Pocket Doppler Prognosticators: Divisional Playoff Weekend
During the NFL regular season, each Friday the 3 founding fathers of Pocket Doppler (yours truly, BigSnakeMan & Chris Richards) picked the winners of the Packers’, Sunday night & MNF games. During the Post-Season, we’ve invited favored stepson Rich to join in the fun.
After the first round of the playoffs version of the PDP, our current standings are:
Rich: 3 (3 for 4 Last Week)
Chris: 2 (2 for 4 Last Week)
Wally: 2 (2 for 4 Last Week)
BigSnakeMan: 1 (1 for 4 Last Week)
The difference, at least between the people that are actually trying to win (*cough*BSM*cough*), was really the Jets & Colts game which Rich got correct. Still pretty tight here though so we’ll see what transpires this week.
Steelers over Ravens – This should be a game worthy of the “Black & Blue Division” of yore (cue the old ‘This Week in Pro Football’ music & the John Facenda voiceover). Rival teams have identical 12-4 records and have each won by 3 points on the other’s home field during the regular season. Expect this one to be another close hard-fought battle with Pittsburgh being just a little better at home this time.
Patriots over Jets -It’s finally come down to this; I have to root for “The Hoodie” and his Patriots to put me out of my Rex Ryan-induced misery. Jets will no doubt have revenge on their minds after they got ‘bitch-slapped’ in their last trip to Foxboro. They probably won’t have to endure another ass-whuppin’ of that variety but, thankfully in this instance, New England is on enough of a roll to dispatch the Jets decisively. Can you imagine just how insufferable Ryan would become if New York somehow managed to win this game?! The prospect is simply too horrible even to contemplate!
Falcons over Packers – Since Wally has already vowed to pick the Packers as long as they’re alive in the playoffs, I guess it falls to me to balance the Pocket Doppler karma in picking against them. Hey, it worked last week. But while I could make a good case for Green Bay winning in Philadelphia, I can’t honestly say that I’m optimistic about their chances this week at Atlanta. The Packers did play them tough down there during the regular season but made a few too many mistakes and came up short. My sense is that this game will follow a similar script. Atlanta is a very difficult foe at home and they rarely make mistakes. It will take a nearly flawless performance by Green Bay to come out of there with a win and we have yet to see that kind of game from this edition of the Packers. I anticipate the Pack will stay in the game ’til the end but I’m afraid that a turnover here or a James Jones dropped pass there will be just enough to prevent them from winning. On the other hand, if they can get out of the ATL with a ‘W’, even I might start to believe.
Bears over Seahawks – The Bears enchanted season continues as they draw the still sub-.500 Sea-dawgs instead of the defending NFL Champion Saints. Seattle actually did defeat the Bears at Soldier Field during the regular season but Chicago has been playing much better down the stretch. Seattle had their little feel-good moment at home against sleep-playing New Orleans but now it’s time to break the glass slipper over their heads and send them on their way.
Ravens over Steelers – This will be a slobber-knocker, but in what will most likely be a defensive battle on par with the siege of Stalingrad I’ll go with the Ravens. I’m also thinking this will be a big week for road teams so will start that trend here.
Jets over Patriots – There are very few franchises I envy and the Patriots are one of them. They’ve been a perennial contender for years, they have an ‘ah-shucks’ talented, super-model marrying QB and a coach that as much as it pains me to say, may be the best in the league. The Jets proved me wrong last week and as much as I despise them as a whole, they’ll want some payback from the drumming they got from the Patriots late in the season & will come to play, getting the upset in Foxborough.
Packers over Falcons – I said I would pick the Pack through out, so will stick to that. A lot of people have been high on the new & improved ‘balanced’ offensive attack of the Packers based on James Starks’ performance last week. I really don’t expect Starks to repeat that but I do think that it will keep the Atlanta defense a lot more honest which will allow Rodgers to rack up 300+ yards and…um…4 TDs.
Bears over Seahawks – Here’s the one pick where I will go against my road team trend. My primary reason for doing so is I trully believe that the Football Gods want to see Packers vs Bears in the NFC Championship…that and last week’s win by the Seahawks was the definition of ‘fluke’. Really, look it up.
