Saturday Wild Card Tips
January 3, 2014
By Kevin Rogers
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Chiefs at Colts (PK, 46) - 4:30 PM EST
Kansas City: 11-5 SU, 9-7 ATS
Indianapolis: 11-5 SU, 10-6 ATS
The Colts have qualified for the playoffs in each of Andrew Luck's first two seasons at quarterback, but this time Indianapolis won the AFC South. Now, Indianapolis needs to pull off the trick of beating Kansas City for the second time in a month to advance to the second round for the first time since 2009.
These two teams met up at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 16, as the Colts cruised past the Chiefs, 23-7. Indianapolis cashed outright as 7 ½-point underdogs, as the Colts overcame an early Jamaal Charles touchdown run to limit the Chiefs to zero points in the final 56 minutes of regulation. Donald Brown scored a pair of touchdowns for Indianapolis (one rushing, one receiving), while Adam Vinatieri booted three field goals in the victory. Indianapolis dominated time of possession (38:20), while the Chiefs suffered their third home loss in a row.
Kansas City is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2010, as the Chiefs jumped out of the gate this season to a 9-0 start. Andy Reid's club defeated just one team that qualified for the postseason, beating his former squad in Philadelphia back in September. The Chiefs stumbled to the finish line with a 2-5 record, combining for 101 points in blowouts over the Redskins and Raiders. During the 9-0 stretch, the Chiefs allowed 17 points or less in victory, but gave up at least 27 points in five of the final seven contests.
Indianapolis finished 11-5 for the second straight season, while winning 13 of 16 home contests since the drafting of Luck prior to the 2012 campaign. This season, the Colts won six games at Lucas Oil Stadium, including victories over the top two seeds in the NFL playoffs, beating the Broncos and Seahawks as home underdogs. The Colts' defense stiffened up over the final three games, allowing just 20 points in wins over the Titans, Chiefs, and Jaguars.
From a totals perspective, Indianapolis hit the 'under' in four of the last five contests, including each of the past three home games. However, those three 'unders' came against non-playoff squads Tennessee, Houston, and Jacksonville, all who were playing with back-up quarterbacks. Kansas City started the season at 7-3 to the 'under,' but the 'over' is 5-1 the last six games, including three straight on the highway.
Saints at Eagles (-2 ½, 53 ½) - 8:00 PM EST
New Orleans: 11-5 SU, 8-8 ATS
Philadelphia: 10-6 SU, 8-8 ATS
The Eagles and Saints both were technically not in the playoffs until winning games in Week 17, as the two teams meet up at Lincoln Financial Field. Philadelphia held off Dallas last Sunday night, 24-22 to pick up its seventh victory in the last eight contests. New Orleans stumbled down the stretch after a 9-2 start, losing three of its final five games, but clinched a Wild Card berth with a 42-17 pounding of Tampa Bay.
Nick Foles stepped up in for Michael Vick at quarterback in Week 9 at Oakland, tossing seven touchdowns passes to keep the job for good. Foles put together a 27-touchdown campaign, while throwing only two interceptions and posting an 8-1 record as the starting quarterback of the Eagles. Philadelphia began the season losing each of its first four games at Lincoln Financial Field, but the Eagles ended up winning each of their final four home contests.
The Saints put together an 8-0 record at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, but struggled on the highway with a 3-5 mark. Among the losses for Sean Payton's team on the highway, the Saints lost to the Jets and Rams, while scoring 17 points or less in each of the last four road contests. Only two of New Orleans' wins this season came against teams currently in the playoffs (San Francisco and Carolina), as the Saints have won just once on the road since mid-October.
The last time the Saints and Eagles met was in 2012, when New Orleans cruised past Philadelphia at the Superdome, 28-13 as 2 ½-point favorites. Drew Brees tossed a pair of touchdowns, while the Saints led 21-3 at halftime. Since 1994, the Saints have played in Philadelphia only twice, with New Orleans claiming the most recent visit in the Super Bowl winning season of 2009 by blasting the Eagles, 48-22.
New Orleans has hit the 'under' in six of the past seven games, while allowing 20 points or less five times in this span. The Eagles started the season going 'under' the total in five of their first six home contests, but have hit the 'over' in each of the last two against the Lions and Bears. In 11 games with the total listed at 50 or above, Philadelphia posted a 7-4 mark to the 'over.'
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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