Four NFL divisional playoff games this weekend — including one held right here at Gillette Stadium — will whittle the field down from eight teams to four teams and set up the AFC and NFC conference championship games. We’re left this week with the cream of the crop, including the top two teams from each conference, who had byes last week. Check out the matchups and vote for the winners as the Patriots and Texans, Broncos and Ravens, 49ers and Packers, and Falcons and Seahawks face off.
Ravens at Broncos
Game time: Saturday, 4:30 p.m., CBS
Line: Broncos favored (-10)
About: Denver is heavily favored and playing at home in Peyton Manning’s playoff debut with his new team. The Broncos beat the Ravens in Baltimore, 34-17, on Dec. 16. Ray Rice (pictured, left) needs to run effectively and get some help from quarterback Joe Flacco for the Ravens to win.
They said it: Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning: “I remember one year ago I was in a hospital bed watching opening day. There’s a little reminder of how far I’ve come.”
Packers at 49ers
Game time: Saturday, 8 p.m., FOX
Line: 49ers favored (-3)
About: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers returns home to the Bay Area for the first time in his NFL career. In Week 1 of the season, San Francisco dominated the Packers during a game at Green Bay, 30-22. Green Bay has turned its season around after a slow start, and the game figures to be a test of its great offense vs. San Francisco’s great defense.
They said it: Packers fullback John Kuhn: “They really whooped up on us the first game of the season. We’re looking forward to going out there and playing a better game.’’
Seahawks at Falcons
Game time: Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS
Line: Falcons favored (-3)
About: This game features Seattle, one of this season’s surprise teams, vs. Atlanta, who has been a perennial letdown in the playoffs. The Falcons are the NFC’s top seed, and Matt Ryan (left) and company will have their hands full with a physical Seattle defense. The Seahawks have gotten great play out of rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, but running back Marshawn Lynch (right) may be their biggest weapon.
They said it: Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, on his team’s need for a playoff win: “I don’t worry about it. I don’t think about it. We want to play our best football, and that’s what I’m worried about, how to play our best football on Sunday.”
Texans at Patriots
Game time: Sunday, 4:30 p.m., CBS
Line: Patriots favored (-10)
About: The Patriots won the last meeting between these two teams, 42-14, on Dec, 10. That slaughter was the first of three losses in four games for the Texans, and it’s a big reason why the Patriots are heavily favored this time. Danny Woodhead (pictured) carved up the Texans last game in Rob Gronkowski’s absence. Gronkowski is back this time.
They said it: Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips on Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker: “(Welker’s) a good player, but he’s not that big or a real athletic guy”