NFL PLayoffs – Wild Card Weekend 2015

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It’s that time again and while my beloved Giants did not make it this year, I am excited to see if my keen sense of what makes a winning team can make accurate picks this year.  This could come back to backfire, but this is one of those years, where it all seems to add up to me.

Arizona @ Carolina

Probably the most boring of all the match-ups this week, I expect Carolina to pull this one off.  Arizona was on a role at the beginning of the year and despite the injuries at QB, had a defense that could still keep them in the game.  Despite the good defense, they still found it hard to win their last 8 and only pulled of two of them.  On the other side of the coin, let’s face it, Carolina is only here because no one else in the NDC South wanted it more.  It’s a shame that they don’t even have a winning record and they get home field advantage in the first round.  I guess that’s also what makes the NFL great.  The one good thing going for them is the 4 game winning steak that got them here.  Let’s face it, the competition wasn’t all that great in those last games, but then again, Arizona’s offense is no better.  The defense might keep them in this game, but I expect Carolina to eventually pull it off.    Arizona 13, Carolina 20 

Baltimore @ Pittsburgh

It’s true, team’s who have squeaked into the playoffs have done well.  It’s true, the Ravens have a decent track record in the playoffs.  It’s true to Ravens looked better in the second half of Week 17s Browns game.  The cold hard reality of it though is the Ravens are still not a good football team.  The last time they beat a team with a winning record this year was Week 2.  Incidentally, it was the only time.  Put that together with the fact that they struggled to beat the teams with bad records and I just cannot feel good about this team.  The good news is that team they did beat in Week 2 was Pittsburgh and the history has always shown you can throw what’s on paper out when these two meet.  For Pittsburgh, the loss of Bell will hurt, but not many teams could run efficiently on the Ravens anyway, so as long as Pitt can show the run well, I don’t think that will be as big of factor as perceived.  I also think Pittsburgh knows this and decided to rest Bell for what could be upcoming, when they do need him.  Big Ben has had some great games this year, but also has struggled.  I think neither team has a great defense, but I believe home field advantage and past performance this year gives Pittsburgh the upper hand.  Expect a physical, slow game to start, eventually turning into a shootout.  Ravens 24, Pittsburgh 31

Cincinnati @ Indy

Tough call here – Indy looked better over the second half of the season, but was it just a product of the weak teams they played?  There defense looks better on paper, but I have always felt Cincy had a better D.  Luck, when on, can make you look stupid, but has he really looked good recently?  Bottom line, this is one of the tougher games to call, but I don’t think Cincy has enough of a pass rush to ruin Luck’s day and given the fact Indy has home field and AJ Green might not play, I think Indy pulls this off.  Cincinnati 21, Indy 24  

Detroit @ Dallas

This is my reach pick.  I’m going off the beacon path here and not because I am an ant-Dallas fan.  True, I am not a big fan of Dallas, but even if I liked them remotely, I would be worried here.  Have they exceeded expectations in all realms this year – yes.  Is Romo at his best – probably.  Murray healthy and looking unstoppable – yep.  So why do I think it ends here – because they are due for a letdown and Detroit has what it takes to hand it to them.  Stafford and Johnson at their best can beat anyone and Dallas does not exactly have a lights out secondary.  Detroit’s defense, is better and I think they can hold Murray and company in check.  Will Dallas put up points – yes, but so will Detroit and now that everyone already has Dallas going to the Super Bowl, they have everything to lose.   Detroit 34, Dallas 28

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