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NFL playoff picks: Predictions for the Divisional round

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Here's what we think will happen during the best sports weekend of the year.

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Here's a graphic, put together by our own Daniel Park, with the staff's predictions for this weekend's Divisional Round games:


Here are a few staff members' reasons why:

(6) Baltimore Ravens at (1) New England Patriots

Matthew Stevens: The Ravens are on a roll right now and playing the best football we've seen all season from them. I expect another week of this as they go into Foxborough and take care of the Patriots. Pick: Ravens

Dylan Guy: I'm trusting by the old "don't jinx anything" philosophy and picking against the Ravens. Pick: Patriots

Michael Sedjro: The Ravens are rolling. The interior New England line is suspect. Steve Smith wins his matchup against Darrelle Revis and Owen Daniels runs circles around Dont'a Hightower. Pernell McPhee dominates inside and Dumervil dominates. Pick: Ravens

Brian Malan: January Joe ... explanation done. Pick: Ravens

Chuck Mills: The Ravens pass rush will tee off on Tom Brady, and Joe Flacco will have an OK day, but I think New England gets its revenge as Brady exploits the Ravens' vulnerabilities late in the game. Pick: Patriots

Jason Butt: The Ravens have a good track record in New England and have the kind of balanced offense to put up some points against New England. Dean Pees knows this team well and will be able to scheme against the Patriots accordingly. Pick: Ravens

(4) Panthers at (1) Seahawks

Matthew Stevens: Sadly, the Panthers have reached the end of the line. The Seahawks are just too good of a team and they are healthy. The Panthers make the same mistakes they did last week and have the score flipped on them. Pick: Seahawks

Dylan Guy: I think this will be close due to the run defenses but Seattle pulls it out. Pick: Seahawks

Michael Sedjro: Now, the upset of the season. Carolina always plays Seattle tough and despite being the road, Cam Newton will make more plays than Russell Wilson. Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis swarm Marshawn Lynch and Greg Olson defeats Kam Chancellor and K.J. Wright in one on one situations. The read-option neutralizes Seattle's pass rush and tires out a D-line that is not as deep as they were last year. I just have a feeling. Pick: Panthers

Chuck Mills: The Panthers were sloppy on offense and special teams on Saturday, but got away with it because they were playing a now-mediocre defense and special teams unit, along with the worst postseason QB ever. Jon Ryan isn't Drew Butler, The Legion of Boom isn't mediocre, and Russell Wilson isn't Ryan Lindley. Pick: Seahawks

Jason Butt: The Panthers, right now, are better than their 7-8-1 regular-season record indicates. They're playing better football, though it's not great football. The Seahawks are playing great football, with a tough running game, a quarterback that makes few mistakes and exceptional defense. I just don't see the Seahawks losing. Pick: Seahawks

(3) Dallas Cowboys at (2) Green Bay Packers

Matthew Stevens: Tony Romo is a choke artist while the Packers and Aaron Rodgers have been here before. The Cowboys will make a bunch of mistakes that a more savvy Packers team exploits. Pick: Packers

Dylan Guy: I'm giving Lambeau the advantage on this one. Should be a close one though. Pick: Packers

Michael Sedjro: The Cowboys aren't even supposed to be in this game. Aaron Rodgers sticks 40 on them and sends them home where they should've been in the first place. If his calf is an issue, then Eddie Lacy will stick the 40. Pick: Packers

Chuck Mills: The Lions almost upset the Cowboys in their own house. The Packers are more competent than the Lions, on offense and in general, and also they've defeated opponents by huge margins at Lambeau field. While it won't be a blowout, Aaron Rodgers should still win the game for Green Bay. Pick: Packers

Jason Butt: O' ye of little faith, my Beatdown brethren. I'm going Cowboys. Tony Romo gets no respect and the Cowboys do their part to stop Eddie Lacy. Dallas wins in a shootout. Pick: Cowboys

(4) Indianapolis Colts at (2) Denver Broncos

Matthew Stevens: The Broncos are the better team on paper, but Peyton manning is bad in the cold and he hasn't looked good at all over the last month. It is time for Andrew Luck to grab the torch and continue to greatness. Pick: Colts

Dylan Guy: The Colts play in a soft division and in a dome. Peyton Manning will show them what's what. Pick: Broncos

Michael Sedjro: The Colts were not impressive against the Bengals and Denver will make them one dimensional, in a surprisingly low-scoring game. C.J Anderson and Chris Harris will be the differences in this game. Pick: Broncos

Chuck Mills: Peyton Manning isn't who he used to be, and the Colts actually have a good pass defense. On the other side of the ball, Andrew Luck should have his fair share of struggles, but I trust him to win more than a Peyton Manning that's losing his arm strength. Pick: Colts

Jason Butt: My colleagues picking the Colts mention that Peyton Manning hasn't played well of late. They fail to mention how great running back C.J. Anderson has been. Anderson runs all over the Colts and is the reason why Denver reaches the AFC Championship Game. Pick: Broncos