PFT’s wild-card picks

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The 256-game regular-season picks contest resulted in a five-game win over MDS.  I finished with a 12-4 mark; MDS ended with 11-5.

For the year, I was 170-86 (66.4%).  MDS is 164-92 (64.4%).

The record now re-set to 0-0, with an 11-game postseason chase.  For the wild-card round, we differ on two of the picks.  For our picks on all of this weekend’s game, just keep reading.

Cardinals at Panthers

MDS’s take: A Ryan Lindley-led Cardinals team vs. a sub-.500 Panthers team. This is one of the worst playoff games in NFL history. But someone is going to advance to the divisional round, and I think it will be the Panthers, who are playing their best football at the right time. The Carolina defense has improved over the course of the season, and that defense is going to make life miserable for Lindley, who just isn’t good enough to be leading an NFL offense into the postseason. The Cardinals had a promising season, but it will come to an end on Saturday.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 24, Cardinals 13.

Florio’s take:  Four straight wins to end the season have given the Panthers a boost heading into the postseason.  And even though the Panthers are 7-8-1 on the year, many think they’ll easily handle the quarterback-challenged Cardinals.  That’s exactly what coach Bruce Arians wants.  His team thrives when doubted, and they’re being doubted again.  Look for the Panthers to continue their postseason struggles at home — and for the Cardinals to punch their ticket for a third contest against a team that has outscored them this year with a combined score of 54-9.

Florio’s pick:  Cardinals 20, Panthers 17.

Ravens at Steelers

MDS’s take: Few players mean as much to their teams as Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, who this season became the first player in NFL history to top 2,200 yards from scrimmage without fumbling. If Bell can’t go, or if he’s at less than full speed, that would be devastating for the Steelers. I think the Steelers’ offense will be slowed down without Bell, and the Ravens’ offense will be able to move the ball against a bad Steelers defense. Baltimore takes this one in a road upset.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 24, Steelers 20.

Florio’s take:  The Ravens have pulled eight playoff upsets since 2000.  But none of those upsets have come against the Steelers.  It’s hard to imagine it happening now; even if Le’Veon Bell can’t go, the Ravens suddenly can’t contain receiver Antonio Brown, who has 18 catches for 234 yards in two games against Baltimore this year.

Florio’s pick:  Steelers 23, Ravens 14.

Bengals at Colts

MDS’s take: The Colts have not played particularly well recently, but I just can’t overlook what happened when these teams met in Week Seven and the Colts won 27-0. Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton had great days in that game, and even Trent Richardson made some plays. I like the Colts to do it again and win convincingly.

MDS’s pick: Colts 24, Bengals 10.

Florio’s take:  The Colts shut out the Bengals during the regular season.  Which means that the Bengals scored as many points as they have playoff wins since the week before they destroyed Bo Jackson’s hip.  While a shutout isn’t likely on Sunday, the Bengals will have a tough time beating a Colts team that remains good enough to get to the divisional round, but not much farther.

Florio’s pick:  Colts 24, Bengals 13.

Lions at Cowboys

MDS’s take: With Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh winning his appeal and Cowboys defensive tackle Henry Melton out with a knee injury, I’m tempted to pick the Lions to win an upset. But what’s holding me back is that I’m just not convinced the Lions can put enough points on the board, even if Melton’s absence means Matthew Stafford will have more time to pass. Stafford completed only 20 of 41 passes last week against the Packers, and the Cowboys will have a big advantage at quarterback with Tony Romo running the offense. That will be the difference.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 28, Lions 20.

Florio’s take:  The Lions and the Cowboys have each changed the narratives about their underachieving teams this year.  The Dallas storyline will revert quickly, if they blow a chance to return to Lambeau in the postseason for the first time since 1967.  Tony Romo and company will keep that from happening.  If they don’t, everyone will say that Tony Romo and company are no different than they were in past years.

Florio’s pick:  Cowboys 31, Lions 27.

103 responses to “PFT’s wild-card picks

  1. Wow, you’ve gotta be kidding about the Steelers pick. Haha, really? It’s an odd thought of anyone beating the Steelers right now, but Baltimore? LOL! It won’t even be a contest and we promise we are seriously considering sitting most starters, treating this like a bye week, preparing for Denver. This might be the best team ever.

