The 2014 NFL Playoff schedule kickoffs today with a Saturday slate that includes two games, an AFC Wildcard clash between the Chiefs and Colts in Indianapolis and an NFC showdown pitting the Saints and Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The latest NFL Picks from offshore bookmaker Sportsbook.ag have Andrew Luck and company listed as a -1 against the spread home favorite while Chip Kelly’s squad is drawing a -3 line against the visiting Saints. The NFL Odds game total in the Kansas City/Indianapolis contest is presently set at 46.5 points; the Over/Under in the New Orleans/Philadelphia game is set at 54 points.
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2014 NFL Playoff Picks Saturday Wildcard Games: Provided by Sportsbook.ag
Game 1 – AFC Wildcard (4:35pm ET NBC – Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana)
Kansas City Chiefs +1 (-110), Over 46.5 (-110), -105 (Moneyline)
Indianapolis Colts -1 (-110), Under 46.5 (-110), -115 (Moneyline)
Most are expecting a tightly contested game between the Chiefs and Colts, despite Indy scoring a 23-7 victory at Arrowhead on December 22nd. It could easily be argued that Kansas City closed its offensive playbook after its opening series, which saw the team drive 59 yards in four plays to take a 7-0 lead. The Chiefs also went away from their biggest offensive weapon as Jamaal Charles carried the ball just 13 times. Charles racked up 106 rush yards anyway and quarterback Alex Smith also had success on the ground, carrying the ball six times for 47 yards. Kansas City also turned the ball over four times and finished -4 in turnover margin for the game. The Chiefs have been a great ball security team all season long; it would be shocking to see them cough up the ball that many times this afternoon.
As for the Colts, they managed 135 rush yards on 34 for carries against the Chiefs, but 51 of those yards came on one play. Most of Indy’s damage came through the air as Andrew Luck completed 26-of-37 passes for 241 yards and one touchdown. Still, the Colts offense, which held the ball for 38:20 minutes (see KC’s four turnovers), averaged a modest 5.1 yards per play for the game.
This should be a back and forth game, but the Chiefs are, in our estimation, the better team. Kansas City was also missed field goal away from completing the season with a 7-1 road record so it should not be intimidated by the Lucas Oil Stadium crowd.
Notable Trends: The Chiefs are 6-1 both straight up and against the spread in their last seven games as a road dog with a spread between 0 and 3.5 points.
Game 2 – NFC Wildcard (8:10pm ET NBC – Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
New Orleans Saints +3 (-115), Over 54 (-110), +125 (Moneyline)
Philadelphia Eagles -3 (-105), Under 54 (-110), -145 (Moneyline)
The Saints are, arguably, the league’s most dangerous team when they are playing within the confines of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, but they lose a lot of their luster when they take to the road. New Orleans posted a 1-5 record in its last six road outings, which suggests it will have trouble pulling off an upset this evening in frigid Philadelphia. Drew Brees and company are also facing one of the league’s hottest teams in the Eagles.
Chip Kelly’s won seven of their last eight games and they broke the Lincoln Financial Field curse that had plagued them for the better part of two years when they knocked off the Redskins 24-16 on November 17th. They went on to earn home wins over Cardinals, Lions, and Bears and only Arizona was able to stay within double digits of the Eagles in those three games.
Things to consider: The Saints are 0-5 both straight up and against the spread in road playoff games. The Eagles are 5-0 straight up and 4-1 against the spread since 2004 when coming off a road win over the Cowboys.