Pocket Doppler Prognosticators: Divisional Playoffs Edition
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 the Divisional Playoff round the current standings are:
After the Wildcard Weekend, we have a log jam at the bottom of the order and the top staying steady. This week’s games though, especially in the NFC, look a bit more evenly matched so it’s possible there could be some movement here. The real question though, will anyone take a flier on the Broncos? Let’s see.
Broncos at Patriots – The Denver Broncos have had their little Seattle Seahawks-like feel good Cinderella moment, so it’s time for all the Tim Tebow nonsense to end now, isn’t it? Well…..ISN’T IT?!!!! Please, Tom Brady, if I’ve ever asked you for anything, see to this.
Texans at Ravens – Houston used the adrenaline rush from a home crowd experiencing it’s first taste of the playoffs since the Oilers left town to rattle a Bengals team similarly unaccustomed to postseason football. None of those advantages will be in play for the Texans this week. Baltimore is at home, is playoff hardened, and is simply a better team than both Cincinnati and Houston. That all adds up to a win for the Ravens.
Saints at 49ers – Much has been made of the 49ers defense, but they have yet to face an elite offense of the caliber of New Orleans. I suspect that at least some of those defensive metrics are skewed by the fact that they play in the NFC West. The Saints attack may not be quite as effective away from the Superdome but I still have a hard time believing that San Francisco will be able to score enough to keep up with the Saints.
Giants at Packers – Let’s keep this simple and do it by the numbers. The Packers went to New York during the regular season and defeated them by 3 points in a game that, at the time, was vital to the playoff hopes of the G-men. This game will be played in the friendly confines of Lambeau Field. Oddsmakers generally concede a 3 point advantage to the home team. Therefore, I expect Green Bay to win by 6 points.
BigSnakeMan’s Picks: Patriots, Ravens, Saints & Packers
Broncos at Patriots – As much as I enjoyed the Denver upset last weekend, I refuse to believe. It’s not that I am down on the DEN QB; he seems like an admirable Man o’ Faith, and that’s very cool. But I suspect he is the 2012 football version of Mark Fidrych, the MLBer from the late 1970s, who also captured the attention of the nation for a while (i.e. as long as he was winning). So I look for the Pats, behind a genuine QB, to trash the Tebows.
Texans at Ravens – A clash of two stout defensive teams at Empty Bank Stadium. BAL has the better QB, plays in its home vault, and offers free checking. That’s enough to convince me to pick the Ravens.
Saints at 49ers – If I wasn’t a Packers fan, this would be the game that would interest me most. I believe the Saints are the better team and they have it going on at the moment. SF is rested, has a good defense that could slow down Drew Brees and are hosting at The Stick. NO lost three games this year, all on the road. A dome team outside in January would seem to favor the Friscos, but 58 degrees and party cloudy skies doesn’t seem like a huge obstacle for the Saints to overcome even on real grass. I would not be surprised by a SF victory, but I retain lingering doubts about the 49ers, enough to make me think the NO can win away from the SupaDome.
Giants at Packers – I messed myself watching the way the G-Men bitch-slapped the Falcons last weekend. Luckily, my kids are adults because I would have had to remove them from the room so that they wouldn’t witness a beatdown that gruesome (rated “R” for Ridiculous). The Packers old friend, Lambeau in January, probably won’t help much as the expected conditions won’t be that different from those in New Jersey (except with a lot fewer mob hits). I expect the NY defense to limit the Packers offense just enough to allow a decent Giant offense to outscore a pathetic GB defense. Even a pedestrian D would probably be enough for the Packers to win and, likely, return to the Super Bowl. But as it is, I can’t see GB winning with the crew they have on that side of the ball.
Chris’s Picks: Patriots, Ravens, Saints & Giants
Broncos at Patriots – You can’t tell me Belichick & his staff weren’t preparing for the Steelers all along here. I’m sure Sunday night as they watched that game come to a conclusion there was some gnashing of teeth as they had to toss everything they had been working on right out the window. Or maybe they just all said ‘whew’, this just got a lot easier. There is just no possible way the Broncos win this game. Say what you want about divine intervention or whatever…just not gonna happen. Patriots win this one in a blow out.
Texans at Ravens – I was very happy to see the Texans win last weekend, not only because I picked them but I think they’re a deserving team and it was totally cool to see former JJ Watt with a pick 6. I really want to go with the Texans again because I like the team but…you know, what? I’ll just take a flier on them, I have a point to give.
Saints at 49ers – Do I base this pick on who I would rather see the Packers play or on who I think will win…hmmm. Dynamic offense against a stout defense. Out of all the games this is most likely the tightest match-up as I think either team has a legitimate chance to come out on top at the end. I really don’t want to see this happen, but the Saints are just too hot right now to pick against so I’ll go with them.
