Pocket Doppler Prognosticators – Division Edition
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.
Harland O. Dog: 37
Alas, both Wally and Colleen missed a game last week, so the tie remains going into this weekend. Who knows, it might come down to the tie breaker in the Super Bowl a la last season. Every game is a big game now, not only for the Packers, but all the teams remaining in the playoffs. Let’s see how the picks this week stack up. (P.S. Special thanks to Wally for taking over editorial duties last week while I drove halfway across the country.)
Harland O. Dog
Packers @ 49ers – In previewing this game, most are looking back on the season-opening game at Lambeau in which San Francisco basically pushed the Packers around for 4 quarters even though Green Bay managed to stay within striking distance before ultimately losing. That’s why it puzzles me that many in the national media seem to be favoring the Pack this time around. It also makes me more than a little uncomfortable. Not that there aren’t reasons for calling it that way. Neither team is really the same as the two that met in that first matchup. Green Bay has gotten on a roll after some early season struggles and their running game has been recently sparked by former car salesman (Where does Ted find ‘em?) DuJuan Harris. For their part, the 49ers have since installed Colin Kaepernick at quarterback. Kaepernick does provide a more dynamic presence than much maligned Alex Smith, but turning the reins over to him also meant that San Francisco veered away somewhat from the grind it out style that generally gives the Packers fits. And since end Justin Smith has been limited recently by injury, their defense hasn’t been as intimidating either. As Doug Gottlieb pointed out on his CBS Sports Radio program, Green Bay has one thing that no one else has: Aaron Rodgers at QB. Unfortunately, they are still experiencing problems on the offensive line. On defense, Green Bay last week strained to stop substitute Viking QB Joe Webb until they figured out early on that he couldn’t pass. They won’t have that luxury with Kaepernick. Rodgers always gives the Pack a puncher’s chance, but my gut tells me they won’t be able to make enough plays on either side of the ball to emerge victorious.
Ravens @ Broncos – Baltimore had their big farewell send-off for soon-to-be-retiring linebacker Ray Lewis last week so there’s no longer any reason for them to stick around. Peyton Manning and the Broncos will dispatch them handily so we can see the AFC final we’re all anticipating.
Seahawks @ Falcons – Reminiscent of a couple years ago, Atlanta is once again the #1 seed in the NFC. Will this be the year they finally realize the promise of their regular season showings? Maybe, but it will depend on Falcons’ QB Matt Ryan to play better than he has in his previous trips to the playoffs. Seattle rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has only played in one postseason game and he already has more playoff wins than Ryan. The Falcons think that this is “their year” but until I see it show up on the field, I’ll go with the history.
Texans @ Patriots – Houston gets another shot at the Patriots after getting destroyed at Gillette Stadium during the regular season. After seeing how hard a time the Texans had advancing over the Cincinnati ‘Bungles’ last week in the Wild Card round, I see no reason to believe things will be any different in the rematch.
Harland O. Dog’s picks: 49ers, Broncos, Sea-dogs & Patriots
Packers @ 49ers – The second leg of the Packers’ playoffs revenge tour, taking on a team that started Green Bay’s season with a loss. As has been said many, many times these are two different teams from when they first met so I expect different results. San Francisco is still a very good team, but I think the growth & experience of the Packers’ defense along with their new found semi-balance on offense will be the difference. Green Bay heads home with a win & the possibility of a home NFC Championship Game dependent on Sunday’s results.
Ravens @ Broncos – When the season started there was no way I expected the Broncos to be in the playoffs. They’re a good team but I really didn’t think Peyton Manning would be as effective as he’s been after the year off. The Ravens playing here isn’t that surprising, even though I didn’t pick them last week, going with the sentimental Colts pick. Even though Baltimore proved me wrong last week, I’m going to pick against them again for the simple fact Manning is better than Flacco and that’ll be the difference in this game.
Seahawks @ Falcons – My rooting interest in this game will be heavily decided by what happens Saturday night in San Francisco. That being said, I already picked the Packers so I expect the Seattle to continue Atlanta’s winless streak in the playoffs. Go Seahawks.
Texans @ Patriots – I’m rooting for & picking the Texans in this game if for no other reason than I don’t want the Patriots to win. No logic or other reasoning involved.
Wally’s picks: Packers, Broncos, Seahawks & Texans.
