Game 1: San Francisco at Green Bay
On paper, this screams for an blowout, and Colin Kaepernick has had his way with the Packers defense the last 2 times these teams have met. The Packers have a weak run defense and just barely scraped by into the playoffs at 8-7-1. They needed late magic on 4th and 8 with 38 seconds remaining before Aaron Rodgers found a wide open Randall Cobb to win the NFC North and send the Pack to the playoffs with home field advantage. Still, nothing is impossible with Aaron Rodgers under center, as good a quarterback as you’ll find in NFL history. Unlike the past two meetings between these teams, this game will be played at Lambeau, with an expected high of 19 degrees, instead of sunny SF in september. While the Packers limped into the playoff picture, San Francisco cruised into January, winners of six straight. Despite the presence of Rodgers, I predict Frank Gore and the 49ers run game will gash the Packers on the ground to the tune of 160+ yards on at least 30 carries combined. Rodgers will throw for over 300 yards and 2 touchdowns, but the 49ers defense will force 2 turnovers minimum and win the game by 2 scores.
Game 2: New Orleans at Philedalphia
The New Orleans Saints own a spotless 8-0 home record, but are a below average 3-5 on the road. They are on the road here, and out of their cozy Louisana Superdome and into frigid Philedalphia. The Saint haven’t been unlucky on the road-they have been blown out. The Saints defense is suspect on the road, which doesn’t bode well when facing Nick Foles and LeSean McCoy. The Eagles outlasted a gutsy effort by Kyle Orton and the Cowboys in Week 17 to sew up a playoff spot. Many Eagles players are in unfamiliar territory, and nerves might play a factor in the beginning of the game, whereas this is business as usual for Drew Brees and the Saints. I predict that McCoy has 3 scores, 2 rushing and 1 receiving, and Nick Foles survives a shootout with Brees to win the game 30-27.
San Diego snuck into the playoffs due to a missed field goal that should have been re-kicked, but that’s all a moot point if they can beat the Bengals. Phillp Rivers is playing some of the best football of his career, and Ryan Matthews has shown that when he’s healthy, he is a dynamic running back. Keenan Allen is making a strong case for the rookie of the year, and Antonio Gates is still productive. For the Bengals, their chances for a deep playoff run revolve around Andy Dalton. Cinncinati is loaded with offensive weapons including AJ Green, GIovani Bernard, and Mohammed Sanu. Dalton needs to get the ball to his playmakers quickly and effectively. Dalton has not played well in his first two playoff appearences, sending the Bengals home empty handed after first round losses in each of his first two seasons. A good day from Dalton wins this game for the Bengals, but considering the growth of this Chargers team and the performances that they can put on when clicking, this one is far from a sure thing. It’s unwise to trust Dalton in the playoffs. 24-14 Chargers.
These 2 teams met at Kansas City in Week 16, and it wasn’t pretty. Indy ran all over the once-dominant Chiefs defense, and the KC offense stalled once they got away from the run game. After starting 9-0, the Chiefs stumbled to a 2-5 finish. This is a big game for Kansas City in terms of defining their year. Were they the team that rode a dominant defense and a star running back deep into the playoffs? Or were they a team who got lucky with an easy strenghth of schedule and folded in games against tough opponents? On the road, with a sputtering offense and a defense that looks out of sync, the Chiefs are not the imposing threat they once were. On the other side of the field are the Colts, a well coached team with a rising star in quarterback Andrew Luck. The Colts also have a defensive monster in Robert Mathis, who led the league in sacks. Luck and the Colts take this game, 21-16, but it’s a tough road ahead for Indy without Reggie Wayne.
Colin Kaepernick had a career day against the Packers last time these two teams met in the playoffs. Credit for the image goes to: http://host.madison.com/sports/football/professional/packers-can-t-stop-colin-kaepernick-fall—to/article_54524972-5d39-11e2-bee1-0019bb2963f4.html
The Saints have had trouble on the road, including a 34-7 scorching on Monday Night Football. Credit for the image goes to: http://seattletimes.com/html/seahawks/2022382926_saintssidebar03xml.html
There’s no doubt about what type of player AJ Green(right) is-but the same cannot be said about his quarterback.(Andy Dalton, left) Credit for the image goes to: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d823038c5/article/week-5-observations-bengals-playing-well-behind-rookies (Article is from 2011)
Jamaal Charles will do his best to carry his team, but will it be enough? Credit for the image goes to: http://www.rantsports.com/fantasy/2013/08/01/2013-fantasy-football-face-off-lesean-mccoy-vs-jamaal-charles/
I do not own any of these pictures and all credit goes to the photographers and the websites.