Steelers over Ravens – When I’m recording the Packers Therapy podcast, I usually have a TV on, tuned to whatever game is playing. The last time these two teams met, it was the featured game while we were recording. That contest was so brutal, so compelling that I listened even less to Dave’s bizarre ramblings and was sucked into the horror that was unfolding in front of me. So I suspect the winner of this rematch will be the orthopedic surgeons for each team–they should be plenty busy after the game. The winner on the score board is a much more difficult call. While BAL impressed me with their strong game v. KC, and Joe Flacco appeared better than I recall him looking in the past, I give the edge to PIT as they are playing at home and have the better QB. Most importantly, they are coming off a bye week, and I think that will be enough to give them the win over the Ravens.
Patriots over Jets – I have a hunch that these two teams don’t like each other. The advance rhetoric has been intense, setting the stage for what I expect to be a disappointing game. Yes, that’s right: Disappointing. I think NE is just a far better team than NYJ, so I expect them to win convincingly. That’s not to say that the Jets can’t soar past and punk the Pats (they certainly can) but their public utterances suggest a team that is trying to pump itself up, possibly because they don’t really believe in themselves. NE is coming off a bye, playing at home, and has Coach Poindexter — he of the greasy hair and natty, cut-off hoodie — on the sidelines. I just don’t see Buddy’s Boy having an answer for that. Well, unless they somehow form a wall and trip every Patriot this side of Ben Franklin.
Packers over Falcons – Sorry, Packers fans: I’m picking our team to win again this week. I apologize for having to do this, but my ample gut says GB can win. I am picking the Pack because I thought they were the better team when these two teams played in late November. I realize the Falcons are coming off a bye and, once again, playing at home. But the Packers appear improved over the past six weeks, and given they only lost by three last time, I don’t think it’s out of the question that they could surprise ATL this time around. At some point, GB will cave to the unrelenting pressure of a string of elimination games. But I don’t think it will be this week.
Bears over Seahawks – I tisk-tisked SEA’s chances v. the defending Super Bowl Champions last week, and I think I was right to do so. What I failed to take into account is the Bears uncanny luck. Of course SEA won–that gave CHI the easiest possible path to the NFC Championship Game, playing a team with a losing record at home coming off a bye week. It’s another reason why GB will probably win–because that will allow the Bears to play at home for the right to go to the Super Bowl. I am sticking with my theory that the Staleys have made a Faustian Bargain that will allow them to play (and get ceremoniously disemboweled by) the Patriots in DAL next month. The first step along that Highway to Hell is to dispatch the Seahawks this weekend.
Ravens over Steelers – Ben Roethlisberger has thrown 158 consecutive passes without an interception and is well rested after the bye week. Mike Wallace has morphed into one of the NFL’s top deep threats, and it’s hard to argue against 30 receptions for 465 yards over his last five games, including 21.0 yards per reception this season. Despite being desimated 30-7 last week, Tamba Hali and the Chiefs did expose a weakness in the Ravens’ offensive line. Expect James Harrison and Troy Polamalu to take full advantage. To top it off, Mike Tomlin coached the Steelers to a 3-1 record while Pittsburgh’s Superbowl champion Big Ben sat in timeout. That said, I’ll take the Ravens on the road. The type of expert analysis only found here.
Patriots over Jets – Mark Sanchez.
Packers over Falcons – Wait, or is Atlanta over Green Bay the right call? I don’t know! I have flip-flopped so many times on this decision, I might as well run for office. (Crickets) Anyone? Matt Ryan was stellar last time these two teams met up, completing 85.7% of his passes with zero turnovers. He was excellent, yet Michael Turner had just as big of a day (23 carries, 110 yards). Any time a team is that well-balanced, 7-1 at home and does not turn the ball over, they are prime for a Superbowl run. But I can’t bet against Aaron Rodgers. I can’t pick against Clay Matthews, Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams or B.J. Raji. Desmond Bishop, you too…Delusional perhaps, but that’s what being a Packer fan will do to you.
Bears over Seahawks – Earlier this week Kim Kardashian Tweeted, “I’m bored….tell me something cute! LOL” It got me thinking, so I responded with, go to Youtube, search “Jay Cutler Tantrum,” and clear your schedule. If you haven’t seen, it truly is adorable. Clearly my disdain for Kristin Cavallari’s boyfriend will never subside, but Cutler, Matt Forte and the Chicago defense are much to good for Seattle to pull off another upset. I take my hat off to Pete Carroll for cheerleading his team this far, but neither Mike Williams nor Marshawn Lynch are going to lead any squad to a Superbowl. Even if Matt Hasselback wants the ball and is gonna score.