  2. Florio may make us look like fools if the Cardinals win but I’m positive that won’t be the case.

  3. Panthers, Ravens, Bengals, Cowboys.

    ________________

    When the Bengals lost to Indy, they had 3rd string linebackers playing. Maualuga and Lemur were out. AJ Green was out too. Brandon Thompson was out. Totally different game this time.

  4. Ugh! MDS and Florio both picking the Boys…my confidence just dropped a notch, despite the 6.5 spread favoring big D.

  5. Didn’t the steelers lose their last playoff game years ago to someone named Tim tebow?

  6. Steelers 23
    Ravens 17

    I assume Bell won’t play, making it a tighter game. I think the Steelers passing game is good for at least a couple TDs. The Ravens may also pressure the Steelers defense for a couple, aided by some PI penalties. However, the Steelers move the ball better between the 20s and settle for a few more FGs. But of course I don’t care if the Steelers win by a point. The win is all that matters.

    GO STEELERS

  7. How can the Cards win with Ryan Lindley when he’s been a terrible and winless QB his whole career???

    Bruce Arians is a good coach, but he’d be better if he let Logan Thomas not practice and then start.

  8. I see the Cardinals winning by 10 points and then upsetting the SeaChickens next week. Arians will have them in Nfc Championship game. ….

  9. While I love NFL football and will watch all the games, I do not believe any of these teams playing in the wildcard round will be able to beat any of the four teams with the bye.
    Yeah, yeah, I know any given Sunday.

  10. The only question about the Dallas-Detroit game is: Which Lion will try to break Romo’s back? Or perhaps: Which Lion will be the first to try to break Romo’s back?

  11. I’m a Cardinals fan but not delusional. It’s a tough road and any win is a bonus at this point.

    Lindley played better last week, but the defense has taken a dive lately. Probably because they have seen the offensive situation as untenable.

    If they get a little confidence in the O, then they can win this game.

  12. Youngs79 it wouldn’t be the Lions in GB if they won — they’d be off to Seattle and the winner of Caronlina/Arizona would head to the Tundra! The only way Lions head back to the Bay is if they beat the Cowboys, then Seattle.

  13. Mighty Ravens will make another run, and win our third Superbowl. No one can stop destiny. Bonniebengal how many Superbowl trophies does your team have in the trophy case? Man you are pathetic, feel sorry for your wife. Cheers!

    #superbowlmvpjoemontanaflacco
    #weedheadbell
    #francoharrisdroppedtheball

  14. Cam Newton is garbage, Arizona will expose him for the scrub that he will always be.

    They may let him get a td in garbage time, then he can at least do his end zone celebration, with his team down 3 tds

  15. Steelers lose this weekend….and then they’re trolling fans fall back on the “But we have 6 rings.” Thing again. Fanbase does NOTHING but live in the past.

  16. Ravanator says: Mighty Ravens will make another run, and win our third Superbowl. No one can stop destiny. Bonniebengal how many Superbowl trophies does your team have in the trophy case? Man you are pathetic, feel sorry for your wife. Cheers!
    ________________
    My wife? I’m a woman, and I’m straight. I do have a husband, however. I thought the name BONNIE might tip off that I’m a girl but I guess not.

    Ravens will beat Pitt and then lose to NE. You heard it here first. Cincy will beat Indy and then lose to Denver. NE goes to SB and loses to Seattle.

  17. Cardinals, Steelers, Bengals, Cowboys.

    Arizona – 17
    Carolina – 14

    Pittsburgh – 27
    Baltimore – 13

    Cincinnati – 23
    Indianapolis – 21

    Dallas – 26
    Detroit – 17

  18. I like looking at Bengals fans predicting the Steelers will lose. I’m a sick individual, I like reading their deep hate because of being dominated by the Black & Gold! Cry about the Steelers history because they actually have 1.

    I’m looking forward to a great game between the Ravens & Steelers these are the games that make the playoffs fun to watch. Here We Go!

