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Open Thread: NFL Playoffs, Wild Card Round

A little bit of information/history on the first two games of the NFL's Wild Card weekend, including a recommendation on which teams to bet on to win.

Jamie Squire

Today's NFL playoff matchups include:

Next Game

Kansas City Chiefs
@ Indianapolis Colts

Saturday, Jan 4, 2014, 1:35 PM PST
AFC Wild-Card Game - Lucas Oil Stadium

Complete Coverage >

A Recent History: These two teams met in Week 16, in Kansas City, and the outcome isn't one that Chiefs fans would like to relive.

Kansas City scored the first touchdown of the game before giving up 23 unanswered points to end the game, Alex Smith completed about 50% of his passes for 153 yards and an interception, and the Chiefs defense gave up a whole bunch of yards and points to the Colts' running back tandem of Donald Brown and Trent Richardson.

Returning Stud: So, what has changed since that game? Well, the Chiefs starters got a week off against the Chargers and will be a little healthier. That includes Justin Houton, who will be returning after missing the last month with an injury.

Betting Line: The Colts should be a big favorite in this game, mostly because of that Week 16 game but also because they've had a better time beating playoff teams this year (4-2) than the Chiefs have (1-5). However, the line currently sits at +1 for the Colts, and the team reportedly had trouble selling out the game due to a belief from fans that the Indianapolis team just isn't very good.

Next Game

New Orleans Saints
@ Philadelphia Eagles

Saturday, Jan 4, 2014, 5:10 PM PST
NFC Wild-Card Game - Lincoln Financial Field

Complete Coverage >

Fly Eagles, Fly: It took until Week 10 of the regular season for the Eagles to dig themselves out of the hole they made for themselves early in the season, but that probably should've been expected. Not only is Chip Kelly a first-year NFL head coach, he has worked to install a non-traditional scheme in Philadelphia. The Eagles did win 7 of their last 8 games to finish 10-6, their one win being a really strange game against the Vikings where the Philadelphia squad seemed to overlook their opponents.

Right now, with Nick Foles looking like the most efficient QB in the league and LeSean McCoy as the obvious best running back in the league, the Eagles are a team that nobody wants to play.

Road Woes: The New Orleans Saints players and coaches have been adamant this season: They are not a team that can only win at home. Except that only fools are listening, and believing, what the Saints are selling.

New Orleans went 8-0 at home this season, and 3-5 on the road. Both the Jets and the Rams beat the Saints away from the Superdome. Without their loud home crowd and the turf to speed up their receivers, the Saints just are not the same team.

Betting Line: A standard betting line is +3 for the road team. That's the line for this one, with the line being +3 for the Saints. This means that the oddsmakers believe this game to be evenly-matched, but will give the Eagles the advantage for being at home.

I don't typically throw money down on games, and definitely not playoff games, but these lines seem very timid. I think the Colts are going to blow out the Chiefs again, and I can't imagine the Saints losing by any less than 3 points.