115 Comments

Wild Card Weekend Game Previews & Predictions

| January 3rd, 2014

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All point spreads provided below were listed on BETUS.com as of Wednesday afternoon.

Saturday 4:35 PM ET – Kansas City at Indianapolis

Line: Indianapolis -2.5

Analysis: I’m going with a three-pronged approach to this.

  1. Andy Reid is always a little dicey when it comes to the postseason. All of a sudden how he controls the game/manages the clock becomes far more important and Reid is notoriously terrible at both of those things.
  2. Since losing 42-28 on the road to the Bengal the Colts have thrashed the Texans, Chiefs and Jaguars. Yes I know two of those three are not the most impressive opponents and KC had nothing to play for in December but I like seeing teams dominate teams they should dominate.
  3. Aren’t we due for an Andrew Luck, national spotlight, coming out party? While all the talk has been about Bob Griffin drama and Kaepernick struggling for ten weeks, Luck has quietly just gone about winning games. I think he’s going to have a big afternoon.

Final Score: Indianapolis 30, Kansas City 23

Saturday 8:10 PM ET – New Orleans at Philadelphia

Line: Philadelphia -2.5

Analysis: When the entire world tells you one team can’t play on the road I get nervous. Upset. (And I am keeping the score low because it’s going to be cold as shit in the northeast this weekend. Especially at 8 PM.)

Final Score: New Orleans 24, Philadelphia 21

Sunday 1:05 PM ET – San Diego at Cincinnati

Line: Cincinnati -7

Analysis: Here’s my problem with this game: I hate both teams.

Cincinnati seems to recover from four Andy Dalton interceptions every week. If he’s not throwing the ball to a wide open A.J. Green ten yards beyond the safety he is more than likely throwing the ball to a defender.Β  Do you trust him to start winning postseason games? I don’t.

San Diego had a win-and-in game against the Kansas City backups a week ago and needed overtime/luck to get through it. It was one of the worst efforts of this NFL season and if they’d lost (as they should) Mike McCoy would have been crucified in the media this week as Pittsburgh got ready to go and win this game.

Mike Zimmer and the Bengals defense are the only thing I like this in this game. Since it’s in Cincy, I’ll take them.

Final Score: Cincinnati 24, San Diego 21

Sunday 4:40 PM ET – San Francisco at Green Bay

Line: San Francisco -3

Analysis: Having watched Matt Forte thrash the Packers run defense at Soldier Field Sunday I can’t imagine a scenario wherein the Pack suddenly find themselves against the league’s third best rush attack and a quarterback who gashed them for six zillion yards in the 2012 postseason. Couple this with Aaron Rodgers looking shaky at times and Eddie Lacy facing the toughest front he’s seen in months and I’m just not sure the Packers will have the ball long enough to do much with it.

The Niners were going to be a match-up nightmare for either the Bears or the Packers. Green Bay winning would be the only true genuine shock to me on the weekend.

Final Score: San Francisco 30, Green Bay 16

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  • Irish Sweetness

    Eh …. nope, I’m done.

    • johnnywad

      Don’t wander off again man. Your presence was sorely missed when you went AWOL.

      • Irish Sweetness

        Nah, I mean I just type a bunch of shit on the the other thread … you realise there’s a virgin stretch of new thread … and you’ve got nothing left. But thanks!

  • KC, Philly, Cincy, Sanfran over here. Bears.

  • CanadaBear

    This will be the first time in forever that I’m rooting for SF.

  • IBNO

    Dammit! I thought I’d be first.

  • IBNO

    Saints are going to surprise all the “they can’t play outside” people.

  • johnnywad

    “Whether it’s $15 million or it’s $22 million, it’s hard to spend all that in your lifetime. (Wife) Kristin (Cavallari) said she’ll help.”. …. Jay Cutler

    I’ve been wondering about this for some time after seeing the QB and MLB deals that get signed. Glad to see Jay is the one that finally said it out loud. At some point, the money becomes a diminishing issue in the contract. How much is more than enough and how hard does one push toget a bigger number for the sake of a bigger number? Perspective.

