Pocket Doppler Prognosticators: Wildcard Weekend
Before we get into the playoff version of the PDP, let’s see how things finished in the regular season.
Well, lookie there. The Regular Season Prince of Prognosticators would be none other than me. Well deserved if I do say so myself. I’d like to thank my opponents for their ineptitude as well as bask in the brilliance that is…well, myself. Thank you all for your support.
For the post-season, we’ll be wiping the slate clean and joining the Founding Fathers of PocketDoppler.com in making picks will be favored stepson Rich. Instead of choosing particular games to pick on, we’ll be picking on all games through out the post-season, ending up with the Super Bowl. Of course we’ll be keeping score along the way. So, here are the Wildcard Weekend picks:
Colts over J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets – It was this time last year that the Jets went on their improbable run to the AFC Championship game. They will make up for that this year with an early exit. Last season, the Jets had an imposing defense, a solid running back in Thomas Jones, and snuck up on some teams. None of those are true this year. Who do you like in this matchup of quarterbacks, Mark Sanchez or Peyton Manning? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Indy may have had a down year by their standards but their problems are primarily on defense and the Jets don’t have the horses to exploit them. On the other hand, if Jay Cutler and the Bears lit up the Jets D, I wouldn’t bet against Manning and the Colts at home.
Ravens over Chiefs – This is an interesting matchup. If you go only by the stats, these teams are surprisingly even. The key battle here will be between the respective strengths of each team; K.C.’s top-ranked rushing offense against the 5th ranked rush (and 3rd overall) defense of the Ravens. Kansas City has had a nice season, especially given their recent history. But they haven’t defeated a winning team since beating San Diego in the first week of the season. And we all know how well the Chargers began the year. They also later avenged that loss with a 31-0 beatdown of the Chiefs in San Diego. K.C. coach Todd Haley has his team pointed in the right direction but I don’t believe they’re ready to beat a team of Baltimore’s caliber in the playoffs. I like the Ravens in a close one.
Saints over Seahawks – This is the game no one wanted to see. The Sea-dawgs limp into the playoffs with a sub-.500 record and are rewarded for the ineptitude of their division by hosting the defending Super Bowl champions. How embarrassing would it be for the league (to say nothing of the Saints themselves) for Seattle to prevail in this ‘traveshamockery’? Fortunately for the future of the free world, there is NO WAY that is going to happen. New Orleans will win to restore order to the universe and we’ll be able to purge this ugliness from our memories once and for all.
Eagles over Packers – Don’t get me wrong, I like the Packers’ prospects in this contest. But in a game that’s such a toss-up, I know that if I pick the Packers they’ll lose. Green Bay, of course, defeated Philly in the first week of the season, but not before surviving some anxious moments at the hands of Eagles’ QB Michael Vick. Vick has now established himself as Philadelphia’s starter so at least the Packers know what they’ll have to deal with going into this game. Philly’s defense lives by the turnover; a good sign for a Green Bay offense that protects the ball. If the Packers’ defense can keep Vick and his playmakers under control, Green Bay stands a good chance of advancing in the playoffs.
Colts over Jets – I’m picking this partly because I really don’t care for Rex Ryan but more so because I trust Peyton Manning more than the Jets’ defense.
Ravens over Chiefs – These are two teams I know pretty much nothing about. Actually, that’s not entirely correct as I know quite a bit about Dwayne Bowe as he helped contribute to my Fantasy Football Championship this year. Even so, I’ll make a totally uninformed choice of the Ravens based purely on the fact that Ray Lewis uses the same deodorant I do.
Saints over Seahawks – Anyone who isn’t picking the Saints in this game is just trying to win a long-shot bet. Of course, if the Seahawks did win, they would make some people a lot of money…hmmm….
Packers over Eagles – Just gonna get this out right away, I will pick the Packers as long as they are in the playoffs. Rational? Absoulutely not but I am first and foremost a fan so will hold to that principle of believing that my team can win no matter what.
