In round 1 of Wild Card weekend I was 2-0 with winners and 1-0-1 against the spread. Great games for sure, unless of course you are a Chiefs fan. I can’t imagine what the good folks of Kansas City feel like today…38-10 and you lose.
Moving on to today’s games…
San Diego @ Cincinnati (-7)
These clubs met in San Diego a little over a month ago, a game won by the Bengals 17-10 a very evenly played game and one decided by a key turnover.
The Bengals are 8-0 at Paul Brown Stadium where they’ve regularly scored 40+ points and average 34.4 points per game on the season. Marvin Lewis fields the league’s 3rd best overall defense and the 10th best offense. The visiting Chargers led by the emotional Philip Rivers have the 5th best offense and 23rd ranked defense. The Chargers are 4-4 on the road.
The Bengals are one of the league’s most talented teams but like any Cincinnati game this boils down to the play of Andy Dalton. He can melt down often in the clutch and when he does it seems to happen rather quickly. Playing at home is a big advantage for Dalton and while he’ll try to give the game away, the Bengals will squeak by and get it done. It will however be their last game at home this season and their last victory.
PREDICTION: Bengals 23, Chargers 20
San Francisco (-3) @ Green Bay
This should be a very entertaining matchup between two teams that started the season together in San Francisco, a game won by the 49ers 34-28. Colin Kaepernick was on fire in that contest throwing for 412 yards and 3 scores connecting with Anquan Boldin 13 times for 208 yards and a score.
Their biggest obstacle to victory today could be the Artic conditions at Lambeau Field where temperatures will be in the negative numbers made worse by the Great Lakes wind chill.
While they aren’t flashy the 49ers are balanced and they normally win the turnover battle but the conditions could balance the equation. But when all is said and done, the 49ers have two many weapons for the 25th ranked Packers defense to handle. They’ll force the Packers to spend resources to stop Frank Gore and when they do Kaepernick will use play action to connect with Boldin, Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis. It will be interesting and it will be close but the battle-tested Niners who travel well (6-2 on the road) will pull it out thanks in part to a big running play from their quarterback.
PREDICTION: 49ers 27, Packers 23