  19. The Lions actually match-up up great with the Cowboys and then Seahawks.

    The NFC title game could very well be Detroit Vs. Green Bay at Lame-Beau Field.

    Grudgematch!! Fairley will be back by then and this game the Lions WON’T lose. Everyone knows the Packers don’t want that re-match.

  20. poison66 says: Jan 1, 2015 8:12 PM

    I see the Cardinals winning by 10 points and then upsetting the SeaChickens next week. Arians will have them in Nfc Championship game. ….

    —————————————————————

    Yeah no.

  21. Suh will be a wrecking ball Sunday. We will put a helmet or two on Murray’s hand. Then Suh will put Romo in traction for the offseason. Stafford comes alive.

    Lions 28-17

  22. Cowboys Vs Patriots in the Superbowl. Dallas will win our 6th. This offense is on fire and no one will keep up. Let Demarco rush for 100 yards plus or let Tony air it up again for 500 yards. hmmm. Pick your poison. Love it how all these Lions fan think they are going to win. Stafford is 0-17 on the road against a winning team. Fans been camping out for days for play off tickets. Its going to be a loud 100k + crowd against the Lions. Stop it with hope, its pathetic. 45-20 Dallas. Won’t even be close. #FinishTheFight

  23. Many Packers fans I’ve spoken to want the Lions to beat the Cowboys this weekend. Grow a pair and make the better teams play on your field and beat them. Taking easy routes to the Superbowl is hapless and tasteless.

  24. Colts, Ravens, Panthers, and Lions are my picks to win this week.
    Ravens 24 Steelers 20 (Without Bell Steelers don’t have a chance even with the Ravens horrible secondary although I hope I am wrong.)
    Colts 31 Bengals 17 (Marvin Lewis will show his incompetence again and he will be fired after this season the Bengals are too talented to be held down by him.)
    Lions 27 Cowboys 21 ( Murray won’t run for much which means Romo will make mistakes)
    Panthers 38 Cardinals 13 (The Panthers defense will stomp all over the Cardinals and Cam Newton will light the Cardinals defense up.)

  25. Two very telling stats at the end of this story:
    66%
    64%

    Not good. Be nervous if your team was picked to win this weekend.

  26. Bengals fans talking trash on the Steelers. Now THAT’S funny. Did you watch either game against the Steelers? Really? Did you? Steelers exposed Cincy for what it really is. A fraud. Plain and simple. No way you beat Luck and Co.

    Flacco’ line better do a better job of pass protection. He played scared on his last visit to Heinz Field.

  27. “For the year, I was 170-86 (66.4%). MDS is 154-86 (64.4%)”…are we supposed to be impressed by that? Do it against the spread and that winning % might mean something. Otherwise, you still have worse record on the year than the lady in my office who won her year long pool and she makes her picks based on favorite players, favorite team colors, and favorite mascots.

  28. Stealers Are Hot Garbage

    We are marching…towards the end of our season when TJ Ward nearly decapitates Antonio Brown next week.

  29. Luck is the 3rd best QB. Cam will get his first playoff win, Romo is the 4th best QB, Ben the 5th.

  30. I’ll be in Vegas backing my opinions with cash this weekend. If you aren’t backing your picks with cash, your winning percentages mean nothing.

  31. head1994 says:
    Jan 1, 2015 8:23 PM

    I honestly think the panthers are going make a run in the playoffs
    _________________________________
    I agree. They got healthy and hot at the right time. Cam Newton looked/played injured/scared all year and he’s looked great since the car accident. They are also playing with nothing to lose.

  32. Bengalguy, our recent history isn’t bad either, so please kill that noise. You sound bitter after having the broom put to your inferior team. It will be the usual 12 round slugfest between the only relevant teams in the AFC North, and as usual the Steelers will come out on top. The D while still a work in progress has played better the past few weeks, and will pressure Flacco into a couple of TO’s. Missing Bell will hurt, but the other Killer B’s including Bryant will be able to get the job done.

    Go Steelers!!!!