Colts over Jets – The Jets are barrel-rolling into the postseason, having lost their last three of five. Meanwhile the Colts are prancing in on a four game winning streak. Something tells me to pick the Jets despite my distaste for the team and its coach, but given IND is at home and appears the hotter club, I will Show You My Horseshoe and go with Not-As-Young-As-They-Used-To-Be Horses.
Ravens over Chiefs – Even after an entire season, I still can’t believe Kansas City is as good as their record. Moreover, I wet myself in horror each time I view the menacing visage of the Baltimore Ravens. Even with BAL on the road, I expect them to flambe the Chefs in an Arrowhead stew.
Saints over Seahawks – Child, please: In my wildest fantasies (which, for the record, only occasionally involve sweaty, spandex clad NFLers) I can’t conceive of an scenario in which a team with a losing record punks the defending Super Bowl champions. Saints on the road over SEA.
Packers over Eagles – I fear Ron Mexico, and it’s not just because of his herpes. No, his talent is felonious and gives me grave concern. Still, I think PHL can be had. That loss to MN at home in Week 16 was more brutal than a dog fight. And that limp-wristed finale was lame. But Andy Reid will have his team ready to play–he always does. Moreover, Philly Phan will be Philly Phan, so that is sure to be ugly for the Packers. But I think GB has more than a puncher’s chance in this one, so in a Going-With-My-Substantial-Gut pick, I will take GB to upset the Iggles on the road.
Jets over Colts – I hate this pick. I have no confidence in New York being able to land in Indianapolis and soar away with victory, none (see what I did there). But lazy puns aside, Peyton Manning is missing too many weapons to make a 2nd consecutive run to the Superbowl. Darrelle Revis is going to lockdown Reggie Wayne, and this time around, there is no legitimate 2nd option for Manning to look to. Jacob Tamme was an intriguing fantasy pick up, but that is about all. Betting against the ferocious will of Peyton Manning might be a mistake, but I am flying with Rex Ryan (foot fetish, arrogance and all) first class to the Divisional Playoffs.
Ravens over Chiefs – Of all the teams in the playoffs, I probably know the least about the Ravens and the Chiefs. While Kansas City is 7-1 at home this season, the Ravens are about to hand them their 2nd loss. I always enjoy watching teams beat the odds and climb out of the NFL basement, as the Chiefs have in 2010, but there are too many questions marks. Matt Cassell is still recovering from an emergency appendectomy he had barely four weeks ago, and the Chiefs also just signed Kevin Curtis as insurance in case Dwayne Bowe isn’t a full “go.” Not this season, next maybe, but not yet.
Saints over Seahawks – Yes the Saints are on the road, yes they recently suffered some crucial injuries, yes the weather may be a factor, and yes Drew Brees has been prone to turnovers this season, but come on. The Seahawks are terrible. Not only will I run (nearly) nude through the snowy streets if Seattle wins this game, but I will post pictures as well. Qwest Field may be home to the “12th” man, but unfortunately only 11 football players can take the field at any given time. I’d choose Drew Bress and the Saints’ starting 11 over Matt Hasselback 100% of the time.
Packers over Eagles – FOX’s Michael Strahan said following the Green Bay-Chicago game, “To me, the Packers are the scariest team in the playoffs.” I whole-heartedly disagree. Of all the teams in the NFC postseason, I believe the Eagles are the most dangerous. Their speed is mesmerizing, and we have all seen what players like Desean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin can do. But I also think the Packers have the talent on defense to leash Michael Vick. Sorry, I couldnt’ help myself. Still, Philadelphia and Green Bay are so close, they match up so well that I had to resort to my fool-proof system of picking games in times of indecision. I flip a coin. Oops, it’s a team history Green Bay Packers’ coin. Aaron Rodgers quiets the “close game loser” criticism and picks up postseason win #1.