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Our fearless playoff predictions

1/4/2014

Since I did such a bang-up job with my regular-season predictions (that's sarcasm, folks), I'm going to take a shot at the playoffs. First, wild-card weekend:

Indianapolis Colts 27, Kansas City Chiefs 14

The Colts are playing good defense, having held their opponents to under 10 points in each of the past three games. No other team did that in the regular season. The Chiefs' once intimidating defense is fading. After recording 35 sacks in the first seven games, they notched a league-low 12 over the final nine. The Chiefs' pass rushers are getting healthy, but I think Andrew Luck will carve them up with a quick-passing game.

Philadelphia Eagles 38, New Orleans Saints 35

It'll be a high-scoring affair, as the two teams have combined for 100 offensive touchdowns. The Saints never have won a road playoff game -- ever. Rob Ryan's defense will have trouble with the zone-read. The Eagles, who led the league in rushing, used the zone read on 304 plays. The Saints defended the zone read only 22 plays. This could be a record-setting game for LeSean McCoy.

Cincinnati Bengals 27, San Diego Chargers 17

The Bengals are undefeated at home, averaging 34.4 points per game. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is tough on the road (a league-high 71.5 completion percentage), but I like the Bengals to win their first playoff game since 1990.

San Francisco 49ers 20, Green Bay Packers 17

It will be brrrrutally cold at Lambeau, but the 49ers are hot. They own the longest active winning streak -- six straight. Colin Kaepernick has 10 touchdown passes, only one interception over that span. In his last three games against the 49ers, quarterback Aaron Rodgers has an 8.0 QBR against the blitz. The 49ers will blitz.

Divisional Round:

AFC: Broncos over Colts; Bengals over New England Patriots.

NFC: 49ers over Seahawks; Eagles over Carolina Panthers.

Conferernce championships:

AFC: Broncos over Bengals.

NFC: 49ers over Eagles.

Super Bowl XLVIII: 49ers over Broncos.