Wild Card Weekend. Nearly every year, at least one of the road teams wins or pulls off an upset. So who is it going to be this time around?
Last season, it was the Seahawks knocking off the Redskins in Washington, although it's tough to call that an upset. Robert Griffin III departed early and the Redskins' hopes were left in Kirk Cousins' hands. (Hmm. That sounds somewhat familiar.) In the 2010 playoffs, the Packers, Jets and Ravens all won on the road. In fact, the latter two clubs did the samein the 2009 playoffs.
Well, Tim, the Saints fell on the road in the 2011 playoffs. Ditto the 2010 tournament. The latter loss was another game that could be deemed an upset, as the 7-9 Seahawks went Beast Mode. (By the way, seeing as you're a Vikings fan -- which means you had to endure Josh Freeman ball this year -- I thought I'd give your days-old tweet some run. Merry Christmas.)
This is a great point. San Diego won in both Denverand Kansas City this season, although the latter victory came against a Chiefs team that lost edge rushers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston during the first half of the game. The Chargers are certainly a tough squad to figure out, but as much as football is a team game, this team's game will hinge on one guy's play. See below for more.
Now, let's get to it ...
In its three most recent outings in Cincinnati, the offense has averaged 417 yards per game. Come on. Of course, the Bengals do have an inconsistent quarterback in Andy Dalton, who has to be embarrassed about his play in last week's win over Baltimore. Nothing about his four interceptions Sunday was fluky. We fully acknowledge we're somewhat hard on Dalton, who is still such a young player, yet there isn't much getting around the fact that he is capable of holding his team back.
**Beware the streaky shooter ... or quarterback.** In the same way that a couple of basketball stars can decide to get hot and engage in a *mano-a-mano* faceoff for the ages -- think of [Dominique Wilkins and Larry Bird](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2Zs37Iueio) in Game 7 of the NBA's Eastern Conference semifinals in 1988 -- two quarterbacks *can* decide a playoff game. Remember [Kurt Warner and Aaron Rodgers in the wild-card round](http://www.nfl.com/gamecenter/2010011000/2009/POST18/packers@cardinals) a few years back? On this front, *Philip Rivers > Andy Dalton*. If Rivers can isolate rookie receiver [Keenan Allen](/player/keenanallen/2540154/profile) in mismatches against a mediocre [Bengals](/teams/cincinnatibengals/profile?team=CIN) secondary and find him in the end zone at least twice, this sucker is going the other way. That said, expect the [Chargers](/teams/sandiegochargers/profile?team=SD) to run 30 times anyway. [#SDvsCIN](https://twitter.com/#!/search/realtime/%23SDvsCIN) </content:weekly-predictions>
It's not too bad that Colin Kaepernick is playing. So maybe Kaepernick won't put up 181 rushing yards like he did against the Packers in the playoffs last season; he can still certainly run for 50. Utilizing Kaepernick on zone-read plays and option runs will make Green Bay play 11-on-11, not 11-on-10, as the Pack would be able to do if it were Shaun Hill, Jim Druckenmiller or Steve Bono lining up under center for San Francisco. Not to mention (but we'll mention) the fact that limiting Aaron Rodgers' possessions always makes sense, especially when one considers that rookie Packers back Eddie Lacy is going to find the 49ers' run defense (which allowed just 95.9 rushing yards per game) to be slightly tougher than the Bears' (161.4 rushing yards per game).
**Put some air under it:** Kaepernick can wing it around the park, no question. And he's pretty solid about protecting the football (just eight interceptions). That's all good, but unless he wants his receivers to drop balls and suffer broken fingers, he had better learn to put some air under some of his throws. It won't be warm and balmy in Green Bay or -- if the Niners have to go there -- Seattle next week. Kaepernick has to get his completions however he can, because every throw -- and every dropped pass -- will count. He needs to make it easy on Anquan and the boys. [#SFvsGB](https://twitter.com/#!/search/realtime/%23SFvsGB) </content:weekly-predictions>
Now, none of this is to suggest that the Colts will get whipped. We just don't want to further the notion that "If a" always comes with a "then b and c." Winning in Kansas City two weeks ago doesn't mean the Colts will triumph this weekend and advance to the divisional round.
**What it comes down to:** Victory. Just kidding. Can the [Chiefs](/teams/kansascitychiefs/profile?team=KC)' offense score *touchdowns* against the [Colts](/teams/indianapoliscolts/profile?team=IND)' defense, which allowed all of 20 points in Indy's past three games combined? We know Kansas City's defense will give [Andrew Luck](/player/andrewluck/2533031/profile) all he can handle. It's the [Alex Smith](http://www.nfl.com/player/alexsmith/2506340/profile)-led attack that is the issue. Still, we trust him -- and a [Chiefs](/teams/kansascitychiefs/profile?team=KC) unit that reached the end zone on 50 percent of trips inside the 30, tied for sixth in the NFL -- in this situation. [#KCvsIND](https://twitter.com/#!/search/realtime/%23KCvsIND) </content:weekly-predictions>
It's doubtful Philly quarterback Nick Foles will do the Saints any favors this weekend; New Orleans can't count on him to cough up multiple short-field-producing turnovers. And there will be no Superdome crowd to lean on, no screaming masses to slow the Eagles' calls at the line of scrimmage. Drew Brees will have to keep up. I expect both defenses to bring it in this one, which leads us to ...
**... Ground Chip:** Everyone knows Philly coach [Chip Kelly](/player/chipkelly/2540218/profile) wants to score points, but given how well his offense can run the football, why not do *that* as much as possible? The [Saints](/teams/neworleanssaints/profile?team=NO) allowed 111.6 rushing yards per game and 4.61 yards per carry this season. The [Eagles](/teams/philadelphiaeagles/profile?team=PHI), meanwhile, led the NFL in rushing yards and rushing plays of 10-plus yards, and had the highest percentage of rushing plays that gained 4 yards or more. ["Ground Chuck"](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_Knox) worked in the 1970s. The [Eagles](/teams/philadelphiaeagles/profile?team=PHI) will pound it on Saturday. [#NOvsPHI](https://twitter.com/#!/search/realtime/%23NOvsPHI) </content:weekly-predictions>