The 2016 NFL playoffs have already had a few classic games involving victories by the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks, and the divisional round has even more interesting matchups on schedule. While there have not been any shocking upsets so far, there is sure to be more drama in store for next week’s games. While the Houston Texans, Cincinnati Bengals, Minnesota Vikings, and Washington Redskins will not be on schedule for the remainder of the 2016 NFL playoffs, those teams have a lot to look forward to next year. Here is the schedule, brackets, odds, and early predictions for next week’s divisional playoff round.
2016 NFL Playoffs Divisional Round Schedule and Brackets
Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots (Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016 at 4:35pm)
Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals (Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016 at 8:15pm)
Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers (Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016 at 1:05pm)
Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos (Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016 at 4:40pm)
While the NFL playoff odds are going to change throughout the week based on injuries and how the bets are coming in, Vegas Insider has released early odds for each divisional round playoff matchup.
Carolina Panthers: 3-points favorites over the Seattle Seahawks
Denver Broncos: 6.5-point favorites over the Pittsburgh Steelers
New England Patriots: 5-point favorites over the Kansas City Chiefs
Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals: TBA
Picks and Predictions
Based on current injury status, here are picks for each game of the divisional round of the 2016 NFL playoffs.
Denver Broncos Over The Pittsburgh Steelers
As previously reported by Inquisitr, the Pittsburgh Steelers are dealing with injuries to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Antonio Brown. While both players are expected to be in the starting lineup next Sunday, they may not be 100 percent healthy. After inserting quarterback Peyton Manning back into the lineup last week, the Broncos appear to be a rejuvenated football team. Also reported by the Inquisitr, Manning may retire after the 2016 NFL playoffs. Injuries to the Steelers combined with the Broncos coming together to win the Super Bowl for Manning are going to make it extremely difficult for Pittsburgh to win in Denver. Look for the Broncos to not only win, but to cover the six and a half point spread.
New England Patriots Over The Kansas City Chiefs
While the New England Patriots have struggled recently, the reigning Super Bowl champions appear to be getting healthy at the right time. Playing without wide receiver Julian Edelman, the Patriots offense has been stagnant. The good news for quarterback Tom Brady is that Julian Edelman has finally been cleared to play, as reported by NESN. While the Kansas City Chiefs dominated the lowly Houston Texans, the Patriots are on an entirely different level. This game will be competitive, but Brady, Edelman, Gronkowski, and Belichick will be too much for Andy Reid and the Chiefs.
Arizona Cardinals Over Green Bay Packers
After losing wide receiver Jordy Nelson in the preseason, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers appeared to be fine without him throughout the first part of the season. For whatever reason, the Packers offense started to struggle in the second half, and they lost the division to the Minnesota Vikings. After a convincing 17-point win on the road against the Washington Redskins, the Packers appear to be firing on all cylinders. Unfortunately for the Packers, they have to play the Arizona Cardinals on the road, a team that has an elite offense and defense, and a team that just destroyed them by 30 points a few weeks ago. While this game will be closer, the Cardinals are going to defeat the Packers by at least a touchdown.
Seattle Seahawks Over Carolina Panthers
While the Carolina Panthers finished with a 15-1 record, they have not received the respect that you would expect for a top playoff seed. After barely squeaking by the Minnesota Vikings, the Seattle Seahawks will travel to Carolina next week to face the formidable Panthers. While the Panthers are favored by three points, this game has upset written all over it. As reported by the Inquisitr, Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch is set to return for the game, and quarterback Russell Wilson is playing the best football of his career. After a slow start to the season, the Seahawks are finally back on track, and their defense is playing at a championship level. While Cam Newton and the Panthers have had a great season, the experience of the Seahawks is going to come out on top on Sunday.
While current odds, picks, and predictions are sure to change for the 2016 NFL divisional playoffs throughout the week, the schedule and brackets are now cemented. And even though upsets are always possible in the NFL playoffs, the Seahawks have the best chance at pulling off an underdog victory.
[Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images]