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NFL Divisional Round Pick 'Em!
And then there were eight. With the Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles all falling at home and the Kansas City Chiefs losing a heartbreaker on the road, the matchups are set for the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. And all but one is a rematch, with the San Francisco 49ers (at Carolina Panthers), New Orleans Saints (at Seattle Seahawks) and Denver Broncos (vs. San Diego Chargers) getting a chance to avenge mid- to late-season losses. In the other, a recent playoff rivalry gets rekindled: Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots. Which teams will emerge victorious? What are your conference and Super Bowl picks?
Colts, Chargers advance in AFC
In the AFC, wild-card weekend went just as we envisioned, with the Indianapolis Colts falling behind 38-10 and beating the Chiefs anyway, and the San Diego Chargers effectively dominating the Cincinnati Bengals in Ohio. But hey, that's what's so exciting about the NFL. Now the victors move on to the divisional round, in which Andrew Luck's comeback Colts will visit the New England Patriots, while Philip Rivers' surprising Chargers get a chance to beat the top-seeded Broncos in Denver for the second time in five weeks. How will it all go down?
This is a bit awkward. You're familiar with football, right? The hugely popular sport that, in both amateur and professional forms, essentially dominates the American sporting scene? That football? Well, the pro league is having a bit of trouble getting people to go to some of its playoff games. The Bengals and Packers still have thousands of tickets available for their home playoff games this weekend. The teams have been granted an extension to early Friday evening in order to avoid a television blackout in their home markets, which would be just a bit embarrassing. The Colts were in the same situation until a few hours ago, when the Meijer grocery store bought 1,200 tickets to ensure a sellout. Credit where credit is due, however: The Eagles, who are hosting a game against the Saints, seem to have no such issue selling tickets. Good job, Philadelphia fans.
Here's a sampling of what readers had to say in our Facebook conversation on the story:Getty Images
NFL Playoffs -- Wild-Card Pick 'Em
It came down to the final game of the regular season, but finally, we can say it: The 12-team field for the 2013-14 NFL playoffs is set. The Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos and New England Patriots own first-round byes. The other eight teams must start their marches toward the Super Bowl in less than a week. Who ya got in the wild-card matchups? Which teams will win the AFC and NFC? What about the Super Bowl?