The playoffs are upon us. On a side note, does anyway else have trouble not thinking that word in their head using Jim Mora’s voice? There’s gotta be a few of us out there. Today, we are going to talk about playoffs. We are totally not kidding you. We’re going to take a look at who we think we will a game, another game.
Saturday football is usually a college thing, but it feels like we usually get some great games on the opening NFL playoff Saturday. In the 4:35 game, that may be a stretch. With the Cardinals and Panthers, we have a game ripe with disappointment. The Cardinals held the top record in the NFC for a good portion of the season, but now have apparently brought Ryan Leaf out of retirement to play QB. The Panthers now enter the postseason as kings of the NFC South. Which is sort of like an adult winning a muddy potato sack race. In the end, you’ve won, but goodnight is the whole thing ugly. I want to take the Cardinals here. I really do. But I have to go with the Panthers in a game I’m betting isn’t as close as the score might be.
In the late game, it’s a game we’ve seen something close to a thousand times. Because of that, we know the narrative. The Ravens and Steelers hate each other. They get up for playing each other unlike any other opponent. Blah, blah. The reality is that even still, these games are usually a lot of fun. I am betting this game will be fun, but I’m going to take the Steelers in a game that will be close until crunch time.
Sunday is when I think we have some more interesting matchups. The one o’clock game between the Bengals and Colts pits two teams whose quarterbacks haven’t fared well in the playoffs yet. Cincy has a defense that is downright nasty at times. But Andrew Luck is a player who is going to show up as a star in the playoffs eventually. I think this is possibly the year that happens. Andy Dalton’s woes are more worrisome if you’re a Bengals fan. While he’s not the worst QB in the league, the position may be the only thing holding Cincy back from being a true title contender. I’m going to take the Colts in a close win.
Sunday night we have a match up between the surprisingly strong Dallas Cowboys and the suddenly defensive minded Detroit Lions. After years of both teams being a disappointment, they now face each other as teams that appear to be complete. Dallas still has a defense that is suspect, but they dominate the line of scrimmage with a superior offensive line and a great running attack with DeMarco Murray. This might be the year that people outside of Cowboy fandom give Romo some credit. The Lions have spent the past several years relying on the dynamic ability of the game’s best wide receiver to fuel their team. This year, they’ve been winning games on the strength of their defense. If you would’ve told me the Lions were making the playoffs before the season, I wouldn’t have argued. But if you had said they’d be doing so on the merits of their defense, I would’ve called you a liar. Ndamukong Suh will be playing this game as his suspension has been rescinded. Players are not supposed to be looked at as repeat offenders after enough games have passed under the new agreement, but I’m not a fan of this ruling. By playing this week, the NFL is saying that’s okay to stomp on another player as long as you haven’t done it in a while. This game was a little difficult for me to pick, but I happen to like Romo for whatever reason and I’m going to take Dallas by at least a touchdown.
So that’s how I have the first playoff weekend shaking out, what do you think is going to happen?