Observations, Final Results
CHIEFS AT COLTS
Last meeting: Week 16, Colts 23 at Chiefs 7
The Chiefs have an 11-5 record. That’s deceiving when one considers that they’ve lost five of their last seven games (one of which they played backups). Many of their earlier victories came against No. 2 or No. 3 quarterbacks.
The Chiefs offense had some success against the Colts defense. Jamaal Charles averaged 8.2 yards per carry. What killed the Chiefs were some uncharacteristic turnovers (four giveaways, zero takeaways) and letting Indianapolis control the football for more than 38 minutes.
Expect the Chiefs to protect the football and make this a much more competitive game. I’m still taking Andrew Luck to pull off some end-of-game magic and win his first playoff game.
SAINTS AT EAGLES
Didn’t play in 2012
Playing away from the Super Dome? That’s always had an impact on New Orleans. Their 2010 team couldn’t win a road game against a 7-9 Seahawks team. This season, the Saints have lost three consecutive road games. One of those came against a Kellen Clemens-led St. Louis Rams team.
Saturday night should see favorable weather following a couple snowstorm days. Can Drew Brees take advantage of an Eagles secondary who, in Week 15, surrendered 48 points to Matt Cassel and an Adrian Peterson-less offense? Dallas Cowboys backup quarterback Kyle Orton threw for 358 yards against them.
For New Orleans, this isn’t a bad matchup. Rob Ryan has turned his defense into a top-five unit in yards allowed. The Eagles surrender more passing yards than anybody else. In terms of offensive time-of-possession, the Saints are No. 3 (32:41) while the Eagles are dead last (26:24)…no one else is even close. Defense that’s on the field longer equals more yards allowed?
Taking the Saints in a road game against a quality opponent? Meh, I’ll take that risk.
CHARGERS AT BENGALS
Last meeting: Week 13, Bengals 17 at Chargers 10
This game comes down to which Bengals team shows up. Will the dominant home team show up or will they revert back to what has extended their playoff-winless streak to 23 seasons?
One can say the same thing about San Diego. Which Chargers team shows up? The team who pulls off road upsets against Philadelphia, Kansas City and Denver? Or the one who can barely win a do-or-die home game against Kansas City when they’re playing almost entirely backups?
Tough call. The Bengals have an 8-0 record at home (then again, Denver was undefeated before San Diego played them). While I have zero confidence in that (-7) line, I’m feeling good enough about Cincinnati. Just as long as Andy Dalton doesn’t have another dud. This season, there are no excuses for Cincinnati not to advance out of the wild-card round.
49ERS AT PACKERS
Last meeting: Week 1, Packers 28 at 49ers 34
Don’t let the scoreboard deceive you: the 49ers have dominated the Packers in each of the last three meetings. It’s just a major mismatch of physicality and overall talent that favors San Francisco. Now that Eddie Lacy has had more reps and James Starks is staying healthy, the Packers have a physical ground game that could affect the outcome of this game. Of course, Dom Capers‘ defense is worse than ever. That’s saying something because he’s had some bad defenses.
As a Packers follower, I’m feeling more confident about this game than the previous three matchups. A Packers win wouldn’t surprise me but I’d still say it’s 60/40 in favor of San Francisco. The Packers have Rodgers but the 49ers have a more complete team. Will the potentially zero-degree (with even colder wind chill) weather affect San Francisco?
Straight Picks Record (Last Week): 14-2
Spread Picks Record (Last Week): 11-5
Straight Picks Record (Overall): 165-90
Spread Picks Record (Overall): 125-124
Titans Straight Picks (Last Week): CORRECT
Titans Picks Record (Overall): 10-5 (Missed DEN game)
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