Kingshark Line: Wild Card Weekend
Playoff Time- The NFL begins it’s second season Saturday as the post season begins with Wild Card Weekend. Eight of the twelve teams that qualified for the post season tournament will be in action this weekend as the road to the Super Bowl in New Jersey begins in earnest. Saturday’s games feature the Chiefs taking on the Colts in Indianapolis while the Saints meet the Eagles in Philadelphia. On Sunday the upstart and upset minded San Diego Chargers are taking on the Bengals in Cincinnati. Later Sunday it’s the 49ers traveling to “The Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field” to take on the Green Bay Packers in what could be one of the coldest weather games in NFL history. The winners of these games of course advance to the divisional rounds which begin next Saturday. Idle this weekend with first round bye’s are Denver and New England in the AFC, Seattle and Carolina in the NFC. This weekends match-ups are games that honestly can go either way as all teams seem to be fairly evenly matched up against one another. This may even be the best line up of four games the Wild Card Weekend has seen since it’s inception into the current playoff format. There is definitely some great football to watched this weekend.
The Kingshark Line in the regular season finished strong in Week 17 going 15-1 for the best weekend mark of the season, and now stands overall at 175-83. Picking games though never easy is fun when you get a good week out of it. The one loss was picking the Dolphins to beat the Jets, but apparently Miami could not handle the responsibility that came with having the inside track on the post season. With the Ravens falling in Cincinnati last week, their run as league Champion has officially ended. With a new Champion waiting to be crowned in four weeks, lets see how this weekend’s games could shape up in the eyes of the Kingshark Line.
Note: Team Seeding is noted next to team’s city...
(5)Kansas City@ (4)Indianapolis (NBC)- It’s a match-up between QB’s Alex Smith and Andrew Luck. Smith, who last saw post season action two years ago as a member of the 49ers will lead the Chiefs on their quest for the franchises first title in 44 years. The Colts are six years removed from their last title only this time with a second year QB leading them. The two teams met in Kansas City two weeks ago in Week 16. After an early Chiefs touchdown, Indianapolis defensively kicked it into another gear and systematically shut down the Kansas City offense. The Colts defense could be hard pressed to shut down the same offensive unit twice in a three week span, but then again has to be confident it can do so. What really hurt the Chiefs late in the season was their defenses inability to shut teams down as were giving points in the 20's and 30's even to teams who they eventually beat. Only a bad Redskins team could muster ten points but had a hand often times in stopping themselves. The Colts have concerns of getting off to bad starts in games and can struggle on offense from time to time especially with Reggie Wayne out. That said Indianapolis should be able to move the ball on the Chiefs defense. Meanwhile the Chiefs offense only moved on the Colts defense one time. Once here won’t be near enough. The Chiefs when they look back on this season will have shown some of the most significant progress of any team in the league this year and Head Coach Andy Reid has a lot to do with that. In this game here, Indy just may however have enough of an edge on both sides of the ball to do what they need to advance. Colts 27 Chiefs 20.
(6)New Orleans@ (3) Philadelphia (NBC)- The Saints who lost out on the NFC South Division title this year still made it as a wild card in last week’s final chapter of the regular season. The Philadelphia Eagles after a 3-5 first half of the season went an astounding 7-1 in the second half of the season to beat out Dallas for the NFC East Division title. This is another QB battle between the veteran Drew Brees and now full time starting QB Nick Foles. If you are looking for experience to be the factor, the Saints have the absolute edge. A number of players on their team were members of the Super Bowl Champions of four years ago. The Saints have a load of talent up and down the roster and have handled big game pressure before. The Eagles meanwhile don’t have the same post season experience the Saints have, however they do play with a great deal of heart and are a group that seems to be having fun with what they are doing which is nothing to knock. Foles has had a solid year and is a great story. He will likely be the Eagles QB of the future and has earned that job. Foles will lead his offensive unit against a defense that is very tough and physical. Brees will also be dealing with a tough and physical defense in their own right. The Eagles have been impressive and could give the Saints all they can handle, especially at home. The Saints as we see it have just enough playoff experience to meet the Philly challenge. Playoff wins on the road in the Saints history have been rare, but their experience in this scenario just seems to be better overall. Saints 30 Eagles 23.
(6)San Diego@ (3) Cincinnati (CBS)- The Chargers are another team that one can ask “who let these guys into the post season?”. San Diego at 6-7 in Week 14 looked a lot like a team playing out the string, having just lost to these same Bengals at home 17-10. Today they are the AFC’s sixth seeded team entering their first post season in four years. Veteran QB Phillip Rivers and the Chargers fought hard to get to this point and took the AFC’s sixth seed when Miami and Baltimore left it unclaimed. The Chargers get a rematch against the Bengals who under QB Andy Dalton are looking for their first playoff win in some time. Dalton at times this season has looked more than capable, then in some games seems to regress. Dalton tends to run hot and cold which in a playoff situation does not usually work out well, especially with an opposing team led by someone who has been down this very road before. There is a possibility however slight that the weather could be a factor here. Though the Bengals have more experience in cold weather games, there is still the question of Dalton and the Bengals offense stepping it up when they are on the big stage. The Chargers as the sixth seed have house money and can afford to be loose and perhaps take more risks. The Bengals know if they have any plans of reaching East Rutherford in early February, the time to step it up starts right here and right now. Chargers will give the Bengals a challenge. Cincinnati gets the edge in good and close contest. Bengals 24 Chargers 21.
(5)San Francisco@ (4)Green Bay (FOX)- The 49ers and the Packers in a rematch from Week 1 where San Francisco edged out Green Bay 34-28. Last season the 49ers also beat the Packers in the 2012 season opener in their last trip to Green Bay, followed by a divisional round victory over the Packers in San Francisco last January. This game however will have something that none of the previous three meetings had, cold weather beyond belief. The forecasted temperature at kickoff is around 7 degrees (Fahrenheit) with the temperature to drop below zero during the second half, perhaps late in the game. The Packers have Aaron Rogers back from a collar bone injury that kept him out of action for eight weeks. The Packers struggled in his absence but still made the post season thanks to late season collapses by Detroit and Chicago. The Packers know they were fortunate to get in the post season and will seek to make the most of the opportunity. The 49ers behind QB Colin Kaepernick need to find ways to be affective as an offensive unit in some rather tough frigid conditions. The Packers defensively rank in the lower third of the NFL which means the 49ers should be able to run the football. The Packers defense is also ranked 25th against the pass which means Kaepernick should some room to work with. Where the 49ers have the edge in this game is their defense. They can get people in the right spots and with any luck will be able to get after Rogers rather efficiently. If the 49ers can beat the elements, this could go a long way towards beating Green Bay. The offense for the 49ers also must be able to make plays in any opportunity given to them by the opponent. This could be the best game of the day. 49ers 24 Packers 20. For more on this game please go to this link: http://goldengatereport.com/articles/wild-card-weekend-49ers-take-on-packers-at-the-frozen-tundra
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*Mandatory Disclaimer: The Kingshark Line is stickily for entertainment purposes only. I have the same exact information that anyone else has and do not claim to know any more or less than the next guy. This is not to promote or encourage gambling on football or any other sport. No point spreads are played here or implied in any way. Scores are for entertainment purposes only and are only based on team trends, team reports, etc. There is no inside information given here or implied. This is just for your information and entertainment. Enjoy the games.