Pocket Doppler Prognosticators: Wildcard Weekend
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. We’re continuing on into the playoffs now & adding to the regular season totals.
As we head into the playoffs, let’s take a last look at how the regular season predictions & totals worked out.
Harland O. Dog: 34
Everyone pretty much stunk last weekend, with the exception of Colleen who’s lucky guess on Tampa Bay beating the ‘not playing for anything’ Falcons came true. On the strength of that gamble, we have a tie at the top for the final regular season standings with both Colleen & Wally sitting at 37 correct picks for the season. Guess we’ll see who can rise to the top now that we’re entering the playoffs with picks/points still accumulating.
Harland O. Dog
Bengals @ Texans – Rematch of last year’s first round game that was taken by the Texans. But this year, Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton has another year of experience and Houston is backsliding into the playoffs. I look for a different outcome this season as the Texans downfall becomes complete at the hands of the Bengals.
Colts @ Ravens – This one should be billed as “The Inspirational Bowl”. Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano just returned to the team last week after spending most of the season undergoing treatment for leukemia. Indy rookie QB Andrew (He doesn’t suck) Luck helped them improve 9 wins over last season’s anemic 2-14 record. But Baltimore has their own motivation in this game as it will be the last home game for longtime middle linebacker Ray Lewis, who has declared that he is retiring at the end of the season. Pagano has his own history with the Ravens as he used to be their defensive coordinator. Assuming the emotional aspects cancel each other out, I’ll go with the home team Ravens, who should be able to control the ball on the ground against Indy’s 29th ranked rushing defense.
Vikings @ Packers – The Packers failed to take care of business in Minneapolis last week and, as a result, get a quick turnaround against the same Vikings at Lambeau Field this Saturday night. I’d like to think that the ‘Frozen Tundra’ can slow down Vikings running back Adrian Peterson but they’ve shown very little ability to contain him in the prior two games between the teams. The Packers recent 2-4 record in home playoff games doesn’t inspire much confidence either. The key will be whether Green Bay can limit Minnesota QB Christian Ponder, who was the difference last week. I think they can but they’re going to have to play much smarter and more disciplined on defense, particularly in the secondary, to keep themselves from another early exit in the playoffs.
Seahawks @ Redskins – Perhaps the most interesting matchup of the weekend. If this game were being played in Seattle, it’d be a no-brainer to pick the Seahawks. The fact that it’s at FedEx Field is just enough to give the Native Americans a “puncher’s chance”. But the Seahawks seem to have overcome their earlier road woes and may be the league’s hottest team heading into the postseason. Seattle’s stingy defense combined with a hobbled RGIII for Washington should allow the Seahawks to escape with a win.
Harland O. Dog’s Picks: Bengals, Ravens, Packers & Seahawks
Bengals @ Texans – Earlier this season, this pick would’ve been a snap. Since then though, the Texans have become mortal, which has got Houston fans a little miffed. I think now in the post-season though, Matt Schaub will pick up his game a bit & the Texans defense should be as stout as ever. Texans advance with a win at home.
Colts @ Ravens – So the Colts have had the great story of head coach Chuck Pagano as a rallying cry all season. Do the Ravens use Ray Lewis’ retirement to the same affect, something to get behind & rise to the occasion? We’ll see, but I don’t think it’ll matter & the Colts magical season will continue to the next round
Vikings @ Packers – I remember the last time the Vikings came to Lambeau for a playoff game, I was not happy about it. On top of that I’m a little gun shy based on the previous weekend, but I just simply can’t believe the Packers won’t win this game. It’s at home, Green Bay has to be stinging from the previous loss & it’s the Vikings & I refuse to pick them to win anything. Green Bay wins to avenge the earlier season loss to the 49ers.
Seahawks @ Redskins – This will be fun game with Russell Wilson & RGIII matching up. I sort of see this as a toss up here, not really sure where to go with this pick. Seattle hasn’t played great on the road this season, even though they won their last two road games. The Redskins on the other hand, I’m just having a hard time picturing them as relevant again, it’s a shock to my system. I’m going to go with the Seahawks though simply because I want the chance to see the NFC Championship Game be in Lambeau.
Wally’s Picks: Texans, Colts, Packers & Seahawks
Bengals @ Texans – Earlier in the season I would have laughed at the idea of the Bengals making it to the playoffs. That, or the AFC is very, very anemic and they fell in because the rest all stunk. Then again, earlier in the season, I thought the Texans were one of the best teams in the entire NFL. But when it come to the AFC, I’ve learned one thing this season: lower your expectations. This will be a closer game that most imagine, but in the end JJ Watt proves he is still their MVP, and Matt Schaub, while hardly elite by any stretch of the imagination will combine enough to keep the Orange and Black from advancing.
