NFL Wild Card Preview

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Falcons @ Cardinals
Evan: I love the Falcons story and have become a Matt Ryan fan. I know the Cardinals have a big edge at home. What they also have another edge – an EDGErrin James distraction that is! Pick: Falcons
Mike: ESPN had a poll question, ‘What is the most intriguing Wild Card matchup?’ I went with this game. It was way behind the others, only getting about 6%. So many questions. What will Matt Ryan be like in the playoffs? What will Arizona be like having a playoff game at home? Is Kurt Warner still able to win? Do you remember last year’s Falcons team? This is the only game this week I am thinking for more than a second about who to pick. Since I’m going with the road team in the other games and there can’t possibly be 4 road wins, I have to go with the Cardinals.
Matt: Arizona did not play well to close the season, but they are very potent in the passing game and solid on defense. Atlanta comes in pretty hot, and there just seems to be something about this team. I can’t believe I am saying this, but I think I trust Matt Ryan more than Kurt Warner. Crazy, I know. This is a game where I don’t care who advances, because I think Warner is a good story this year and so are the Falcons. I think the Falcons will ride Matty Ice and a strong game from Michael Turner to victory. Pick: Falcons
Ahad: This game is the biggest question mark of the weekend for me. Arizona has looked really bad the last few weeks while the Falcons have played really well. All logic points against the Falcons here. They are on the road with a rookie QB. Arizona will try and get points on the board early in order to force the Falcons into abandoning the running game. Look for Kurt Warner’s experience to lead the Cards to victory. Pick: Cards

Colts @ Chargers
Evan: Both teams come in with a lot of momentum Phillip Rivers has had a great year, and while the Colts have been real hot, I don’t fell like they are winning the way they used to. Pick: Chargers
Mike: I’ll use Evan’s phrase, ‘the Colts have been real hot.’ I think that about does it for me. Pick: Colts
Matt: The Colts are as hot as they come right now, but the Chargers are close behind. It is amazing the Chargers even made the playoffs. The winner of this game should scare the daylights out of either Pittsburgh or Tennessee. I think the winner has a great shot at the Super Bowl. Both QB’s had fantastic seasons, and I have always been a big Peyton Manning fan. This one should be fun to watch. Pick: Colts
Ahad: Both teams on riding high coming into this game. The Chargers have been on fire on the defensive side of the ball since Ron Rivera took over. They are back to being an aggressive attacking defense, even with Merriman. One intriguing aspect of this matchup is that both teams have struggled running the ball this year. LT really misses Lorenzo Neal, but has shown glimpses of being the old LT in recent weeks. If it comes down to which team has a better passing attack, the Colts will win. However, I see LT and Sproles causing some problems for the Colts defense. Pick: Chargers

Ravens @ Dolphins
Evan: Miami hosting a playoff came? crazy. They say that defense wins championships, and rookie quarterbacks do not (save big ben). I’m going with Pennington. Pick: Dolphins
Mike: Even more than remember how bad the Falcons were last year, what about the Dolphins? And they get a home playoff game. Against a rookie QB. Ravens D lives for the playoffs. Pick: Ravens
Matt: Both of these teams were last in their respective divisions last year and turned it around big time behind rookie head coaches. These are two more great stories. I think the Dolphins are going to gear up to shut down the run, putting the game in Flacco’s hands. I think Pennington will play his usual turnover-free, dink and dunk style game. He will have to against Ed Reed and the opportunistic Ravens defense. I like both teams, but I like the Dolphins at home. Pick: Dolphins
Ahad: Neither offense is going to scare anyone, but the Ravens defense is nasty enough to make up for the offense. I expect an ugly defensive struggle. Pick: Ravens

Eagles @ Vikings
Evan: The confluence of circumstances that occurred to put the Eagles in this game are astounding. I think Philly knows that and will not take it for granted. The Eagles need to run the ball at least 30 times to win, because Sal Paolantonio said so. I think Westbrook has a big day. Pick: Eagles
Mike: I thought that Minnesota was a solid place for football, yet they can’t sell out the stadium for a playoff game? I don’t know about running the ball 30 times but I think they need to throw it in there enough, even if they are getting no gains. This Minnesota run defense will be tough. This Eagles D knows exactly what it has to do, stop AP. At least when the D has a job, they get it done. I hope the O gets it done just enough. Pick: Eagles
Matt: I do care who advances in this game, and I will obviously be rooting for the Vikings. Can they get it done? I don’t really know. I believe Tarvaris Jackson will be starting, so the key will be if he can make some plays down the field to take pressure off AP. With all the things going the Eagles way these past few weeks, they have the feel of a team of destiny. I think they take this one before getting ousted next week. Pick: Eagles
Ahad: Playing in a dome is perfect for Andy Reid, but not necessarily for the Eagles. I am concerned that he will try and throw the ball 100 times. However, Tavaris Jackson will be a sitting duck for the Eagles defense which is among the best in the league statistically. Look for big plays in the passing game with Westbrook. Pick: Eagles

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