31 December 2013

2014 NFL Wild Card Playoff Predictions

We have finally made it, the NFL Playoffs. 12 clubs, six in each conference, are alive with their Super Bowl hopes intact. Eight of those teams will be playing this weekend in the Wild Card round, who will survive and advance to the Divisional round? Here are my picks.

Last Week: 14-2
2013 Regular Season: 162-92
Locks: 14-3

Saturday, January 4th
Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) vs. Indianapolis Colts (11-5) - NBC, 4:35
For the second straight year, the Colts have made the playoffs thanks to a very good quarterback in Andrew Luck, who showed improvement from a strong rookie campaign of a year ago, good coaching with Chuck Pagano leading the show, and a little smoke and mirrors on defense. There's nothing wrong with that, as long as you make the party, you are at the party. I just think the Chiefs are a stronger club, even as they got trounced by the Colts just a couple weeks ago. They have an excellent defense to force Luck into mistakes and their running game will give Indianapolis fits. Andy Reid will get his first playoff win in five years.
Chiefs 23 Colts 14

New Orleans Saints (11-5) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6) - NBC, 8:10
You want offense? You should get plenty of offense in this one but I think the key will actually be New Orleans's defense. We know that the Saints are a much different team on the road than at the Superdome plus they are not a great club in cold weather (temperature expected to be slightly below freezing this Saturday night). They will need their much-improved 34 defense to slow down the cranking Chip Kelly machine, which I think they can do, to an extent. Give me Philadelphia at home.
Eagles 31 Saints 27

Sunday, January 5th
San Diego Chargers (9-7) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (11-5) - CBS, 1:05
We know what the rap is on the Bengals, they can't win playoff games as they have failed to get past the Wild Card round all four times they have made the postseason under Marvin Lewis. Plus, San Diego comes in hot having won five of six to get into the playoffs, although their playoff sealer took advantage of a bad missed call. But who did the one loss come to? That's correct, the Bengals and in San Diego no less. I think their confidence from that prior win as well as the fact that they are the superior club, especially on defense, will get them the win.
Bengals 31 Chargers 21

San Francisco 49ers (12-4) vs. Green Bay Packers (8-7-1) - Fox, 4:40
I mean, I can't explain how the Packers were able to survive Aaron Rodgers being out for a month and a half, surviving a five game winless streak that saw the club start three different quarterbacks and still get into the playoffs, but hey they've made the show after a wild win at Chicago on Sunday. But it will be a tougher test against San Francisco, even as Rodgers will have shaken off much of his rust. Chicago's defense is much inferior to the 49ers' and that will make it a tough go of it for the Packer offense. Even as the 49ers' offense does not have much pop, relying on a varied rushing game, I think they have a slight edge.
49ers 24 Packers 20

2 comments:

  1. Valid points on all 4 games Ben. My only disagreement is San Diego as I think they will prevail. The other predictions are spot on. Happy New Year

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  2. Bengals win in a close one! Good pick Ben! Who Dey!

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