This is my first entry of predictions on BleacherReport, hopefully there will be more to come.
To start off I'd like to mention I bet on every single game of the NFL playoffs, been doing so since I turned 18, which in Canada is the legal age to place bets. This is to note I have cash riding on my predictions, so if I pay with my wallet for every one I get wrong, and so as to not make a farce, if I go 0-4, I will not make an article on my Divisional predictions. So let's begin.
Dolphins vs. Ravens
The Ravens should be the favorite on every betting pool there is. I'm going against the grain. The Ravens could kill me on this but the Dolphins season has seen no quit, I believe they make it to the Divisional Round at least.
What's lacking in Baltimore? Nothing, but come playoff time, rooting for the favorites is going with the crowd, and that's what your bookies like to see. I say go against, it should be a close call, but the Miami Defense should pester Flacco more than that Dallas D did.
In stopping the run, the Phins rank 10th at stopping the run, which will help, but history is a good indicator in many ways. Last time the Ravens met the Dolphins was this season, Week 7, in Miami. The Ravens won 27-13 but it was before the Dolphins got red hot, and to note, in that game the Ravens had a 14-3 second quarter, which really made the difference.
Flacco was accurate, but only threw 1 TD, while Pennington threw a TD and a pick. The big standout was McGahee who ran for 105 yards on 19 carries and scored a TD in the 4th to seal the victory.
This time the Dolphins will put up a better fight. Something else to note are the winning streaks, the Dolphins have won their last five, four of them on the road, while the Ravens have won their last two, but have been 5-1 last six games and their only loss coming to the Steelers in a 13-9 nail biter.
Something else to note is the Dolphins and Ravens have both benefited from some pushover teams, while the Ravens schedule may have seemed tough at the beginning, of their last five wins, only two were against winning teams, one against the choker Boys who have flaked in December as of last few seasons, and the other coming against the Eagles when they were down for the count.
The Dolphins on the other hand beat up on the Rams, 49ers, Bills, Chiefs and Jets. No home team is favored to win this Wild Card weekend, but you just know at least one will.
If I had to put a score on this, I'd go Dolphins 23-16.
Chargers vs. Colts
Is Manning a playoff choker? Yes, but only when he has a BYE week, it's amazing, but last year I was smart enough to bet against the Colts in that Divisional Round, reason being Manning is just not good with the extra rest.
However, whenever the Colts have to win four to get the Championship, Manning plays significantly better. The Chargers have won four in a row, and it's time to fall, while the Colts have won nine in a row and conventional wisdom would tell you they're due for a loss, it's not going to be against the 8-8 Chargers. It's going to be close however, history between these teams is not kind to the Colts.
Indianapolis wins 38-28.
Vikings vs. Eagles
Ok, so for everyone who watched the Eagles butcher the Cowboys yesterday, hold the phone, do not place that order just yet. Things to consider, Boys had not won their regular season finale game since 2000, what's more, Tony Romo is proven to be a bad December QB, the stats don't lie when it's more than 10 games he's played in the month.
Even more news, the Eagles were 5-2 at home, finishing 6-2. Do you know what they do at that stadium before each game? They tend to play Rocky music, and Eagles fans are vicious. Now we go to Minnesota, the Vikings have THE No. 1 rush defense. The Eagles are fourth in that category.
While McNabb may be a much better Quarterback than Tavaris Jackson, history tells you he is not that great of a playoff Quarterback, and he hasn't won a Wild Card playoff game in seven seasons—I believe because his Eagles got BYE weeks for three straight seasons afterwards.
Andy Reid comes into the equation, no matter how questionable the run is, he will use Westbrook in that regard and no matter how bad you may think the Vikings Passing Defense may be, what they did against the high powered Arizona Cardinals just three weeks ago should indicate they are no pushovers, and Westbrook, who is the heart and soul of the Eagles is injury prone, boy howdy, and when making your bets, sometimes your gut is the best analyst.
I say Vikes win, 19-6.
Cardinals vs. Falcons
So the Cardinals got bad touched against the Eagles Vikings and Patriots. Does that mean they are not playoff ready? Consider the NFC West, the Seahawks had been riding that division and playing half effort for years, they won some playoff games.
Although to say the Cards are Super Bowl contenders would be a longshot, even though I have money on them BECAUSE of that longshot, they will beat the Falcons. Now Michael Turner can put on the show, and knowing how bad the Cardinals are on rush defense, the game may be over by halftime.
However, something tells me they win, something tells me the Falcons passing defense does not show up, Warner has a field day, and Matt Ryan, along with Flacco, lose their first ever playoff games.
How many Quarterbacks win their first playoff game? Not many, how many Rookie Quarterbacks win a playoff game period? Even less, so going with history, and the fact the Cardinals are aching to show the world they are for real and Warner having been to the playoffs three times previous, Cardinals shock bookies all over town:
Arizona Cardinals 41-20.
Happy New Year and enjoy the upcoming weekend.