January 8, 2014

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Ranking the 2014 NFL Divisional Playoff Games

By: Matt Bowen

The 2014 NFL Divisional Playoff Games are set to make fans out of all of us beginning January 11. Now down to just eight teams, this round of playoffs is something special. Arguably the league’s top eight quarterbacks from 2013 will be on display and this one figures to be a ruckus affair.

If one had to compare it to another sports spectacle, the WWE’s Royal Rumble would be it. While there are not as many participants this late in the NFL season, the personalities left make for must-see TV. All of these games are great matchups, let’s rank the duels and find out who’ll remain when the dust settles. Last man standing wins.

Peyton Manning

Manning and the Broncos will play a rubber match with the Chargers for the right to play in the AFC Championship game.

San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos

There’s an abundance of hype surrounding this one and deservingly so, but that doesn’t mean its king of the mountain this week.

This will be a rematch of AFC West foes as the San Diego Chargers are full of electricity heading into Mile High Stadium to face their nemesis, the Denver Broncos.  The two teams split the season series, each winning on the road. The Chargers recently beat the Broncos in Week 15 to enrich their playoff formula. Being that this is so recent, the Chargers still relish that feeling while the taste of defeat still lingers in the Broncos mouth.

Philip Rivers vs. Peyton Manning is a dream matchup when it comes to quarterbacks. Their personalities may be opposite on the spectrum but their games are explosive. Manning was simply Manning all season as he put up historic numbers on his ascent to the top of the quarterback food chain. Rivers had a bounce-back season and reminded us all that his name deserves to be thrown in the ring when it comes to elite quarterbacks.

Whatever the outcome, this one will be great.

New Orleans Saints vs. Seattle Seahawks

The New Orleans Saints head to the great Northwest for the second time this season to face the Seattle Seahawks. The first time didn’t go well as the Seahawks dismantled the Saints in Week 13, 34-7.

There was much skepticism surround New Orleans being on the road, they just aren’t the same team away from their home. Well, they silenced critics last week when they escaped Philadelphia with a win.

Now Drew Brees leads his men back to Seattle with a score to settle. Filled with confidence, the Saints will be ready.  Don’t think for one second this time around will end in the same lopsided score.

Then again, don’t think Russell Wilson and company won’t be ready for the Saints attack. The Seahawks are home to the 12th Man, which just happens to their crowd which is as loud as a Boeing 747. The 12th Man is a game-changer and given the playoff stipulation, they’ll find a way to crank it up to 11.

Brees vs. Wilson is a superb matchup as they’re simply two of the best the game has to offer. Albeit undersized, both men are extremely athletic and highly intelligent. They keep their respective teams composed throughout.

This is a matchup that we’ll look back on years down the road and simply smile due to its greatness.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Carolina Panthers

Wow—this games screams old-fashioned slobber-knocker.

The San Francisco 49ers are one of hottest teams in the NFL while the Carolina Panthers feel disrespected. After all, they beat the Niners in San Fran in Week 10, 10-9 and aren’t getting much love right now.

The Panthers feature a stout defense and a quarterback in Cam Newton that’s on a mission. The same can be said about the 49ers and Colin Kaepernick. Not wanting to give an inch, this one will be an all-out war.

Both quarterbacks can great runners but it will come down to their arms in this one. The quarterback that makes the big throw with the game on the line will win. Choosing to tuck and run at the wrong time will prove to be futile.

Expect this one to be ugly in the beginning due to neither team wanting back down. In the end, last team with the ball wins.

Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots

The Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots is the one that dreams are made of. This may just be the best non-Super Bowl playoff game in the history of the NFL.

Andrew Luck vs. Tom Brady is all you need to know. Brady is well on his way to the Hall of Fame and Luck makes his case on a weekly basis.

What’s in a name? Andrew doesn’t need any, that kid is just a phenom. He’s recently been compared to Michael Jordan. While it’s still early in his career, that’s the best comment any athlete could ever get.

This isn’t all about Luck and the Colts, the Patriots are the home team and the great Brady has never done more with less. The Patriots have been picked apart no thanks to injuries this season but still find a way to win, which makes them scary.

Luck and his team has already beaten the Broncos, Seahawks and Niners in 2013. They play up to their competition and being that this is the playoffs, they’ll be ready to go.

This is one you may want to record because when you’re starving for football sometime in May, you’ll wish you could see this one. Every single second of this game must be seen by all. There’s no telling what Luck and Brady are capable of next.

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