No. 6 Baltimore Ravens (10-6) at No. 3 Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)
Both teams’ antennas will be up even more since this is a rivalry game and bragging rights are on the line. I wouldn’t be surprised if we have a 16-13 or 20-16 type game, however this one will come down to Flacco and Ben and giving how each has played this season, I’m siding with Ben on this occasion – plus he’s got the home-field working in his favor too.
Pick: Steelers 34-24
No. 5 Cincinnati Bengals (10-5-1) at No. 4 Indianapolis Colts (11-5)
Luck (led league with 40 TD passes) is obviously the best player on the field and having that guy on your team should alone make the Colts the slight favorite, although he can’t single-handily carry the Colts to a championship. Yet, I’m a big believer in “Sooner or later this team is going to get over the hump and get the job done after always being in the playoffs and suffering loss after loss” that applies to the Bengals losing three straight years in the Wild Card game. The Bengals are due to win at least one playoff game this year being that this is their fourth year in a row in the playoffs. No, I don’t think the Bengals are going all the way but I think they will find a way to win this game – no matter how sloppy and ugly it might be.
Pick: Bengals 27-23
No. 6 Detroit Lions (11-5) at No. 3 Dallas Cowboys (12-4)
his game will be a battle of who can control the line of scrimmage and even with Suh in the lineup; I can’t vision a scenario where the Lions front four will have success slowing down Dallas’ well-oiled running machine with the league’s leading rusher in DeMarco Murray. The Lions passing game isn’t as scary as in year’s past but is still more than capable of making the Cowboys defensive backs sweat some, but to what extent. This game is all about Dallas in my opinion. Their focused, in a zone, and are just a more complete football team that can hurt you in more ways than the Lions can. I applaud the Lions for overachieving this season but the Cowboys are playing like a team on a mission and a team that is looking to erase the “Will find a way to choke in a Big Game” stigma that has been following this team the last five years. This is a different Cowboys team folks and there out to show that in the playoffs.
Pick: Cowboys 41-20
No. 5 Arizona Cardinals (11-5) at No. 4 Carolina Panthers (7-8-1)
While Arizona has the more talented secondary (Patrick Peterson, Antonio Cromartie, Tyrann Mathieu), Carolina possesses the better front seven led by 2013 Defensive Player of the Year Luke Kuechly. The question I’m asking myself is, “Who’s playing better going into this game?” and the answer is Carolina. They’ve won four in a row and Arizona has lost the last two games. You can only go but so far with a third-string quarterback at the helm and I think the Cardinals will reach their breaking point in this game. They don’t generate enough points and the Panthers defense has played as good as anyone the last month. Cam will put up just enough points at home to win this game. Arizona’s luck will run out.
Pick: Panthers 21-16
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