NFL: Colts hope for deep postseason run

The Indianapolis Colts are seeking to crash the Super Bowl party by becoming the first wild card team since Green Bay in 2010 to make a run deep into the NFL playoffs.

History shows that a team from the wild card round usually makes some kind of postseason run and the Colts hope that holds true for them.

"If you check out the last six Super Bowl winners, they got hot at the right time," Colts defensive end Robert Mathis said. "That's what it is all about. Getting hot at the right time."

The fourth seeded Colts host the Kansas City Chiefs Saturday in one of four wild card games this weekend.

The postseason kicks off with the wild card round followed by the divisional round on January 11, the semi-final conference championships on January 19 and the Super Bowl on February 2.

Six of the last eight Super Bowl champions were teams that took part in the wild card round, including Green Bay in 2010.

Indianapolis comes into the contest riding a hot streak, having won three straight games in which they allowed a total of 20 points.

Quarterback Andrew Luck finished his sophomore regular season on a positive note by completing 26-of-37 passes for 282 yards as the Colts rolled to a 30-10 win over Jacksonville on Sunday.

Luck threw 23 touchdown passes for the second-consecutive year and threw just nine interceptions.

He also finished the regular season with 8,196 career passing yards, the first player in NFL history to crack the 8,000-barrier in just two seasons.

Kansas City has faced Indianapolis three previous times in the playoffs (1996, 2004 and 2007) with the Colts winning all three.

The Chiefs stumbled into these playoffs by losing their last two games and going 2-5 following a superb 9-0 start to the season.

Like the Colts, the San Diego Chargers come into the playoffs on a high, having won four straight as they prepare to face the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.

"A lot of crazy things happen in the playoffs and we feel confident in the group we have," said Chargers receiver Eddie Royal.

The Chargers are the most unlikely of the NFL's 12 playoff teams. They needed help to get into the postseason which they received when the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins lost their final two contests.

The Chargers and Bengals will be facing each other in the playoffs for the first time since the "Freezer Bowl".

Early forecasts for Sunday's game have temperatures dropping to about five degrees Celsius (41 Fahrenheit) which is a quite different than the last time San Diego played a playoff contest there.

In NFL lore, the "Freezer Bowl" was the AFC championship game between the Chargers and the Bengals in January 1982.

The Bengals easily won 27-7 in what was the coldest temperature in NFL history in terms of wind chill. Air temperature was -22 Celsius, with the wind chill dipping down to -38 due to sustained winds of 43 kilometres (27 miles) per hour.

The wintry weather at Green Bay's Lambeau Field is expected to be the great equalizer when the Packers host the San Francisco Giants on Sunday afternoon.

These teams have seen plenty of each other over the past two seasons.

San Francisco snapped an eight-game losing streak in Green Bay with a 30-22 win in the opening week last season, though the temperature was hardly a factor given the game took place in early September.

"You just have to block it out," said 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick of how the team will adjust to the cold weather.

In the other wild card contest, the Philadelphia Eagles are in the playoffs for the first time since 2010 as they face the high-powered New Orleans Saints on Saturday at Lincoln Financial field.