    • tobijohn

      I think that Flacco deal was all ego driven – both by him and his agent…

      • johnnywad

        Look at some of the baseball deals floating out there. There were early negotiations with numbers approaching 1/3 of a Billion dollars. I think it was all shot down. I get grabbing what you can when you can, but good gravy. These guys should realize at some point that 1.) You have to pay some other guys too. 2.). Why make a stink/holdout/stop negotiating altogether when you’re already going to make your children’s, children’s, children’s, children wealthy beyond imagination. Has to be ego doesn’t it?

    • NewBearInTown

      Yes, $15 million versus $22 million is still a lot of money. I would probably be about equally happy with either contract in isolation.

      But you’re telling me if you’ve got $15 million in the bank that making $7 million for basically negotiating harder isn’t worth it? That’s faulty logic.

      The real consideration for a player like Jay is legacy. And he gets that. If the Bears win a couple of Superbowls with him as the quarterback, Jay Cutler will be a legend in this city. He can retire here, never pay for a drink again, and have a nice post-retirement career living off his reputation either in broadcast or selling stuff. If he goes to Jacksonville (for example) for more money and hamstrings the team making any improvements, two bad things happen: (1) Weaker support means more sacks, more injuries, possibly even lower quality of life post-retirement; (2) Bad team means no legacy, he has the same retirement that Mark Sanchez or Matt Shaub will have.

      And the other thing to think about, if money really is what its all about. If Jay plays for a winner, he’s more likely to play out his contract and earn the entire $120M+ If he plays for a loser, he probably collects about half before getting cut and finishing his career as a backup. Plus there is endorsement money, although I’m not sure how much of a factor that really is when you’re talking about tens of millions of dollars.

      • Still a Doug Plank Fan

        Let’s not forget that Jay also grew up a Bears fan. Think about all of us here, and what that means to us. Your analysis/example of him being a Jag was insightful. He could win 3 SB’s there, and it still wouldn’t mean as much as winning HERE, in Chicago.

        Say what you will about FA, money, and retirement/sports illustrated covers. There is something unique and utterly important about being a Chicago Bear. Hoisting the Lombardi in that uniform, as the QB, is going to have a while new meaning. Especially for Jay Christopher Cutler.

        • NewBearInTown

          There is that too. I feel bad for Phillip Rivers in that respect. The Chargers have had blackout problems the last couple of years when the team was winning. This year they’re in the playoffs, but how many San Diego fans do you think travel to watch them play?

          • Still a Doug Plank Fan

            It’s a whole different fan culture there and in a lot of other cities too. I always thought that when the Rams moved out of LA, it was sort of the beginning of the end of fan loyalty; fan free agency began to germinate at that exact moment, I think.

            Bears fans? Green Bay fans? We’re what other teams wish they had.

          • BearFanInDE

            I’ve never thought someone could feel bad for Philip Rivers.

      • johnnywad

        I agree on all of this except the $15m vs. $22m. If its a one year deal, sure, I’m gonna get all I can. But its not. Its 7. What we’re talking about is more like the difference between +/- 80m and $120m. Either would be just fine and either will allow any family to live beyond lavishly for the rest of their days. That was the whole point.

  • gpldan

    Mariotti describes Deadspin as being run by “stoners making 10 cents an hour.”

    http://www.sportstalkflorida.com/how-an-nfl-punter-let-low-lifes-ruin-a-career/

    Now, why would Jay say such a mean, hurtful thing?

    Well, perhaps it’s because Deadspin has documented Jay’s descent into shitdom for lo’ these many years. Jay is one step away from washing toilets at the Shell station in Boca Raton, and he’s calling out Deadspin.

    Oh Jay – you washed up slapper of women. I’d take ten more seasons of PhrozenAsshole taunting us when we lose if it meant you permanently STFU.

    • CanadaBear

      No kidding. Jeff gloating in his twitter feed is over the top but when it comes to this guy, who cares? Not that I believe in karma but sometimes it really is a bitch. Couldn’t happen to a worse guy.

      • gpldan

        Mariotti is in the gutter. His Christmas gift to himself was probably a fifth of gin.

        Deadspin is raking him over with shit like this:

        http://deadspin.com/how-to-not-be-the-biggest-asshole-in-media-4-lessons-i-5917795

        No use spitting on corpses, Jeff. I dunno if Kluwe was lying or not, but Mariotti taking the company line on behalf of the Vikings and raking the mud is no shock. He courts favor with the king like Grima Wormtounge.

        • Still a Doug Plank Fan

          I’m seein’ Mariotti walking the beach, carrying an old 5 pound laptop with faded, torn Sun-Times stickers all over it, with a cardboard sign around his neck that reads, “Will Write for Blogs”.

    • bearsfantillend

      just thought of this, thanks to Jeff’s tweeting and your post how many page hits did Mariotti just get? Unfortunately trolling him probably only helps, in his mind, verify that people might actually like him.

      • Irish Sweetness

        Agreed. Hits=cash. I was just reading those articles and then stopped when I realized I didn’t give a fuck about Mariotti.

  • SC Dave

    Some interesting comments on McClellin and some other guys that we’re exactly early bloomers. Hell, wouldn’t it be cool if Shea and Jonathon were to become Babin and Ninkovich clones?

    http://www.csnchicago.com/bears/bears-defensive-changes-coming-likely-not-tucker?p=ya5nbcs&ocid=yahoo

  • SC Dave

    Indy, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Green Bay

    • johnnywad

      Like your post on the last thread Dave. You’ve got balls my man. And when shit doesn’t go your way, you recalibrate, get your shit together and carry on. I think you’re wrong on Cutler but you sure as hell don’t need anybody else telling you what to think. Solid.

      • SC Dave

        Thanks man. I had a big response all in and … grr.
        The two most important points were (1) I’ve learned I’ll continue to be wrong about shit, and that it’s okay, and (2) whether or not I like a particular player, it’s about the effin’ CHICAGO BEARS. Team always transcends player. At least for anyone I’d want on MY team.

    • CanadaBear

      Why GB Dave? They were beyond fortunate to beat us and we REALLY deserved the 8-8 record. SF’s D is super aggressive and Rodgers is going to take a beating. Not to mention Lacy is too banged up to be a difference maker.

      • IBNO

        Cold? Maybe the home-field advantage is bigger in games with a high temperature in the negatives?

        • CanadaBear

          I guess. SF doesn’t strike me as a soft team (Cowgirls in Chi on a cold night). Can’t wait to watch that game. I love watching games in the elements. Not saying GB can’t win but I just don’t see it.

      • SC Dave

        Have to pick the biggest underdog, and not only is rodgers good, if the Bears game is any indication, they have luck on their side. Clearly Rodgers and the Pack are the Cinderella of the playoff ball, and there are times I swear that affects the refs

        • CanadaBear

          Well there is that. After half time last week, the O made the necessary adjustments and were moving the ball. Harbaugh is kinda an a-hole but his teams are prepared. It will be a good one to watch.

  • Big Mike

    Football is over.. πŸ™

    Go Blackhawks

    RIP 2013 Chicago Bears. Long Live 2014 Chicago Bears!

  • gpldan

    MB –

    Emery said. β€œHe can improve dramatically in that going into his second season. I just said that from his skill set, some day β€” that may not be this year, it may be in the future β€” might be best on the outside to take advantage of the skill sets that he has.”

  • gpldan

    Boomer E called for a Saints upset against the Eagles, as well.

    I think it’s just a lot of concealed Chip Kelly haterz. The Eagles are gonna roll up this game.

  • Shady

    Jeff can we PLEASE have another DBB playoff pick’em contest? You used to run hem annually but haven’t recently. I’d be willing to help out if needed.

    Picks: Luck finds a way to win it down the stretch. IND over KC. The NO defense comes to play while Jimmy Graham has a field day against a bad Philly secondary. NO over PHI.

    • gpldan

      Man, this Saints thing is turning into a bandwagon.

      • CanadaBear

        Granted I’ve only seen one Philly game this year (sniff) but they looked like a team that wasn’t going to roll over. I don’t like NO’s chances on the road.

  • gpldan

    My 2014 wish for DBB is for Jeff to put so many ads on this site, it makes a NASCAR look discrete and tasteful.

    That way, Jeff is rolling in so much green, he changes his online persona to “Blog Dot Com” and we all get access to $9.99 “Huck Fub” Christmas Ornaments next year.

    • Still a Doug Plank Fan

      If you’ll stop clamoring for ads, I’ll make you a custom Huck Fub ornament. I mean, it won’t compare to being able to buy a brain on e-bay, but it will hang better.

  • BearFanInDE

    Just came in from shoveling. We got about 9 inches in the northern part of DE here. 12 degrees and windchills much lower…This is all Iggles country (with a dusting of Ravens/Flacco fans) and everybody thinks the Iggles are going to the SB. I don’t see how Brees pulls it off tomorrow in this weather and outside..Supposed to be in the mid-upper 20s tomorrow at gametime..

    • gpldan

      Good luck.

      I got 8 inches (that’s what she said) and shoveled out but downtown Chicago is -8 ambient today with wind chill in the deep double digits.

      • BerwynBomber

        Just wait till Sunday night//all day Monday. The high is supposed to be 4 below.

        • Irish Sweetness

          A wintery 32C in Toyland. Brrrrrrrr.

    • IBNO

      NO is a good road team (despite the popular belief). Philly is a CRAPTACULAR home team.

      I’m no Chip Kelly hater. But the Philadelphia offense isn’t gonna roll on the Saints vastly improved D like it did on the Bears. Especially in the cold.

      And Drew is gonna remind people why some call him… Breesus.

      • BearFanInDE

        IBNO – Just yesterday, the WSJ had some stats on how Brees is a below average QB outside the SuperDome..http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303870704579294582224890194

        • Still a Doug Plank Fan

          Nick Foles and Riley Cooper are going to have a tough time against NO’s D. Cooper is usually the difference maker in tight ones, but not in some stat-absurd way. He just tends to keep the chains moving for Foles.

          That said, I’m not counting out the Eagles to send NO packing, and I think they will.

  • AlbertInTucson

    How good is that recent fracture going to feel for Mr. Rodgers in arctic conditions?

    • CanadaBear

      Not good. Against the Beloved he has always been able to dodge that huge hit outside the pocket. Lach and Lambo have had him lined up numerous times and he always managed to make them miss. I’m thinking Bowman won’t. You could tell Rodgers was very worried about taking a hit against the Bears. He has to be worried playing against a Big Boy D like SF’s.

    • SC Dave

      Numb?

    • burntorangenavyblue

      Hopefully it’ll be as brittle as birch bark

  • CanadaBear

    Here’s my take on the whole Cutler thang. He came here as the savior with no WR’s, a decent TE (since dispatched) and a very good RB. Unfortunately for him no OL. He was immature and couldn’t hide his disdain for 3 OC’s. They weren’t great OC’s (to say the least) but Cutler should have been more mature in the way he handled things. Same with Webb. I don’t blame him for his feelings towards Webb but he should have handled it better. All of this was about maturity. If I was in the same position I probably would have done the same things and regretted them later. Oh well. Once Trestman and Co. arrived it was obvious Jay knew it was his last chance here. Also, he has matured a lot (probably has a lot to do with becoming a father). He respects the Offensive coaches and finally has all the pieces in place. He always was a fighter and a tough bastard (contrary to popular belief). He’s also very smart. Hopefully he has this whole media thing figured out. Not that he has to suck up to them but stop treating them like nuclear waste. Yes the Chicago media is a bunch hacks for the most part but why rub their noses in it when they can make your life very difficult? I truly think this offense is good enough to go all the way with him at the helm. I think Emery made the right decision and Fudgie trolls will be elsewhere in the coming years. Of course, that all depends on the D being fixed.

    • Still a Doug Plank Fan

      I’m just wondering what obscure, under-the-press-radar 1st round draft pick Emery is going to make this year. Will we get another Kyle, or another Shea?

      As for Cutler, yer right there – read the piece I posted above (or just click here: http://chi.scout.com/2/1362438.html )

      Seems like a very motivated Jay. And his post-game response to the loss to the Eagles and Packers was immeasurably better than in years past.

      • CanadaBear

        I don’t have a clue. I think Emery has done a great job overall but his drafting so far has been his weak link. He’s light years better than JA. If we go 3-4 he has to get a couple of 350 lb NT’s. If we stay with the 4-3 we need a DT first and foremost, followed by a DE, 2 safeties, a CB (if Peanut doesn’t come back) and a C. If we don’t bring back Anderson and/or Williams, we’ll need another LB.

        I’m hoping they bring back Woot, Collins, possibly Melt (for much less money), possibly Ratliff. All of that depends on the 3-4 vs 4-3. If we go 3-4 most of those DT’s won’t be back. I’d like to see Bowman come back (needless to say Peanut at the right price).

        This is going to be a fascinating off season. Can’t wait to see which we go with the D.

        • Still a Doug Plank Fan

          Fascinating off season is almost an understatement. The Chicago Bears offense is all going to Florida to work out together, and at Halas Hall, they are going to practically rebuild the defense from the ground up, whether we stay with the 4-3 or go to the 3-4.

          Wild. Absolutely wild.

          • johnnywad

            8 months. Torture.

          • Still a Doug Plank Fan

            Looks like we at least have some interesting stories to follow in the off season though. That will help. Some.

        • Irish Sweetness

          Almost everyone who will be left on D has played 3-4, most notably Ratliff. Bass, CD, Wooten, Greene, Bostic would all fit. Emery admitted they shouldn’t have kept CD at end. How do a bunch of armchair geniuses like us get this stuff consistently right, and the guys making millions stuff it up year in year out? How the hell did Angelo make 60 million dollars out of us? Sickening.

          Don’t know if we can trust Ratliff given his history – if we go 3-4 then the first pick has to be a monster NT.

    • Still a Doug Plank Fan

      One more thing on yer post. Good use of Webb in your examples. I hadn’t forgotten all that, but didn’t really have it in context.

    • burntorangenavyblue

      I highly doubt Cutler lets any media perception bother him still to this day but at least he has been doing his weekly show and my take is that is way more media coverage than most athletes receive and he presents himself well.

      • CanadaBear

        I don’t think it bothers him too much but he did say all hoopla about Josh starting the Clev game put pressure on him. I’ve listened to the show a couple of times. He sounds like a decent guy that doesn’t put up with much BS.

  • Still a Doug Plank Fan

    Here they go…it just keeps getting better and better…

    http://chi.scout.com/2/1362438.html

    • CanadaBear

      Love That!!!!!!!!!

    • NewBearInTown

      If the Bears start winning big for the next few years, Brandon Marshall’s annual trip to Florida will be the stuff of legends. The way people talk about Jerry Rice and Walter Payton’s hill training. I like Marshall so much more than the prima donna WRs you see on most other teams.

      • Still a Doug Plank Fan

        Yeah. I’m trying to envision Terrell Owens back in his day rallying rookies to join him at camps focused on making THEM better.

        Yer right – dead right – Marshall is a special player, and by all accounts, now a better man too. Not many stories like his. He’s inspiring.

        • SC Dave

          While i agree that bm is an inspiration, for me its the mental illness thing. Tsking guys to work out is what a professional *should* do. The fact that so few do surprises me. But kudos to bm anyway.

          I take it Earl is going too, or is he not invited?

          • Still a Doug Plank Fan

            I don’t know if Earl is going or not. Hard to imagine him being not invited if he wanted to go.

          • DaBearsBlog

            Earl’s brother died last week. I’m not sure he’s made any decisions yet.

          • Still a Doug Plank Fan

            Thanks Jeff. Missed that news when it came out.

          • SC Dave

            I know that, and posted it. here. Was Earl invited last (Off)season?

          • Still a Doug Plank Fan

            I flat missed it, Dave. Dunno how, but I did.

          • Irish Sweetness

            Wow, didn’t know that. Sorry, Earl.

      • Still a Doug Plank Fan

        Speaking of Marshall, ESPN announced yesterday he will be their Guest Analyst on this week’s ESPN Sunday Countdown. That should be a must-watch.

      • Irish Sweetness

        The dreads. The bling. Entourages. Weed smokin’ show ponies. We got lucky (other than Hurd). Brandon’s come a long way. Damn, if we get a baller at center next year will be off the chain on offense. Nearly there.

  • gpldan
    • CanadaBear

      More like a bank and numerous Fox affiliates that bought tix for obvious reasons. Never thought I’d see the day the Fudgies couldn’t sell out a playoff game.

      • BerwynBomber

        Yep, the Cheese not selling out is a black eye for the Lambeau faithful.

        • gpldan

          You guys are probably right – the whole collective ownership thing takes a giant hit if the local market gets blacked out.

        • 4ever85 (AKA Butch Deadlift)

          Maybe that will be the final straw and make the NFL lower down their stadium prices which like Disneyland, are waaaay over priced.

          Market correction? Nah, greed won’t allow that.

          • Irish Sweetness

            Six dollar hotdogs. Wow.

  • Cutty Bader don’t give a fuck

    I’m officially going into Hawkce mode boys but i’ll stop by from time to time in the offseason. Remember this:

    Cliff Stein and Emery know what they are doing. This isn’t Angelo’s team any more.

    Jay Cutler and the number two scoring offense in the league are only going to get better.

    The D will be improved and all of those games that were hanging by a thread or that we lost by a hair will be victories.

    This recent move by Emery was a legacy move. This Bear team can and will win a superbowl or even multiple superbowls. Will it be next year? I think so but nothing is guaranteed. What is guaranteed though is the fact that coaches all over the league for the next few years will sprout healthy fear boners in their pants as we line up the sickest display of offensive talent and overall balance since The Buffalo Bills from Tecmo Bowl.
    And finally, when approached by annoying brothers in law, haters, cynics, trolls and naysayers just sing from the rooftops with drunken heads held high:
    DOOOOONNNNN’T CAAAAAAAAARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Willie

      Tecmo Super Bowl? Like Thurman Thomas, Kelly, Reed and Beebe?

      Man, it was Cornelius Bennett in that mother who was unstoppable… Sack every other play.

      • gpldan

        • Irish Sweetness

          Classic. Male-bonding at its most basic and beautiful. And god they look young …

      • AlbertInTucson

        Ahhh, Tecmo! Back when I still played video games. I won several Super Bowls with that Neal Anderson powered Bears team but I was able to manage only ONE unbeaten season. Barry Sanders was SCARY in that game.

        Once the games went really 3D, I was finished.

        • Irish Sweetness

          Any of you guys remember Super Sunday on the C64?

  • 4ever85 (AKA Butch Deadlift)

    Colts over Chiefs.

    Colt’s D has been on fire – very opportunistic lead by a DPOY type in Freeney. The Chiefs sometimes throw up offensive duds esp if they get behind, and I see that happening here.

    Also, Luck has a knack for the 4rth if they do need a comeback.

    Eagles over Saints.

    It’s not so much the conditions, but the Saints can be shut down. Hell, OUR D actually held them to like 24 points. IF the Eagles take away Graham, the Saints don’t have much else on O.

    The Saint’s D is vastly improved but far from dominant. Shady McCoy is one of those players that transcends gameplanning anyways. He’ll get his, and it’s just a matter of DeSean and Co doing just enough to keep the Saint’s D off-kiltered. I think it happens.

    Chargers over Cincy.

    Much like the blog father, I don’t like either team. True, Cincy has a better D, but the Chargers can turn it on, only they haven’t done it consistently. I’ve read some reports that Matthews is banged up, and that would be a huge blow to the Chargers; Matthews is having a solid year.

    Rivers also has more playoff experience, as well as Gates. They no longer have to be consistent for an entire season, just 60 minutes, and I predict they pull off the upset.

    49ers over Cheese.

    This game will be a lot closer than some might expect. I think the Pack are going to play for pride, esp at home, knowing they keep getting blown out by these dudes.

