On Wild Card Weekend we saw one shocking upset, two missed field goals by a reliable kicker and three losses by home teams. What surprises are in store for the divisional round? We asked writers and analysts at NFL.com and NFL Network to weigh in with their thoughts.
Steve Wyche: Douglas plays big role
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas had only seven catches in the Falcons' final 10 games of the regular season, but don't be surprised if he plays a much bigger role on Saturday. Douglas could be the unaccounted-for threat against the Green Bay Packers. He has been inconsistent but still remains a big-play threat who could benefit from Atlanta's play-action and intermediate passing game. The Falcons could lure the Packers' safeties to sleep with repeated underneath and crossing routes, then pop Douglas over the top between the hashmarks for at least one big play.
Pat Kirwan: Patriots in another rout
I will be most surprised if the Jets keep their game against New England close. Tom Brady has a 27-1 home record since 2007, but how they have fared against Rex Ryan is a more important story in this matchup. In his last two home games against the Jets, Brady has thrown for 636 yards, five touchdowns and zero interceptions, and his team has won by a combined score of 76-17. The Patriots average 34 points a game at home, but what is interesting is how methodical they are in their scoring, averaging nine points in each of the first three quarters, and seven in the fourth.
Divisional matchups to watch
Want to know the matchups to be watching when the playoffs resume Saturday? Gil Brandt has the answer as he breaks down all the action this weekend.
Albert Breer: Flacco comes of age
Joe Flacco will take a major step forward. He's been seen as a caretaker type of quarterback for the Ravens for some time, and his inconsistencies have cost the team some this year, but this circumstance will provide the spot for the third-year quarterback to make a statement. The Steelers' staunch run defense will force the Ravens to put the ball in Flacco's hands, and he'll respond with his most consistent effort, building off last week's strong second half in Kansas City.
Vic Carucci: Can Seahawks shock Bears?
The Seahawks have a good chance of knocking off the Bears. Here are two big reasons why: 1. Mike Williams, who caught 10 passes for 123 yards to help the Seahawks beat the Bears at Soldier Field earlier in the season, will again be a successful frequent target of Matt Hasselbeck, especially those times when the 6-foot-5 Williams can match up with 5-8 cornerback Tim Jennings. 2. The Seahawks should be able to take advantage of Chicago's susceptibility to blitzing as it did in the previous game when safety Lawyer Milloy had two sacks.
Jason La Canfora: Run game will propel Packers
Would the Packers continuing to exhibit a stout running game still count as a surprise? Because I don't see that changing, even against the Falcons' top-10 run defense. Rookie James Starks should continue to run with power, John Kuhn is a matchup nightmare, and Brandon Jackson can provide burst in the screen game. Atlanta is legit up front but I expect the Packers to continue to get more physical with power running plays and plow through the NFC playoffs.
Charles Davis: Bears will tame the 'Beast'
After the great performance by Marshawn Lynch last week, when he posted 131 of the Seahawks' 150 yards against the Saints, I'm setting his over/under at 40 yards against the Bears' No. 2-ranked run defense. The Seahawks averaged 89.0 rushing yards per game this season, ranking 31st in the league. I'm actually taking the under for Lynch against the Bears.
Rod Woodson: Pack will ride big-game James to victory
My biggest surprise is that the Packers will go into Atlanta and win by establishing a running game with James Starks, who ran well last week against the Eagles. I know the Falcons' run defense has been good, but I think the Packers are starting to find their niche. The Packers are the most dangerous team in the NFL playoffs.
Solomon Wilcots: Jets can derail steamrolling Patriots
I think the biggest surprise will be the Jets going into Gillette Stadium and forcing Tom Brady and the Patriots into turnovers. When you take a week off, you're robbed of your rhythm. And when you face a team for the third time in a season, all bets are off. The Patriots have played near perfect for so long and haven't been turning the ball over, but they won't be able to keep it up.
Michael Lombardi: Expect Wallace to show up big for Steelers
Some players just aren't ready to play on a big stage in prime time, while others relish the chance to show the national audience their talents. I'd be surprised if Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace didn't have a big game against the Ravens, showing every football fan that he might be a top-five receiver in the league and soon be headed for a Pro Bowl.