Seahawks and Broncos looking to extend regular season dominance.
The NFL wildcard weekend proved to be as entertaining as promised, now the remaining eight teams face the divisional playoffs to take another step closer to the Super Bowl.
Having enjoyed a bye week, the most dominant teams in the league in the regular season return to action and will look to avoid any early slip-ups.
The Seattle Seahawks are the first team in action when they take on the New Orleans Saints at CenturyLink Field.
The hosts lost just once at home this year, after compiling a 13-3 record to top the NFC West ahead of the San Francisco 49ers.
Nevertheless, with Russell Wilson going 257-of-407 for 3357 yards and 26 touchdowns, Marshawn Lynch leading the way rushing and Golden Tate starring as receiver, the Seahawks are favourites for this clash.
Meanwhile, despite previous experience that Drew Brees isn’t able to perform at the same level on the road, he helped his team to a 26-24 win over the Philadelphia Eagles last weekend, and will hope to use that as inspiration for Saturday.
The Indianapolis Colts face a similarly difficult proposition as they face the New England Patriots looking to become the first away team to win at the Gillette Stadium this season.
The Patriots will need to use their physical running to control the speed of the game but given their dominance at home, they will fancy their chances of prevailing.
Regardless, it promises to be a thrilling encounter between two star quarterbacks in Tom Brady and Andrew Luck.
Brady’s reputation speaks for itself while Luck’s heroics secured a memorable 45-44 comeback win over the Kansas City Chiefs last weekend, and as a result this is not one to be missed.
On Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers will look to conquer the Bank of America Stadium after dumping the Green Bay Packers out of the running at Lambeau Field last Sunday.
The Carolina Panthers have lost just once at home this season and so it promises to be a difficult afternoon’s work for last year’s Super Bowl runners-up.
Colin Kaepernick is 243-of-416 for 3197 yards and 21 touchdown passes, while also showcasing his rushing skills to help overcome the Packers.
With Frank Gore and Anquan Boldin providing consistent options, Michael Crabtree’s return has also added another bow to the 49ers string, but they will know the importance of the defensive unit shutting down Cam Newton and Co.
Wrapping up the weekend’s action are the Denver Broncos who host the San Diego Chargers looking to extend what has been a successful season thus far.
Injuries have threatened to derail their bid for a Super Bowl triumph, but with the ball in Peyton Manning’s hands, anything is possible.
The veteran quarterback is now 450-of-659 for 5477 yards and 55 touchdowns in what was a record-breaking regular season.
However, he will know the importance of maintaining that type of form against a Chargers side who have now won five consecutive games, including the 27-10 win over the Cincinnati Bengals last weekend.
NFL Divisional Playoffs Schedule (UK Time):
Saturday January 11 (21:35) – New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks
Sunday January 12 (01:15) – Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots
Sunday January 12 (18:05) – San Francisco 49ers @ Carolina Panthers
Sunday January 12 (21:40) – San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos