The San Diego Chargers traveled to Cincinnati and played the Bengals today, beating the AFC North champions 27-10 in the wild card round of the playoffs. With that win, the Colts' second round matchup is officially determined - the Colts will travel to New England to take on the Patriots next Saturday, January 11, 2014 at 8:15 p.m. eastern time, and the game will be broadcast on CBS.
The Colts advanced yesterday in one of the most incredible and improbable comebacks in NFL history. They were down by 28 points to the Chiefs in the third quarter before coming back to win a thriller, 45-44.
The Colts now travel to Foxborough to play the Patriots - against whom another one of the NFL's greatest comebacks came, also by the Colts (in the 2007 AFC Championship game). The Patriots are absolutely beatable and the Colts can win this game - it won't be easy, but they can. The problem I've seen already is fans now overlooking this game (somehow?) and on toward a possible game against Peyton Manning's Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship game (which I predicted at the beginning of the season, might I add), but also don't ignore the fact that the Chargers are more than capable of beating the Broncos which would, with an Indy win, mean the Colts would host the AFC Championship game. But also let me add this - don't overlook the Patriots. The temptation will be there to look past this game to what might be the following week, but I won't. I'll be aware of what could happen and I won't ignore that, but the focus has to be on New England next week. I don't know if you've heard, but they've also got a pretty good quarterback in Tom Brady.
Here's the full playoff schedule for next weekend:
Saturday, January 11, 2014:
(NFC) (6) New Orleans Saints (11-5) vs. (1) Seattle Seahawks; Saturday, January 11th, 4:35 p.m. EST, FOX
(AFC) (4) Indianapolis Colts (11-5) vs. (2) New England Patriots (12-4); Saturday, January 11th, 8:15 p.m. EST, CBS
Sunday, January 5, 2014:
(NFC) [winner of 49ers vs. Packers game] vs. (2) Carolina Panthers (12-4); Sunday, January 12th, 1:00 p.m. EST, FOX
(AFC) (6) San Diego Chargers (9-7) vs. (1) Denver Broncos (13-3); Sunday, January 12th, 4:40 p.m. EST, CBS
(1) Denver Broncos (13-3)
(2) New England Patriots (12-4)
(3) Cincinatti Bengals (11-5) (Lost 27-10 to the Chargers)
(4) Indianapolis Colts (11-5)
(5) Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) (Lost 45-44 to the Colts)
(6) San Diego Chargers (9-7)
(1) Seattle Seahawks (13-3)
(2) Carolina Panthers (12-4)
(3) Philadelphia Eagles (10-6) (Lost 26-24 to the Saints)
(4) Green Bay Packers (8-7-1)
(5) San Francisco 49ers (12-4)
(6) New Orleans Saints (11-5)