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NFL: Kevin Cadle looks ahead to Divisional Round of play-offs

Kevin Cadle Posted 10th January 2014 view comments

The NFL play-offs continue this weekend with Sky Sports bringing you four more mouth-watering match-ups in the Divisional Round.

Our NFL expert Kevin Cadle is here to take you through all the action from last weekend and look ahead to the next slate of post-season clashes.

Confident Colts

It was a very dramatic Wildcard Weekend - the Colts against the Chiefs was a tremendous ball game. The Kansas City Chiefs went up by 28 points and it looked like everything was over but the Colts came back - that's what happens when you face a young team.

Peyton Manning: Will be up against a fearless Chargers team

Peyton Manning: Will be up against a fearless Chargers team

A young team is not smart enough to know when the game is over. The Indianapolis Colts came alive, Andrew Luck and co just got it going and did what they had to do to win that football game.

It was a game of two halves - the Kansas City Chiefs controlled it in the first half and the Indianapolis Colts took over in the second half.

You have to like the confidence that victory is going to give a very young Colts team with a second-year quarterback and a lot of young receivers. Defensively it showed that they can get it done - they shut the Kansas City Chiefs down in the second half. I have to like the way they performed ahead of their clash with the New England Patriots.

As for the rest, the San Diego Chargers are a team that people have to worry about because they have nothing to lose. When a team has nothing to lose, that's when they become dangerous. They go up against the Denver Broncos this weekend.

The Chargers beat the Broncos in Denver during the regular season and they can do the same again this weekend, there is no question about it.

They were big underdogs against the Cincinnati Bengals in the opening round and beat them by double figures. Offensively and defensively they beat the Cincinnati Bengals down - they out-physical-ed them, that was the biggest surprise for me.

San Diego will have confidence from that and will also have confidence from knowing they can beat the Broncos. That's going to make it a tough ball game for Denver.

Who owes who?

The other game on Sunday sees the San Francisco 49ers travel to face the Carolina Panthers. The strength of the 49ers is their offensive line so the Panthers, in their regular-season win against San Francisco in November, were coming with all kinds of tricks and gimmicks to upset Colin Kaepernick and sacked him six times.

Kaepernick has said that he owes the Panthers but I don't think Carolina are really worried about what he is saying. The Panthers owe him too because if they win, they move to the next round. I think both teams owe it to themselves to be the best that they can be so that they can move to the NFC Conference Championship Game.

Elsewhere last weekend, the New Orleans Saints came from behind to beat the Philadelphia Eagles with a last-second field goal in another marvellous game.

Certain things that New Orleans coach Sean Payton tried to change up worked last week, because the Saints were having woes in terms of travelling and being successful on the road. They stay on the road this weekend to face the Seattle Seahawks.

Now Payton's putting Seahawks logos on the practice field and pumping in crowd noise, which is just another gimmick he's trying to throw at his team to get them focused on the fact it's just another game.

The crowd in Seattle sets records for noise, so they will be bringing the boom. Seattle is one of the best defensive teams in the NFL, so the Saints are not only going up against that crowd - which will make it hard to connect with their signals and everything else - but also a tough defence.

It's going to be a very tough situation for the New Orleans Saints to go into Seattle and win.

Overall, it's going to be an exciting weekend. In the last round, three out of the four games basically went down to the last play. The only one which was a runaway was Chargers v Bengals, and that was an upset.

If it's anything like last time, we are in for another weekend of top-quality NFL action.

All four divisional play-off games are live on Sky Sports this weekend:
New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks, Saturday 9pm - SS3
Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots, Sunday 1am - SS3
San Francisco @ Carolina, Sunday 5.30pm - SS2
San Diego @ Denver, Sunday 9pm - SS2

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