  33. First of all I’m pumped MDS picked the Panthers. Virtually everytime he went against the Cardinals they won.

    Also, for anyone that thinks this is an easy Carolina win, let me ask you…who have they beaten? For the season the Panthers beat 1 team with a winning record. Their 4 game winning streak was against the Bucs, Browns, Saints, and Falcons.

    Everyone ignored the division the Cards are in, and who they beat:
    Lions, Eagles, Cowboys, Chiefs, Niners. How many games does Carolina win playing the Cards schedule which includes a game at Denver and 2 games with Seattle.

    Keep counting out the Cards. We are used to it

  34. Ravens taking a bunch of hookers from Bmore with them for Big Ben. He won’t have any legs left. Ravens in upset!

  35. Lions win…yep, see the Lions fans predicting win…will read their whining Monday…Stafford 0-16 on the road against winning teams…not a record a franchise QB would have…

  36. I think Florio got them all right.

    The Panthers are just pretenders and the Cards defense will be too much for them.

    The Bengals and Ravens have the same problem — inconsistent QB play. Dalton is a stupid-pass-into-double-coverage waiting to happen, and Flacco will spit the bit in Pittsburgh.

    Pitt’s offense will be the difference, even if Bell can’t go. Roethlisberger has no fear of anyone and he’ll have plenty of open targets against the Ravens.

    The Cowboys will do what everyone does when they play the Detroit Stompers — they’ll knock them out of the playoffs. How can you trust Stafford? And DonkeyKong Sue will be a non- factor, unless he gets a chance to step on Romo’s back.

  37. LIONS could not beat a team of girl scouts, low class organization; they will realize they cant win and will start assaulting all the cowboys players, they are the dirtiest team in the league

  38. Cam Newton is garbage, Arizona will expose him for the scrub that he will always be.
    ———————————————————–
    i think he’s better than people think he is. as for Arizona, if they were starting Stanton or Palmer, then i would say Arizona wins, but they aren’t. unless Lindley plays better, it’s hard for me to say they win, let alone by 3 TDs like you said.

  39. IF the Ravens o-line plays well, they have a good shot but the Steelers’ front seven has been solid even without consistent splash plays. However, the Ravens’ defense is not the same as it was when Big Ben torched them before. Secondary is suprisingly improved and the front seven has brought the heat all year. As I said, it will come down to o-line play for both teams but doesn’t it always in this league? Should be a great game.

  40. 27-24 Ravens. Ravens down 24-20 w/a little over 1 minute, and Flacco exorcises the demons much to the dismay of all the Yinzers with mustard stuck in their collective mustaches.

  41. “Steelers lose this weekend….and then they’re trolling fans fall back on the “But we have 6 rings.” Thing again. Fanbase does NOTHING but live in the past.”

    Bengal Guy, first of all you need to have a past deemed any kind of success to be able to celebrate. 2nd…..The last time Cincy won a playoff game the # 1 song on the charts was Michael Bolton’s How am I suppose to live without you. That’s as lame as the Icky Shuffle.

  42. The Lions don’t play well outside in the cold, but the Dallas game is in a dome. We have the league’s #1 run defense, and Romo won’t have time to just sit back there all day and look for receivers running routes against the league’s most improved secondary…you’ll see some “cover sacks” in this game. Lions in an upset…only to lose again at Green Bay.

  43. Don’t have a dog in the fight but it would be the best to watch the boys choke it away in a last second bonehead play.

    You’d hear the sound of Jerrah’s head exploding as far away as London.

  44. Any team in the playoffs is capable of beating any other team. No one player, whether by his play or his absence, is going to determine one of these games. We love football because you really can’t tell what is going to happen with any certainty. So, why do we indulge ourselves in all these predictions and reasons behind them?

    At least one of these games is going to have a hero that no one suspected, and at least one of these teams will have their best player either go down or be ineffective, and still win.

  45. What last night’s college football results tells us is that expanding the post-season tournament changes history. Had there not been a playoff, FSU would have been paired against Alabama for the National Title. Alabama probably would have won and we would have had more SEC hype.

