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2014 NFL Playoffs: Wild Card Round Predictions

Updated on December 31, 2014

Week 17 Recap

Centrary did really well last week, going 13-3, making its final season total 159-96-1. It got the game of the week correct, by getting Pittsburgh over Cincinnati. It went 12-5 with those picks. It also got Minnesota right in the snore of the week; it finished 11-6 in those picks.

Best pick: So many to choose from. I like that it correctly guessed Carolina's win, Pittsburgh's win, as well as several blowout picks like Dallas and Denver. However, even if the Patriots had nothing to play for - and played like it - Centrary did get the Bills upset at New England correct.

Worst pick: Just three games to choose from. The Dolphins pick ended up being a disaster, and the Cardinals pick didn't pan out, but the Chargers pick was part of a somewhat complicated AFC playoff picture and I'm disappointed Centrary wasn't able to get that critical game correct.

Listed below is the final chart for how accurate Centrary was with each team. If the playoffs were determined by only Centrary's picks, San Diego would be the AFC's #1 seed, Houston would be playoff bound, and the Saints would be NFC South champions - with a winning record to boot. I did make simulations for a possible postseason with these standings, and Seattle ends up defeating Denver again in the Super Bowl, which could happen in reality.

With that, here are the four picks for this weekend's Wild Card Round games, along with basic stats to indicate how much to trust these picks.

Stats for how accurate the Centrary simulator was for this season.  The Bengals-Panthers tie is not factored into the stats but is noted on the side.
Stats for how accurate the Centrary simulator was for this season. The Bengals-Panthers tie is not factored into the stats but is noted on the side.

Wild Card Round Picks

As always, the Centrary simulator makes these picks.

#5 Arizona Cardinals (at) #4 Carolina Panthers

Pick: 30-20 Carolina

Accuracy: Centrary is 9-7 in Cardinals games (2-4 when picking AGAINST Arizona). Centrary is 7-8-1 in Panthers games (3-4 when picking FOR Carolina).

Trustworthiness: ~40%

Arizona goes up 17-10 after three quarters, but after only mustering a field goal in the 4th, they are unable to hold off the Panthers, who rattle off 20 in the 4th quarter to be the 2nd team this decade to win a playoff game despite a losing regular season record.

#6 Baltimore Ravens (at) #3 Pittsburgh Steelers

Pick: 30-27 Pittsburgh

Accuracy: Centrary is 9-7 in Ravens games (3-4 when picking AGAINST Baltimore). Centrary is a miserable 3-13 in Steelers games (3-5 when picking FOR Pittsburgh which means, yes, 0-8 when picking against the Steelers).

Trustworthiness: ~30%

Baltimore opens up an early 14-3 lead but the Steelers battle back in what mostly a back-and-forth affair between these two heated rivals, with the Steelers coming out on top at the end. Steelers fans might of wished Centrary picked against Pittsburgh given its never been right when doing so.

#5 Cincinnati Bengals (at) #4 Indianapolis Colts

Pick: 33-13 Cincinnati

Accuracy: Centrary is 7-8-1 in Bengals games (5-3-1 when picking FOR Cincinnati). Centrary is 14-2 in Colts games (4-1 when picking AGAINST Indianapolis).

Trustworthiness: ~70%

The Bengals also open up an early 14-3 lead, but their defense is able to keep the Colts in check. The Bengals throw in 16 points in the 4th quarter to put it away.

#6 Detroit Lions (at) #3 Dallas Cowboys

Pick: 35-10 Dallas

Accuracy: Centrary is 9-7 in Lions games (4-6 when picking AGAINST Detroit). Centrary is 10-6 in Cowboys games (8-2 when picking FOR Dallas).

Trustworthiness: ~60%

The Cowboys blow it open early and cruise from there on. Tony Romo would get his second-ever playoff win, the Lions would still be seeking its first since 1991 (which was against Dallas).

Takeaways

So, Centrary is taking one road team of the four, which is about normal. Its also predicting a pretty exciting Saturday slate of games, but a mostly dull Sunday slate. I am confident in the Bengals and Cowboys picks, and even the Steelers pick as Centrary has done better picking Steeler wins lately, while the Panthers are considered a favorite despite their record thanks to being at home coupled with Arizona's quarterback woes.

I look forward to next week to see how these picks fare, as well as making picks for the next batch of playoff games. Perhaps an additional set of simulations as well?

The Wild Card Round predictions were made with the Centrary sports simulator, which simulates teams, not players, and in a quick, simple fashion.

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