NFL wild card weekend part two open thread

Jazz: It’s a bit deep in the winter to be looking for four-leaf clovers but I may start searching in my yard for them anyway. I started off my post-season run going 2-0 yesterday when the Cowboys managed to pull out a win despite suffering one of the more gruesome injuries in recent memory on the field. (Warning: Don’t watch that video if you’re squeamish.) There’s still plenty of road to travel, though, so I’ll need to keep my record pristine if I hope to claim that second winner’s trophy for the season. Meanwhile, the Jets are still interviewing everyone and anyone to fill their head coaching position. I’m considering applying for the job since that Secretary of the Navy thing didn’t work out.

Ed: So far, so … mediocre. I’m back to .500 with Seattle’s loss yesterday, but they did play tough at the end. I’m going to spend this morning looking for rabbit’s feet and an engraving service for Jazz’ second cup. Or at the very least, hoping that every game is as close and exciting as that game was.

Jazz: The early game today (1:05 pm, CBS) has the wildcard Chargers coming to Baltimore to face the Ravens. As far as I’m concerned, this one is basically a tossup. (The oddsmakers in Vegas seem to agree since the Ravens are only a three-point favorite.) In any normal season, the bolts would be a division champion with a 12-4 record but they were stuck in the same group as the Chiefs, so here we are. The offensive and defensive lines for both teams are fairly evenly matched. The Ravens have racked up more points on the season, but they also allow opponents to score more than the Chargers. It may come down to the crazy legs of Ravens QB Lamar Jackson and his ability to make first downs out of busted plays. I’ll go with the Ravens over the Chargers in another nailbiter 24-21.

Ed: Jazz isn’t kidding when he calls this one a toss-up. Both teams are hitting their peak at the right time, both have top-tier squads on both sides of the ball, and Baltimore has the home-field advantage. The Chargers are 6-2 on the road this season, so they’re no slouch as the visitors either. How to pick this one? I think it may well come down to who has the ball last — and experience. Jackson is undeniably talented, but Philip Rivers has been in this position before and that might be the most important intangible. I’ll go with Los Angeles in a low-scoring 19-17 win over Baltimore as an upset pick.

Jazz: Our second game (4:40 pm, NBC) features the defending champion Eagles taking on Da Bears in Chicago. The birds are something of a sentimental favorite with that Cinderella story run they put together at the end of the season combined with the fact that they’re looking for back to back Super Bowl wins. Unfortunately, even with Nick Foles firing on all cylinders, I just don’t see the Eagles having enough in the tank to stop Chicago. The Bears have a more productive offense and a stingier defense while riding a four-game winning streak into the postseason. I’m taking Chicago over Philadelphia in a fairly easy romp, 27-17.

Ed: I would really like to go with Philly in this post-season, and they’re playing like a true Cinderella team at the moment. They made it into the playoffs seemingly on sheer will, beating both the Rams (on the road!) and the Texans in the last three weeks of the season. Chicago’s defense will be the big factor here, however — ranked first against the rush and third overall, while Philly’s D is ranked 23rd. Da Bears’ O is only middling on paper, but they score four more points per game than Philly while allowing four fewer points per game. The Monsters of the Midway are back. Chicago 23-13 over Philadelphia.