Saturday, January 4, 2014

NFL Picks, Wild Card Weekend

Saturday, 4:30 PM
Kansas City at INDIANAPOLIS (-1)
Kansas City started off the season 9-0, beating exactly one team that finished the season over .500 in that stretch (Philadelphia, 3 games into Chip Kelly's tenure. They followed that up with a 2-5 finish, with the two wins over the 3-13 Redskins and the 4-12 Raiders. The Chiefs got to 11 wins by not beating themselves all season long, and with some terrific pass rush from OLBs Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. Then Houston got hurt, and the pass rush went away. Now Houston is back...but Hali is questionable. 

Add in the fact that they drew the Colts, who did a terrific job of not turning the ball over all season-long, and this is not set up well for a Chiefs road win. Not with Alex Smith under center. He needs help, either from his defense or from the other team's defense. 

The pick: Colts cover, win 24-16

Saturday, 8:00 PM
New Orleans at PHILADELPHIA (-2.5)
Everyone knows the narrative here: the Saints can't win on the road. They were 8-0 in the Superdome, and 3-5 anywhere else. And by virtue of not winning their division, the Saints get to go on the road for this one. 

They draw the Eagles, who have been laying waste to NFL defenses since November. It seems like now is the time to point out that they played exactly one good defense in that stretch: Arizona (but they did beat them 24-21). Add in their disappointing showing against the horrid Cowboys defense in week 17, and I'm more skeptical of the Eagles than you'd expect. But I'm not ready to back the Saints not he road, especially with the east coast in the middle of a cold snap and coming off of a blizzard. 

The pick: Eagles cover, win 30-27

Sunday, 1:00 PM
San Diego at CINCINNATI (-7)
I'm not a believer in the Bengals, mostly because of Andy Dalton. He's a good quarterback, but not a great one, and he's inconsistent enough to put up more than his share of stinkers. But I've been waiting for Cincinnati to fall apart at home down the stretch and they just keep steamrolling teams. 

San Diego has had a magical month of wins and everything else breaking right in order to get into the playoffs. But Cincinnati is a more talented team, especially on the offensive and defensive lines. Unless San Diego shows more up front than they have all season, it will be another long day for visitors to Cincinnati. 

The pick: Bengals cover, win 34-23

Sunday, 4:30 PM
San Francisco (-2.5) at GREEN BAY
There have been two Colin Kaepernicks this season: the one who plays Green Bay and the one who plays anyone else. The one who plays everyone else is good, but the one who plays Green Bay is a world beater. The Packers defense isn't appreciably better then they have been in any of their last 3 games against San Francisco (all 49er wins), and the ability to slow Kaepernick down will continue to elude them. 

The pick: 49ers cover, win 36-24

Oh, and just to embarass myself even more, here are my almost 3-year-old son's picks (the one who picked last year's Super Bowl correctly when I didn't):

Enjoy Wild Card Weekend!

Last week: 6-10 (.375)
2013 season: 115-134-7 (.463)
2013 Midweek Picks: 7-9-1

2012 Postseason: 6-4-1
2011 Postseason: 6-5

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