    Also, the 9er lines on both sides aren’t as dominant as last year, and Kaep has been known to have very inaccurate days. I’m a little worried that Gore the Inconvenient Truth is out of gas, and they’ll have to rely on their younger backs.

    Still, the 9ers will find a way to win in a somewhat choppy-sloppy game.

    • AlbertInTucson

      Talk about holes to run through…

      “…lead by a DPOY type in Freeny”

      Huh?

      Are you talking about Dwight Freeney? FORMER perennial Colts’ All-Pro?He started the year as a CHARGER and has spent most of the season on IR.

      “IF the Eagles take away Graham….”

      That is one huge “if” for an Eagles’ defense that’s had trouble matching up with Tight Ends all season including last week when they “held” Jason Witten to only 12 catches for 135 yards.

      “…the Saints don’t have much else on O.”

      Really?

      Yes, Graham led them with 86 receptions for 16 TDs. But THREE Other Saints had 70+ catches, including “not exactly chopped liver” Marques Colston and Darren Sproles. Plus, Ken Stills has become a dangerous deep threat who averaged 20+ yards a catch on 32 grabs and Brees DID manage an additional 23 TD passes to people not named Jimmy Graham.

      The Saints are a matchup nightmare for most teams and definitely Philly. The Eagles better find a way to put more pressure on Brees than they put on Kyle Orton.

      Who knows what form of Bengals will show up on any Sunday, but the Chargers struggled against the “resting as many starters as we can” Chiefs, IN San Diego and still needed a dose of incompetant officiating to squeak out an O.T. win.

      • gpldan

        Interesting thing about both the Cincy and Philly game is this arctic cap is over there, too.

        All those games are going to be freezing cold.

        • AlbertInTucson

          I don’t see the cold as an advantage to anybody. NOBODY wants to be playing in those conditions. Even in the original ICE BOWL in ’67, Starr sneaked in on FOURTH DOWN when a field goal would have tied it but Lombardi didn’t want to keep anybody out there for an O.T. If Starr gets stuffed or slips on that “frozen tundra” and falls down instead of sneaking in for the win, the “warm-weather” Cowboys would have been NFL Champs in 67.

          • AlbertInTucson

            The NFL had to extend the blackout deadline because even PACKER fans don’t want to sit in temps suitable for Penguins and Polar Bears.

          • Irish Sweetness

            Am I right in thinking that if Seattle played outside then it would be the most miserable place to play football now?

      • 4ever85 (AKA Butch Deadlift)

        Sorry, meant Mathis. I always get those guys mixed up in my mind.

        I know Graham is a stud, but the Pats did shut him down. The Eagles might not have a CB to be able to do that, but they can def limit him. Graham can be shut down, IMO. Take your chances with the rest of the Saints because they have been wildly inconsistent. Colston was invisible for large portions of the season, Stills can hit you for 60 in one play, but he too disappears. Sproles gets tons of junk yards in the flats. I don’t think he’s been nearly as effective as in previous years. He’s sorta like Hester, shows some flashes, but the explosion is diminished.

        Cincy and Chargers are a bit of a coin flip, but I think the Chargers can pull it off. They got weapons, and their D is better than most suspect, when they feel like it.

        • AlbertInTucson

          The Colt’s, Robert Mathis HAS been quite the stud this season. Especially when you consider the departure of Mr. Freeney.

      • BerwynBomber

        Yeah, for all our beefs about the officiating in the Cheese game — and I’m in the minority as I only thought the downed punt and roughing call on Shea were truly bad calls — the Chiefs and by extension the Steelers were absolutely robbed in that SD/KC game. Not only did the refs blow the over-stacked line call on the FG but they missed the spot and return TD fumble in OT. If ever a game looked fix (and I don’t believe NFL games are) that was it.

        • AlbertInTucson

          “But other than THAT, how did you like the play, Mrs. Lincoln?”

        • Irish Sweetness

          There is no doubt in my mind that there are power-brokers on this planet who can decide the outcome of a football game just on a whim. A la Bill Hicks image of a smoke-filled room where a screen drops down and the incoming POTUS is shown the JFK assassination from an angle he’s never seen before. “Any questions Mr. President?”

