The NFL divisional round concludes Sunday with a pair of intriguing matchups. The Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers get the action started on the frozen tundra that is Lambeau Field. After their 24-20 wild-card win over Detroit last week, Dallas will look to remain undefeated on the road when they face a Packers team that's undefeated at home.
This is the first time these two will meet in a playoff game in Green Bay since the 1967 Ice Bowl. The oddsmakers don't like Dallas in this one though, as Green Bay is a six-point favorite at home with an over/under of 52.5, according to OddsShark.
Most of the CBS experts are taking the Packers as well with seven members of their eight-man panel see Rodgers and company taking care of business at Lambeau. CBS Sports senior writer Pete Prisco had this to say about the game:
This has all the makings of a shootout. You have two dynamic offenses and two so-so defenses. The Cowboys will pound DeMarco Murray behind his good offensive line against a Green Bay defense that was 23rd against the run. That can also help keep Aaron Rodgers off the field.
Look for Romo then to take shots off the play-action to Dez Bryant and his receivers. For Green Bay, it's all about Rodgers. He has 25 touchdown passes and no interceptions at home this season. That's unreal. The Cowboys aren't great on defense, and they were 29th in the league in sacks per pass play. That's not a good thing against Rodgers.
Look for the Packers to put up a nice number on offense, while the Cowboys will try and keep up. In the end, I just don't think they will. It will be close. It will be fun. But it will be Green Bay moving on.
The final game of the divisional round features the Denver Broncos hosting the Indianapolis Colts. Andrew Luck guided Indy for the third consecutive year since entering the NFL, while Peyton Manning has been there 13 times, three of them being in Denver, and 10 with the Colts.
Luck almost upended Manning's Broncos in Week 1, but Denver's defense held on for the 31-24 win. However, Manning has regressed as the season has wore on, and Denver went just 6-3 down the stretch after a 6-1 start to the season. Over the last five weeks of the regular season, Manning ranked 30th in red zone completion percentage (39 percent) and 22nd in red zone Total QBR (18) out of 32 qualified quarterbacks.
Manning also ranked first in both completion percentage (78 percent) and Total QBR (97) in the red zone in the season's first 12 weeks, per ESPN Stats and Info. Still, most of the experts ee the Broncos winning this one.
The line opened at -7 in favor of the Broncos and it has not moved on most books throughout the week, according to OddsShark. Over at SB Nation, six of our their experts are leaning towards Indianapolis. The ESPN crew went 12-1 in favor of Denver.
The Broncos weren't the same pass-heavy team late in the season as they were last year and early this season. But that will change in the playoffs. It has to if they are to win a title. I think the Broncos will be able to have a lot of success throwing it against the Colts, who were 17th in pass yards per play on defense.
That means Manning will be taking shots down the field. Indianapolis can score with Luck, but I just don't know if they can keep up. The Denver pass rushers should be able to get after him, especially with backup Joe Reitz in at right tackle. The Denver defense was first in the league in pass defense, a unit that can cover as well as rush.
Add it all up, and I think the Broncos will win comfortably to advance to the title game.