The 2015 NFL playoffs get going on Saturday, and while the San Francisco 49ers are not involved, I will still be paying attention. I think most of us have a team or two we would prefer not win the Super Bowl, and we might have one or two teams we are intrigued by as a potential Super Bowl contender.
I figured I would put together my playoff picks and predictions, and we'll see how poorly I do. If it's anything like the latter half of the regular season, fade accordingly. You can view the whole playoff bracket, along with all sorts of preview info HERE. For today, we are starting with just Wild Card weekend. Tomorrow I'll have a full rundown of all my playoff picks, along with those of some of the site authors.
No. 3 Dallas Cowboys (-6.5) over No. 6 Detroit Lions: I am actually picking a lot of Detroit Lions for FanDuel this week, but I am going the opposite way with my pick. I think Dallas is likely going to take care of business in this game because I have no faith in the Lions defense on the road. Detroit did catch a break with Ndamukong Suh's suspension getting rescinded for just a fine. His absence would have been pretty devastating to the Lions. I still don't think they win, but Suh's return helps. If the Lions do win, it will come because they have shredded the Cowboys secondary, and Matthew Stafford will have avoided mistakes, thus my FanDuel picks.
No. 5 Arizona Cardinals (+6.5) over No. 4 Carolina Panthers: I think Carolina is probably going to win this game, but I think the Cardinals defense keeps this game close. The Cardinals will roll out Ryan Lindley, so I am not prepared to pick them outright, but I think the Cardinals end up losing by three or four points. The total has gone UNDER in five of the last seven games between these two in Charlotte, and it has gone UNDER frequently for both teams the last couple months, so I think that bodes well for a close game.
No. 3 Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) over No. 6 Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens are a wild card because Joe Flacco can carry them or kill them. The Steelers have won all four playoff matchups between these two teams, both straight up and against the spread. That dates back to 1995, so we can only take so much from it. The big question mark is Le'Veon Bell's status for the game. He has not practiced this week, so that certainly makes it easier to pick Baltimore. Nonetheless, I think regardless of Bell's status, Ben Roethlisberger will be able to carry the Steelers at home.
No. 4 Indianapolis Colts (-3) over No. 5 Cincinnati Bengals: The biggest question with this game is the status of A.J. Green. The Bengals wide receiver sat out Wednesday and Friday practice with a concussion, while getting in limited work on Thursday. He could end up being cleared, but even if he is, I'm fine betting against Andy Dalton on the road. The Colts defense and run game are both questionable, but I think Andrew Luck at home will take care of business.
How do you see wild card weekend shaking out?