The matchups are set, so now it’s time to break down each of the wild card games this weekend.
(5) Kansas City Chiefs (+2.5) at (4) Indianapolis Colts
These two teams met in the regular season just two weeks ago, with the Colts winning at Arrowhead Stadium 23-7. The Chiefs have gone 2-5 in their last seven games of the regular season after starting 9-0. Meanwhile, the Colts have played much better after a couple of disastrous midseason losses. T.Y. Hilton has become a primary target for Andrew Luck in the absence of Reggie Wayne. The Chiefs defense has struggled in the second half of the year after being a main reason for their 9-0 start. This game is in the comfort of temperature controlled Lucas Oil Stadium this time, and I think the Colts offense will be too much for the Chiefs defense. I’m taking the Colts and the spread 27-17.
(6) New Orleans Saints (+2.5) at (3) Philadelphia Eagles
The Saints finished the regular season with the better record, but losing the division to the Panthers dropped them to the sixth seed and their struggles on the road have them as a 2.5 point underdog. The Saints went undefeated at home in the regular season, but managed just a 3-5 record on the road. Even worse, they have never won a road playoff game in their history. Meanwhile, the Eagles finished the season winning 7 out of their last 8 games. Nick Foles has proven that he can consistently play at a high level, and Chip Kelly runs the NFC’s most dynamic offense. This should certainly be a fun game to watch, with loads of talent on the offensive side of the ball. I am picking the Eagles to win this game and cover the spread, 34-21.
(6) San Diego Chargers (+7) at (3) Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals took down the Chargers 17-10 earlier this month in San Diego. After sneaking into the playoffs and grabbing the sixth seed, the Chargers will get another shot against the Bengals in Cincinnati this weekend. The Bengals have gone one and done in the wild card round the last two years, and Andy Dalton is looking for his first playoff win. The Chargers have one of the league’s most talented teams, but are known for their inconsistency. Philip Rivers led the NFL in completion percentage, and Keenan Allen and Ryan Matthews have emerged as big playmakers for San Diego. Cincinnati counters with elite receiver A.J. Green and running back Giovanni Bernard. I expect the Chargers veteran experience will help them stay in this game against a relatively young Bengals team. Cincinnati wins, but doesn’t cover the spread, 23-17.
(5) San Francisco 49ers (-3) at (4) Green Bay Packers
These two teams will meet in the playoffs for the second consecutive year. The 49ers won in the divisional round last year, but will head to Lambeau field for the rematch. The 49ers have the NFC’s second best record, while the Packers managed just 8 wins in the regular season, the lowest of any playoff team. Even though Green Bay will have Aaron Rodgers back, San Francisco has been playing well and I expect them to take this game with the spread 31-24.
Thanks to everyone who read this post. Please like the post if you enjoyed reading, comment if you have feedback, and share with others.