NFL Playoffs 2014: Wild Card Predictions | Respect the Crown | Sports Unbiased

NFL Playoffs 2014: Wild Card Predictions

Courtesy Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Courtesy Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

This weekend the NFL Playoffs begin with the Wild Card games.  The road to the Super Bowl begins with the following matchups:

Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts

New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles

San Diego Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals

San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers

We here at Sports Unbiased love to predict the outcomes of games, so that’s what this article is all about. The writers have picked the winners of each game and explained why they believe what they do.  You can also vote in a poll to pick the winner of each game (located after the breadowns below).

Also at the bottom of this article are the final standings for the Weekly NFL Picks made by the writers (so you can see how each writer did during the regular season).

 

 
Rich Stowe
Brian Podoll
Kimani Gregoire
John Yeomans
Alex Brooks
New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia EaglesEaglesSaintsEaglesEaglesEagles
San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay PackersPackersPackers49ers49ersPackers
Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis ColtsColtsChiefsColtsColtsChiefs
San Diego Chargers at Cincinnati BengalsBengalsBengalsBengalsBengalsChargers
Last Week (Playoffs)0-00-00-00-00-0
Overall (Playoffs)0-00-00-00-00-0
JR WilliamsMike SantangeloZach KrpanSports Unbiased Consensus
New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia EaglesEaglesEaglesSaintsEagles
San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers49ers49ersPackersSplit Decision
Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis ColtsChiefsColtsColtsColts
San Diego Chargers at Cincinnati BengalsBengalsBengalsBengalsBengals
Last Week (Playoffs)0-00-00-00-0
Overall (Playoffs)0-00-00-00-0

 

Now that you know who each writer predicted to win, let’s take a closer look at each game, beginning with the Saturday games:

Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts

 

ColtsRich Stowe: Colts, 34-21.  The Chiefs started the season very strong but finished it 2-5.  The Colts finished the season strong at 4-1 and during the season beat teams like the Broncos and these same Chiefs only a couple of weeks ago.  If this game was in KC, the outcome might be different, but because it’s in Indy, the Colts have to get the nod.

Kimani Gregoire: Colts, 21-17.  The Chiefs ended the season 2-5 after a 9-0 start, including a 23-7 home lost to the Colts in Week 16. The Colts on the other hand ended the season on a 4-1 run. In a game between two similarly-built teams (aggressive defenses, quarterbacks that a good game-managers, physical mindsets, etc.), I’m taking the team with the momentum coming into this matchup. It also helps to have the game at Indy.

John Yeomans: Colts, 28-21. After struggling without Reggie Wayne, the Colts have been on a roll winning three straight, using a balanced approach to offense and finally showing life on defense, as they have only allowed 20 points during the winning streak. The same can’t be said about the Chiefs, who went 9-0 to start the season, but since coming back from the bye are only 2-5, with the defense squandering down the stretch. When the Colts faced the Chiefs two week ago, they centered on stopping running back Jamal Charles, which lead to a dominating win. This contest will be a little closer than last time, as Andy Reid will make adjustments but with Luck on their side the Colts will advance.

Mike Santangelo:  Colts, 21-17. The Chiefs have shown a lot of cracks in their defense recently, while the Colts have shown a lot of cracks in their offense. However, I think the Luck/Hilton combination will be more than enough to lead the Colts to the next round.

Zach Krpan:  Colts 21 – 19. I think this will be a relatively low scoring affair. The Colts are still missing key pieces on offense, and I believe that the Chiefs defense will cause major problems for Luck. However I think that the Colts will narrowly pull out a victory and advance. The Colts defense will hold enough to keep Alex Smith and Jamaal Charles at bay.

 

ChiefsBrian Podoll: Chiefs, 27-23. Both teams are revamped and still really new to the playoffs, despite the previous Manning-era run by the Colts. While Indy should have an edge at home, I will place more value on Andy Reid’s postseason experience as a head coach for KC. The indoor elements will serve the Chiefs as much as the hosts and if Jamaal Charles on the ground can keep the ball out of Andrew Luck’s hands, that could pose the difference here. If KC avoids the three turnovers of their December 22 loss at home to the Colts, they can prevail.

