The wild-card round of the NFL playoffs generally provides little more than a yawn.
But since the Kansas City Chiefs are involved, it’s time to sit up and take notice.
The Chiefs actually are in the very first playoff game of the weekend when they host the Tennessee Titans on Saturday, followed by Atlanta and the LA Rams in the NFC.
Sunday’s slate finds Buffalo at Jacksonville, followed by what will be the best game of the weekend, Carolina at New Orleans.
Here’s how I see the games playing out:
• Kansas City 27, Tennessee 20 — The Chiefs are basically coming off a bye week as they rested most of their quality players last week. This should be especially helpful for the defense, as it always plays better with fresh legs.
Tennessee is a favorable matchup for the Chiefs and the Titans may be without DeMarco Murray, their most dangerous player. Derrick Henry is a pounding back, but not a breakaway threat. The Titans’ most reliable receiver is a tight end, Derrick Walker, as they don’t have that burner who strikes fear into Kansas City’s shaky secondary.
The Kansas City offense could have a big day as Kareem Hunt carried only once last week and Tyreek Hill was able to recharge his battery. Alex Smith's arm should be strong after resting it last week.
More than likely if the Chiefs win, they’ll try to double their fun against New England, which they scuttled in the season opener.
• Atlanta 28, Los Angeles Rams 24 — I just can’t do it. I’m not on the Rams’ bandwagon.
That means they’ll probably go out and destroy the Falcons. But teams that have long stretches between playoff appearances generally struggle.
Atlanta barely got into the playoffs, but you can’t forget it was in the Super Bowl last year and it knows how to win. Matt Ryan hasn’t been good much of the year, but he has been better recently.
Road teams generally don’t fare well in the wild-card, but this could be an exception to the rule.
• Jacksonville 17, Buffalo 10 — My only reaction to this game is that whomever wins, will lose next week.
The Jaguars have been a nice, feel-good story, rising from the ashes after years of being awful. But the last three weeks they've looked more like the Jacksonville of old.
LeSean McCoy is basically the Bills’ offense and he was hurt last week. Even by a miracle he does play, he’ll be hobbled.
Jacksonville’s full defensive fury will be on display and I just can’t see the Bills scoring a lot of points. I have a feeling if you’re not a Jags or Bills fan, this game isn’t for you.
• Carolina 31, New Orleans 28 — The Saints have had the Panthers’ number this season with a pair of wins.
But I like the way Carolina can run the ball and play defense.
I really would like to see New Orleans make a deep run. I’m a big Drew Brees guy and I’d like to see him have one more big moment in the sun before he concludes his career.