NFL Wildcard Weekend Preview

Posted: January 4, 2014 by ericbernsen in Inside The Odds, NFL, Sports
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

NFL Wild Card Weekend is always an interesting and unpredictable once as the lower seeds fight to move on in the playoffs. After a wild week of regular season finale games, the match-ups are set in what should should be an exciting four games. Let’s take a look at these Wild Card contests and offer a preview of what we can expect.

No. 5 Kansas City Chiefs at No. 4 Indianapolis Colts (-2.5, 46.5)

While the Chiefs started the season off on a very strong note, Kansas City has not impressed in the closing weeks. It appears that K.C benefited from a weak schedule early on as a huge note of concern is the Chiefs 1-5 record against winning teams this year. They were 0-5 against the Colts, Bronco’s, and Chargers, teams that all advanced to the playoffs. The Chiefs will have to regain their ferociousness on the pass rush as Colts QB Andrew Luck has been on fire recently (8 TD’s and 1 INT the last four weeks). Indy’s offensive line has gotten healthier and will need to continue to protect Luck in order to advance past this game. With the home field advantage, I would lean on the Colts to move on and defeat K.C in a high scoring affair.

No. 6 New Orleans Saints at No. 3 Philadelphia Eagles (-2.5, 53.5)

This is a matchup in which home field might make all the difference. The contrast between the Saints play at home and on the road is well known as New Orleans was 8-0 at the Superdome, but 3-5 away from it this season. The explosive offense of the Saints have a huge opportunity to take advantage of the Eagles subpar secondary as the Drew Brees/Jimmy Graham connection will be on national display. However, the Eagles offense is potent as well with QB Nick Foles leading a team that was up and down this season. While Philly has won seven of their last eight games, only one of those victories was against a playoff game. The experience of Drew Brees under center may prove to be the difference, but if the Eagles can build their running game with LeSean McCoy it will make things interesting. This game should go down to the last possession and I will lean toward the Eagles as I cannot back this Saints team on the road. Expect a lot of points.

No. 6 San Diego Chargers at No. 3 Cincinnati Bengals (-7, 47)

Something will have to give in this game as the Chargers uptempo offensive attack will go up against the best defense in the AFC in the Bengals. San Diego sneaked into the playoffs this year and will have to go to Cincinnati as they attempt to serve the Bengals their first loss at home this season. Andy Dalton will have to continue his strong play and avoid untimely turnovers as he attempts to control the pace of the game against the Chargers. Star WR A.J Green will be a popular target for Dalton, and I think Cincinnati will prove their legitimacy with a win as they attempt to earn a victory in the playoffs for the first time since 1990.

No. 5 San Francisco 49ers at No. 4 Green Bay Packers (+2.5, 47.5)

While the 49ers have been dominating on defense most of the season, their secondary as struggled recently despite heading into the postseason with six straight wins. The return of Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and their dramatic win against the Bears last week will serve as huge hype going into this game. The weather is supposed to be frigid at Lambeau Field, so the strong running games of both squads will have to be ready to grind it out. While I think San Francisco is the more talented team on paper, it is hard for me to go against this Green Bay team who have regained confidence with the return of Rodgers as well as WR Randall Cobb. Lean Packers in a close contest.





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