2015 NFL Playoffs: Wild Card Weekend Preview

January 3, 2015

The first Wild Card matchup of the weekend is less than three hours away, so I don’t feel the need to waste your time (or mine) with meaningless lead-in paragraphs.

These and similar articles will cover the following: a short preview of each NFL playoff game as well as my prediction for the game. I’ll post a preview for each round leading up to Super Bowl XLIX. If I find a fantasy game that allows me to preview my entire playoff predictions before any of the games begin, I’ll post a screenshot of them on the Around The Corn Sports Blog Facebook page and Twitter account.

Here is the Wild Card Weekend preview.

AFC Wild Card

#6 Baltimore Ravens at #3 Pittsburgh Steelers (Saturday, 8:15 PM ET – NBC)

Ravens are the underdog, but the absence of Le’Veon Bell could be too much for the Steelers offensively. If Haloti Ngata & Co. can force pressure on Big Ben, Baltimore has a good chance to come away with an upset victory. Expect the kicking game to be extremely important in this battle between AFC North rivals.

My Pick: 27-24 Baltimore

#5 Cincinnati Bengals at #3 Indianapolis Colts (Sunday, 1:05 PM ET – CBS)

The pressure is on the Bengals to avoid their fourth straight first round loss in as many years, but they didn’t get the most favorable matchup to end the postseason blues. I’m not sure if it matters which Andy Dalton shows up – Indianapolis is just too good for Cincinnati to beat in the dome.

My Pick: 35-24 Indianapolis

NFC Wild Card

#5 Arizona Cardinals at #4 Carolina Panthers (Saturday, 4:35 PM ET – ESPN)

It’s hard to believe that the Panthers are hosting a playoff game with a 7-8-1 record, but such is the case in a wacky year for the NFC. Only Seattle has played better defensively than the Panthers over the past month, so I expect the home team to take advantage of a Cardinals offense that has struggled mightily since losing two starting quarterbacks.

My Pick: 34-17 Carolina

#6 Detroit Lions at #3 Dallas Cowboys (Sunday, 4:40 PM ET – FOX)

The Lions are one of the few teams in the league with a defense capable of shutting down the Cowboys. At the same time, the Lions are a bit of a one trick pony on offense, with over 250 of their 340.8 yards per game coming through the air. If Dallas can find a way to get pressure on Matthew Stafford, the home team will be moving on to the divisional round.

My Pick: 34-27 Dallas

– K. Becks

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