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PFT’s wild-card picks

Harbaugh Getty Images

Yes, MDS won the regular-season PFT picks contest.  But with the 256-game marathon over, the standings are reset to 0-0 for the 11-game postseason sprint.

Last year, after MDS lost the regular-season challenge and prevailed in the playoffs, he claimed that the postseason prize meant as much or more.  A month from now, I may agree with him.

Here’s a look at our picks for the four wild-card games.  We disagree on half of them.

Chiefs at Colts

MDS’s take: When I look up and down these two rosters, I think the Chiefs are the more talented team.  Kansas City has a lot of good players on both sides of the ball, while Indianapolis has lost so many key players to injuries this season that there are a lot of holes on the Colts’ depth chart.  And yet it’s impossible for me to look past the fact that these two teams just met two weeks ago in Kansas City, and the Colts took it to the Chiefs.  Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and running back Donald Brown have already shown they can have a good game against the Chiefs’ defense, and the Colts’ defense has already shown it can keep Alex Smith from doing much of anything.  The Chiefs should be more competitive this time than they were two weeks ago, but the Colts will move on to the divisional round.

MDS’s pick: Colts 24, Chiefs 21.

Florio’s take:  The Colts shrugged off a November slump to finish 4-1, including a win over the Chiefs in Kansas City.  The Chiefs started 9-0 and finished 2-5.  Throw in the home-field advantage and last year’s experience in the wild-card round against the Ravens, and the Colts are ready to take the next step — which could indeed entail a trip to face Peyton Manning in Denver.

Florio’s pick:  Colts 27, Chiefs 23.

Saints at Eagles

MDS’s take: If this game were at the Superdome I’d take New Orleans, but on the road this year the Saints’ offense has looked out of sync and their defense hasn’t been the same without the loud crowd behind them. The Eagles are coming off back-to-back strong games against the Bears and Cowboys, and on Saturday I expect Philadelphia running back LeSean McCoy to have a big game against a New Orleans defense that can be beaten on the ground. Chip Kelly wins his first playoff game and extends his first NFL season for at least another week.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 27, Saints 17.

Florio’s take:  Sean Payton has plenty of NFL postseason experience.  Chip Kelly for now has none.  Coupled with the Saints being keenly aware of the perception/reality that they can’t win away from home with a forecast that calls for dry conditions, New Orleans could indeed pull off an upset, especially since the Eagles have been known to periodically lay an egg.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 24, Eagles 21.

Chargers at Bengals

MDS’s take: The Chargers’ offense is a threat to put a lot of points on the board against anyone, including even that excellent defense that Marvin Lewis has built in Cincinnati. But the Chargers’ defense is a mess, and I think that will be the difference in this game. The Bengals have so many talented offensive skill position players that I see the Chargers’ defense having fits trying to cover everyone. Cincinnati will win a high-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 34, Chargers 24.

Florio’s take:  The Bengals have won every game at home this year.  Their road wins included a victory at San Diego.  While the weather won’t be as unforgiving as it was 32 years ago for the AFC title game between these same teams, the Bengals will break a postseason winless streak that dates back to the week before they wrecked Bo Jackson’s hip.

Florio’s pick:  Bengals 30, Chargers 20.

49ers at Packers

MDS’s take: This is the playoff game I’ve been hoping for since Week One, when these teams played a great game. The return of Aaron Rodgers last week got the Packers into the playoffs, and I expect him to have a big game on Sunday in Green Bay as well. The problem, however, is that the Packers are simply not a complete team. Frankly, Green Bay’s defense stinks. Colin Kaepernick has shredded the Packers’ defense in both of their previous meetings, and he’ll do it again.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 31, Packers 21.

Florio’s take:  An undeserved home-field advantage becomes nearly insurmountable with frigid temperatures and wind chills that will test the 49ers like never before.  The Packers, rejuvenated by the return of Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb, already are living on house money.  It’ll become igloo money on Sunday, and the Packers will head to the divisional round for the fourth straight year.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 21, 49ers 17.

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51 Responses to “PFT’s wild-card picks”
  1. boomgrounder says: Jan 2, 2014 5:40 AM

    Colts win because Luck is a much better QB than Alex Smith
    Eagles when because Saints have never won an away playoff game and the game is being played outside of a dome.
    Bengals win because they are playing at home.
    Packers win because of Aaron Rodgers.

  2. goldrush94 says: Jan 2, 2014 5:44 AM

    Florio, you are high as a kite, brother. Packers will not beat the 49ers. This is a matchup nightmare for the Packers. They can’t hang with the big boys.

    SF 38
    GB 20

  3. fredsingleton says: Jan 2, 2014 6:16 AM

    Chiefs, Saints, Bengals. 49ers win this week.

    Broncos beat Chiefs, Patriots beat Bengals. Seahawks beat Saints, 49ers beat Carolina next week.

    Patriots beat Broncos. 49ers beat Seahawks.

    49ers win Superbowl homeboy.

  4. dirtysouthniner says: Jan 2, 2014 6:25 AM

    Im going chiefs,Bengals,eagles and niners

  5. jnix182 says: Jan 2, 2014 6:28 AM

    IND
    NO
    SD
    GB

  6. wydok says: Jan 2, 2014 7:10 AM

    Colts
    Eagles
    Bengals
    Packers.

  7. crush22 says: Jan 2, 2014 7:31 AM

    Colts roll Chiefs……..again.

  8. raiderufan says: Jan 2, 2014 7:34 AM

    I’m going with all the home teams with the exception of GB. I think the 9er’s come out in that cold and just grind em away for a close low scoring win. They may not face the cold often but if any warm weather team was built to go bully another team in the cold it’s the 9er’s.

  9. 700levelvet says: Jan 2, 2014 7:38 AM

    I’m going with Dallas, Steelers, Giants and Ravens… All guaranteed locks…Bet the house.

  10. heyguru1969 says: Jan 2, 2014 8:33 AM

    Nice picture! Harbaugh doing his best Greg Schiano impression.

  11. 23rdusernameused says: Jan 2, 2014 9:22 AM

    indy
    eagles
    bengals
    sf

  12. jc1958cool says: Jan 2, 2014 9:51 AM

    saints
    chiefs
    bengals
    packers

  13. andre504 says: Jan 2, 2014 10:14 AM

    When did GB defense get so good holding SF to 17 points?… GB struggles to stop the run and the pass. On top of that, Matthews is out.

    It will be more like 30-21, SF in my opinion..

  14. jbeagles23 says: Jan 2, 2014 10:23 AM

    Whoevers run game gets going in both NFC games will win

  15. bearsoxass says: Jan 2, 2014 11:04 AM

    Packers destroy kaperdick

  16. Youknowimright says: Jan 2, 2014 11:28 AM

    Saints Big.

  17. mungman69 says: Jan 2, 2014 11:36 AM

    Go Eagles Go

  18. braceyourselffor12 says: Jan 2, 2014 1:16 PM

    GO NINERS!!!!

  19. jjackwagon says: Jan 2, 2014 1:38 PM

    Chiefs
    49ers
    Bengals
    Eagles

  20. shlort says: Jan 2, 2014 2:06 PM

    I am picking the Cheifs (who I picked to make the playoffs in the preseason.) Reid knows playoff football and KC has a good D. Cheifs 28 – Colts 17

    I am Picking the Saints. They can’t win outside, but they also can’t lose them all either. Saints are going to out score the Eagles 38-33

    Bengals grind one out against the Chargers. Cold weather and a Chargers team that just seems to lack something. Rivers throws 3 picks. Bengals 27 – Chargers 13

    Cold favors Green Bay at home. The Niners (and anyone who thinks they will destroy Green Bay) have never experienced cold like they will see at Lambeau on Sunday afternoon. Cold weather really slows people down, expecially when they aren’t used to it. Green Bay outruns SF to the tune of a 23- 14 Packers win.

  21. usdcoyotesfan says: Jan 2, 2014 2:53 PM

    Packers 52 49ers 3

  22. 15to12 says: Jan 2, 2014 3:16 PM

    Opponents were having to blitz to sack Matt Flynn. Look out. Expect SF to come out hot. Expect them not to want to come out in the second half. Do you want to tackle Eddie lacy in -15 ????

  23. 4d9erdynasty says: Jan 2, 2014 4:04 PM

    Yes I know Rodgers is back but the ? for the Packers is the defense. The niner O had there best game vs the packers this season. Its going to come down to who runs the ball better. Last nine games packers D has allowed seven 100 yard rushers, Niners have not allowed a 100 yard rusher all season. Last 10 games packers D has allowed 301 points, Niners 154. Niners 27 Packers 20

  24. jordache49 says: Jan 2, 2014 4:05 PM

    49ers win their 4TH in a row vs GB. SF is just too physical. The cold is gonna hurt GB more IMO. No fun facing physical fronts in freezing weather. Plus, 49ers have longest winning streak heading into playoffs. Something to say about peaking this time of year.

    And everyone giving GB the edge with cold weather, they practice indoors and majority of the roster is from warm weather Universities. We’re not talkin about guys born and raised in Wisconsin. Lacy is gonna be hating the cold weather hits.

  25. gandorf says: Jan 2, 2014 4:16 PM

    If the team that beat the Colts, Chiefs (first game), and Broncos shows up the Chargers win. Otherwise it’s another one and done.

  26. hopper15 says: Jan 2, 2014 5:17 PM

    A bad packers defense without their best defender is going to hold to the niners to 17 points?

    lol that is a pipe dream.

  27. wcman says: Jan 2, 2014 5:57 PM

    So let me get this straight:

    The 49ers have beaten GB 3 straight times with Rodgers and all his weapons yet this time will be different because Rodgers and Cobb are back? You do know the Packers defense will be on the field too, right Florio?

    The Niners are a physical run first team that is made for bad weather and pass first GB is somehow better equipped for a game like this? Sure Lacy has been good, but their offense revolves around the passing game and the Niners are excellent against the run. Huge advantage for the Niners here.

    So to summarize, we know why Florio was so horrible picking games this year and is planning to start the playoff portion the same way.

  28. kws1949 says: Jan 2, 2014 6:43 PM

    forgotten whiners are in trouble on the frozen tundra. CarpOnick is already bemoaning the cold. Cross them off your list.

  29. omeimontis says: Jan 2, 2014 7:19 PM

    The Packers are 4-4 at Lambeau in the playoffs in the 21st century. The frozen tundra has not worked very well lately.

  30. ckruszka says: Jan 2, 2014 7:44 PM

    Saints win first playoff road game. They are due.

  31. bcajun says: Jan 2, 2014 8:17 PM

    Why is if the Saints win its an upset…id think the other way around after all the eagles almost lost to the cowgirls

  32. akasaintsbaby says: Jan 2, 2014 8:37 PM

    Saints have a run game if they ever choose to use it.

  33. apm says: Jan 2, 2014 8:46 PM

    If the Packers home field advantage is undeserved, then chuck the divisions and group everyone into one 16 team division in each conference, EPL style.

  34. boldgreenandgold says: Jan 2, 2014 11:44 PM

    Shut up with this undeserved homefield advantage crap. You guys sound ridiculous. If a team wants a home game, it should beat the rival teams it plays twice a year and earn it like the Division CHAMPS did. On that note, I predict the SF-GB game to be a down-to-the-wire affair. Although the 49ers have bullied my beloved Packers in the last 3 meetings, and our very porous defense, I believe Aaron Rodgers is back and ready to lead this team to heights it hasn’t seen since 2010. The adversity overcome by this team staying alive (or other NFC North teams shooting themselves in the foot, repeatedly) is too wild to think it will end Sunday. I’m a Packers fan, but it just seems fitting. Regardless the outcome, this will be the best game of the weekend, and the best game of the playoffs. Prepare for a battle ladies and gentlemen.

  35. dontcountemout says: Jan 3, 2014 1:17 AM

    Chargers had a 1% chance of making the playoffs one month ago but they are in. I give them a 10% chance of beating the Naty. Thats 10x’s better odds of beating Naty than making the playoffs. 10×10 is 100, that is pretty good odds that they will win? DO THE MATH MAN

  36. packerfanfordecades says: Jan 3, 2014 5:06 AM

    The kick-off temperature forecast in Green Bay is negative single digits …. maybe -3 or -4 … and going down during the game.

    I just got back from a 30 minute walk with the pooch and it happened to be -3 degrees in Racine, Wisconsin tonight. No wind to speak of tonight …. but they expect a decent breeze Sunday

    I was cold out there tonight with the dog even without wind and even though I had 5 layers on. But I’m sort of used to it because Wisconsin has been frozen solid for a month now. So, the Packer’s team is used to it too.

    I don’t think anyone on the 49er team is used to it even if they grew up in Wisconsin. It’s been in the 60s all week in San Francisco. That’s the kind of weather the SF players’ bodies are conditioned for, not what they might have lived in 5-7-10 years ago.

    I guarantee you that if I took a week vacation in 65 degree weather and then flew back home here and jumped out of the airport into -3 degree weather, it would feel MUCH MUCH MUCH colder than if I had stayed home and kept walking the dog every day in the deep freeze.

    IMHO, players on both sides of the ball are going to be effected by the temperature this Sunday. It’s a huge effect that is going to overpower all the team statistics from the regular season. It’s a leveler. It’s going to knock down the scoring on both sides. There will be lots of loose balls rolling around and interceptions with balls bouncing off frozen-stiff fingers and all those things.

    So, my expectation is that the scores will stay low enough for either team to pull it out in the last 4 minutes of the game. Then it’s going to come down to who the mentally toughest, most determined guys are and who is cheering to raise their spirits at the close of the game.

    It’s true I’m biased … but having admitted that, I just can’t help but believe that in that 4th quarter, the temperature thing and the roaring crowd is going to mentally defeat a few of the SF guys and that will make a difference.

    It made a difference in the first Ice Bowl. I watched that game. I recall getting the impression during that 1967 game that some of the Dallas guys started thinking, especially in the second half, about getting into a warm place instead of keeping 100% of their focus on the game.

    Holy cow … just looked up the Green Bay forecast for Sunday again and the temps went down AGAIN. Now kick-off temperature is probably down around -9 or -10 and it could be -12 or -15 by the 4th quarter. And there will be a decent wind chill on top of that. That’s right back into the same range as the 1967 game. In that game, the refs couldn’t use their metal whistles because their lips froze to the metal.

    Man, I’m just telling you, down in that temperature range, it doesn’t matter what the regular season stats were. It’s going to rest on determination and mental focus and harvesting motivation from the crowd support. I think what’s going to get exposed is that the Packers are arriving to this contest plenty p++s+d off at having lost three times in a row to the 49ers. That anger + the roaring crowd will fight off the cold in the 4th quarter.

    I think the Pack wins 17-13.

    .

  37. rainponcho87 says: Jan 3, 2014 10:44 AM

    Who cares what packer fans think how this game will turn out. If you need the cold to win undeserved playoff games, your organization is pathetic. And you will lose the next week anyway to a better team under more normal conditions.

  38. cursedvikings1998 says: Jan 3, 2014 11:08 AM

    The NFL has decided that Jeff Triplette will be allowed to be the ref for the Bengals game even though:

    1. He completely messed up an important call, giving BenJarvus Green-Ellis a touchdown he shouldn’t have had.

    2. He has a history of horrible blown calls, or

    3. He’s just a bad apple

    Therefore, the NFL is RIGGED.

