Pocket Doppler Prognosticators: Wildcard Weekend
Last year, each Friday the 3 Founding Fathers of Pocket Doppler (yours truly, BigSnakeMan & Chris Richards) would square off in picking the winner of the Packers, Sunday night & MNF games in an attempt to prove their football acumen and entertain. We’re not sure either of those things happened. So this year, the Founding Fathers will be joined by two Pocket Doppler veterans: favored stepson Rich & Senior Angel Colleen. Like last year, we’ll keep a running tally throughout the season.
Welcome to this week’s edition of the Pocket Doppler Prognosticators. Heading into our first weekend of postseason play the current standings are:
Last season at the end of the regular season we wiped the the slate clean & started over for the postseason. This year we’ve decided to keep the running tally going. The cream of the crop is still Colleen & I, acing our picks last week but Colleen still trailing by one. Chris did gain a little ground on Rich & BSM so we’ll see what he can do to get out of the basement during Wildcard Weekend.
Bengals at Texans – So Cincinnati gets two high draft picks for a player that no longer wanted to be there and Oakland gets a rusty, over the hill quarterback in Carson Palmer, who can’t even lead them to win the pathetic AFC-W orst. That’s an amazingly savvy move from the “Bungles” front office. If any other team but the Raiders was involved, you could appreciate the irony. Meanwhile, Cincy rookie QB Andy Dalton leads his team to the playoffs. To continue the Bengals good fortune, they get the most favorable draw in the AFC playoffs. Thanks to the implosion in Indianapolis, the Houston Texans were finally able break the Colts stranglehold on the AFC South. Unfortunately for them, they are on a backslide into the postseason having lost their last 3 games. Texans have a strong running tandem in Arian Foster and Ben Tate, but they’re down to their own rookie QB in 3rd stringer T.J. Yates and their defense isn’t what it was earlier in the year. Look for the Cincinnati defense to crowd the line and force Yates to try and beat them. Houston will no doubt be fired up to host the first playoff game in franchise history but, as funny as it sounds, Cincinnati has more playmakers at this point…..Cats claw to victory.
Steelers at Broncos – Speaking of teams backing into the playoffs, I give you the Denver Tebows, er, Broncos; possessors of their own 3 game losing streak. It appears the league has finally caught up to the Broncos option offense and lately the defense hasn’t been there to bail them out. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is banged up again, which really makes you wonder about their decision to play him in last week’s game at Cleveland. Roethlisberger’s health is just enough of a factor to call this one into question but I’m counting on the Steelers to uphold the integrity of the NFL. Can you imagine the media firestorm that would ensue if Tebow actually led the Broncos to a playoff win? The ramifications are simply too horrible to contemplate.
Lions at Saints – Detroit had every incentive last week to try and beat a Green Bay team that sat its best players and couldn’t do it. They’re about to suffer the consequences of that failure. Lions are hoping that the presence of Ndamukong Suh will be enough to make the difference between this game and the pasting they took in New Orleans during the regular seaason. They will be wrong. The Saints will send the Lions home with their tails between their legs.
Falcons at Giants – The most intriguing matchup of the weekend, owing mostly to the mercurial nature of the G-men. Barring a monumental upset in the Crescent City, the winner of this game will be coming to Green Bay next week to face the Packers. Personally, I would rather that team be the Falcons, who always leave me with the impression that they should be better than they actually are. Sadly, that will also be the reason they lose this game. New York is at home and has already been in ‘playoff mode’ for the last couple of weeks. That should be enough to propel them past Atlanta.
BigSnakeMan’s Picks: Bengals, Steelers, Saints & Giants
Bengals at Texans – Easily the toughest game to call this week. I think HOU is the better team (I like their defense) and they are playing at home. However, their QB situation gives me pause. Meanwhile, CIN is not the Bungles we have come to jeer in recent years. They have a nice young QB and a solid defense. Neither team is soaring into the postseason–HOU has lost three straight while CIN has dropped three of their last five. But in a match-up of rookie QBs squaring off against plus defenses, I will go with the home team and pick the Texans.
Steelers at Broncos – Broncos with enough Tebow Magic to beat PIT? Child, please. This game should put the wooden stake through the heart of this silliness. Look, I am sure if I spent 15 minutes with Tim Tebow…I would be 15 minutes older. I don’t doubt he’s a good guy. But I’ve seen a couple of his games, and he’s not a very good QB, at least at this point in his development. The Steelers should win soundly, even without Ryan Clark and with a less than 100% Big Ben.
Lions at Saints – Early in the year people were talking about the stoutness of the DET defense. After last Sunday’s whipping by the the Packers JV squad, people are still talking about them, but in decidedly different tones. While the Lions defense looked less than ferocious, their offense was sublime, gouging the porous GB defense repeatedly. Sadly, DET has to travel to NO where the Saints are undefeated this season. If they thought Matt Flynn was tough last Sunday, just wait until they get a load of MVP Runner Up Drew Brees. Hard to see the Saints not marching in (and over) the Lions.
