In case you’re wondering, I picked both of those games correctly, (winner-wise; I didn’t tackle the spread.) That puts me at 5-1 for the postseason. Here’s a quick look at today’s games (if you’d like a longer look, I recommend Bill Barnwell’s preview for Grantland):
San Francisco at Carolina, 1:00 ET, FOX
Joe Buck and Troy Aikman have the call as the 49ers travel to Carolina. These teams met in Week 10, a 10-9 slugfest victory for the Panthers, and one of the first signs that they were a team on the rise. Both teams take a similar path to success; incredibly talented defensive fronts, a hybrid/non-traditional quarterback, and an interest in running the ball. This one is a tossup for me, but I’ll take the 49ers; if I didn’t, I’d have taken every home team this weekend, and I hate doing that. Plus, I think Jim Harbaugh is one of the best coaches in football. This is probably an exposure bias choice on my part; I haven’t seen much of Carolina this year. It certainly wouldn’t surprise me if they won at home. (I have seen enough to know Luke Kuechly is a monster, and if they can hold Kaepernick’s running game in check, (as they did in Week 10) they have a very strong shot.) Should be an interesting game.
San Diego at Denver, 4:40 ET, CBS
Jim Nantz and Phil Simms call this one for CBS. These two teams split the season series over two close games, both of which were won by the road team. As with the early game, I think this one has a chance of being close, but I feel much more strongly about choosing Denver here. That’s probably me having too much faith in Peyton Manning and too little faith in Philip Rivers, but then this is an inherently subjective exercise. It should also be an entertaining game, with a bit more scoring than 49ers-Packers. If Denver’s defense shows up, they’re a very difficult team to beat. (Chargers head coach/former Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy knows all about that, I’m sure.)
I’ll be back with regular programming tomorrow, with part 2 of my look at the Bears defensive ends. (Part 1 was here on Friday, if you missed it.) Enjoy the games today, everyone.