  39. 4d9erdynasty says: Jan 3, 2014 2:12 PM

    Not buying this whole weather going to be a huge difference maker deal. Packers fans are trying to grasp onto anything to keep high hopes of winning the game. The thing is most of the players on GB probably dont even live in GB. They practice indoors. They only play in a couple more cold games a year. Its going to be cold for everybody. I think the advantage goes to 49ers. They are a run first team and have a way better front 7 on defense. GB is a pass first team and if they rely on the pass game it will be tough. Rodgers is going to be throwing leather icebergs out there. Its going to be tougher throwing the ball and catching the ball on sunday. Anything can happen on any given sunday but stop this whole weather is a huge advantage to the packers.

  40. salbright45 says: Jan 3, 2014 3:20 PM

    Sir Pancho doesn’t seem to realize that Packer fans would love to see Their team knock The 9ers out, watch Harbaugh loose his mind, and get a chance at another round. We know the D needs some strange bounces, but that is why they put pointy ends on the ball. See Ya’ll Monday!

  41. imbetteratlifethanyou says: Jan 3, 2014 3:47 PM

    Who cares – whoever wins will get steamrolled in Seattle.

    Seattle 84
    Whoever 0

  42. gward90 says: Jan 3, 2014 4:29 PM

    Colts are a subpar team with 3 good players. No way they beat the Chiefs. Some guys really LOVE Luck, its kind of weird.

  43. shergald says: Jan 3, 2014 4:44 PM

    Kaepernick will be unable to resist his macho scenario of bared tattooed arms. Throws three interceptions in -2o. Bye bye 49ers.

  44. polapea says: Jan 3, 2014 5:40 PM

    Chiefs- don’t think the Colts have enough talent on the outside.

    Eagles- call me a homer but I think they find a way. There’s just something about this team.

    Bengals- only because the weather. I think they win in spite of Dalton

    Pack- I guess no one else has noticed how average Kaepernick has been this year.

  45. jikkle49 says: Jan 3, 2014 7:17 PM

    Packers are 3-4 at Lambeau when kickoff is 6 degrees and lower so it’s not like the cold weather really works to their advantage.

    The weather aspect is being overrated because once you start getting into the negative degrees weather wise it’s unbearably cold for both teams and you don’t get “used” to it.

  46. skins1970 says: Jan 3, 2014 11:15 PM

    These will be the Wildcard Weekend Winners..

    KC Chiefs
    New Orleans Saints
    Cincinnati Bengals
    San Fransisco 49ers

  47. rrthomasxyz says: Jan 4, 2014 1:22 AM

    49er’s beat Green Bay but there is no way SF is coming into CenturyLink with Percy Harvin back for SEA and beat the Seahawks….dream on 49whiners.

  48. rrthomasxyz says: Jan 4, 2014 1:25 AM

    I ran in 20 below degree with (3 X 5 miles a day for 5 days) and once you get into the run, you sweat and don’t even feel the cold….believe me there won’t be much time between plays though, you have to keep moving.

  49. stagedoorjohnny says: Jan 4, 2014 10:06 AM

    Truth in realty picks:

    Not one of these eight teams playing today and tomorrow will win next weekend.
    True form will prevail and Seattle, Denver, NE and Carolina will pick apart this bunch.

  50. vikinggroininjury says: Jan 4, 2014 3:54 PM

    The Niner Pansies think they can just walk into Lambeau and take a win? You need more than a week to acclimate to the weather. The Packers HAVE BEEN practicing outdoors which is much more than SF.

    This B.S. I read from the SF crowd about temps not making a difference is just that. You west coast clowns have no idea what it is like to be in this weather and how to function in it.

    And for those of you crying about the Packers being undeserving to host this game…..well better luck next year, maybe you’ll win your division.

  51. rainponcho87 says: Jan 6, 2014 12:28 AM

    49ers win!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    sleeveless Kaepernick: “wasn’t that cold”

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