The dogs barked loudly in NFL’s wildcard weekend. Four out of four games, the underdogs won against the spread versus the favoured teams and three out of those four matches, those same dogs took the game straight-up setting up an another unpredictable series in the next round of the 2014 NFL Playoffs.
The New Orleans Saints beat the Philadelphia Eagles, 26-24 with a late field goal; the Indianapolis Colts pulled off an improbable comeback to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs, 45-44; the San Diego Chargers upset the Cincinnati Bengals, 27-10; and the Green Bay Packers lost but won against the spread (ATS) versus the San Francisco 49ers, 23-20.
Here are the summaries of the AFC wildcard games:
Chargers (+6.5) vs. Bengals (SD wins straight-up, SD Wins ATS) Favored by a hair of a touchdown, Cincinnati, winners of the AFC North, was a in a total disarray in the second half against San Diego. They allowed 20 unanswered points in the final half and had no answers to a Chargers defense which pressured Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, who finished with 2 interceptions and was sacked three times.
Cincinnati had a total of 122 passing yards for this crucial game—a far cry from their 258.7 yards average in the regular season. San Diego also forced 4 turnovers in this match-up. The Bengals’ defense failed too. After ranking third overall in defense the entire year, they allowed 326 passing yards and 113 rushing yards—both above the limit of what they gave up on the average during the regular season.
The Chargers faces the Denver Broncos in the next round, while the Bengals have lost their playoff opener for three straight years now and are winless in the postseason since 1990.
Colts (+1.5) vs. Chiefs (IND wins straight-up, IND wins ATS) The Colts trailed by 21 points at half time and 28 points around the 13th-minute mark of the third quarter before outscoring the Chiefs, 35-to-6, the rest of the game to take the improbable 45-44 victory. It was the largest-comeback in NFL Playoffs history next to the 1992 NFL wildcard match-up between the Bills and Oilers when the former came back from a 32-point deficit.
Second-year pro Andrew Luck played an up-and-down game in his second game in an NFL postseason but played great when it mattered the most. He finished with 443 passing yards (29-of-45 passing) with 4 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. The most crucial of the TD passes was a 64-yarder to T.Y. Hilton which with over four minutes to go in the game.
The Colts will travel to New England to take on the Patriots led by Tom Brady. The Chiefs are once again booted out early in the NFL playoffs suffering their eighth straight loss in the postseason tying the Detroit Lions for the dubious mark.