Giants at Packers – Just no way I’m not going to pick the Packers here so I’ll just it leave at that.
Wally’s Picks: Patriots, Texans, Saints & Packers.
Broncos at Patriots – This one’s easy for me, and not just because of personal prejudice. I refuse to mention “they who must not be named” again this season, and thankfully, after this game I won’t have to for many months to come. (Although Rich Ward Jr. did get to hear on local Wisconsin sports radio that I hated “that team”. So there’s that.) This week Greg Bedard gets to write a story about a huge blowout in Boston (or, to be specific but less alliterative, Foxboro) and the Patriots going to the AFC Championship game. Where they very well may lose again, but where they belong far more than “those guys.” Pats with an easy win.
Texans at Ravens – I would have picked the Ravens to win this easily, but the Texans gave me some pause with their high level of play a week ago. However, they were playing the Bungles, I mean, Bengals, so who wouldn’t have played at a high level? Even the Broncos could have looked dominant. Hell, my senior year in high school football team (4-5, I think with my Vikings loving QB boyfriend at the helm) could have beaten them. The Ravens are picked to win this game, and while I think the Texans might put up a struggle, they are not going to be able to compete at this level. I seriously think there might be a Ravens-Packers Super Bowl. Ravens win.
Saints at 49ers – This game comes down to who is the better matchup for the Packers, in my mind. Well, that shapes who I hope will win, at any rate. We’ve seen the Saints come to Lambeau and lose in a nailbiter. The 49ers have not played the Packers this year, and they are a very different team than last year when Donald Driver had his spectacular catch and run that erased the doubts of many as to whether my beloved Double D still had the will to win. However, they still have Alex Smith, and while I truly believe that someday Colin Kaepernick will get his day (Nevada homer alert!) I have given up on the fact that chance is coming this year. Still, I can’t see the 49ers carrying this one. They’ve had a spectacular run, but it ends now. That said, I hope the 49ers win, because QB2 was born in where? Milwaukee and hoped to play in where? Lambeau. I’d like to see the kid get to suit up there…and lose, much as I admire him. But Brees and company will be too good. Saints win.
Giants at Packers – Well now…this one’s for all of (well part of) the marbles, isn’t it? Revenge game, Giants are trash talking, New York media is salivating…and our guys are patiently, quietly, waiting and preparing to play their hearts out for Joe Philbin (and TJ Lang). The Giants see themselves as an elite team who can repeat the miracle of 2007. (No, it wasn’t a miracle. It was Burt being Burt. But I digress.) The last time I saw these two teams play in a playoff game, I cried, yelled, threw things at the TV – luckily all I had handy was throw pillows – and enlightened my children as to the full breadth of my vocabulary…working in profanity as some artists might in oils or clay. One of my (many, I am sure) Bad Mom moments.
That’s not going to happen this time. I may say “Peyton’s Brother” but I don’t think I’ll be throwing things and swearing, which my seatmate will deeply appreciate, I’m sure. Unfortunately (for the Giants) there is one thing standing between them and the Lombardi Trophy: the rightful owners. Eli Manning, you killed my NFC Championship hopes once. You’re not doing it again. Prepare to die. Packers win. (If they don’t, I hope Mike has bail money.)
Colleen’s Picks: Patriots, Ravens, Saints & Packers
Broncons at Patriots – If fans can root for dog killers, coke dealers, gun-toting strip club addicts, purple drank enthusiasts, and chest-stompers (yes you, Suh), then why on Tebow’s green earth shouldn’t we embrace #15 for the Denver Broncos? He may be over-hyped, overrated, and Skip Bayless (gross) may be his biggest fan, but consider me a fan.
That said, New England houses them at home.
Texans at Baltimore – I don’t even deserve to pick this game, especially having not given Houston any shot last week. Their role players, that defense, they deserve major, major props for the way they’ve played once their all-stars went down. Hey Chicago, take note.
As much as I’d like to see it continue, it’s hard to see it happening. I don’t think Yates stands a chance against Ngota and company. Arian Foster may go off for another 100 yards rushing, 50ish receiving, but it won’t be enough.
New Orleans at San Francisco – Offense vs. defense. Former #1 overall pick vs. former Superbowl champion. Natural surface vs. turf. How does anyone pick this game? These teams are polar opposites, and I haven’t a clue who will come out on top. My guess? New Orleans in a blowout or San Francisco in a nail-biter.
Where is my coin…New Orleans by a lot (10+).
Giants at Packers – Not this year, New York. You pulled the belt out a few weeks ago; it’s the NFL MVP’s turn to respond.
Rich’s Picks: Patriots, Ravens, Saints & Packers