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Published: January 3, 2014
It seems fitting that in the postseason that will culminate in the first intended cold weather outdoor Super Bowl that the wild card round will give us a taste of what may be at Met Life Stadium in New Jersey come February 2. Well, all except for the initial contest that will played inside the comforts of a dome. So let’s get that one out of the way first.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 4
4:35 PM EST – Kansas City (11-5) at Indianapolis (11-5)
The Kansas City Chiefs will visit Indianapolis to face a Colts team that stayed under the radar this season after the success of 2012. Both finished 11-5, but Kansas City faltered down the stretch after a 9-0 start and are far from a hot team coming into the playoffs. That is exactly what second-year quarterback Andrew Luck and the Colts need to advance.
8:10 PM EST – New Orleans (11-5) at Philadelphia (10-6)
The story heading into this game is that the Saints are two different teams – one in the friendly confines of the Superdome and another away from it. They will break their road playoff winless streak by defeating a team that they are simply better than – in any stadium. The Eagles had a nice bounce back campaign and seemed to have settled on Nick Foles as their QB. By winning their division with a new head coach by beating the Cowboys in Week 17 gives them and their passionate fans something to enjoy, even with a loss here. It will be cold in Philly, but not enough to keep Drew Brees from pulling this one out.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 5
1:05 PM EST – San Diego (9-7) at Cincinnati (11-5)
The Chargers arguably earned their way into the dance with some questionable officiating but that all means nothing now. They are in and will have a daunting task ahead of them playing a strong Bengals squad that needs to prove that they can win this time of year. Weather will be an issue, but it will not be nearly as cold as in their classic 1980 AFC Championship Game played at Riverfront Stadium but that will matter little as Cincy is the better and deeper team.
4:40 PM EST – San Francisco (12-4) at Green Bay (8-7-1)
Saving the best for last, it will be around zero degrees with a below-19 mark with the wind chill factor. Ice Bowl, anyone? This will of course favor the home squad, but will be enough to get them by the defending NFC champions? Having a healthy and effective Aaron Rodgers makes the Pack a tough out in any temperature, so expect a low-scoring close affair. The Niners have so much talent and are the better team and it will take a monster game from Colin Kaepernick to move on. This team was getting hotter towards the end of the regular season and will need all of that and more to win. But they will.
PREDICTION: SAN FRANCISCO
Photo by Bill Menzel
Tagged with: Bounce Back, Championship Game, Cold Weather, Daunting Task, Drew Brees, First Saturday, Football Weather, Friendly Confines, Head Coach, Hot Team, Initial Contest, Kansas City Chiefs, Nfl Playoffs, Nick Foles, Passionate Fans, Superdome, Week 17, Wild Card, Winless Streak, Year Weather