Dan Caesar's Saturday NFL playoff capsules, picks:
CHIEFS AT COLTS
When: 4:25 p.m.
Line: Colts by 1
Synopsis: Rematch of a game Indy won 23-7 on Dec. 22 in KC, and the Chiefs enter this one having lost five of their last seven contest after a 9-0 start. But the Chiefs are healthier now than they were for previous game with the Colts ... they expect to have receiver Dwayne Bowe (concussion), linebacker Justin Houston (elbow), left tackle Braden Albert (knee) and right tackle Eric Fisher (groin) in the lineup. But key linebacker Tamba Hali (knee) is iffy. Indy is flying high, having won its last three and allowing just 20 points total and coming up with eight turnovers in the span. KC's once stout defense has fizzed down the stretch, having given up nearly 28 points a game in its last seven the pass defense has dipped to No. 26. Nonetheless, KC rested nearly all its starters last week and Jamaal Charles, the AFC's leading rusher, should thrive vs. the No. 26 run defense.
Bottom line/pick: Time for the picks to rebound after a rough regular season. KC coach Andy Reid is playoff tested, and according to The Gold Sheet underdogs of 1-3 points in this round of the postseason are 27-19-2 against the point spread since the 1978.
CHIEFS 27, COLTS 24.
SAINTS AT EAGLES
Line: Eagles by 21/2
Weather: Clear, temperature in the mid-20s, light wind.
Synopsis: Philly's high-octane attack will try to solve New Orleans' tough defense, which is ranked in the top four in three of the NFL's four major statistical categories. But its only deficiency is at stopping the run (the Saints are No. 19) and that spells trouble because the Eagles' LeSean McCoy-led ground attack is the league's best, churning out 160.4 yards a game. Meanwhile, New Orleans' offense is formidable (399.4 yards a game, No. 4 in the league) but a lot of that is built on dominance at home. The Saints have lost five of their last six road games and have averaged a meager 13.3 points in their last four away outings. Plus New Orleans will be without its leading ground gainer, Pierre Thomas, because of a back ailment. He also is a key cog in the passing game, having made had a career-high 77 catches, for 513 yards, this season.
So Mark Ingram and Darren Sproles will have to try to pick up the slack.
Bottom line/pick: The Saints have played five playoff games on the road in their history. They have won none. Why expect anything different here vs. a team that comes into the postseason having won seven of their last eight contests, including its last four at home?
EAGLES 27, SAINTS 17
CAESAR'S RECORD, TOP SELECTIONS
STRAIGHT UP: Last week: 13-3. Final regular-season record: 170-86. STRAIGHT UP PICK OF THE WEEK: EAGLES. Last week: Right (Seahawks). Season: 12-5.
Vs. POINT SPREAD: Last week: 10-6. Final regular-season record: 123-122-11. PICK OF WEEK VS. SPREAD: EAGLES -21/2. Last week: Right (Seahawks -11). Season: 5-12.
Odds to win 2014 Super Bowl
TEAM OPEN CURRENT
Seahawks 8/1 5/2
Broncos 6/1 3/1
Patriots 10/1 8/1
49ers 7/1 8/1
Panthers 60/1 10/1
Bengals 25/1 15/1
Packers 12/1 18/1
Eagles 50/1 20/1
Saints 15/1 25/1
Chiefs 50/1 30/1
Colts 40/1 30/1
Chargers 50/1 50/1
SOURCE: America's Line
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