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Saturday Wildcard Playoffs Open Thread

The NFL's second season begins today as the wildcard round of the playoffs kicks off.  In what might very well be a first, all four road teams are sitting as slim favorites.  Given the close nature of each spread, no result would really surprise me today.  Philly could destroy Minnesota, or Adrian Peterson could run wild.  Atlanta is a popular pick, and yet they will be led out by a rookie QB and they're only 4-4 on the road.  Hmmmm.....

Even without the 49ers in the playoffs, there are enough compelling matchups to keep me somewhat interested.  And given yesterday's stunning BCS upset, we'll see who rises up.  If you're not sure what to look for this weekend, our man Florida Danny was kind enough to tell us what the stats tell us about the matchups.  And, of course, Josh from Hollywood came through with his own preview of the weekend's action.

Also, if you don't get predictions in before the kickoff of the early game, you are more than welcome to throw out out your predictions for the later game.  Even if you did not participate in the regular season contest, you're more than welcome to join the prediction contest now.  Top two in the postseason win fame, glory and a modest prize.

Atl_medium   Ari_medium
Atlanta Falcons (11-5) at Arizona Cardinals (9-7)
4:30 PM EST, NBC
Falcons coverage: The Falcoholic
Cardinals coverage: Revenge of the Birds

The model for every downtrodden franchise hits the road in its playoff opener.  The Falcons are 4-4 on the road, but probably have most of America rooting for them.  Michael Turner has proven he's as good as most people think while Matt Ryan has shut up the critics.  The question is whether the playoff jitters will get to them.  And of course if the Cardinals will bother showing up.  They played much of the last few weeks as if the season was already over.

Ind_medium   Sd_medium
Indianapolis Colts (12-4) at San Diego Chargers (8-8)
8:00 PM EST, NBC
Colts coverage: Stampede Blue
Chargers coverage: Bolts from the Blue

The Chargers became the first team to come back from 3 games down with 3 games to go to win the division, and in the process, quite possibly save Norv Turner's job and cost Mike Shanahan his.  Colts QB Peyton Manning won his third MVP award and is looking to avenge last season's playoff loss to the Chargers in Indy.

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