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NFL Preview: Wildcard Weekend

NFL Preview: Wildcard Weekend

After weeks and weeks of predictions and previews, we finally reach the playoffs and on paper, there aren't any unworthy teams there. However, San Diego very narrowly avoided elimination at the hand of Kansas City's second string side. From the AFC, Denver and New England achieved the top two seeds and in the NFC, Seattle and Carolina won theirs. This leaves us with eight teams to battle it out this weekend.

Kansas City 21-27 Indianapolis (Sky Sports, Saturday @ 9.30pm)

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The Chiefs rested 20 of their 22 regulars in week 17 when they fell to the Chargers in OT. This week, a tricky trip to the Colts means the return of Alex Smith, Charles and the others. Key players aside, the Colts were successful against the Chiefs only two weeks ago and that was in Kansas City. The Colts have been impressive for me in the past few weeks and I expect that they'll continue this form on Saturday night.

New Orleans 17-21 Philadelphia (Sky Sports, Saturday/Sunday @ 1am)

There was a time this season, when the Saints looked like one of the best teams in the league. As the season went on, they picked up a bad habit of being poor on the road and never really recovered, losing the second seed along the way. The Eagles, on the other hand, have gone from strength to strength under Chip Kelly and it's hard to look past that offence at home on Saturday night. I think New Orleans will push them close, but sadly for Brees and co, Kelly's offence will be too much to handle.

San Diego 27-28 (In OT) Cincinnati (Sky Sports, Sunday @ 6pm)

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As I mentioned before, the Chargers were lucky to beat the Chief's second string team. However, they've made a habit of winning some unlikely games as of late (including Denver). I think they'll take the inconsistent bengals to overtime but alas, Dalton will get it done at home, such has been the pattern of the year. I'm not so confident the Bengals will go any further than this however, with the Broncos lying in wait...

San Francisco 38-31 Green Bay (Sky Sports, Sunday @ 9.30pm)

I subscribe to the idea that Aaron Rodgers is the best QB in the league. Not only that, but bar the Niners, I can't see any other sides going into Seattle and winning. Yes, Seattle have the best home record in the league and I'd find it hard to see anyone winning there in the playoffs, but if it came down to it, I could see Rodgers working his magic in a once off occasion. However, I also think that the Niners have the Packer's number. They beat them in the first week of the season and last year, too. Kaepernick has adapted his passing game and hasn't really utlised the read-option as often recently but I think he'll resurrect it this Sunday and break Green Bay hearts. Can the Niners go further than this? I believe so and at 8/1, they're a good price to go all the way.

Matt Carolan
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