The Ottumwa Courier

AP Sports

January 6, 2014

Rematches galore in next NFL playoff round

The road was kind in the wild-card round. The next challenge might be more daunting for the Saints, 49ers and Chargers.

Not to mention the Colts, the only team to win at home this weekend.

Not that any of the first-round playoff winners are shying away from the next test. Rather, their attitude is "Bring it on."

"They got us the first time," 49ers All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman said of the Carolina Panthers, who won at San Francisco two months ago. "What's on our minds is to get them now. It's the playoffs, win or go home."

Going ahead were the 49ers after a 23-20 victory at frigid Green Bay; New Orleans, which finally got a postseason win away from the Big Easy by beating Philadelphia 26-24; San Diego, a 27-10 winner at Cincinnati, which had not lost at home all season; and Indianapolis, a 45-44 victor against Kansas City thanks to a stunning comeback from a 28-point deficit.

Next Saturday, it's New Orleans (12-5) at Seattle (13-3) on Saturday, followed by Indianapolis (12-5) at New England (12-4). Sunday's matchups are San Francisco (13-4) at Carolina (12-4), then San Diego (10-7) at Denver (13-3).

All but Colts-Patriots are rematches of a regular-season meeting. In addition to the Panthers' 10-9 win on Nov. 10 at Candlestick Park, the Seahawks routed the Saints 34-7 in Seattle, and the Chargers won 27-20 at Denver last month.

"We're loose, we're confident, we're peaking at the right time," said safety Eric Weddle, who spearheaded a stingy Chargers defense against the Bengals. "We are a team to be dealt with. We're a confident bunch, especially in the second half, in the fourth quarter. We feel we're ready for those situations. The pressure is not going to get to us."

What's ahead in the playoffs:

Saints at Seahawks

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