Welcome to another edition of Don’s Weekly Pick’s: Playoff Wild Card Weekend! Thats right folks, its Playoff season and what better way to lead into the Playoffs than with a recap of the previous weeks edition of Don’s Weekly Pick’s: Week 17? The last week of the season was one of my more successful weeks as I went 11-4, missing on a pair of upsets, an NFC South and North match-up and a small bit of favouritism. So, where did I go wrong? Well, I picked my Lions to beat the Packers at home in Lambeau which I had originally picked Green Bay but I just had too much faith in my Lions and was blinded by the opportunity of a first round bye. I than picked the Falcons to beat the Panthers, who seem to have hit their stride at the right time. I missed by picking the Bears to beat the Vikings. Finally, I missed on a pair of upsets as I picked the Patriots to beat the Bills (Really Eric/ Greg … the Bills?!?!) and the Dolphins to beat the Jets (Seriously, what happened Phil/ Brittany?!?!). So, lets recap!
Regular Season Record: 160-94-1
- New Orleans Saints: Win
- Kansas City Chiefs: Win
- Detroit Lions: Loss
- Atlanta Falcons: Loss
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Win
- Baltimore Ravens: Win
- Dallas Cowboys: Win
- Indianapolis Colts: Win
- Philadelphia Eagles: Win
- New England Patriots: Loss
- Houston Texans: Win
- Miami Dolphins: Loss
- Chicago Bears: Loss
- Denver Broncos: Win
- San Francisco 49ers: Win
- Seattle Seahawks: Win
So, lets talk Don’s Weekly Pick’s: Playoff Wild Card Weekend! This weekend has some VERY interesting match-ups. The Panthers are on a hot streak right now and the Cardinals are without both their starting and back-up quarterbacks, is there an upset in the making? Baltimore and Pittsburgh always seem to be battling one another in meaningful games and this week is no exception. We have two teams who have been the epitome of streaky this season as the Colts play the Bengals. Not to mention this game will mean a lot to both young quarterbacks legacies as Lucks could grow immensely and as Daltons will hinge on the outcome as he looks for his first Playoff win and avoid the “Romo” type criticism. Finally, we have the number 1 rushing defence taking on the number 2 rushing offence as the Lions battle the Cowboys. Tony Romo’s legacy will also hinge on the outcome of this game as he has always been criticized for his lack of winning in the post season, so it will be interesting to see if he can finally get past that stigma. So, lets get started!
Arizona Cardinals vs Carolina Panthers
Dons Pick: Carolina Panthers
Yep, that is right folks! Im taking the NFC South champions to take an upset win against a team with almost twice as many wins. I realize the Panthers do not even have a winning record and the Cardinals almost won the NFC West but I just have a funny feeling the Panthers are going to take this game at home. The reason being is simple, the Cardinals quarterback situation. The Cardinal will not have either Carson Palmer or Drew Stanton (both out with injury) and will be playing Ryan Lindley. I mean, take a look at the guys career statistics, he has a 1-5 overall record and he’s completed 134/264 for 1,314 yards with 2 touchdowns and 11 interceptions … 11 INTERCEPTIONS folks!!! Thats pretty bad. The fact that he still has a back-up roll or that Arizona hasn’t gone out and signed someone like Brady Quinn, Rex Grossman or even Josh Freeman is madness to me. I mean there are MUCH better quarterbacks who are free agents who I think would give you a better shot of winning than this guy! The Panthers are on a hot streak and seem to be hitting their stride at the right time as they’ve won their last 4 games. I look for a Panthers upset at home!
Cam Newton Highlights
Baltimore Ravens vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Dons Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers
This is a difficult game to pick especially with the loss of Le’Veon Bell but the Steelers have been lights out offensively and the Ravens have struggled to score more than 20 points the past 4 games. Ben Roethlisberger has had one of his best years statistically as he’s completed 408/608 for 4,952 yards with 32 touchdowns and just 9 interceptions. Not too shabby! Both teams have prided themselves on defensive, smash mouth football and have always played each other very well, so I expect this to be a close game. But in close games, I have to go with the team who has home field advantage and that is the AFC North champions, the Pittsburgh Steelers. I look for a hard nosed, tough football game with Big Ben leading his team to a late 4th quarter drive to win the game. (Sorry Cody!)
Ben Roethlisberger Highlights
Cincinnati Bengals vs Indianapolis Colts
Dons Pick: Indianapolis Colts
This is actually a much easier pick for me than it really should be. The reason why its so easy for me, is because I have no faith in Andy Dalton what so ever. This guy just does not show up in big games and for those who are Dalton fans (Jon, I’m talking about you!), don’t tell me that he just beat the Broncos on Primetime in Week 16 because he didn’t! Dalton threw for a pedestrian 146 yards for 2 touchdowns and 1 interception, if not for the Broncos making more mistakes in that game, the Broncos actually would have won. Dalton is having one of his worst seasons statistically as he’s thrown for 3,398 yards with only 19 touchdowns and 17 interceptions, not exactly awe-inspiring! Not to mention, he has failed to win in the post season and his record in Primetime games is 2-7, including his 3 Playoff losses. Dalton will also likely be without his Pro Bowl receiver, AJ Green due to injury and if he does play will likely be ineffective. Andrew Luck however has already won a Playoff game and has nine 4th quarter comebacks and 12 game winning drives through-out his 3 year career. The guy just seems to know what it takes to win in the NFL, not too mention he has a great beard (has nothing to do with anything but as a man who can’t grow a beard, its admired! lol). I look for the Bengals to fall apart in the 3rd quarter as the Colts take a win at home.
Andrew Luck Highlights
Detroit Lions vs Dallas Cowboys
Dons Pick: Detroit Lions
I simply can NOT help myself but pick my Lions in this one. Call it blind faith as I stated earlier but its not as far fetched as you may think. The Lions have the number one ranked rushing defence as its held it opponents to an average of 69.3 yards per game and Im not sure if you’ve heard (Im talking to you Doug/ Lamar!) but the Cowboys Pro Bowl running back, DeMarco Murray still has a broken hand. So, the game will be on the back of Tony Romo and even though Im a big fan of the Dallas quarterback and even wrote an article on how he is FAR better than his reputation is of choking when it counts (Who’s the problem, Tony Romo or Cowboys Management?), but I wouldn’t be surprised if it came to fruition this Sunday. The Lions strong point is throwing the ball as Stafford has thrown for nearly 22,000 yards in just 6 seasons, one of which was shortened after 3 games due to a season ending shoulder injury. They also have the best receiver in the NFL, Calvin Johnson who reached 10,000 yards faster than any receiver in the history of the NFL. With that being sad, that doesn’t bode well for the Cowboys as their pass defence has been absolutely terrible, giving up an average of 252 yards per game. To add on to the pressure that Calvon Johnson brings, the Cowboys will have to worry about covering Golden Tate as well, who has had quite the season as he’s caught 99 passes for 1,331 yards and 4 touchdowns. I look for a shoot-out in Big D with the Lions coming out with the win on the road.
Matthew Stafford Highlights
So thats it for this edition of Don’s Weekly Pick’s: Playoff Wild Card Weekend! Comment below or click the LIKE button with your thoughts and Playoff predictions or Tweet me @D_ScHramER34 with the #DonsPicks. In the mean time, kick back, grab a cold one and enjoy this weekends Wild Card match-ups! I’ll see you at the Tailgate!