The road to the Super Bowl will officially kick off this weekend. This years group of Wild Card teams are definitely contenders, too. The NFC Wild Card teams in particular, but that doesn’t mean an AFC Wild Card team can’t sneak into the Super Bowl. All of the teams are definitely capable of doing some serious damage.
But which teams will win & which teams will falter? Well, i’m going to attempt to predict just that.
(Keep in mind that i’m not picking against the spread. I’m just trying to accurately predict the winners and losers.)
San Diego Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
The Chargers undoubtedly had a lot of help getting into the playoffs, but that doesn’t make them any less of a challenge. Philip Rivers has reverted into the quarterback that he was always capable of being. The additions of Danny Woodhead and Keenan Allen have a lot to do with it. The emergence of Ryan Matthews, which took a bit longer than most San Diego fans would have liked, is also a welcome addition to this high powered Chargers offense. The real problem in San Diego is their lackluster defense.
The Chargers enter Cincinnati with a defense that has allowed 366.5 yards per game. Bad enough to be the 10th worst defense in that particular category. Things might get ugly if they let Andy Dalton & A.J. Green get going, but if San Diego can force Dalton into a few ill-advised throws, they might be able to sneak out of Cincy with the W.
I’m taking San Diego over the hometown Bengals this weekend. I just have a feeling that the Chargers got hot/lucky at the right time. Philip Rivers is playing well and Dalton is coming off of a 4 interception performance. I think it will be a tight game, but will ultimately end with San Diego charging forward in the playoffs.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Indianapolis Colts
The turnaround that the Kansas City Chiefs accomplished this season is truly impressive. Alex Smith is a good quarterback, there is no disputing that. In the end, Smith’s greatest strength might also be his biggest weakness. As ridiculous as it sounds, he is too safe with the football. Great quarterbacks aren’t afraid to make the big throws into coverage. I just fear that the Chiefs will be incapable of coming back if they get down by a few scores. Which, in a way, shifts the pressure off of Smith onto the Kansas City defense.
Kansas City’s usually stout defense allowed Andrew Luck and the Colts to pile up nearly 400 yards on the day in week 16. And that was an away game for the Colts. I expect Luck to have a strong game and for Alex Smith to do the opposite. I just have a strong feeling that the Colts will go up early and the Chiefs will be playing catch up, something that Alex Smith isn’t particularly great at. Couple that with Robert Mathis coming at you and you’re in for a bad day.
I have Indianapolis securing the victory at home over the visiting Chiefs.
New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Both teams enter the game with highly potent offensive units. I’m surprisingly big on Nick Foles, but unsurprisingly bigger on Drew Brees. The pair of quarterbacks put together equally impressive seasons. The only question that remains is can Nick Foles win in the playoffs?
Foles had an incredible coming out party this year, but his lack of playoff experience figures to factor into the games outcome. The fact that the game is in Philly definitely helps, but will that be enough? I don’t believe so.
I foresee Drew Brees and the Saints marching out of Philadelphia with a win. I think that Nick Foles is an excellent, young quarterback and his time for playoff success will surely come, but not this year. Philadelphia’s defense, or lack thereof, will come back to haunt them as they won’t be able to stop the strong offensive attack of New Orleans.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers
In my opinion, this game is the highlight of Wild Card weekend. The 49ers come into the contest on a 6-game win streak. The Packers on the other hand, are coming off of a dramatic, division clinching victory against the Bears.
As Eli Manning and the Giants have proven twice before, it’s all about getting hot at the right time. That’s exactly what the Packers are about to do. Aaron Rodgers was able to shake off the rust in last weeks game and I think he’s about to put on a show.Would I be surprised if San Francisco shuts him down? No, but I don’t think that they will. The way that Green Bay made it into the playoffs just makes it seem like they’re the team of destiny this year.
I’m going with Green Bay at home. I picked them to win it all in the beginning of the season and i’m sticking with them.
What do you think? Who do you have winning this weekend?