      • Irish Sweetness

        I don’t see anyone taking out Jimmy Graham, he’s a freak. They always tear down Brees and he comes back firing on all cylinders. No way I’d put money on the Eagles giving up a 7 pt start though, it’s not the Bears D they’re playing. BTW – when you guys are making your picks, you’re not stating whether it’s against the spread or not. No fair.

        Philip Rivers is the second highest rated QB in the NFL. Somehow.

  • BerwynBomber

    Looking forward to WC weekend. I have the Chiefs, Iggles, Bengals and Niners. Chiefs are just a hunch pick. For all of the Chip Kelly bells and whistles, the Iggles are largely a team built on a run game (Shady), a solid D and a QB whose ball security is his biggest strength — all of which is a recipe for a first-round playoff win. Like the Bengals because of HF and experience — I think this is their third year in a row and Marvin Lewis is way overdo for his first playoff win. Plus, I’m not sold on SD — they may be the weakest team in the post-season if only because of Rodgers return to GB. I like the Niners in the finale, but as 4ever85 said, I too believe the Cheese might make it closer than expected.

  • AlbertInTucson

    Question: I have never broken or fractured a major limb. Do the old or recently healed fractures tend to “sing to you” in the extreme cold?

    • BerwynBomber

      I’ve had eleven fractures — though admittedly three were to my beak and one was a toe — but I would say “yes or possibly” to recently healed and “not so much” to the old.

      • AlbertInTucson

        Hmmm. I would think Mr. Rodgers shoulder fracture would qualify as “recent”.

        • BerwynBomber

          Well, Waffle and I don’t agree on much but I still second his thought that GB bringing back Rodgers was “folly”. Yeah, they won the division and will have a memorable rivalry win to forever hang over us … BUT I’m not convinced they are team capable of an SB, and if all you’re playing for is a first-round exit in the playoffs I would have been inclined to roll with Flynn the rest of they year (as much as he sucks) and safe-keep the guy who’s the face of their franchise and one of the top four QBs in the league. And yeah, he could be even in greater danger this weekend against a badass SF defense in artic conditions than he was against us.

      • AlbertInTucson

        Eleven?!

        What kind of work do you do?

        Stuntman or Crash Test Dummy?

        • BerwynBomber

          Ha! Chalk it up to a stupid youth (a few were sports-related; the rest were results of a bike accident, a car accident and a couple of scraps) and on further count the number should have been ten and one was a dislocation so maybe nine and luckily I never had a compound fracture .. so … my bad on the original number. But yeah, Crash Test Dummy would somewhat describe it.

    • Irish Sweetness

      Nope. But any back problems flare up bigtime.

  • Still a Doug Plank Fan

    Seifert published his annual post-season officiating report. You can glean some stuff from it. Wish he would have graded them though.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/111356/inside-slant-2013-referee-report

    • AlbertInTucson

      If I am the NFL, I am NOT pleased with a 90 call disparity between the top and bottom of that list.

      That’s just short of 6 more flags per game.

      I submit THAT is NOT consistency.

      While I am not pleased that Ed Hochuli gets ANY post-season work, the Packers can HAVE him and he’s welcome to all the “face time” he wants in 5 degrees and below. Be sure you show us those guns THIS week, Eddie.

  • BerwynBomber

    “Did I just read Jim Tressel is interviewing for Browns job?”
    Sounds like a PR-first-type move that a local team like the Cubs occasionally falls prey to. That said, Tressel played a version of Lovie ball while at OSU, so who knows, maybe the guy can translate to the pros.

  • BerwynBomber

    Pierre Thomas is out against the Iggles. That’s a semi-big loss for the ‘aints. He’s an all-purpose/Kevin Faulk-type. Always liked him.

  • TheBigCheesy

    Jeff, what time do the Bears play?

    • Irish Sweetness

      All day …. up and down your stinky cheesy asses next season …. twice. There won’t be a third meeting in the playoffs because they’re going to dock you games we’ll beat you so badly. That is all.

  • Irish Sweetness

    Sorry, Philly aren’t giving NO a 7pt headstart, it’s 2.5, my bad.

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