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Wild Card Weekend Lock Alerts, Picks & TV Schedule

The NFL Playoffs kick off this week, which means we’ve got to check out my Wild Card Weekend lock alerts and picks.

The first lock occurs in the Arizona versus Carolina game on Saturday. After Carolina battles Arizona at home, Baltimore travels to Pittsburgh to take on the winner of the AFC North. Then, on Sunday, Detroit goes to Dallas to battle the NFC East Division champ.

A Closer Look At My Wild Card Weekend Lock Alerts & Picks

Matchup: Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers
Date: Jan. 3, 2015 
Start Time: 4:20 p.m. ET 
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Stadium: Bank of America Stadium
Radio:  Arizona Vs  Carolina
Point Spread: Panthers -5.5
Game Total: 39

Analysis: Arizona didn’t finish off the regular season very well. The Cardinals got absolutely pummeled by Seattle, 6 to 35 before losing 17 to 20 to San Francisco in Week 17. Arizona has now dropped 4 out of its last 6 games straight up.

Part of the issues for the Cardinals is that they don’t have a true starting quarterback now that they are down to Ryan Lindley. Logan Thomas has some ability, but he’s a rookie. It’s difficult to see how Thomas could add a spark to the Cardinals’ offense.

This is especially true since Carolina’s defense has started to peak. The Panthers have the ability to shut down opposing offenses. Because Cam Newton is playing well and the Panthers rushing attack is also doing well, Carolina is an easy lock pick for this weekend.

Wild Card Weekend Lock Alert: Carolina -5.5

Matchup: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
Date: Jan. 3, 2015 
Start Time: 8:15 p.m. ET 
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Stadium: Heinz Field
TV Info: NBC
Radio:  Baltimore Vs  Pittsburgh
Point Spread: Steelers -3
Game Total: N/A

Analysis: This is a betting trends play. Baltimore just isn’t very good based on the trends. The Ravens are 1-4-1 against the spread in the last 6 games between these two and 1-3-1 against the spread in the last 5 meetings in Pittsburgh. Baltimore is also 1-6-1 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing 15 points or less in their previous game, 0-3-1 against the spread in their last 4 against the AFC North and 1 and 4 ATS in their last 5 games overall.

Pittsburgh is 7 and 1 ATS in their last 8 home games versus a team with a winning road record, 5 and 1 ATS in their last 6 games following an ATS victory and 6 and 0 ATS in their last 6 home games. The Steelers are also 11-4-1 in the last 16 meetings between these two teams in Pittsburgh.

On the field, it’s going to be difficult for the Ravens’ defense to contain Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben threw for over 300 yards and 6 touchdowns against Pittsburgh the last time that the two teams met.

Wild Card Weekend Lock Alert: Pittsburgh -3

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Matchup: Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys
Date: Jan. 4, 2015 
Start Time: 4:40 p.m. ET 
Location: Arlington, Texas
Stadium: AT&T Stadium
TV Info: FOX
Radio:  Detroit Vs  Dallas
Point Spread: Cowboys -7
Game Total: 48.5

Analysis: Until Ndamukong Suh pulled the biggest boneheaded move out of a player on the field this NFL Regular Season when stepping onto Aaron Rodgers’ leg, the battle between the Lions and Cowboys was looking like the closest game of the four during Wild Card Weekend.

Detroit’s ability to put pressure onto quarterbacks and its ability to shut down a team’s rushing attack were going to be a big detriment to what Dallas wanted to accomplish on offense. The issue for the Lions is that without Suh, he recorded 43 solo tackles and led the Lions in sacks with 8.5, Tony Romo should have more time to find tight-end Jason Whitten over the middle or wide receiver Dez Bryant down the side lines.

What should have been a 4 point spread is now a 7 point spread. It won’t matter. Dallas is at least 10 points better than a Detroit Lions squad without Ndamukong Suh.  

Wild Card Weekend Lock Alert: Dallas -7

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