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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Who Steps Up Between Aaron Rodgers and Michael Vick? Doc and Del Playoff Picks

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If you couldn’t already tell on Monday when we posted the TV schedule for the weekend NFL playoff games, we’re absolutely salivating over the Packers-Eagles matchup on Sunday. It’s a rematch of week one, but so much has changed since then. Namely, Michael Vick — an MVP candidate — is now the quarterback of the Eagles instead of Kevin Kolb. Doc and Del, who each picked at over 65% ATS in their Top 3 throughout the year, are providing their picks for the Wild Card Weekend playoff games before heading over to our local T.G.I Friday’s to get our Jack Daniels grill on. Here are our picks:


Doc’s Pick: Forget the toe sucker and Mr. Dead Arm, this is the marquee matchup of the weekend. Vick says he’s recovered from a quad injury that kept him out of the season finale against the Cowboys. Though he was spectacular most of the season, the Vikings, Bears, and Giants (for 52 minutes) were able to shut him down. What’s the common thread with all three teams? A speedy, athletic, and stellar front seven. The Packers have similar personnel and can contain Mike Vick. The question is whether or not Green Bay’s offense, which can be explosive some games while struggling to find a rhythm in others, can score points. As much as the Doc loves Aaron Rodgers, he sees another slow-starting game for the Packers that ends in disappointment. Eagles 24 Packers 21

Del’s Pick: Had Aaron Rodgers not suffered two concussions during the regular season, the Packers likely wouldn’t have to face the Eagles on Wild Card Weekend. Such is life in the NFL. Michael Vick is obviously one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the game, but Rodgers is right up there with him. Like Vick, Rodgers can even do some damage with his legs. Green Bay’s pass defense ranked 5th in the NFL this season, so they have the ability to make Vick beat them on the ground. In fact, LeSean McCoy could end up being the most important player in this game. Del envisions the Packers’ offense jumping out an early lead which could force the Eagles to become more one dimensional. Green Bay is a lot better than their six seed indicates, and they should prove it right out of the gate. Packers 28 Eagles 21


Doc’s Pick: The Colts may have endured injuries to key players during the regular season (Dallas Clark, Austin Collie, Bob Sanders), but some of their running backs are healthy (Joseph Addai), and Jacob Tamme has filled in adequately. The indoor venue helps Indy’s passing game tremendously, but they won’t be as lucky heading outdoors to Pittsburgh the following weekend. The Jets’ defense may be their strong point, but they haven’t been shutdown as they were last year. The losses of Kris Jenkins and Jim Leonhard have hurt the team significantly, and Darrelle Revis has not been the lockdown corner he was last year. The Colts should not struggle en route to a wild card win. Colts 27 Jets 13

Del’s Pick: New York’s week 13 and week 16 match-ups with the Patriots and Bears showed us that their defense isn’t exactly as lockdown as Rex Ryan thinks. They can be very, very good and very, very bad defensively. Facing a Peyton Manning offense indoors could lead to one of those bad days for the Jets.  I can’t help but think Rex making comments about Tom Brady before a game against the Colts is bad news for the men in green.  Indy may have limped into the playoffs, but they’re still an explosive offense.  If Ryan is already thinking about the Patriots, Manning has the Jets right where he wants them.  Del believes Mark Sanchez will struggle and this one will turn into a blowout. Colts 31 Jets 14


Doc’s Pick: Kansas City has been getting it done with solid defense, mistake-free quarterback play, and the best rushing attack in the NFL. Still, despite their 10 wins, they haven’t proven they can beat a good football team. Their only notable wins were the season opener against the Chargers, and against an 8-8 Jags team that was starting Todd Bouman. Kansas City is having a nice year and they’re good at home, but the surprising run ends against one of the big boys. Baltimore hasn’t been blowing anyone away, but they’re used to outdoor games in the cold and their defense will stuff KC. The only problem is their offense won’t be able to light it up. Ravens 19 Chiefs 13

Del’s Pick: The only thing that could keep this game close is its location. Arrowhead Stadium is one of the tougher places to play in the NFL, but it’s unlikely the environment will be enough for the Chiefs to beat the Ravens. Kansas City has a great running back duo and is conditioned to play with a lead — one that they may never get on Sunday. The Ravens proved that they can win playoff games on the road last year when they went into Gillette Stadium and romped the Patriots. With the same veteran leadership as last year and a year of experience under Joe Flacco’s belt, they should win on the road in the opening round for the second straight year. Ravens 20 Chiefs 10


Doc’s Pick: Yeah, Seattle is at home where it’s loud as heck and the weather is crummy, and the Saints are an indoor team, but that’s about where Seattle’s chances end. Sure they can block a punt, get a pick six, break a big offensive play, and pull out a stunner, but I’d set those chances at about 10%. The more likely scenario is that Matt Hasselbeck gets intercepted a few times, is unable to lead the Seahawks on drives, and Seattle gets boat raced at home. New Orleans is a much better team and should win it handily. Saints 31 Seahawks 14

Del’s Pick: It’s fun to imagine what it would be like if the 7-9 Seahawks were able to beat the defending Super Bowl champs in the playoffs. Unfortunately for Seattle, Drew Brees is too good. The Saints’ offense is one of the best in the league and their defense really stepped up in the final few games of the season. Seattle may be able to feed off the crowd early, but the better team usually wins out in the playoffs. Considering they’re the much better team, I don’t see how the Saints would let this one get away. Expect a few Matt Hasselbeck mistakes to bury the Seahawks at some point. Saints 24 Seahawks 13

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