This is the game I go back and forth the most on although I probably shouldn’t. Cincinnati at home has been a completely different team than on the road. First thing they do is put up points with ease and so far it looks like the weather won’t be that bad. Could the Bengals lose their third straight playoff game in three years? I want to say no, but have been wavering all week on this one. Add to that San Diego isn’t coming off the most impressive win over the Kansas City JV squad. So will we see the team that won in Denver or last week’s fortunate squad?
Big question may be are you willing to bet on Andy Dalton or Philip Rivers in this one? Most would say Rivers and I also lean that way but I just have a feeling that the Bengals will not lose again in the wildcard round of the playoffs. So even if Dalton tries to give the game away the Bengals will still have enough to win this one. I also think Giovani Bernard makes a huge play or two in this one.
Kansas City vs. Indianapolis
Indy won in KC just a couple weeks ago so getting the Chiefs at home should be a lock. They even took down the Chiefs at a time when they were playing good football especially on offense and the Colts were not as much. Not so fast as Lee Corso would say. Alex Smith saves his best work for the playoffs, well one game he did. Real question is can the Colts put everything on Andrew Luck and still can he come through? And I mean everything in this game. I think he is the most important player in the whole wildcard weekend and I think it’s too much.
Luck will win his share of playoff games but not this game. I also think that Jamaal Charles has a big one and frustrates the Colts all game. Alex Smith doesn’t have to be great but Andy Reid will have his team ready. Kansas City wins and most likely will head to Denver to face the Broncos for the third time.
Now for the two big boy games of the weekend. I said to start the season I felt the NFC was much stronger than the AFC and I still believe it. I thought Philadelphia was going to roll Dallas last week once the news came out that Kyle Orton would start for Dallas. They won, but it was a lot closer than I imagined. But they did what they had to do and now get a home playoff game versus the once dominating Saints. Two things we know about the Saints, Brees to Graham is tough to stop and the Saints suck on the road. Letting the Panthers pass them in the division was fatal for the Saints as now they have to go outside to Philly.
How much I like Brees and how much the Saints defense improved from past seasons, I just don’t see them ending their road woes. Chip Kelly has done a very good job in year one as he has gotten the Eagles past their home losing woes. I hate the Eagles and it kills me to do this but….
San Francisco vs. Green Bay
Another strong game from the NFC early on. And once you get Seattle in the mix next weekend it is going to be great. Winner of this one could be heading north west to hear some pumped in crowd noise in the divisional round. Aaron Rodgers is back and was able to get Green Bay into the playoffs and actually at home. Maybe the Lambeau crowd gets their stadium sold out or maybe not?
But I think the Niners are a team that can go on the road in bad weather and win. Both teams have been able to get healthy other than a huge missing component for the Pack in Clay Matthews. These two teams have given us three great games in the past two seasons and I don’t see anything different.
I picked San Francisco to return to the Super Bowl so I can’t have they go home here. Maybe next week in Seattle but not here. Even with how great Rodgers is, I just don’t think it will be enough to beat the more solid 49ers. I think it wouldn’t be fair to NFL fans if the Niners and Seahawks didn’t play this post season.