06 January 2014

Predicting the 2013 NFL Playoffs: Wild Card Round

I took a stab at predicting Wild Card Weekend. I went 1-3. Read the bloody mess for yourself.
I’ve watched a lot of football this season. More than I have my entire life (thanks RedZone). While I’m no Tom Deja, I figured I’d take a shot at picking the winners of this Wild Card weekend round of games. May the Tebow be with me.

Warning: Don’t bet based on these picks please.

Saturday Games

Chiefs at Colts: I hate the Chiefs (expressed here). I’ve had a love/hate thing with the Colts over the years (loved them when Jim Harbaugh almost got them to the Super Bowl in 1995, cheered against them in the Super Bowl in 2006 and 2009). The Chiefs defense dominated until their bye week in Week 10 and they followed that by dropping 5 of their last 7 games. The Colts’ season peaked when they beat Peyton and the Broncos Week 7 at home but they lost a few games by rather lopsided scores.

The Chiefs haven’t looked a like a team to be feared this year, even when they were 9-0.

The Colts have excelled against the better teams in the league this season but do the Chiefs qualify enough for them to not let down in Lucas Oil Stadium?

Winner: The Colts should win at home. Alex Smith only has 2 playoffs games under his belt and will probably show once and for all why he never got his starting job back in San Francisco (besides the Colin Kaepernick is a better QB argument). Look for a critical pick 6 from him.

Saints at Eagles: The little NFC East team that could versus the NFL team who probably believes they lost a season of Drew Brees’ career unfairly. Eight of the Saints’ 11 wins came at the Superdome. Meanwhile, the Eagles only won 4 of their home games. Chip Kelly will probably be pulling out a few new tricks but don’t expect Sean “I onside kick second half kickoffs” Payton to not be ready to pull a few tricks of his own.

The Saints won only 3 road games and they went 0-3 on the road in December.

The Eagles went 8-1 since losing at home October 27 to the Giants.

Winner: The Eagles. Nick Foles has been one of my favorite players to watch this year and he’s going to have the Eagles offense moving. I don’t think the Saints lay down by any means, but I don’t think they’ll have anything left in the bag when they reach down deep for that last push.

Sunday

Chargers at Bengals: The heartbreakers of Pittsburgh take their show to Cincinnati to face the Bengals, who quietly dominated the AFC with the third best conference record (behind the Broncos and Patriots). Despite the absence of Norv Turner, the Chargers still turned it on after a 5-7 start to squeak into the playoffs. The Bengals sport one of the more underrated defenses in the league as they held opponents to 10 points or less on four occasions.

The Chargers went .500 on the road and Phillip Rivers is 3-4 in playoff games.

The Bengals haven’t lost at home all season.

Winner: The Bengals comfortably. I think San Diego left it all on the field last week…their home field at that and won’t have it in them to break Cincy’s home winning streak.

49ers at Packers: Aaron Rodgers came back just in time to save the Packers’ playoff hopes. Colin Kaepernick has been much more effective with the return on Michael Crabtree. Kaepernick and Anquan Boldin hung NUMBERS on Green Bay back in Week 1. The Packers did win must win games at Dallas and at home against a terrible Falcons game with Matt Flynn to setup Rodgers to Randall Cobb last weekend.

The 49ers are 4-4 on the road this season although they have gone undefeated since Thanksgiving.

The Packers have won their last 5 games with Rodgers at the helm but none of those teams finished the season with a winning record.

Winner: The Packers. I expect Lambeau Field to return to a house of horrors for the Niners as they have a 2-4 record against the Pack in the playoffs (they’ve won 2 of the last 3 though). After dropping their last two contests to San Francisco, I expect Rodgers and the Packers to be out for blood. It doesn’t help that it may end up being the coldest game played in NFL history.

Next week, I take on the Divisional Round.

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