The Wild Card Games are over and here comes possibly the most exciting weekend in the NFL – Divisional Playoff Weekend. The Super Bowl is the most exciting DAY in the NFL, but no other weekend has 4 great match-ups spread over a weekend.

Fire up your grills, pull out your favorite comfy spot to sit, and if you happen to own a giant plasma TV with HD get that ready as well the playoffs are in full swing and the Road to Super Bowl XL is wide open!

For the second year in a row, all 4 divisional games are a rematch of regular season games, which makes for great football. Here’s the breakdown:

AFC Divisional Playoffs

New England @ Denver
Saturday 1-14-06 at 5:00 P.M. PST on CBS / DEN –3

Regular season match-up: Week 6 in Denver, Broncos win 28-20.

In the first meeting, Denver jumped out to a 28-3 lead and hang on after giving up 17 unanswered points in the second half. Denver’s rushing was key and they will need to run the ball well against New England to open up the pass for Jake Plummer. They should take advantage of a undersized Patriot defensive line.

With the Patriots coming in as 3 point dogs, they are playing the disrespected card once again. So her come the Disrespected 2-time Defending Super Bowl Champions. They will need more than that tired old battle cry and the NFL’s all time longest playoff winning streak of 10-0 to get a win on the road. They took advantage of soft Jaguars team last week, but you cannot struggle all season and expect to turn it on in the NFL for the playoffs. The hardest game of the week to call. Denver to win and cover 28-24

Pittsburgh @ Indianapolis
Sunday 1-15-06 at 10:00 A.M. PST on CBS / IND –9.5

Regular season match-up: Week 12 in Indianapolis, Colts win 26-7.

Indianapolis dismantled the Steelers on Monday night in their first meeting. From the get go, when Manning tossed an 80 yard TD strike to Harrison on the first play of game, the Colts did very little wrong. The Colts never looked backed and showed Pittsburgh that are much more than a “finesse” team. The Colts did the bullying on the field and the Steelers did little to stop them. Only Colts concern is will the layoff hurt their production on the field.

Besides learning that the Colts can play physical style game too, the Steelers lacked a consistent running game, showed a weak passing attack and were undisciplined, committing several penalties at crucial points in the game. The Steelers have won 9 out of the past 10 games and coach Cowher is 6-1 against the Colts, including 4-0 vs. the Colts in playoff games. That streak is about to come to a screeching halt. Indanapolis to win and cover 38-20

NFC Divisional Playoffs

Washington @ Seattle
Saturday 1-14-06 at 1:30 P.M. PST on FOX / SEA –9

Regular season match-up: Week 4 in Washington, Redskins win 20-17 in OT.

Is anyone seriously thinking that the Redskins are going west to beat Seattle after their wild card performance of putting up a meager 120 yards of total offense? I don’t think so!
The Seahawks are the top seed in playoffs for the first time and they are ready and waiting. At home this year, Seattle boasts a perfect 8-0 record and they are 21-4 in the last 3 years, including playoffs at home.

The NFL MVP running back Shaun Alexander will be the difference in this game. Seattle is looking for their first playoff win since 1984 when they beat the Raiders 13-7 in a Wild Card game. This game is a gimme. Seattle to win and cover 31-13

Carolina @ Chicago
Sunday 1-15-06 at 1:30 P.M. PST on FOX / CHI –3

Regular season match-up: Week 11 in Chicago, Bears win 13-3.

Defense! Defense! and more Defense is what Chicago brings to this game. In the first meeting, the Bears defense dominated the game from start to finish. They produced 8 sacks of Delhomme with their front 4, held running back DeShaun Foster to just 41 yards rushing, and Nathan Vasher had 2 interceptions. However, the key to Chicago will be their offense. If Rex Grossman can play mistake free ball, the defense should hold the Panthers at bay.

Carolina boasts the advantage as their coach, John Fox, has more playoff experience the Bears coach Lovie Smith. This is Lovie’s playoff head coaching debut, and it will not be an easy one. Carolina has shown complete dominance in offense, defense and special teams over their previous two opponents, the Falcons and the Giants. Can they duplicate those efforts again in the windy city?

Chicago will not be able to get into a shoot-out against the Panthers, but in a low scoring game of defenses, the edge goes to Chicago. Chicago to win and cover 16-10