Alex Brooks:  Chiefs, 24-17. I believe that the Chiefs will win this game because the starters for the Chiefs pretty much had a bye last week and yet they still almost won. Combine that with the streaky play of the Colts running backs and Andrew Luck and I believe that will be too much to over come despite the home field they possess.

JR Williams:  Chiefs, 28-21. The Chiefs have a better all around team in my opinion and I expect them to put up some big points on the Colts. Andrew Luck does have the ability to scramble but I think Andy Reid and the Chiefs will be better prepared for a playoff win.

NFL 2014 Wild Card Playoffs: Who will win - Chiefs or Colts?

  • Colts (71%, 15 Votes)
  • Chiefs (29%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 21

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New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles

 

EaglesRich Stowe:  Eagles – 21-17.  This game is in Philly, in January, with a start time at 8pm; all bad things if you’re the Saints.  The Saints are built to win in a dome and in nice weather which is not Philly on a winter’s night.  While I do think the Saints offensively are great, the weather will be the biggest factor.  If this game was in New Orleans the Saints might win by double-digits but it’s not.

 

Kimani Gregoire:  Eagles, 34-21.  Unless they put a dome in Philadelphia for this game, I’m not picking the Saints. It’s not just that the Saints are 3-5 on the road (compared to 8-0 at home); they just look like a completely different team outdoors. The Eagles defense is not good (Kyle Orton threw for over 300 yards on Sunday) but they’ll be aided by being at home – and more importantly being outdoors in temperatures expected to be in the low 30s.

John Yeomans:  Eagles, 24-21. The main reason why the Saints are playing away from the Super Dome is that frankly, on the road they are a different team, in a bad kind of away, which resulted in a 3-5 away record. Now they must go up to Philadelphia and take on Chip Kelly’s innovative offense and hope they get there first road playoff win in team history. If Saints defense coordinator Rob Ryan can use his blitz packages to give quarterback Nick Foles problems, they have a chance, especially with Drew Brees going up against a defense that finished the season dead last against the pass. Still with the temperatures most likely in the 20s, the Saints will freeze up on the road once again.

Alex Brooks:  Eagles, 35-20. The Eagles will run away with this one early because they are at home, and we all know that the Saints are a much different team on the road. The Eagles will take advantage early with their high-powered offensive coupled with the Saints road defense, plus it is outdoors, another advantage for the Eagles. I believe this will be too much to overcome resulting in the downfall of the Saints.

JR Williams:  Eagles, 31-29. The Eagles are a better team and home while the Saints lead by Drew Brees haven’t played well in cold weather this season. The Eagles have several offensive weapons with Nick Foles and LeSean McCoy each having outstanding seasons. My only concern is Eagles head coach Chip Kelly and whether or not he is capable of matching wits with the great Sean Payton.

Mike Santangelo:  Eagles, 38-35. I don’t think defense plays much of a part in this game at all. While both teams have dynamic offenses, the sheer number of weapons the Eagles have leads me to believe they will win in a shootout.

SaintsBrian Podoll:  Saints, 38-35. Since these two clubs did not face each other in the regular season, the inclination would be again to go with the home team. However, the Saints were a better defensive squad, even in the aftermath of their bounty-hunting scandal, and like Andy Reid, Sean Payton has a postseason coaching experience advantage over Chip Kelly. The only thing that can undo the dome-home Saints is the state of the weather at Philly come game time.

Zach Krpan:  Saints 36 – 28.This game will be interesting to say the least. Two high powered offenses going head to head should provide for one hell of a game. I believe the improved defense of the New Orlean Saints under Buddy Ryan will hold the Eagles off late in the game. Look for a shootout between these two teams.

NFL 2014 Wild Card Playoffs: Who will win - Saints or Eagles?

  • Eagles (71%, 15 Votes)
  • Saints (29%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 21

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Moving on to the Sunday games:

 

San Diego Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals

 

BengalsRich Stowe: Bengals 31 – 17.  If this was a 4pm game or on the West Coast, I might pick the Chargers but it’s a 1pm start in Cincy so that’s the biggest reason I’m picking the Benglas.

