It’s time for the playoffs once again! Here are my quick predictions on today’s games.
SAN DIEGO (6) VS CINCINNATI (3)
What intrigues me about this rematch is that both teams are slightly different than the last time they met. Andy Dalton, while having a fantastic season, still has his inconsistencies with ball security. He is prone to throw interceptions and that is an issue that he has to fix or else it could cost the Bengals.
Philip Rivers has started to play better and the emergence of Keenan Allen has really helped the passing game grow. It could be a battle between Allen and A.J. Green in terms of who will have the bigger impact in stretching the field.
The key factor in this game might come down to how the defense can stop the run. Ryan Mathews has emerged as a running back that can change the pace of the game and the Bengals feature two solid backs in BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Gio Bernard. Whichever defense can hold the running game in check should win this.
But right now, I feel that the Chargers have the momentum on their side and will come into Cincinnati and steal the win despite playing in potential snowy conditions.
CHARGERS WIN 16-14
SAN FRANCISCO (5) VS GREEN BAY (4)
There’s a chance this game will be at -5 degrees. In fact, it could be down to -20 and be the coldest NFL game ever. Who does that benefit? Nobody! But for this kind of game, the focus will be on the running attack as the frigid weather could prevent the teams from having an effective aerial attack.
Frank Gore and the 49ers rushing attack has picked up in recent weeks, but the insertion of Anthony Dixon will be an area of focus. Also, the starting offensive line appears to be in full strength, which will be key for the 49ers. The Packers will try to counter that with the impressive rookie debut of Eddie Lacy. With a legit running attack, the Packers now have an extremely balanced offense.
This will come down to defense once again. Despite Aaron Rodgers’ return, the team’s defense is a liability and they might not be up to the task of handling a 49ers passing game that seems to be hitting its stride at the right time. The Pack’s secondary might give up one or two big plays that decide this game.
It will all come down to which defense prevents the big plays and mistakes. The 49ers might have enough to get them a win.
49ERS WIN 17-10