New Orleans at Seattle — 3:35 p.m. CT, FOX
Is there really any way to pick against the Seahawks playing in Seattle? The Seahawks were 7-1 this season at home and 8-0 last year. More important, Seattle is the No. 1 yardage and scoring defense in the NFL.
Sixth seeds like New Orleans are the darlings of more than a few postseasons (Green Bay, NY Jets 2010; Baltimore 2008; Pittsburgh 2005) and San Diego’s presence in the AFC divisional round makes the same statement. Seattle pulled off one of the epic wins of recent playoffs in 2010, earning a trip to Chicago with a pasting of the wild-card Saints.
While many of the principals have changed since then, the Saints live on Drew Brees’ arm. The Seahawks are the No. 1 pass defense in the NFL, top-ranked in interception percentage.
Seahawks 24, Saints 20
Indianapolis at New England — 7:15 p.m. CT, CBS
Somehow Andrew Luck leading a Colts team against Tom Brady and the Patriots just seems like something “right,” continuing a decade of memorable Brady-vs.-Peyton Manning meetings that weren’t so much “games” as “events.”
This event will come down to Luck’s ability to keep the football in Indianapolis hands against a New England defense that has survived injuries to remain solid. Brady will always be Brady and the Pats have won divisional-round games the past two seasons.
But Luck has the Colts believing that they are never out of a game even with reduced options in their offense. There are inevitable changings of guards in sport. This is one of those.
Colts 20, Patriots 17