Falcons at Giants – I don’t believe in the Giants. (Well, other than Jolly Green, the terror of La Sueur, MN; that dude rocks.) But it’s not like they don’t have things going for them. They have a decent QB, a nice DL, two capable RBs, and they are playing at home. They can beat ATL. Particularly a Falcons team that has to leave their climate-controlled nest and fly north during the winter. On a neutral field in decent weather, I would take ATL. But on the road and outside in a northern climate in January, I’ll take the G-Men.
Chris’s Picks: Texans, Steelers, Saints & Giants
Bengals at Texans – Who would have thought once Matt Schaub when down, then backup Matt Leinhart got knocked out that rookie QB T.J. Yates would have led the Texans to their first ever postseason appearance? Of course the Bengals have their own rookie in Andy Dalton but he was at least expected to be playing right now. I don’t think I’ve seen either of these teams play at all this year, so going to go with the feel good story here and say the Texans win their first ever playoff game.
Steelers at Broncos – For the love of all that is holy please let the Steelers win handily and beat Tebow…wait, probably shouldn’t phrase it like that. Broncos have had a hell of run, I’ll give them that & also a little respect for Tebow for getting them to this point. I think the divine intervention ends here, the Steelers are just too good of a team to lose this one.
Lions at Saints – I want to pick the Lions here to knock off the Saints because frankly, the Saints are the one team that really scares me in the NFC playoff field. I don’t see it happening, even with Ndamukong ‘Untie My’ Suh playing this time for the Lions. Brees & company are just too dangerous and I don’t think the Lions will be able to keep pace offensively, no matter what we saw last week from them.
Falcons at Giants – This one is something of a toss up to me. I think the great equalizer here will be it’s being played in New York and outside & the Giants win in possibly a low scoring affair. I don’t like picking the Giants though because if my other picks are correct, that means the G-Men would be coming to Lambeau next weekend and we all know how that turned out last time they were there for a playoff game.
Wally’s Picks: Texans, Steelers, Saints & Giants
Bengals at Texans – This is an amazing anomaly of a playoff game. The Bengals never should have made it in. The Bengals? Really? The Texans were written off when they lost their starting quarterback…and their second string quarterback…and so on. I was surprised by the resiliency the Texans have shown (really a very talented team) and the Bungles, ahem, the Bengals, may be on the path back to being a good team, but I don’t believe either one of these teams have what it takes to run the playoff table. That said, I think the Texans win.
Steelers at Broncos – Hm. Ben’s hurt (poor baby), Mendenhall’s out (thank goodness my #DCGB season ended with a successful third place finish first) and Tim’s halo has slipped. This is a tough game to pick, oddly enough. Pittsburgh would have been an easy choice a few weeks ago, but not necessarily now. While I would dearly love to see Mr. Ed scowling in the booth at the Super Bowl, again, I just don’t see Denver having what it takes to get there. Or, for that matter, much past this game. Denver is at home, but I don’t see that providing a lot of advantage to them, here. Tebow Time has run out. It’s going to be close, but the Steelers win.
Lions at Saints – The Lions aren’t beating the Saints this week. This isn’t any given Sunday (or Saturday, for that matter, in this case.) Not in the Superdome. Saints in a complete, utter and complete blowout. And (knowing this game has no bearing since voting is completed) Aaron Rodgers kicks Drew Brees ass for MVP. In the interest of full disclosure, I like Drew Brees. Picture of him and his son after the Super Bowl melts almost any female’s heart. I also thought that San Diego were fools for letting him go. Now I know they’re fools…they’ll have the same head coach next season. But I digress. Buh-bye, Motor City Kittehs. See you next year.
Falcons at Giants – The spread on this game is close, which surprises me. Having seen the Packers play both teams, I would say the Giants are far superior, though they’ve definitely had their bumps during the season. They seem to be peaking now, and while that may not get them back to Green Bay for another NFC Championship game, the thought of which scares me until I realize some ol’ gunslinger isn’t at QB anymore, I think it gets them a win at home this week. Tom Coughlin needed to save his job, and I think with a win this week he’ll do that. Giants win.
Colleen’s Picks: Texans, Steelers, Saints & Giants
Bengals at Texans – Matt Scha…I mean Matt Leinha, nope. Um, Tyler…Jake Delhomm…wait, Jeff Garcia…Bah, I give up. The Bengals for the win, because I have no clue who’s throwing the football for Houston. That, and Ohio needs something good to happen in their lives.
Steelers at Broncos – Omar Epps is a great coach, Steelers in 2…quarters.
Lions at Saints – As much as I’d like to face the Lions one last time, it’s impossible to pick against the Saints offense, especially in a dome. Attack, attack, attack, attack, ATTACK. Drew Brees and the New Orleans offense is relentless.
Falcons at Giants – The 2011 Giants are the Eagles of 2010. Unless the Packers put them in their place, I think they’re going to the Superbowl.
Rich’s Picks: Bengals, Steelers, Saints & Giants