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NFL Wild Card Weekend 2014

AustinDJordan's picture
The 2014 NFL Playoffs are here, it's Wild Card Weekend Football Fans! Since most people do not play Fantasy Football in the Playoffs, I concentrate on handicapping playoff games using Vegas Odds. Now, I do not expect to repeat my 11-1 NFL Playoff Pick Record from last year, but I'm definitely ready to see how good or bad my picks are for the 2014 NFL Playoffs. So, let's get to it.

Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts (Saturday, 4:35 pm ET) - I love the fact that a ton of "Experts", analysts, etc. feel like the Chiefs are limping into the playoffs because they are 2-5 in their last seven games. Well, I disagree with them. Two of the Chiefs' losses were to the Broncos, two to the Chargers (see my Chargers Google+ post for my opinion of them) and the other loss was to the Colts. Most will almost immediately say something to the affect of "but the Colts routed the Chiefs 23-7 in KC." Well, quite frankly it was Week 16, and Alex Smith had a bad game. In fact, that was the only game all season in which Alex Smith had three fumbles, two lost fumbles, or three total turnovers in a single game. Plus, Colts RB Donald Brown had a 51-yard TD run in that game, and he is unlikely to repeat that in my opinion. To be honest, I believe after the Chiefs started 9-0 then had their bye week, they believed in their own hype a little too much or were simply over confident for the remaining seven weeks. If the Chiefs aren't ready for this game and the Colts beat them this week, then all of the doubters from early on this season will be proven right in my opinion. I pick the Chiefs +2 and expect Jamaal Charles to have 120+ total yards and 1-2 TD's.

New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles (Saturday, 8:10 pm ET) - The Saints, and more specifically Drew Brees, have not been Saints or Brees like outdoors this season. In fact, did you know the Saints are only 2-4 in outdoor games this season? Better yet, did you know they haven't won a single outdoor game since October 6th before the winter weather started setting in? Plus, the two wins the Saints had outdoors were a 16-14 win at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a 26-18 win at the Chicago Bears (neither are a playoff team or anywhere near as good as the Eagles are right now). Additionally, Pierre Thomas, the Saints best pure RB, is out this week which does not help their already less than attractive resume outdoors this season. Now enter the Eagles at home in the coldest outdoor game the Saints have been in all season, LeSean McCoy against the bad Saints Rush Defense, and Nick Foles arguable the hottest QB in the NFL. I give the Saints a chance to win this game but not a very big one. One bright spot for the Saints should be TE Jimmy Graham. The Eagles have been known to struggle against TE's this season, see Jason Witten's 12-135 Week 17, Antonio Gates 8-124 Week 2, and quite a few other lesser TE's with better than average games against them. I expect Jimmy Graham to have 5+ catches, 70+ receiving yards, and 1-2 TD's. Furthermore, I pick the Eagles -2.5 and expect LeSean McCoy to have 120+ total yards and 1-2 TD's.

San Diego Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals (Sunday, 1:05 pm ET) - This is one of the most intriguing games of the weekend to me because before Week 17 began, I basically stated that if the stars aligned for the Chargers Week 17 and they made the playoffs, the "Chargers may be my pick to win the Super Bowl." The key to my statement was "IF" Ryan Mathews stays healthy. As I'm sure you know, he is not 100% going into this game so that is obviously a huge concern for me in regards to my statement. Regardless, I expect Ryan Mathews to play and have 21+ carries this game. Since figuring out to give Mathews 21+ carries, the Chargers have won four consecutive games. One other small note for those that have a misconception of the weather favoring the Bengals in this game: the Bengals have ran 156 more pass plays than run plays, the Chargers 23 more run plays than pass plays over the past four weeks. The potential cold snowy conditions should favor a run heavy offense, not a pass heavy offense. I pick the Chargers +7 and expect AJ Green to have 80+ receiving yards and 1-2 TD's.

San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers (Sunday, 4:40 pm ET) - I honestly believe the biggest factor in this game is the weather. It's expected to be the coldest NFL Playoff Game ever, even colder than "The Ice Bowl." Therefore, I give a huge advantage to the Packers due to them having more experience in cold weather games than the 49ers. Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb have a game under their "Discount Double-Check" belts since returning from injury, and their connection should play a big role in this game, short quick passing/receiving plays. I also expect James Starks to be a factor in this game. Whether it's a 20+ yard play or scoring a TD, he should make an impact. Honesty, I believe the 49ers are peaking at the right time and are a better team than the Packers right now, but I can not ignore the biggest factor in the game. I pick the Packers +3 and Under 46.5.

Thank you for reading my opinions on Wild Card Weekend and I hope you will connect with me using my links below.

Austin D. Jordan
Founder of NFLVR
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