The NFL’s version of the elite eight is here. All of the remaining teams in the NFL playoffs are in action on Saturday and Sunday, including the four teams that earned first-round byes (Patriots, Broncos, Seahawks and Packers).
Read on for amNY’s picks to reach the AFC and NFC Championship games next weekend.
The top-seed Patriots host the Ravens in what has become a regular postseason occurrence. This is the fourth playoff meeting in six years, with the Ravens winning the past two. New England should find a way to get even and reach the conference championship game for the ninth time in the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady era.
Their opponent could wind up being old nemesis Peyton Manning and the Broncos, who host the Colts on Sunday. Denver got the best of it in their first meeting in the season opener, and it’s hard to see them coming up short this time given the Jekyll and Hyde nature of the Colts offense.
The defending-champion Seahawks received what appears on the surface to be a gift of a matchup against the Panthers, who made the playoffs with a 7-8-1 record. Host Seattle should have its way with the Panthers’ lackluster offense in a rout on Saturday.
The Packers-Cowboys game in Green Bay should be more dramatic. Aaron Rodgers is dealing with a reported calf muscle tear, but says he will play. If he does, that may be enough for the Packers to advance past the most talented Dallas squad in more than a decade.