NFL 2014 predictions: Our predictions roll on with the wild card & divisional rounds

From left, Aaron Rodgers, LeSean McCoy, Philip Rivers and Torrey Smith will be difference makers in January.  

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

As kickoff of the NFL season approaches, FOXSports.com will preview how the year will play out, from the regular season standings to round-by-round postseason predictions. Yesterday, we told you who was making the playoffs and why. Today, we continue with the Wild Card and Divisional rounds. When you’re done reading, feel free to let us know what you think about our picks.

WILD CARD WEEKEND

NFC

 Carolina (6) at Seattle (3): While the challenges inherent in being the reigning NFL kingpins took their toll during the regular season, one thing didn’t change: The distinct home-field advantage that the Seahawks have enjoyed at CenturyLink Field. Carolina’s stout defense keeps it close, but Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson helps Seattle pull away in the fourth quarter.

Final: Seattle 24, Carolina 14

 San Francisco (5) at Green Bay (4): Public shareholders haven’t owned the Packers since 2012. That distinction falls to the 49ers. San Francisco has beaten Green Bay four straight times during the previous two seasons, including twice in the playoffs. That streak, though, comes to an end here. The Packers finally figure out Colin Kaepernick in what proves to be Jim Harbaugh’s last game as 49ers head coach.

Final: Green Bay 27, San Francisco 20

AFC

 Baltimore (6) at Denver (3): This marks a rematch of Baltimore’s improbable double-overtime playoff victory two years earlier that helped propel the Ravens into Super Bowl XLVII. There won’t be another upset this season. Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning gets his revenge in a four-touchdown performance.

Final: Denver 34, Baltimore 17

 San Diego (5) at Indianapolis (4): Nobody plays Indianapolis better than the Chargers. San Diego has won six of the past seven matchups – including two playoff contests — dating to 2005. The Colts’ nightmare continues this season with the Chargers controlling both sides of the line of scrimmage.

Final: San Diego 20, Indianapolis 17

DIVISIONAL ROUND

NFC

 Seattle (3) at Philadelphia (2): For the second time since Week 14 of the regular season, the Seahawks must travel cross-country to face the Eagles on the road. This game will serve as proof the NFL is serious about its crackdown on illegal contact in the secondary. Seattle’s defense draws flags in several key situations, prompting an even more heated kind of postgame Richard Sherman rant to FOX’s Erin Andrews after the Eagles squeak by.

Final: Philadelphia 24, Seattle 23

 Green Bay (4) at New Orleans (1): Drew Brees vs. Aaron Rodgers is a quarterback showdown made in NFL heaven. Both passers deliver in an offensive classic with the Packers and Saints matching each other score for score. This one comes down to the final possession. New Orleans has it and wins with Brees throwing the game-winning touchdown to tight end Jimmy Graham, who gets tackled by teammates to prevent a now-illegal goal-post dunk.

Final: New Orleans 38, Green Bay 37

AFC

 Denver (3) at Cincinnati (2): Most of the media is already looking ahead toward another Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady showdown in the AFC Championship Game. That’s a mistake. Not only does an angry and disrespected Bengals squad end the franchise’s 24-year drought without a playoff victory, Cincinnati does so in spectacular fashion. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton finally enjoys a stellar playoff performance while Cincinnati’s defense makes it a long day for Manning.

Final: Cincinnati 31, Denver 20

 San Diego (5) vs. New England (1): Philip Rivers returns to the same place where he played in the 2007 AFC Championship Game with a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament. Rivers delivers a gutsy effort once again but makes one critical mistake — a fourth-quarter pass intercepted by Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis that is returned for the deciding touchdown.

Final: New England 23, San Diego 17.

NFC WILDCARD ROUND

Seattle (5) at New Orleans (4): Saints 27, Seahawks 21

Dallas (6) at  Philadelphia (3): Philadelphia 35, Dallas 24

New York (6) at Indianapolis (3): Colts 24, Jets 20

Baltimore (5) at Denver (4): Denver 38, Baltimore 20

NFC DIVISIONAL ROUND

New Orleans (4) at Green Bay (1): Packers 31, Saints 27

Philadelphia (3) at San Francisco (2): San Francisco 28, Philadelphia 20

AFC DIVISIONAL ROUND

Indianapolis (3) at Cincinnati (2): Colts 23, Bengals 20 (OT)

Denver (4) at New England (1): Patriots 28, Broncos 24

OK, so that’s a lot to digest, we know. What did you think of our picks? Fire away at us on Twitter.