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NFL Playoff Picks 2017: Divisional Round

Last week's Wild Card round went in favor of the home teams, will the Divisional Round continue to go in the home team's favor? Here we take a look at this weekend's four playoff games.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Home teams stood tall in the Wild Card round, winning all four of last week's games.  Now the NFL's top four seeds get in on the playoff action, looking to keep homefield advantage as a true advantage.  There just may be some surprises in store and road teams may get their share of wins this weekend.  Let's take a look at all four of this weekend's Divisional playoff games.

Last week I went 3-1

I told you so: Texans over Raiders!

What do I know: Giants over Packers?

DIVISIONAL ROUND

NFC - #3 Seattle Seahawks at #2 Atlanta Falcons

Saturday, January 14th - 3:35pm CST - FOX

Seattle enjoyed a controversial 2-point win at home over Atlanta in Week 6.  In a game that ruined Dan Quinn's return to Seattle and gave Quinn and the Falcons a severe case of hurt feelings.  Despite the win though, the Seahawks gave up too much on defense and made the game much closer than it should've really been.

There is little doubt Seattle is capable of shutting down the Atlanta running game, but the stress will rest on the diminished Legion of Boom secondary who will not have the services of arguably their best player in safety Earl Thomas.  Atlanta's dangerous passing attack will stress Seattle's most vaunted unit, who is at the most vulnerable they've been in the last six seasons.  Matt Ryan and Julio Jones may be primed for big games on the fast track under the circus tent known as the Georgia Dome.  Atlanta getting Seattle away from their homefield will be huge in this matchup.

Since the Seahawks joined the NFC and opened now CenturyLink Field in 2002, they have enjoyed a great homefield advantage.  Also during that timeframe, Seattle has struggled mightily on the road in the playoffs.  The Seahawks are only 2-6 on the road (not neutral sites) during this time, the two wins include an 11-point 4th quarter rally at Washington after RGIII destroyed his knee in 2012, and a 1-point win at Minnesota after the Vikings kicker missed a 27-yard chip shot to win the game last year.

The pressure is on Russell Wilson to come up with the big plays and finding a way to keep Atlanta's weapons off the field for as long as possible.  This would be a good game for Jimmy Graham to show up like the Jimmy of old.  With homefield advantage and Thomas in at safety, Seattle wins 29-21, but unfortunately neither of those things are happening.  Atlanta wins 32-29.

Pick: Falcons

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AFC - #4 Houston Texans at #1 New England Patriots

Saturday, January 14th - 7:15pm CST - CBS

These Houston Texans will prove to be the worst playoff team we've seen since the 2014 Arizona Cardinals and they will play with results even worse than that team.  Honestly, the less that is said about this game the better.  Houston's going to get skull-dragged beyond any recognition.  With the win, New England will reach their sixth consecutive AFC Championship Game.  New England wins 48-3.

Pick: Patriots

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NFC - #4 Green Bay Packers at #1 Dallas Cowboys

Sunday, January 15th - 3:40pm CST - FOX

Dallas has a win in hand over Green Bay this season, winning by two touchdowns at Lambeau Field in Week 6.  Dallas feasted on a bounty of Packers turnovers in that matchup and Green Bay will have to tighten that up or they'll suffer that same fate as that loss.  This time around, Green Bay will need to continue to light it up through the air, like they did last week, where the Packers receiving corps dominated a top-ten defense on the way to a convincing victory.

Outside of the red-hot play of Aaron Rodgers and the Packers passing attack, all of the signs point to a Dallas victory here.  Dallas has the better rushing attack, led by Ezekiel Elliott and the NFL's best offensive line.  They have the better overall offense and defense.  They have the mental edge with a victory in hand over the Pack, and they have homefield advantage.

Dallas also has more of something else than any team in the field... Pressure.  The country will be watching the Cowboys closer than any other team in these playoffs and they know it.  This pressure lies on a rookie quarterback and a rookie running back leading the offense.  All of this with the looming specter of Tony Romo waiting in the wings in case of the slightest signs of panic from Jerry Jones and the Cowboys faithful.  This is an awful lot to put on a young and inexperienced leader in Dak Prescott.

This is the most anticipated game of the weekend and will almost certainly be the most watched game as well.  This one will come down to the final moments, where Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers' experience and fearlessness will be the difference in the end.  Green Bay wins 24-21.

Pick: Packers

***

AFC - #3 Pittsburgh Steelers at #2 Kansas City Chiefs

Sunday, January 15th - 7:20pm CST - NBC

Pittsburgh dominated Kansas City in their Week 4 matchup earlier this season, with a 29-point win at home.  This is a different Chiefs defense since that game and its subsequent bye week though.  Expect Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown to have big games, but not as huge as they had in that first meeting.  Frankly, Kansas City is good, but they're not nearly as good as their 12-4 record states.  The Chiefs had a remarkably soft schedule this season and they took the very most advantage of it.

It was virtually predestined from Week 1 that we would see Pittsburgh meet New England for the AFC title, and with these teams this close, there's no reason to pivot from that now.  Kansas City's opportunistic defense and homefield advantage will be key to keeping this game close, but the Steelers are just the better team across the board and they'll prove that in this one.  The long-suffering Chiefs faithful will have to wait another year for that increasingly elusive title.  Pittsburgh wins 25-16.

Pick: Steelers

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We move one week closer to arguably the most exciting day in sports, NFL Conference Championship Sunday.  Which of the teams will represent the NFL's final four?  We'll just have to wait and see.  Leave us your picks, comments, and insight below!