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2014 NFL Playoffs: Wild Card TV Schedules, Betting Lines, Predictions

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2014 NFL Wild Card Previews and Predictions

nfl wild card
Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2014 NFL playoffs just days away, teams are beginning to get excited for their first-round matchups while others are dealing with a first-round bye and looking forward to watching the wild card teams beat up on each other.

The end of the season has finally come and the playoffs have been much-anticipated especially because oh how crazy the regular season ended up being. Teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers that are a notorious for being a solid playoff team have missed out on the postseason after sub-par start to the season. The New York Giants suffered the same fate after beginning the season winless through multiple games.

We also got to see the Baltimore Ravens, a team that won the Super Bowl a season ago, miss out on the playoffs even after a solid late-season push at the postseason.

Don't forget about the teams like the Arizona Cardinals that aren't really known for being playoff regulars make a serious push for a playoff berth -- even though they just missed out. The Carolina Panthers weren't expected to do too much this season, but Cam Newton led them to a solid playoff contender and a division title.

Yes, the NFL has been extremely unpredictable this season. I mean, who would have thought that the Green Bay Packers would lose Aaron Rodgers for seven weeks and would still make the playoffs after being mediocre without him. Oh yeah, and the Packers have home-field advantage in the first round.

The NFL season was crazier than anyone would have expected and let's hope that the playoffs are the same way. Let's take a look at the wild card matchups and predictions for each game in round one.

Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at connor.muldowney@rantsports.com.

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Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts

colts
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

When: Saturday, January 4 at 4:35 p.m. EST on NBC

Where: Lucas Oil Stadium

Weather: High 37, Low 29

Line: Indianapolis (-2.5)

With Kansas City struggling to keep the flame going throughout the season, the Indianapolis Colts will take advantage of home field. Andrew Luck will have no problem taking on a defense that has been on the downward trend for the past few weeks.

Neither defense is great, but the Colts have more offensive firepower. The Colts will need to slow down Jamaal Charles in order to have a chance to win -- and I think they will.

PREDICTION: Chiefs 23, Colts 31

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New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles

saints
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

When: Saturday, January 4 at 8:10 p.m. EST on NBC

Where: Lincoln Financial Field

Weather: High 26, Low 20

Line: Philadelphia (-2.5)

With the type of year Drew Brees is having, the New Orleans Saints should be a safe pick for any playoff game. However, with the way the Eagles have been playing lately, a shootout is likely in Philadelphia for this wild card game.

The Brees-Jimmy Graham connection will just be too much for the young Eagles and Nick Foles to overcome going forward. It may be a tight one that is decided in the final minutes, but Brees' experience will surely come into play.

PREDICTION: Saints 34, Eagles 31

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San Diego Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals

bengals
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

When: Sunday, January 5 at 1:00 p.m. EST on CBS

Where: Paul Brown Stadium

Weather: High 37, Low 7

Line: Cincinnati (-7)

San Diego has been one of the feel-good stories in the NFL this season and Philip Rivers has been a mad man at quarterback, having quite the resurgent season. If Rivers can play like he has been and not let the Bengals contain the Chargers' offense, this game will be a win for San Diego.

Andy Dalton and A.J. Green make quite the dynamic duo for wide receiver and quarterback, but if they can't connect against a lowly San Diego defense, it will be a long day. However, the San Diego defense is just that -- lowly.

PREDICTION: Chargers 24, Bengals 34

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San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers

49ers
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

When: Sunday, January 5 at 4:40 p.m. EST on FOX

Where: Lambeau Field

Weather: High 8, Low -20

Line: San Francisco (-2.5)

The 49ers haven't had quite the explosive season that they were looking for, but winning 10-plus games and making it to the playoffs has to be seen as a success -- especially with a new quarterback under center.

Green Bay is getting Aaron Rodgers back, however, and playing at home with the best quarterback in football leaves the advantage with the Packers.

PREDICTION: 49ers 20, Packers 28