Pocket Doppler Prognosticators – Week 11
Each week last season, the 3 Founding Fathers of Pocket Doppler (Wally, Harland O. Dog & Chris Richards), Senior Angel Colleen and favored stepson Rich 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 going to make another valiant attempt at it this year. Unfortunately Chris had to bow out for this season (or happily escaped, take your pick) so Angel Kelly has joined the team. Like always, we’ll keep a running tally throughout the season.
Welcome to this week’s edition of the Pocket Doppler Prognosticators. Entering into Week 10 the current standings are:
Harland O. Dog: 18
Well, it does seem cheaters (ahem) never prosper, as Rich is now tied with Harland O. Dog for last place. Wally, Kelly and Colleen all aced their picks. The wheat may be starting to separate from the chaff, as they say. Let’s see what this week brings:
Harland O Dog
Last week served as a valuable lesson in the futility of ignoring one’s instincts; another mistake that won’t be repeated. I guess that makes me the ‘chaff’, though I’ve never been called that before (not in so many words anyway). (Editors Note: First time for everything.) At least my boy Rich has company at the bottom now. It’ll just make my eventual and inevitable comeback even more impressive.
Packers @ Lions – Those who had Detroit pegged as a postseason contender have to be getting almost as nervous as the Lions themselves. The Lions are about to the point where their playoff backs are against the wall. A couple of weeks ago the Lions looked to be hitting their stride, but then they reverted to form last week against the Vikings. Of course, the Packers have problems of their own. Green Bay should institute a new award: the Injured Starter of the Week. The latest recipient is right guard Brian Bulaga, who’s out for the season with a dislocated hip. That means that Evan Dietrich-Smith gets inserted into the line just in time to untie Ndamukong Suh’s shoes. As shaky as Bulaga has been this year, EDS might even be an upgrade but it removes what little depth the Packers had left on the O-line. Basically this game comes down to the whether the Packers can use the rest from their bye week to overcome Detroit’s desperation. Based on the available evidence, right now I still have more confidence in the Pack.
Ravens @ Steelers – This is another game that’s taken on a different look in the last couple of weeks. The Steelers are on a 4 game winning streak but they’ll probably have to rely on backup quarterback Byron Leftwich to keep it going. Given how Pittsburgh struggled to get past the lowly Chiefs without Ben Roethlisberger, that’s probably just enough to tip the scales in Baltimore’s favor.
Bears @ 49ers – Two teams with stout defenses and concussed quarterbacks. As of this writing, it looks like the Bears’ Jay Cutler may not be available, but San Francisco signal caller Alex Smith practiced on a limited basis and will probably play, much to the chagrin of my colleague Colleen. Even if Cutler plays, Chicago will be hard pressed to take down the Niners at home.
Harland O. Dog’s Picks: Packers, Ravens & 49ers
Packers @ Lions – Back from the bye the Packers will need to be shuffling the offensive line with the news of Bryan Bulaga being put on the IR. This news of course isn’t great, but it’s not the end of the world as Lang is capable taking Bulaga’s spot & Dietrich-Smith has started before when the need has arose. This will also give EDS the chance to start against his old pal Suh, a storyline I’m sure we’ll here about a half-dozen times over the course of the game. The Lions meanwhile are coming off of a loss against the Vikings & while they’ll be chomping at the bit to get back in the W column, especially against a division foe. It won’t happen though as the Packers re-tooled O-Line will be fine, giving Rodgers the time he needs to carve up the Lions secondary.
Ravens @ Steelers – This is one of those games where NBC has to be pretty upset about injuries. At the beginning of the season it was going to be the Ravens defense led by Ray Lewis against their AFC North foes led by Ben Roethlisberger. Well, not anymore. Chances are better than not that Roethlisberger won’t be on the field for this game, so even though it is a home game for the Steelers, with their starting QB out I think the Ravens take this one.
Bears @ 49ers – So will Cutler play in this game? Because if he doesn’t the Bears don’t have a chance in hell of beating the 49ers. I’m saying it’ll be 50/50 Cutler will be at the helm post-concussion, but even if he does suit up I don’t think the Bears can take this one on West Coast.
