What to Watch For  


What to watch for: Viewing tips for Wild Card Weekend


Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts

Pro Bowl edge rusher Justin Houston averaged 1.4 sacks in the first seven games of the season. The entire Chiefs defense has managed just 1.3 sacks since. Houston is expected to return from his dislocated elbow for Wild Card Weekend, but fellow Pro Bowl linebacker Tamba Hali's status is in question after sitting out two consecutive practices with swelling in his knee. This is a key matchup versus a Colts offensive line that surrendered the third-most quarterback hits in the league.

Further reading:
Wild Card Weekend preview: Chiefs-Colts
Wild-card predictions: Chiefs, 49ers undaunted by road hostility
Further viewing:
Preview: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Indianapolis Colts
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Indianapolis Colts: A Tale of Two Quarterbacks

New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles

The Saints are still looking for the first road playoff victory in the history of the franchise. Over his last two seasons, coach Sean Payton is 17-0 at home and 8-9 on the road. The average home game over that span is a 38-17 victory. The average road game is a 24-23 defeat.

Payton recently acknowledged to NFL Media's Jeff Darlington that concerns over his team's ability to win away from the Superdome are "valid." In an attempt to change things up, he's switched Gatorade flavors, ordered new sweatsuits and added hip-hop music to practice drills this week.

Further reading:

Michael Vick: I'm playing in 2014
Cold weather will affect Wild Card Weekend
Further viewing:
Who will win this Saturday: The New Orleans Saints or Philadelphia Eagles?
Brandon Boykin: We matchup well against the New Orleans Saints

San Diego Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals came up six points shy of becoming the first team in NFL history to score at least 40 points in five consecutive homes games. Andy Dalton was undefeated at Paul Brown Stadium, generating a passer rating nearly 20 points higher than on the road. The Bengals are also the only NFL team without a postseason victory since the 1990 season. Something has to give in Cincinnati on Sunday.

Further reading:
Philip Rivers' San Diego Chargers looking dangerous for playoffs
Marvin Lewis, Bengals seek motivation in Bolts' video
Further viewing:
How They Got Here: San Diego Chargers
San Diego Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals: The Path to Redemption

San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers

The playoff picture
How would your team's prospects look if the season ended today? See where each team stands in the playoff picture midway through the season. More ...

The Packers' possibilities seem endless with Aaron Rodgers back under center, but this game is riding on the beleaguered defense with game-time windchills approaching -20 degrees. Whereas San Francisco's defense hasn't allowed 25 points in a game since the third week of September, Green Bay has only held one opponent under 25 points since the third week of October. Dom Capers' defense must reverse that trend without the benefit of its best player, as pass rusher Clay Mathews is out with a broken thumb.

Further reading:
Carlos Rogers plans to play for San Francisco 49ers
Wild-card predictions: Chiefs, 49ers undaunted by road hostility
Further viewing:
Pass rushers to watch on Wild Card Weekend
San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers: A Rekindled Rivalry

The latest "Around The League Podcast" provided a robust preview of Wild Card Weekend.


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