03 Jan Pick 1: Dallas vs. Detroit and Indianapolis vs. Cincinnati
The Teaser: Pair Dallas and Indianapolis
Game 1: Dallas vs. Detroit
The Initial Line:
Dallas -7 home vs. Detroit
Add 7.5 points to Dallas’ line
The Final Line:
Dallas kept their foot on the throttle in a meaningless week 17 game, defeating Washington 44-17 on the road. The usual offensive trio were at their best, as Tony Romo threw 299 pass yds with Dez Bryant hauling in 99 of them. DeMarco Murray also contributed 100 rush yds on 20 carries with a TD. The defense was also able to create turnovers as they had 4 in all on Sunday, helping Dallas secure a 12-4 record. Detroit fell at the hands of their division rival in Lambeau Field, losing to Green Bay 30-20. Matthew Stafford was decent, going 20-41 for 217 yds and 3 TDs. Calvin Johnson only caught 4 rec for 39 yds, but 2 of those were TDs. The defense was also able to force 2 fumbles against a potent GB offense.
Dallas (#3 seed) will host Detroit (#6 seed) on Sunday afternoon, as Detroit lost its shot at clinching the NFC North crown. You could argue that Dallas has been the hottest team in football the last 4 weeks, as they have averaged 41 PPG during their win streak while their opponent has only scored 20 PPG. Detroit had won 3 of their last 4, but the 3 victories came against weak opponents (TB, Minnesota, Chicago). It will be a good matchup of Dallas’ excellent O-line against the strong defensive front of Detroit, as Suh will play after his appeal but they may be without Nick Fairley. Tony Romo finished the season with the highest QB rating in the league (113.2), while Detroit’s stellar defense finished 13th in pass yds allowed/game. Expect a big day out of the home team, as Dallas should be able to seal the victory if they execute. Take them at +0.5 so that even a close win for Dallas results in a victory for us.
Game 2: Indianapolis vs. Cincinnati
The Initial Line:
Indianapolis -3 home vs. Cincinnati
Add 7.5 points to Indianapolis’ line
The Final Line:
Indianapolis had a nice bounce-back win going into the playoffs, as they got the road victory over Tennessee 27-10. Andrew Luck only played the beginning of the game to prevent injury, but still went 10-16 for 160 yds and 2 TDs. The defense also did their part against a struggling Tennessee offense, as they forced a fumble and held the offense to only 192 yds and 3.3 yds/play. Cincinnati lost their bid at the AFC North crown, as they fell on the road to Pittsburgh 27-17. Andy Dalton threw for 244 yds and 2 TDs, but also had 2 INTs as they fell to the #5 seed. Jeremy Hill had another big game, running for 100 yds. The defense was able to force 3 turnovers, but the offense wasn’t able to make up the 27 pts by Pittsburgh.
Indy was able to lock down a home game vs Cincinnati, as they finished with an 11-5 record and the #4 seed. Andrew Luck had an MVP type season, as he was 1st in pass TD (40) and 3rd in yds (4,761). Maybe more surprisingly was that Indy’s defense finished 11th in yds allowed, while Cincinnati ranked 22nd. Luck is only 1-2 in the playoffs (1-1 at home), but Andy Dalton is 0-3. Dalton has a 1-6 TD-INT ratio in the postseason, and has had his struggles as of late. Luck boasts an 80% win % (20-5) in his career at home, including the postseason. Expect him to get another victory here, as Andy Dalton will not outperform him.