    Had the NFL postseason not been expanded, there would have been no #6 seed Pittsburgh to upset Seattle in the SuperBowl and Seattle would have 2 SB wins working on a third.

    And now the NFL wants to expand to a 14 team field.

  46. Interesting match up with Pitt v. Bal, usually known for great defenses however this year both teams’ secondaries are depleted. Could be a lot of passing yards to go around. Whichever team can rush the passer better may have the advantage.

  47. This weekend is a match-up of Gordon Gecco’s “dogs with fleas.”

    Ravens at Steelers

    So glad one of these AFC North blowhards will be wiped off the map. It’s a Ravens team that squeaked by with two unimpressive wins (and losses by other perennial chokers Kansas City and San Diego) against a Steelers team that can only beat good teams. I guess this makes Pittsburgh dangerous, except maybe against the Ravens.

    IF THE RAVENS ARE TRULY AN UNDESERVING TEAM, PITT WILL FIND A WAY TO LOSE THIS ONE. The Ravens will go to New England in an overhyped match-up, and the Pats will surprise everyone by putting a beatdown on them rivalring the 41-7 win in Baltimore last year.

    IF THE RAVENS ARE PRIMED FOR A SURPRISING POSTSEASON RUN, THE STEELERS WILL WIN, GO ON TO UPSET DENVER, AND THEN LOSE TO NEW ENGLAND AS THEY ALWAYS DO IN THE AFCCG.

    My pick: Steelers 42, Ravens 21

    Arizona at Carolina

    Two more dogs with fleas. Arizona is conjuring memories of the 1986 New York Jets, which started the season 10-1, dropped its last 5, defeated the Todd Blackledge / Bill Kenney led perennial choker Kansas City in the Wild Card, and then blew a 10 point lead with 2 minutes left against the Browns (beginning with Mark Gastineau’s roughing the passer penalty).

    Carolina has a losing record.

    My pick: There’s no Kansas City in this NFC WC round, so Arizona won’t wait for the divisional round to blow a 10 point lead with 2 minutes left. Carolina advances to a far more predictable game against Seattle.

    Carolina 23, Arizona 20

    CINCINNATI at INDIANAPOLIS

    Match-up of two teams that will never go anywhere. Only Indianaplois can win in the WC round. Cincinnati prolongs its playoff losing streak right? As George Patton once said, “therefore that’s exactly what’s not going to happen.”

    Cincinnati 42, Indianapolis 28

    Besides, Indianapolis stinks to high Heaven.

    DETROIT at DALLAS

    Great. A superb match-up of one team that’s not so good on the road against a team that’s not too good at home. We should be seeing some great football in THIS one. This is a match-up of self-saboteurs. Question is: who’ll self-destruct FIRST.

    Dallas 26, Detroit 24

  48. Lions get blown out. Period. And I HATE the Cowboys lest you think this is “homer” wishful thinking.

    The Lions never, ever play as a team. Their QB is merely average. If they played as a team, they would be a force. But they don’t and they can’t. The Lions “culture” is out of control.

  49. Steelers should take this one in a close one even without Bell. The Steelers just has too many offensive weapons. I really do wish Bell could play so its out best against the Ravens best. I always hate to see a team lose because of injuries to a key player in the playoffs. Thats the way it goes though. I do wish the Steelers had signed a backup rb when they let Blount go. They werent thinking ahead in case of injuries.

    Steelers 27- Ravens 21 without Bell. With Bell playing , Could be a blowout like the last time these two teams met in Pittsburgh

  50. I’m preparing myself for a super stressful night tomorrow night.

    Ravens 24
    Steelers 23

  51. t8ertot says: Jan 1, 2015 8:58 PM

    Bengals win their first playoff game in almost a quarter century
    ——————————————————
    All these Bengal fans talk about they didn’t have this one or that one when they played the Colts, guess what the Colts had four starters missing that game and still goose egged you.
    The Colts have everyone back but two players so we will see.

  52. Semi-disinterested fan viewing guide to Wild-Card weekend:

    Colts-Bengals: yawn, both will crumble on the road before getting to the Super Bowl anyway.

