The first game is the Ravens visiting New England to face the Patriots. This is a heated rivalry and should be a tough physical game. The Ravens have beaten the Patriots 2 of the last 3 times these teams have met in the playoffs and won't suffer from a lack of confidence today.
The Ravens will focus on stopping the running game of the Patriots to make them a one-dimensional team. If Baltimore can get pressure with its front four without having to blitz, it could be a tough day for Tom Brady - who has really struggled of late with the pressure from this team.
The Patriots will try to start quickly and let the home crowd work in their favor. New England needs to attempt to run with success to keep pressure off Tom Brady. Can they do it? I think it will be a struggle and this should be a close game.
If I had to pick on the points, I would select the Ravens - who are 7 point under dogs. I believe this game will come down to the last possession and likely will be decided by a field goal (or less).
My pick is the New England Patriots. I think having a healthy Rob Gronkowski will make the difference, though I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Ravens can steal another upset win.
In the other game today, the Panthers visit the Seahawks. This is a match-up of two of the most physical defenses in the league. Expect hard hitting and a lot of smash-mouthed runs from both teams. I give Seattle the edge due to the insane home-crowd and stadium and I believe this will be the difference today.
I pick Seattle to win and cover and think that if anything goes wrong for the Panthers, they face getting blown out. However, if the Panthers can hang around until the fourth quarter and keep the game close, it's not out of the question to see an upset in this game. What does Carolina need to pull off the upset?
Carolina can't turn over the ball and Cam Newton needs to play inspired, mistake-free football. Playing in Seattle is next to impossible and it will take Carolina's best, near perfect, game.