By The Coach and Dr. Football
So there are a handful of things to remember as we enter the National Football League’s Wild Card Weekend.
(1) The Steelers and Ravens split their season series, but the Steelers won big at home on Nov. 2.
(2) Lions quarterback Matt Stafford can’t beat teams with winning records unless he’s playing at Ford Field.
(3) The Colts shut out the Bengals at Lucas Oil Field 27-0 back on Oct. 19.
(4) Ryan Lindley is the starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals this week. Lindley is 1-5 as a starter in his three-year career and is 0-2 this season in place of Drew Stanton.
If you just take all of that into consideration, you should have a good week picking winners as the NFL enters the playoff portion of its 2014-15 season.
Last week, our brilliant prognosticators did reasonably well despite the fact a number of coaches decided to rest their starters for the playoffs. Dr. Football had another great week, going went 11-5 (171-82-1) straight up and 8-8 (121-133) against the spread while The Coach went 11-5 (162-91-1) straight up and 9-7 (129-125) against the spread.
This week, the Doctor writes about his rationalizations while The Coach gets serious and takes Dr. Football to task. Remember, this is for recreational use only. Please, no wagering.
Let’s look closely at the 2015 Wild Card Weekend:
Saturday 3:35 P.M. CST (TSN)
Arizona Cardinals (11-5) at Carolina Panthers (7-8-1) Line: Panthers by 6.5.
It’s simple…defense wins championships. Now I know that Arizona is using their third string QB and their running game is shot, but what does Carolina offer up? Everyone seems to forget how terrible they’ve been except for beating a couple of sinking ships in the Saints and Falcons. The Coach says: The Panthers are at home, but most importantly, they have a quarterback and the Cardinals don’t.
Dr. Football: Take the Cardinals in an upset.
The Coach: Take the Cardinals.
Saturday, 7:15 P.M. CST (NBC)
Baltimore Ravens (10-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5) Line: Steelers by 3.
One must consider that the Steelers running game is in serious trouble with the injury to Le’Veon Bell especially against a very focused and dangerous Ravens team. Another upset. The Coach says: The Steelers are at home. Baltimore won 26-6 in Baltimore on Sept. 11, and the Steelers won 43-23 in Pittsburgh on Nov. 2.
Dr. Football: Take the Ravens.
The Coach: Take the Ravens to win.
Sunday, 12 Noon CST (CBS)
Cincinnati Bengals (10-5-1) at Indianapolis Colts (11-5) Line: Colts by 4.
Two very good teams, but the Colts seem to struggle against top notch opponents which the Bengals are. Advantage goes to the home team in a close one. The Coach says: I like Andrew Luck at home over Andy Dalton on the road.
Dr. Football: Take the Colts to win but not cover.
The Coach: Take the Colts to win and cover.
Sunday 3:40 P.M. (FOX)
Detroit Lions (11-5) at Dallas Cowboys (12-4) Line: Cowboys by 6.5.
Could this finally be Tony Romo’s year? I’m betting it is, but he will struggle early against a Lions team that plays tough on the road. The Coach says: In his last 16 games on the road against teams with a winning record, Lions quarterback Matt Stafford is 0-16. That streak will continue.
Dr. Football: Take the Cowboys to win but not cover.
The Coach: Take the Cowboys to win and cover.