NFL Playoffs: Predicting Wild-Card Weekend

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Dec 28, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) reacts against the Atlanta Falcons in the fourth quarter at the Georgia Dome. The Panthers defeated the Falcons 34-3. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Wild-card weekend is just about here. The college football playoff was pretty damn awesome last night, but the NFL playoffs are now upon us, which really is the best time of the year for postseason tournaments. Yes, our New England Patriots aren’t playing this week, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a good slate of football.

Here are my picks for the weekend:

Panthers 23 Cardinals 17

This has been one hell of a run for Carolina. From October 19th, to November 30th, the Panthers lost six straight games, and appeared to be out of the playoff picture. Luckily for them, the Panthers play in the worst division in football, so they now get the opportunity to make a postseason run.

In my eyes, this game comes down to the quarterback play, and even though I don’t think Cam Newton is even close to elite, he is much better than Ryan Lindley. Bruce Arians has done an awesome job with this team, but as Pats fans know all too well, injuries will eventually catch up to you, and that is what is going to happen tomorrow afternoon. I also think Carolina’s defense is playing at a much higher level than Arizona’s is right now, so I’m rolling with the 7-8-1 Panthers in this one.

Steelers 27 Ravens 23

I’ve been saying this for weeks, but I am scared to death of the Ravens. I know the Patriots are much better than them this season, but they have tortured us in the postseason for far too long, so I really hope Pittsburgh knocks them out tomorrow night.

When I look at this game, I see two defenses that struggle to stop the pass, but only one offense that can truly take advantage of it. The Steelers are second in the NFL in passing yards a game, while Baltimore checks in at a respectable 13th. Antonio Brown is going to eat the Ravens’ secondary alive, and Joe Flacco and company will not be able to keep up.

Please win, Pittsburgh.