Brian Podoll:  Bengals, 32-16. Finally, a clear cut choice for a home team to win! The Bengals may be the most under-the-radar team in the NFL, with the fourth-best point differential in the league. The Chargers are an above-average team that does a lot both ways between the 20s, but do not translate into point differential. Cincy modestly beat the Chargers at San Diego on December 1 and now may have the January climate to their benefit at home. It may not exactly match the January 1982 AFC title game between these franchises (a frigid 27-7 Bengals home win), but could come close.

Kimani Gregoire:  Bengals, 31-14.  The time is now for head coach Marvin Lewis, quarterback Andy Dalton, and the Bengals to get the monkey off their backs and get their first playoff win. Unlike the past two seasons, the Bengals are playing this game at home where they have been dominant (Dalton in particular). It’s not that I’m underestimating the Chargers, I just believe that the Bengals are too talented to blow this game at home.

John Yeomans:  Bengals, 34-20. The Chargers squeaked by the Chiefs to clinched a coveted playoff spot and now go up north to face the Bengals in “The Freezer Bowl II.” Winning in Cincinnati has not happened for anybody besides the Bengals, so this will be no easy task, but with Phillip Rivers leading the third-best passing attack in the league they will surely put up a fight. The only problem is the Bengals offense will be too much for the Chargers defense that ranks 23rd. Therefore, after three years of trying, the Bengals will finally get their first playoff win since January 6, 1991.

JR Williams:  Bengals, 21-19. After defeating the Baltimore Ravens 34-17 and eliminating any playoff hope for Joe Flacco and company, the Bengals remained undefeated at home and look to maintain that record versus the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers are 4-4 on the road including a loss at home to the Cincinnati Bengals 17-10. I expect Andy Dalton and company to get the job done in Cincinnati.

Mike Santangelo:  Bengals, 28-27. The Chargers have been a revelation in Rivers’ comeback year. But, the Bengals are at home, and they have AJ Green, I think the defense comes up big at just the right time to hold this game for Cincy.

Zach Krpan:  Bengals 28 – 19. Phillip Rivers has been much improved this year, but the Bengals front four is dangerous. I believe Rivers is terrorized all day and the Bengals offense capitalizes.

 

ChargersAlex Brooks:  Chargers, 20-17. I just can’t hop on the Bengals yet. They lose to a average team like the Steelers, but then destroy the Colts. To hot and cold for my liking, plus they haven’t done well in the playoffs going 5-11 in their existence. The Chargers aren’t much better at the streaky play and a bad playoff record, but I think they find a way to pull it out late.

 

NFL 2014 Wild Card Playoffs: Who will win - Chargers or Bengals?

  • Bengals (70%, 16 Votes)
  • Chargers (30%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 23

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San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers

 

PackersRich Stowe:  Packers, 21-17.  This will be a close game and I do believe whichever team is the home team would win this matchup so that’s why I’m going with the Packers (plus Aaron Rodgers is back and looking to prove he’s back).

Brian Podoll: Packers, 31-27. Perhaps the most intriguing game of the weekend, as division-winning host Green Bay has much to prove against a Frisco squad with a much better record that has won the last two meetings between them. The Packers get the edge here, because of the likely “frozen tundra” factor at home and they will be better able to run the ball with Eddie Lacy and James Starks than in the regular season opener. Offense has not been as serious an issue for Green Bay, even during the absence of returned prodigal son Aaron Rodgers, as their awfully porous (and injured) defense coordinated by Dom Capers. If Green Bay advances from this game, only to be disposed of in short order beyond that, look for Capers to be replaced in Titletown for next season.

Alex Brooks:  Packers, 17-10. The Packers just got their QB back so what isn’t to like? They are hot at the right time, and the 49ers have to travel to Green Bay. I just don’t see anyone beating the Packers at home right now with the Packers slowly getting players back for injures. Plus I think Rodgers got his first game jitters out vs the Bears, so look for him to have one of the best games of his career vs the staggering defense of the 49ers. I think a late touchdown seals it late for Rodgers and the Packers.

