Chiefs at Colts
Remember how good the Chiefs' defense was early this season? Well... Here were the QBs they faced, on their way to a 9-0 start to their season:
You know how when a team faces a stretch of tough opponents, they call it a murderer's row? That list of QBs is like a jaywalker's row.
Once the Chiefs began facing legitimate NFL quality QBs, in addition to suffering a few injuries, their defense fell apart. Over their last 7 games, they averaged a total of 420.4 yards allowed per game.
By comparison, the Cowboys had the worst defense in the NFL this season, by a wide margin, allowing 415.3 yards per game.
This is simply not the defense we though they were. The Chiefs were merely beneficiaries of an incredibly weak schedule early in the season. Their offense, meanwhile, is basically a one-man gang. If the Colts can slow down Jamaal Charles... at all... I like their chance to move on to round 2.
Saints at Eagles
It's going to be cold and nasty at the Linc tonight, which is going to make the run game that much more important. The Eagles have the far better rushing offense, as we all know, but they also have the better run defense. While the Saints are 4th in overall D, they allow 4.6 yards per carry on the ground, which is 28th in the NFL.
The Eagles have faced 7 teams this season who have allowed at least 4.2 yards per carry. Here's what they did on the ground against those teams.
Meanwhile, the Saints' offense runs for 3.8 yards per carry, 26th in the NFL, while the Eagles allow just 3.8 yards per carry, which is 4th in the NFL. The focus on this game seems to be all about Drew Brees vs Nick Foles. Lost in all of that is the extreme advantage the Eagles have in the run game. If Nick Foles takes care of the football, which he has proven he can do, I love the matchups in this game for the Birds.
Chargers at Bengals
If you take away the QBs, the Bengals are the far more talented team. However, if I were a Bengals fan, I'd be scared to death of Andy Dalton wrecking this game. Here is what Dalton has done in his first two playoff appearances.
Ultimately, the Bengals D is too good, and they have too many playmakers on offense to let this one slip away. Not to mention, Cincy is undefeated at home this season. I like them to win, but not with a lot of confidence.
49ers at Packers
This game is a little bit like the Chargers-Bengals game, in that the 49ers have the far better overall team, but the Packers have the far better QB.
However, the one thing to note is that Colin Kaepernick has had career games against the Packers. Here's what he has done against the Packers through the air..
...and on the ground...
The Packers are the "cold weather team," but I think the Niners' physical style of play translates very well to the cold conditions. Niners big.