Wally’s Picks: Packers, Ravens & 49ers
Packers @ Lions – Wonder what Stompy McTantrumpants is up to this weekend? The upside of Bulaga out for the season is the fact that EDS is (hopefully) going to get up into Stompy’s head space, untie a few shoelaces and make him obsess about laying the hurt on EDS and forgetting all about the QB in the pocket. Couple that with the Lion’s secondary out for a siesta or something, and I see Cobb in the end zone for many points. Unfortunately my mother, who lives in De Pere but is from Detroit, is visiting. That in itself is not a bad thing. And normally she really doesn’t give a rip about football. But when the Packers go into Detroit she suddenly becomes this giant, obnoxious Lions bandwagoner. *headdesk* Say a prayer for me.
Ravens @ Steelers – Let’s face it Joe Flacco is happily mediocre at best. I mean really, the pundits (coughandmaybemecough) had pick them to be AFC favorites to go to the Super Bowl. Yeah, I know, you can stop laughing now. But this may be Joe’s week while Big Ben is trying not to bleed to death from the Broken Rib of Doom. Without Roethlisberger, the Steelers are vastly different team and their offense will be challenged Ravens even without Ray Lewis.
Bears @ 49ers – So it’s going to be Colleen’s beloved Kaeperdork against–wait, who is the back up for the Bears? Anyhow, if it’s Kaepernick against some unknown guy they are going to have to peel his corpse off the turf with an industrial strength spatula. And if it is the Unknown QB under center for the Bears it is going to be a long day in San Francisco. Even if the Bears and 49ers were not the walking wounded, I think that the Bears would prove to still be the lesser team.
Kelly’s Picks: Packers, Ravens, 49ers
Packers @ Lions – I shouldn’t be nervous about this game at all, but I am. I know the Motor City Kittehs are imploding, I know the Schwartz is with the Lions and in this case that’s not a good thing. However, if there’s anywhere the Packers tend to struggle, it’s Ford Field, even when the Lions have a sub-par team, which is most of the time. I do find the timing ironic in that EDS will be starting this game after the famous stomping incident last year. (I pray that shoelace story is true, because it makes me giggle to think about it.) Plus, CM3 isn’t playing from what I understand and that’s never good. Still, I think the Packers will prevail, Aaron’s got to take his hatred of ’60 Minutes’ out on someone.
Ravens @ Steelers -This is going to be an interesting game, but perhaps not in a good way, given that Rapelisberger is out with an injury. The Steelers really aren’t that great this year and with him out, they are going to be even worse. The Ravens have been playing pretty well and I think continue that this week.
Bears @ 49ers – This game could be a duel of backup quarterbacks, with my own Nevada homeboy Colin Kaepernick having played, and overall very well (*beams*) most of the last game, when Alex Smith went out last week with a concussion. Cutler of course suffered the same fate, although he always seems concussed, to be honest. The Bears will have the luxury of playing on a field that does not resemble a hot mess. (Soldier last week was ridiculous. Just ridiculous.) I don’t think they’ll know how to handle that. And they still suck.
Colleen’s Picks: Packers, Ravens & 49ers
Packers @ Lions – Despite the Packers playing on the road with their practice squad, they don’t lose in domes…especially to the mess the Lions have become.
Ravens @ Steelers – Toss up, home team.
Bears @ 49ers – Toss up, home team.
Note: My sister, Jenny, gave birth to a six pound, nine ounce baby girl on Monday afternoon. Living several hours from my family, I have not yet had the opportunity to visit with little Ryleigh Ann. As such, my weekend will be consumed with hugs, kisses, cheek squeezes, and trying to remind my sister’s other two kids that they do still exist despite the utter lack of attention. Sure, the Packers game will be on in the background, and I will be wearing my throwback flat bill throughout—but suffice it to say the focus will primarily be on family. Please forgive the lack of attention to this week’s PD Prognosticators. Also, I pray you will forgive the fact that I did giggle when Jay Cutler nearly had his capa-detated last week. #TooSoon
Rich’s picks: Packers, Steelers & 49ers