match between two rivals. 

  • Robbie Griffin: Steelers - I'm really not sure who's the better team. I lean towards Baltimore, but I am sure which team is better rested and gets to play at home, and that's not Baltimore.
  • Charley Code: Steelers - Steelers. The Steelers are rested and ready for Baltimore. I'm excited about this game, kind of. I don't like either team, but they're both pretty darn good.
  • Christopher Fittz: Ravens - This should be a great game where, God willing, my pre-season Super Bowl pick beats a team I don't like at all.
  • Liam Ponting: Ravens - Steelers are rested and at home, but I have a feeling the Ravens will absolutely pummel Big Ben.
  • Maurice London: Ravens - Lots and lots of Ray Rice gets the Ravens the victory.
  • Brett Perryman: Steelers - Each team won on the road by three in the season series. Home field advantages and byes do matter in the divisional round.
  • JP Starkey: Steelers - The week off helps. Plus, I think Baltimore is overrated. Can you be overrated at this point of the year? I'm not sure. Whatever, they're not that great.

Green Bay (1-0) at Atlanta (0-0) - The Packers went into Philadelphia and knocked off Michael Vick and the Eagles, which is no small task. The Falcons, despite being the No. 1 seed, are barely even favored to win this game, sitting at three point favorites. Atlanta went 7-1 at home in the regular season, with their only loss coming in Week 16 as a three-point loss to the Saints. Atlanta ranks 22nd in pass defense in the NFL while the Packers have the fifth-best passing attack, that could possibly doom the No. 1 seed in this case.

  • Griffin: Falcons - Tough game. I'm almost completely positive Green Bay is the better team, it's just a matter of how much a bye and homefield matters. I'm going to say just enough, but this is pretty much flipping a coin.
  • Code: Packers - The Packers might be playing the best football of all 4 remaining NFC teams still in the running and the Falcons haven't played a meaningful game since December 27th. I want to give the edge to the home team, but I'm going with the Pack. The Packers should adapt to the indoors style of play pretty well. Aaron Rodgers is a sally, you know.
  • Fittz: Packers - Atlanta will probably win based on just having sat around for a week and getting to play at home. It doesn't mean I have to pick them.
  • Ponting: Falcons - I'm in the same boat as Robbie here. I'm fairly certain Green Bay's the better team, but Atlanta doesn't lose at home.
  • London: Packers - This is probably the best game of the week.
  • Perryman: Packers - They met in Atlanta on November 28, when Matt Bryant hit a 47-yard field goal with 9 seconds remaining to win it. The Packers seem to have found themselves since then.
  • Starkey: Falcons - Aaron Rodgers screws up once which costs Green Bay the game.

Seattle (1-0) at Chicago (0-0) - So, the Seahawks could possibly host the NFC Title game with a win over the Bears and a Packers win over Atlanta. The Seahawks went 2-6 on the road this year, but one of those wins came in Chicago against these very Bears back in Week 6. Fun matchup here as well: Seattle has the second-worst running game and the Bears have the second-best run defense. We should see a lot of Matt Hasselbeck throwing the ball on Sunday, for better or for worse. 

  • Griffin: Bears - I was pretty adamant Seattle had a better shot against the Saints than people gave them credit for, but a lot of that was homefield and a dome team with injuries playing outside. None of that is in the Seahawks' favor this time, and this game is probably ever bit as one-sided as it's made out to be.
  • Code: Bears - Bears win, but do not cover. Typically, I like to give credit to the home field advantage at this point, but lets be honest with ourselves. In this case, it's the Urlacher advantage. Hi Brian.
  • Fittz: Bears - I'm rooting for Seattle but they aren't good so they won't win.
  • Ponting: Bears - I don't think Chicago's particularly great, but Seattle just isn't very good. Take them away from the friendly confines of Qwest Field in a playoff environment in Chicago and they just don't have much of a shot.
  • London: Seahawks - Why not? Jay Cutler will give this game away.
  • Perryman: Bears - It's going to be about 15 degrees with snow on the ground at kickoff. This glass slipper just don't fit.
  • Starkey: Bears - Seattle's only chance is if Jay Cutler turns into Jay Cutler again. 

New York (1-0) at New England (0-0) - We begin the weekend with a rivalry game and end it. I'm sure everybody has heard enough of Rex Ryan and Antonio Cromartie's antics throughout this week. The Jets are just hiding Mark Sanchez' inefficiencies through all the trash talking and trying to take the pressure off of him and putting the focus on the Jets' hatred of the Pats. 

  • Griffin: Patriots - This one is almost as easy as picking Chicago. I wish the other two games were like that. I like Brady to destroy a 3-4 in the playoffs as he has done more than a handful of times. If my picks are right, someone will be getting really close to the Cowboys Super Bowl appearance record.
  • Code: Patriots - Pats. Tom Brady. I hope the Jets don't score and Rex Ryan accidentally spills his skittles on the sideline as he throws a fit over another Brady completion to a tiny white slot receiver.
  • Fittz: Patriots - This should be a great game because the Jets will lose.
  • Ponting: Jets - A pick with little to no logic behind it. New England is the better team by far, at home, rested, and Brady's been merciless at times against the Jets in the past. The Jets have some sort of ineffable ability to make me ignore all reason and pick them.
  • London: Patriots - Sanchize fail will be in full effect this week.
  • Perryman: Patriots - One of these two teams was a +205 in point differential during the regular season. The other lost to four of the seven remaining playoff teams. Ok, yes, they did also beat NE and PIttsburgh, but they also lost to the Pats by 42. Bill Belichick with flash a tiny smirk in response to a a Rex Ryan question after the game, before he tries to convince the media that the Steelers are a monstrous challenge.
  • Starkey: Patriots - The Jets will taste defeat again. 

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.