Wild Card weekend lived up to its name on Saturday, as the Colts and Saints emerged victorious in their playoff battles. The Indianapolis Colts staged the second-largest comeback in NFL playoff history Saturday, overcoming a 28-point deficit to outlast the Kansas City Chiefs 45-44. The largest comeback came in the 1992 season when the Bills overcame a 32-point margin to beat the Oilers in overtime.
The Saints won their first ever road playoff game, as journeyman kicker Shayne Graham booted his fourth and final field goal of the game, a 32-yard field goal on the last play of the night, as the Saints beat the Eagles 26-24 in Philadelphia.
The narrow victories by the Colts and the Saints made Saturday the first day in NFL postseason history on which two different games were decided by a margin of two-or-fewer points.
Today’s contests playoff rematches. One recent and the other not so recent. The not so recent playoff rematch has the San Diego Chargers, who made the playoffs with an OT victory in Week 17 over the Chiefs, traveling to Cincinnatti to play the Bengals, who are undefeated at home this season. San Diego and Cincinnatti hooked up in the 1982 AFC Championship game. The Bengals prevailed 27-7 earning their first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. Despite facing off 33 times over the years, that contest is the only other time the teams met one another in the playoffs. Many will remember the Jan. 10, 1982 game as the “Freezer Bowl” because the temperature that day was minus 9 degrees but the 59-below-zero wind chill made the game painful to play in and watch. It was one of the coldest days of the 20th Century.
Luckily today, a winter storm warning has been canceled in the Queen City and temperatures are expected to be in the 30’s.
The Second contest today will be played in subzero conditions, as the defending NFC Champions San Francisco 49ers travel to frigid Green Bay to play the Packers, who like the Chargers nearly needed every down of their regular season to make the playoffs. Temperature at kickoff is expected to be zero degrees with a wind chill of minus 10 to 12 degrees.
Winners in the Wild Card round have won the Super Bowl nine times, including each of the past three seasons. At least one Super Bowl participant in seven of the past eight years played a Wild Card game. The Baltimore Ravens won four playoff games last year to win Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. In 2011, the NFC No. 4 seed New York Giants claimed four playoff victories to win their second championship in five seasons. In 2010, the Green Bay Packers won four playoff games to become the second No. 6 seed to win a Super Bowl, defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV.
I must give you full disclosure as I now present my previews and predictions for today’s games. For the record, I was perfect yesterday—sort of. I nailed the fact that one road team and one home team would win yesterday but I did not correctly predict which ones. I had the Chiefs and Eagles winning yesterday, so I will need to take extra care making my selections today