Capping NFL rematches: What to keep, throw away for the Divisional Round
Another week, another round in the NFL Playoffs and another slate of three rematches from the regular season as Wild Card Weekend breaks way into the AFC and NFC Divisional Playoffs.
Once again, we will be looking at what to keep from the previous meeting and what to throw away as team collide for a second time this weekend. New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks (-8, 46.5)
34-7 Seattle (Week 13)What to keep:
Seattle will have homefield advantage in this game, a place where they are 7-1 straight up and a spot in which the Saints struggle with their well known problems of playing outdoors beyond the Superdome. The Seahawks are just 5-3 at home ATS, but even with a road win over the Eagles in the Wild Card it is hard to trust a Saints team that is 2-7 ATS on the road. What to throw away:
New Orleans had just 44 yards rushing in its Week 13 loss at Seattle, a number that will likely improve after the Saints rushed for 185 yards in their win over the Eagles. If New Orleans can get some yardage on the ground and open up spots in the Seahakws coverage for Drew Brees with the secondary being forced to commit to the run, this should be a different game than the blowout we were treated to in the regular season.
San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers (Pick, 42) Original meeting:
10-9 Panthers (Week 10) What to keep:
Both of these teams are built from defense and it was evident during their Week 10 clash when they failed to combine for more than 20 points in one of the lowest scoring matchups of 2013. Carolina gives up 15.1 points per game while the 49ers aren't too far off allowing just 17.2. It was no surprise that their original meeting was a drag em' out, low-scoring affair, and this is a game that once again could be reminding us all of when NFL playoff games were won with defense. What to throw away:
Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree were both non-factors in the Panthers' 10-9 win in Week 10. Davis left the game early from concussion and Crabtree has recently returned to peak form after being injured at the start of the regular season. Both were big contributors in the Niners road win in Lambeau with Crabtree catching eight passes for 125 yards and Vernon Davis hauling in a TD pass. If those two can continue to produce, the Niners will likely have a higher chance of success against a stingy Panthers defense.
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos (-10, 54.5)First meeting:
28-20 Denver (Week 10)Second meeting:
27-20 Chargers (Week 15)What to keep:
Sweeping the Kansas City Chiefs and beating the Indianapolis Colts this season, the Chargers have shown up when playing top teams during the regular season, and showed up again last week in their win over the Cincinnati Bengals. They defeated the Broncos on the road and they only lost by one score in their loss to Peyton Manning at home. If their previous encounters are any indication this game should be decided by single digits based on the numbers. What to throw away:
Denver's rushing game was non-existent in their loss as the Broncos could only muster 18 rushing yards in their last meeting. Denver manages 117 rushing yards per game so expect that trend to reverse, especially with a rested offensive line/backfield that is motivated to help Manning lead the Broncos to redemption after their shocking upset to the Ravens in this game last season at home.