NFL Playoffs: Predicting Wild-Card Weekend

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Oct 19, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) shake hands after the game at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts defeated the Bengals 27-0. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Colts 30 Bengals 24

Let me put it this way: if these two teams weren’t playing each other on wild-card weekend, they would both be one and done. The Colts have a porous offensive line, a defense that can’t stop anybody, and a quarterback that has turned it over far too often this year. Cincinnati on the other hand has a talented defense, but no pass rush, and their quarterback is the definition of a disaster.

I’m going with the Colts simply because I trust Andrew Luck a hell of a lot more than I trust Andy Dalton, and they have the benefit of playing at home, where the weather will not come into play. Despite his abundance of turnovers, Luck has a skill-set that is unparalleled in this league, and he will do enough to will his team to victory.

I am worried about the Colts’ ability to stop the run however, because Jeremy Hill and the Bengals’ ground game has been on a roll lately. If Cincy can control the time of possession, and eat up yardage on the ground, that would allow them to limit the mistakes Dalton is bound to make. But ultimately, the Colts will come out with a win.

Cowboys 27 Lions 20

Getting Ndamukong Suh back is huge for Detroit, but it won’t be enough to topple Dallas and the best offensive line in football. The Cowboys are peaking at the right time, particularly on the offensive side of the ball, and even though the Lions are probably the only team in the league that can match up with Dallas in the trenches, I don’t think it will be enough.

I doubt DeMarco Murray will go off for a crazy amount of yardage, but he will be effective enough to give Tony Romo and Dez Bryant enough time to tear apart a weak Lions secondary. Detroit’s defense is legit, but that secondary is far from elite, and Dallas will have a big game through the air.

Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson will do their best to match Romo and Dez, but at the end of the day, the Cowboys can run the ball, and the Lions can’t. That will be why Dallas advances to the divisional round.