The 2015 NFL Playoffs are finally upon us, and unfortunately the New Orleans Saints are not part of this year's playoff field. The league rolls along though, and the 2015 Playoffs should be as intriguing as always. Let's take a look at which teams Who Dat Nation will be begrudgingly rooting for, and most importantly, rooting against.
Last week I went 10-6
WILD CARD WEEKEND
Saturday, January 3rd, 3:35 p.m. CT, ESPN
Carolina's defense has hit its stride over the last four games, averaging only 11 points-per-game in that stretch. Conversely, Arizona has been horrendous on offense is its past seven games, averaging only 12 points-per-game. Even against a poor defense, Arizona couldn't score, against one of the hottest defenses in football they have no chance. Cam Newton and Jonathan Stewart should face little resistance from one of the NFL's more overrated defenses in the Cardinals. The Cards D has talent, but they've been asked to do so much for so long, that they've run out of gas. Carolina should control this game from the opening kickoff, and be the second team with a losing record to win a playoff game. Arizona proves this season was a fraud. Carolina wins 24-12.
Saturday, January 3rd, 7:15 p.m. CT, NBC
The Ravens and Steelers have had one of the NFL's most contentious rivalries over the past seven seasons, including two bitterly contested playoff matchup in 2008 and 2010. Despite this rivalry being so tightly contested, Pittsburgh has had the upper hand with a 9-7 record over the Ravens, including a 2-0 postseason record over their arch-rival. The big story going into this game is the status of Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell and his injured knee. This storyline may be slightly exaggerated considering Bell only had 21 carries for 79 yards and 0 TD's in his two games against Baltimore this season. The key to victory will be Ben Roethlisberger and his receiving corps exploiting the Baltimore secondary. The Pittsburgh passing attack will be the difference in this game whether or not Bell plays. This should be the best game of the Wild Card weekend. Pittsburgh wins 24-20.
Sunday, January 4th, 12:05 p.m. CT, CBS
Cincinnati is clueless as to how to win in the playoffs under Marvin Lewis and Andy Dalton. Andrew Luck, on the other hand, looks to win his second consecutive Wild Card game after last year's unbelievable comeback over Kansas City. These two teams played in Week 7 and it wasn't even close, as Indy crushed Cincy 27-0. This game will be closer, but just slightly, as Luck and the Colts roll on to the Divisional round. Indianapolis wins 35-13.
NFC - #6 Detroit Lions (11-5) at #3 Dallas Cowboys (12-4)
Sunday, January 4th, 3:40 p.m. CT, FOX
On paper, we've got a great matchup on our hands in this game. It's strength on strength as the #1 rushing defense in the NFL (Detroit) faces the #2 rushing offense in the NFL (Dallas). The reality is that Detroit benefitted from a soft schedule this season, and they haven't faced a rushing attack anywhere near as potent as Dallas. Detroit is a 9 win team that caught a few breaks and took advantage of the competition placed in front of them. Detroit is 0-4 on the road against playoff teams this season, and this game will be no different. Dallas is primed for a big win in this one. Dallas wins 24-7.
The Wild Card round should be fun, and there are definitely many great storylines to get involved in. Here's to a great playoff weekend!