    Steelers-Ravens: the winner here will find a way to make the AFC title game and make things interesting in it also, so definitely worth a glance.

    Cardinals-Panthers: see Colts-Bengals

    Cowboys-Lions: so much white, blue, and silver that it’ll be hard to tell which team is which, until my wife’s favorite penalty flag gets thrown “Unnecessary roughness”, which will be on the Lions.

    I for one look forward to Dallas O-line vs. Detroit front 7. Now we’ll see if Dallas and DeMarco Murray’s 2014 stats, were for real.

  53. Congrats on squeaking out a win over MDS. But really, it’s amazing any picker got above 50% this season with the way teams ran hot and cold with surprise upsets and inconsistent play.

    I would prefer to see Bruce Arians’ Cardinal fly into Charlotte and defeat the Panthers and the Steelers crush the dirty Ravens.

    My Sunday preferences are Cowboys over Lions and Colts over Bengals.

    Happy New Year to all.

  54. “I’m preparing myself for a super stressful night tomorrow night.

    Ravens 24
    Steelers 23”

    ———————————-

    Predictions like these are made by desperate and sometimes deluded fans. Case in point: as a Pats fan, in 1985 I predicted the following SB outcome:

    Pats 17
    Bears 16

  55. “For the year, I was 170-86 (66.4%). MDS is 164-92 (64.4%).”

    Impressive percentages no doubt. How about next season you fellas up the ante and pick against the spread…

  56. golferinminny says: Jan 2, 2015 12:10 PM

    Semi-disinterested fan viewing guide to Wild-Card weekend:

    Colts-Bengals: yawn, both will crumble on the road before getting to the Super Bowl anyway.

    Steelers-Ravens: the winner here will find a way to make the AFC title game and make things interesting in it also, so definitely worth a glance.

    Cardinals-Panthers: see Colts-Bengals

    Cowboys-Lions: so much white, blue, and silver that it’ll be hard to tell which team is which, until my wife’s favorite penalty flag gets thrown “Unnecessary roughness”, which will be on the Lions.

    I for one look forward to Dallas O-line vs. Detroit front 7. Now we’ll see if Dallas and DeMarco Murray’s 2014 stats, were for real.
    —————————————————-
    A Viking fan talking about any team that will crumble doesn’t have any value.

  57. ahostiletakeover, teams Baltimore played since being torched by Ben, Titans, using the 3rd string(?) QB, Saints, who put up 27, Chargers, who won with 34 because the Ravens could stop a wet paper towel, Dolphins, another poor offense, and to finish the home stretch, the Jags whom they barely beat at home, the Texans, starting the 3rd or 4th string QB still put up 25, and the Browns who started a practice squad guy and held the lead late.

    Played a couple good offensive teams and the Baltimore defense struggle, even the below average offensive teams had success, but let’s call it improved secondary play.

  58. I’ve tried many times to get my post added with a link to the PFT’s 2014 predictions they made back in September. Do a search for PFT’s 2014 season predictions. A good laugh.

  59. pacificnw7722 says:
    Jan 1, 2015 9:56 PM
    Megatron and Tate will go nuts…Lions win.

    ____________________________________

    I don’t think so, pac. But if they do go nuts, they’ll just be like Raiola and Suh, who are already nuts.

    Stafford stays perfect — another loss on the road against a team with a winning record.

  60. Praying that Lions somehow comes up with the win!!! Reggie Bush play your best game, Megatron too!!! Hard to see rookie oline beating Lions defensive line. Hope it’s a good game and fairly officiated!!!

  61. I’m getting sick and tired of all you ravens fans running you’re mouths about a team that barely made it to the dance…remember who owns you when James Harrison is standing over Flacco after sacking him for the fourth time in the second quarter….Pittsburgh will show no mercy on Saturday Night…WE OWN THE NIGHT IN PITTSBURGH!!!!! MEN OF STEEL 44-24….WHEEEEEEEEEEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  62. WE OWN THE NIGHT IN PITTSBURGH!!!!! MEN OF STEEL 44-24….WHEEEEEEEEEEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    —————————————–

    3rd quarter

    Ravens 13, Steelers 9

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