Jan 4, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) dives in for a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs in the fourth quarter during the 2013 AFC wild card playoff football game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Playoffs: Wild Card Round Thoughts Day One

Well day one of Wild Card Weekend is in the books, and we were very fortunate to have two fantastic game, where at the start of both, they looked to be duds. The Indianapolis Colts stunned the Kansas City Chiefs in one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history, pulling that one out at home in a 45-44 shootout. Then the New Orleans Saints went into cold Philadelphia and beat the Eagles on a game winning field goal by former Patriots kicker, Shayne Graham. In this piece I would just like to give my thoughts that I had during the games yesterday, and also look ahead to today’s games between the Cincinnati Bengals and San Diego Chargers, and the Green Bay Packer and San Francisco 49ers.

Colts vs Chiefs:

  • I felt that this game was a trap for the Colts as I never like to pick a team to win two games against another team, in just a short amount of time, as the last time these two played, it was only week 16.
  • Jamaal Charles first quarter injury swung the momentum of this game, and while it didn’t make that big of a difference in the first half, it really showed up in the second when the Chiefs offense began to bog down.
  • The Colts offensive line did a fantastic job of protecting Andrew Luck, as the Chiefs only sacked him once. Remember, this is one of the best pass rushing teams in the NFL, against one of the weakest offensive lines.
  • Injuries managed to decimate this game slightly, as the Chiefs lost four starters and a key backup, Charles, Justin Houston, Brandon Flowers, Donnie Avery and Knile Davis, which really swung the momentum of this game.
  • Andy Reid still cannot manage a clock to save his life, and that blunder of wasting a timeout after the two minute warning, was both fun to watch, and cringe worthy at the same time.
  • Andrew Luck’s fumble recovery, and touchdown run is one of the most magical plays I’ve ever seen. It seems like Andrew Luck is making that leap to superstardom before our very eyes, and I would be very hesitant to bet or pick against this man on a mission for the rest of the playoffs.

Eagles vs Saints: 

  • The knock on the Saints was that this team can’t play in the cold weather, coming from a nice, cozy dome, but they did a great job of dispelling those thoughts yesterday, even thought Drew Brees wasn’t his normal explosive self.
  • Speaking of the quarterbacks, I was impressed with Nick Foles, and think this guy is going to be one of the top quarterbacks in the game. He didn’t get much help from LeSean McCoy, and still nearly won the game. Come back next year Nick with a more complete team, and you guys could be real threats.
  • This game started very uncharacteristically in that the defenses of both teams showed up to play in the first half and made things miserable for the opposing offenses, but both teams found their offensive groove more or less in the second half, which is what we were all expecting to see all along.
  • Amazingly enough, the much maligned Saints running game really stepped up to the plate, and actually delivered when they were called upon. Mark Ingram is still inconsistent, but he’s starting to look more like an NFL back nowadays. You need to be able to run in the playoffs, and the Saints proved that they could do that when they absolutely needed to.
  • I wouldn’t like either of these teams going into Seattle or Carolina, and I don’t think the Saints have much of a shot vs the dreaded Seahawks and their home field advantage. Of course this is the playoffs, anything crazy can happen.

Bengals vs Chargers

  • The Chargers seem like a team of destiny right now, just slipping into the playoffs, having the second or third best quarterback in football, but they were incredibly unlucky to run into the Bengals at home. I never pick against the Bengals at home.
  • We have a classic matchup of a great offense vs a great defense. We all know how the saying goes, “Offenses win game, defenses win Super Bowls.” In this case I will agree, as I think the Bengals defense is just too stingy.
  • Philip Rivers like I mentioned above, is probably the second or third best quarterback in the game right now (crazy, I know) so if the Chargers want to win this game, it relies on Rivers to pull them through the fire, and maybe extinguish some of those past playoff failures.
  • The only reason I’m hesitant on the Bengals is because Andy Dalton is their quarterback. I don’t trust a player who will throw multiple game changing throws, in the bad sense for his team. Dalton has been known to throw a game away before.
  • What happens to Marvin Lewis if the Bengals go three straight years in the playoffs without a playoff win? Lewis is a long tenured guy, but he has not put much results on the table, and if they do lose at home, I’d imagine his seat is probably pretty hot.

Packers vs 49ers:

  • Aaron Rodgers makes this team a Super Bowl contender, and I don’t care what any of you say to me to change my mind. Give me an elite quarterback like Rodgers, and they have a shot to win a Super Bowl.
  • The 49ers seem like the easy pick here considering this Packers team is frightfully mediocre outside of the great one himself, but going into Lambeau Field, I’m not sure I completely trust these west coast folks to win on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. By the way, game time temperature says only 2 degrees. Bring your mittens and toques folks.
  • Can Colin Kaepernick repeat what he did last NFL Playoffs? I’m sure the Packers will be better prepared, but still, that defense is very mediocre.
  • Again, I don’t like picking a team to lose twice to another team in one season. Having that home field advantage is huge, but I just think the 49ers are too talented to lose this game. Give me the 49ers on the road.

What did you guys think of day one of Wild Card Weekend? And what are your thoughts on day two? Let me know what you think in the comments. And enjoy the football today, and the rest of the NFL Playoffs!

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