Zach Krpan:  Packers 40 – 28.  The Packers were rewarded a chance at the playoffs beating the Bears in the last minutes of the NFC North divisional game. A major boost for the team getting Randal Codd back means the Packers go into the game ready to play ball. Colin Kaepernick does not look like the guy he was last year, and for those reasons the Packers will advance.

 

49ers

Kimani Gregoire: 49ers, 31-20.  San Francisco 49ers have the Packers’ number having beaten them the last three meetings. Frank Gore will gash the Packers’ defense on the ground and Kaepernick will be able to pick on the 25th-ranked passing defense. The Packers have a chance because they are at home and because they have Aaron Rodgers but the 49ers are just too physical on both sides of the ball and are frankly a bad matchup for the Packers.

John Yeomans:  49ers, 33-24. Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb came back just in time to save the Packers season and win the division against the Bears setting up a rematch from last year’s Divisional Round game against the 49ers. Now the big problem with this matchup is that San Francisco has been Green Bay’s kryptonite, as they have beat them three times in the last two seasons, while Colin Kaepernick has giving defensive coordinator Don Capers fits in the last two meetings . Another problem is even though Aaron Rodgers saved the day last Sunday, he was a little rusty throwing two interceptions in his return, which will be a problem against the 49ers fifth ranked defense. Because of these two big factors, I see the 49ers once again ending the Packers season.

JR Williams:  49ers 33-21. Both Green Bay and the 49ers are coming off close wins that could have gone either way in the 4th quarter. Its hard to gauge the success of the Packers as this will only be Aaron Rodger’s second game back from injury. The Packers have experienced some defensive issues throughout the season, giving up an average of 26.8 points per game but they are ranked 8th in the NFL in scoring (tied with the Seattle Seahawks) which could mean trouble for the 49ers. In the end I think Colin Kaepernick’s ability to extend plays with his running ability in conjunction with the rest of the 49ers offense will be a bit overwhelming to the Packers defense.

Mike Santangelo:  49ers, 24-13. Rodgers is back, and the Green Bay offense looks better already. But, this 49ers defense is elite, and can shutdown any team if they are playing well. On top of that, Green Bay’s defense can’t seem to stop anyone. There’s no miracle in Lambeau this week.

 

NFL 2014 Wild Card Playoffs: Who will win - 49ers or Packers?

  • 49ers (62%, 16 Votes)
  • Packers (38%, 10 Votes)

Total Voters: 26

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Sports Unbiased
 
NFL Picks
Final Regular
Season Standings
(based on "win" % - the number of correct picks)
PlaceWriterCorrect PicksWrong PicksTies"Win" %
1st PlaceZach Krpan331000.767441860465
2nd PlaceKimani Gregoire1578810.638211382114
3rd PlaceJohn Yeomans1568910.634146341463
4th PlaceBrian Podoll1549110.626016260163
5th PlaceMike Santangelo1418810.613043478261
6th PlaceWesley Dotson1509510.609756097561
7th PlacePatrick Kassel996310.60736196319
8th PlaceRich Stowe1489710.60162601626
9th PlaceSports Unbiased Consensus1469190.593495934959
9th PlaceAlex Brooks734910.593495934959
10th PlaceMike Tursi946810.576687116564
11th PlaceJosh Madas1329710.573913043478
12th PlaceChris Pagliuca14210510.572580645161
13th PlaceNate Gerst14110610.568548387097
14th PlaceJR Williams13611110.548387096774

About the Author: Rich Stowe

Rich Stowe has written for many sports-based websites over the years including Informative Sports.com, Sports Nickel.com, Dugout Report.com and was a Featured Columnist for MLB and the New York Yankees for Bleacher Report. Rich is a Lifetime member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA). He is also a self-published author - his book "From Abused Puppy to Beloved Family Member: The Life Story of Jacob the Rottweiler" can be found for the Kindle and in print through amazon.com.