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NFL Playoffs: Sunday’s Game Day Predictions

January 12th, 2014 at 6:57 AM
By Steve Smith

'nfl_logo_on_field' photo (c) 2012, NFL News Desk Admin - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/
The divisional round of the NFL playoffs got under way yesterday with the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots securing impressive victories.

Now it's time for two more games and here's hoping they'll be a little more exciting. Let's take a look at some predictions for today's contests:

San Francisco (-1) at Carolina: The 49ers are looking to avenge a 10-9 loss to the Panthers on Nov. 10 in San Francisco. The defending NFC champs did not have Michael Crabtree or Aldon Smith in that game. They will today. This game features two of the best young quarterbacks in the league in San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick and Carolina's Cam Newton. Panthers WR Steve Smith should try to play today after spraining the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in a Week 16 win over New Orleans. He hasn't played since. Both squads feature outstanding defenses and this game should be a low scoring slugfest. The Niners have a few more offensive weapons though and a solid 1-2 running attack in Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter. 49ers 20, Panthers 17.

San Diego (+9 1/2) at Denver: These long-time AFC West rivals meet for the first time in the playoffs.There is a tremendous amount of pressure on the Broncos and Peyton Manning after losing to Baltimore at home in the playoffs last year. Wes Welker is expected to be back after suffering a concussion on Dec. 8 against the Titans and after he shakes off some rust will aid the most prolific offense in the NFL. The Bolts will not be intimidated though.They beat Denver, 27-20 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Week 15. Philip Rivers is playing at a very high level and has fine weapons in running back Ryan Matthews and wide receiver Keenan Allen, a Rookie of the Year candidate. This should be a shootout – look for Manning to continue his record-breaking season with another outstanding performance. Broncos 34, Chargers 27.

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Tags: Arizona, Arizona Cardinals, Cam Newton, Football, Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, Michael Crabtree, NFL, Peyton Manning, Steve Smith, Wes Welker

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