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Dec 29, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) goes up to dunk the ball in celebration after scoring a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as teammate Zach Strief (64) runs to congratulate him in the second half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. New Orleans defeated Tampa Bay 42-17. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

Ramblin' Fan's NFL Picks and Predictions: Wild Card Weekend

NFL Picks

Dec 29, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) drops back to pass against the Chicago Bears during the fourth quarter at Soldier Field. The Green Bay Packers win 33-28. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Wild card weekend is upon us so it is time to make our NFL picks and predictions.  In the final week of the regular season we finished strong, unlike our beloved Rams, with a 12-4 record.  While the Rams have been eliminated from the playoffs for  while now, there will still be some great football for Rams fans to enjoy this weekend.  There are story lines galore such as how do the 49ers and Packers handle the frigid conditions of Lambeau Field?  Can the New Orleans Saints get their franchises first playoff road victory against the Eagles?  Can the Chiefs rebound from their late season slide and make a run in the playoffs?  Are the Chargers set to become the next wild card team to make a run to the Superbowl?  Can the Bengals finally break their 23 year playoff victory drought?  Let’s get right down to our NFL picks and predictions, as always NFC West games have been marked in bold lettering in the table below. Thank you for reading and as always Go Rams!!!

Kansas City Chiefs @ Indianapolis Colts.  The Chiefs will hit the road to take on the surging Colts, and will be doing so without the services of Eric Fisher and possibly Tamba Hali.  The Chiefs should be relatively healthy otherwise as they took the opportunity to rest most of their starters in week 17.  The Colts are about as healthy as a team could be at this point in the season, with the notable exception of Reggie Wayne being on Injured Reserve. The Colts Defensive Player of the Year candidate Robert Mathis could have a strong game against a Chiefs line missing the 2013 #1 overall pick.  Both of these teams are good at protecting the football on offense, so the team that can force a turnover and turn it into points should come out on top.  The Colts defense has come on strong in the second half of the season, as players have returned from injuries.  The Chiefs defense has faltered down the season after a dominating first half of the season, as their players have started to succumb to injury.  The Chiefs have one of if not the best running backs in all of football, while the Colts have a dynamic young signal caller leading their offense.  I am going to give the nod to Andrew Luck and the Colts as the team with the better QB usually prevails in close matchups.  Colts win 28 – 20.

New Orleans Saints @ Philadelphia Eagles.  The Saints will hit the road looking to win their first road playoff game in franchise history, against an Eagles team that has been very good at home during the second half of the season.  The Eagles offense looked awfully sluggish against a historically bad Cowboys defense in week 17, so Rob Ryan must have been licking his chops as he schemed for this weekends game.  The Saints haven’t been very good on the road this season, and weather may also be a factor in this one.  If this game was being played in the Superdome I would call it a double-digit victory for the Saints, but it isn’t so it should be a very close one.  The Eagles defense has improved as the season has gone along, and while they don’t match up well with the Saints receiving corps they may be able to do just enough to keep this game close.  Nick Foles and the Eagles offense have been explosive at times and stagnant at others, if they can’t move the ball consistently against the Saints they wont be able to keep pace with Brees and the Saints.  Everything tells me to pick the Eagles at home against the road weary Saints, but its hard to pick against Brees and the more talented Saints.  Saints win 31 – 27.

San Diego Chargers @ Cincinnati Bengals.  The Chargers managed to squeak into the playoffs by beating the Chiefs in overtime, and benefiting from a blown call by the officials.  The Bengals have been dominant at home this season, where their offense really seems to come alive and complement their very good defense.  Chargers rookie Keenan Allen has been coming on in the second half of the season, and has a knack for making the big play.  On the other side the Bengals have one of the games best receivers in AJ Green.  Both teams have dynamic young running backs capable of making big plays for their offense.  The big difference in this game is that the Bengals boast one of the best defenses in the NFL while the Chargers are more of a middle of the pack defense.  If Andy Dalton can avoid making the big mistakes the Bengals should be able to win this game comfortably, as they are a complete football team that should be a legitimate Super bowl contender.   Bengals win 35 – 28.

San Francisco 49ers @ Green Bay Packers.  The 49ers will hit the road to take on the Packers in what could be one of the coldest football games in NFL history.  The Packers are bolstered by the return of All world quarterback Aaron Rodgers in week 17, but will have to manage without their best defensive player in Clay Matthews.  The 49ers have had some important players return to health in recent weeks, including receiver Michael Crabtree and guard Mike Iupati.  The 49ers are on the leagues longest winning streak, and very narrowly missed out on a division title and first round bye at 12-4.  The idea of an 8-7-1 team hosting a 12-4 team in the playoffs is a discussion for another day but to me it seems quite ridiculous.  The 49ers have a solid argument as being the most complete team in all of football, and with the return of Crabtree their offense is becomes even more dangerous even if he isn’t at 100%.  The 49ers have had the Packers number recently, including last years playoffs when Kapaernick set an NFL record for rushing yards by a QB.  The 49ers are the better team all around and should be able to win this one fairly comfortably with their imposing running game, but any team with Aaron Rodgers is going to have a good shot at the upset. 49ers win 24 – 14.

 

2013 NFL Wild Card Round

Pick

Chiefs @ Colts

Colts

Saints @ Eagles

Saints

Chargers @ Bengals

Bengals

49ers @ Packers

49ers

Last Week

12-4

Overall Record

150-105

 

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