San Diego (9 - 7) 20 @ Cincinnati (11 - 5) 27 : The Bengals were undefeated at home in the regular season, with wins over Pittsburgh, Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers, New England, Indianapolis and Baltimore. They also defeated San Diego on the road, 17 - 10. I can't avoid an entire season of work just because it's the playoffs. The Chargers, who were pretty much forgotten in the playoff conversations leading up to the climax of the season, found a way to get into the postseason. The Bengals, even with their recent success under coach Marvin Lewis, have not won a playoff game with him calling the shots. Today, they face an inconsistent warm weather team in what is expected to be very difficult conditions. Everyone seems to feel that if Bengal QB Andy Dalton takes care of the football, then Cincinnati will probably waltz into the second round. I happen to think that the key to the game will be the Bengals' ability to stop Philip Rivers. If so, and especially if Dalton plays well, this game should go Cincinnati's way.
San Francisco (12 - 4) 23 @ Green Bay (8 - 7 - 1) 27: It's hard to judge the Packers' season, given that star QB Aaron Rodgers was out for seven games. But the 'Niners have run off six wins in a row, with four of those against sub-par competition and the other two over division rivals Seattle and San Francisco. In week one, Green Bay traveled to San Francisco and almost knocked off the Forty-Niners. Tonight, it appears this game will be played in the second coldest conditions in NFL history. Will that matter? It's hard to say, but San Francisco is built more for cold weather than many warm or moderate weather teams: Tough defense, good running game and a quarterback who takes care of the football. There isn't too much to say about Rodgers, other than to say that he has generally found a way to win during his career, including in Super Bowl XLV against the Steelers. I believe in a game this cold, it can't help but effect the play. The big question is if it will be tougher for the 'Niners, who haven't played a cold weather game this season, with their only two road games in December coming in Tampa Bay and Arizona. I've lived in both places, and I can tell you that it wasn't anywhere close to freezing in either location. For some reason, I like the Packers and the weather to take the air out of the 'Niners in Green Bay tonight.