Colts @ Ravens – At the beginning of the season I predicted the Ravens would punch their ticket to New Orleans. I don’t think they will go that far anymore, but they are definitely starting to figure it out at the right time. While Luck has helped the Colts not suck, I still think the biggest player of the game will be Ray Rice. Colts are almost there, but just not this year.
Vikings @ Packers – I hated it when the Giants fans over conquered the stadium last year almost a much as I hated the Packers losing. Thankfully Christian Ponder and his band of Merry Men kind of stink in cold weather. I hear Lambeau is the closest thing in Wisconsin to a consulate or an embassy. I guess if Chris Kluwe would like to defect, we can grant him asylum. Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers now has a chip on his shoulder the size of Montana after the loss last week. He always seems to take it up a notch when he’s playing to shove down someone’s throat who has slighted him. Have a feeling the bowl at Lambeau will not be filled with enemy color at the end of the game this year.
Seahawks @ Redskins – The battle of the rookie QB’s. So fresh they still squeak. Hate both coaches. Pete Carroll is a classless baboon and Shanatan is an eel. But this looks to be the most interesting match-up of the weekend. Could be a very high scoring game. After the Fail Mary, I seem to like my fellow alum Wilson a little less. RGIII is great. Granted, he doesn’t need a wing named after him in Canton yet. And then there’s Flynn. For the love of god, FREE MATTY FLYNN! Perhaps this is the big mean girl in me, but I want the Seachickens to be one and out with no chance of rematch. That’s the ultimate Karma Bowl.
Kelly’s Picks: Texans, Ravens, Not the Vikings & Redskins
Bengals @ Texans -The Texans have been in a free fall late in the season, which isn’t a good place to be going into playing what should be a good team. I heard someone refer to the Texans as the Falcons of the AFC, which they sure do resemble. Great overall season, choke in the playoffs. I haven’t watched the Bengals much, but obviously they’ve won enough games to get into the postseason, so they should provide a challenge, especially as poorly as the Texans have been playing. However, I don’t think it’s enough of a challenge and the Texans will move on.
Colts @ Ravens – It’s really hard not to cheer for the Colts, what with Chuck Pagano and all. He’s back at the helm and Andrew Luck after a bit of a rocky start has proven that he was worth sucking for. This is a driven team, and they want to keep winning, especially for their coach. The Ravens, on the other hand haven’t been playing all that well lately, particularly Joe Flacco (man, I would hate to have that as a last name). They are at home, which always provides some advantage, but I’m taking the Colts.
Vikings @ Packers – As God is my witness, if I see another playoff loss I will a) Jump on the field and kick McCarthy’s ass and b) Never go to another playoff game. And the Packers will NOT lose the week I move to Wisconsin. ‘Nuff said.
Seahawks @ Redskins – I am terribly torn on this game. I loathe the Shechickens and their unsportsmanlike gloating after the Fail Mary (Golden Tate is so stupid he still thinks he caught the ball). It would nice not to see Pete Carroll jumping up and down like a little kid, I’m really getting tired of seeing that. However, I do like Russell Wilson (him thinking they actually beat the Packers aside) and I would love, dearly love, to have the NFC Championship at Lambeau. As far as the Redskins go, while I like RGIII very much and he has been fun to watch, again, I hate their coach, Mike Shanatan (intentionally spelled as such) as much as I hate the Denver Broncos. They’re irrevocably linked. However, somehow, he’s gotten this team to the playoffs. Someone said it was more the players than the coach and I have to agree. Probably just my wishful thinking, but I say Petey the Poodle will be dancing on the sidelines yet again.
Colleen’s Picks: Texans, Colts, Packers & Shechickens
The postseason in any sport is amaz…STOP! Who cares what my predictions are this week. Why, because Colleen has moved to Wisconsin! For those of us who follow Ms. Brenton on Twitter, her desire to land a position in this area has been quite the battle, with more than a few hitches here and there. Despite the distance, Colleen has made the trek for both Throwback Weekends in addition to venturing this way for other Packers games to show love for her team. I don’t know Colleen much beyond what I’ve gathered via Twitter, Pocket Doppler, pictures here and there, and her endless weekly reminders that I’m behind meeting the Prognosticators deadline (bless your heart, Colleen), but it’s as clear as can be that she is – without question – someone you want in your life. We all finally have that opportunity.
Colleen’s personality radiates through her PD posts, through her tweets, through her smile, and even through the aforementioned reminders—which have never been anything but kind (though I don’t deserve such kindness). Colleen, I just wanted to say that I am so very happy to hear that you’ve finally made it. And we, everyone residing in the Cheesehead state, are incredibly, so incredibly lucky to have you. (Editor’s note: Rich might be crazy, but it’s good crazy. Much appreciated, sir.)
Rich’s picks: Texans, Ravens, Packers & Seahawks