Packers @ 49ers – You all realize Jerry Rice fumbled, right? No, I’m not bitter or anything. Wait, who am I fooling, I’m bitter as can be and my memory is longer than Rodgers’. I have wanted to knock those weasels out of the playoffs ever since. And I loathe Harbaugh to boot. Wouldn’t it be fun to watch him have a stroke on the sidelines? Isn’t this the team that told Rodgers he wasn’t good enough to take out the trash? Looks like I won’t be the only one bitter tomorrow. Contrary to what he said this week, you know he just wants to ram the ball down the Niners’ throats. Can’t say I blame him.
Ravens @ Broncos – Did not see the Broncos being a contender at the beginning of the season. Apparently having a real QB made all the difference instead of the unreasonable facsimile they had last year. It’s been a nice run for Old Man Rice and the Ravens, but I don’t think they stand a chance against Manning Face.
Seahawks @ Falcons – I really, I mean REALLY want a Karma Bowl at Lambeau. Fortunately the Falcons are only a good team on paper while the Seachickens are rising at the right point. Matty Snow Melt isn’t as good as he thinks he is. But let’s not forget that I have disavowed Russell Wilson. He joined a jerk team, so alma mater kindred spirits don’t over come that. I won’t, however, complain if someone flattens Golden Tate in the endzone and he leaves in pieces.
Texans @ Patriots – Tommy Bundtcake vs. JJ Watt. You know what I said about Russell Wilson? Ignore it. I’m a total Badger homer when it comes to Watt. I hope he turns Bundtcake into a grease spot. While I think the Patriots have a better offense, the Texans’ defense is nothing to sneeze at. Besides, I need a dark horse and after the lackluster play of the last quarter of the season, I like the idea of a Texans upset.
Kelly’s picks: Packers, Broncos, Seahawks & Texans
Packers @ 49ers – I have been dreading this game for weeks, ever since my beloved Kap was elevated to the starting position. There’s no question who I’ll be cheering for (despite what some misguided idiots think) but it is a shame that we have to face the 49ers this soon. I would have enjoyed seeing Colin make a run to the Championship game, only then to be crushed by the Packers. This game worries me for a variety of reasons. The 49ers are good, with Smith or Kaepernick, a much better team than the one we faced in the opener…and lost to. They’re playing at home (I just hope Corey Behnke doesn’t get shot in the parking lot). The Packers, however, have been peaking at the right time and I am sure MM has them thoroughly prepared for this game.
I’m picking the 49ers. And Lord knows I hope I’m wrong.
Ravens @ Broncos – I love Peyton Manning and I hate John Elway. The Broncos, I think, have been playing well (I’ve managed to avoid watching them this year until now). The Ravens dispatched the Colts pretty handily and I’m an admirer of Torrey Smith. However, this one to me comes down to the QBs, and Manning > Flacco by a million percent. Going with the home team here. Excuse me while I rinse this horrible taste out of my mouth.
Seahawks @ Falcons – So, the uppity Shechickens are visiting Matty Icemelt and company. I know Atlanta has a great record, but I am just not scared of them. Ever. Maybe that’s a bad thing, but it isn’t going to matter, because Petey the Poodle is on a roll. The dirty birds will fly over the more good-looking birds. That said, I REALLY hope I’m wrong about the 49ers, because come hell or high water, I’m going to the NFC Championship game if it’s at Lambeau.
Texans @ Patriots – Ha. Haha. Hahahahahahaha. *wipes eyes* It’s going to be a bloodbath.
Colleen’s picks: 49ers, Broncos, Seahawks & Patriots
Packers @ 49ers – This game, in particular, brings to mind an old saying from the Mafiosi in Sicily (an autonomous region/island of Italy, for you Bear fans). The saying tells that the best payback one can conjure is revenge that comes with careful planning and precision; vengeance that brings the most horrendous pain to your enemies, when they are least expecting said pain, and are still enjoying the fruits of all the dishonor they brought upon you 17 weeks prior. According to the Mafioso, one must be patient so that when the time for payback has arisen, the infliction to those who have wronged you will be its most severe.
With this in mind, after arresting Green Bay’s will and subjecting their fans to home-field shame, it was promised, not through words but upcoming action: La vendetta es una minestra che se mangia fredda, my friend, or “Revenge is a dish best served cold.”
This will not be over quickly. You will not enjoy this (H/T 300). You will see, we are your King.
Not this time, San Francisco. Not when #12’s legacy is on the line.
Ravens @ Broncos – Don’t know, don’t care.
Seahawks @ Falcons – Don’t know, don’t care.
Texans @ Patriots – Don’t know, don’t care.
Rich’s picks: Packers, Broncos, Falcons & Patriots