After 17 weeks of hard-fought football, the NFL playoffs are finally here.
With only 12 teams remaining in the quest for the Lombardi Trophy, it's time to take an even closer look at the best teams in the league. This week, we have four games on tap, all of which are highly competitive.
Of course, the game we care about the most around here comes first, getting the Saturday afternoon slot. Let the games begin.
Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts (-2.5)
Matt Verderame: Kansas City 27, Indianapolis 17
This isn't a homer pick. This has everything to do with the talent level on both sides, the coaching experience, and the revenge factor. The Chiefs were humiliated at Arrowhead Stadium two weeks ago and are going to want serious payback.
On top of that, I believe this is a game Jamaal Charles goes insane. I can see Charles going for 200 all-purpose yards and scoring three touchdowns. Alex Smith knows the pressure of the postseason and has won before, something Andrew Luck can't say. Plain and simple, Kansas City should win this game.
Joel Thorman: Kansas City 27, Indianapolis 23
The Chiefs finally get the monkey off their back and erect statues of Jamaal Charles and Alex Smith immediately after the game.
Matt Conner: Kansas City 20, Indianapolis 10
The team is fresh. They've been focused on this meeting with the Colts for some time and I fully believe they threw the first game. Okay maybe not, but I think they take care of business on the road. I don't care about the last game or their record: I'm not at all a believer in the Colts being a contender.
Chris Thorman: Kansas City 34, Indianapolis 27
This game will stay pretty close all afternoon, with the Chiefs leading most of the day.
MNChiefsFan: Kansas City 31, Indianapolis 17
The starters, rested and inspired by their backups playing their hearts out the previous week, start out looking for payback against the Colts. This time, the Chiefs don't get comfortable after getting a single score lead and take it to the Colts in their own house.
Back to Matt Verderame for the rest of the picks (Lines courtesy of Oddsshark.com):
New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles (-2.5)
This might be the toughest game to pick of the quartet. Philadelphia has a legit offense with Nick Foles, LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson running the show. On the other side of the ball, Chip Kelly's defense is lackluster, especially in the secondary. Nobody worries about throwing the ball at Patrick Chung, Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher.
New Orleans is a terrible road team, but has a serious duo between Sean Payton and Drew Brees. They also have mismatches all over the field with Darren Sproles coming out of the backfield, and Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham down the field. The one catch? It is supposed to be around zero degrees come gametime.
Pick: Philadelphia 28, New Orleans 24
San Diego Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals (-7.5)
Every national pundit who flaps his gums for a living is going to overthink this game. Fools are going to start rambling about how the Chargers are hot and a team of destiny with a hot-handed Philip Rivers on their side. You'll hear plenty about San Diego's unpredictability and how it helps to confound teams.
All of that is nonsense. Cincinnati is 8-0 at home and plays smashmouth football. San Diego can't block the Bengals defensive front, largely nullifying Rivers' ability to go deep. Andy Dalton isn't great, but the rest of his team is damn close to it.
Pick: Cincinnati 24, San Diego 16
San Francisco 49ers (-2.5) at Green Bay Packers
Nobody is giving Green Bay much of a chance in this game. Everybody is picking San Francisco to roll through the one-dimensional Packers on its way to a date with the Seattle Seahawks. Isn't it funny how those teams always seem to lose, especially on the road?
I remember Lambeau Field as one of the toughest places to play in the NFL. Add in a forecast for snow and a California team, and it could be very interesting. Granted this is a hunch on some level, but I see Colin Kaepernick struggling and Aaron Rodgers emphatically showing he is most definitely back.
Pick: Green Bay 26, San Francisco 23
Last week: 15-1 (BOOOOOOOOM)
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- Dexter McCluster named AFC special teams player of December
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- Can Chiefs hope for Bob Sanders-like impact from Justin Houston?
- The 12 best moments of the Chiefs 2013 NFL season
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