January 10, 2015

The Cowboys deserved to beat Detroit

by Dan Bilicki In: Football, Picks

Let’s talk about the refs in the Cowboys-Lions game.

They were terrible. But while everyone is concentrating on the picked up flag for pass interference, there was a lot more to it than that.

Several calls weren’t made for both teams, with some holds missed on the Cowboys in the fourth quarter and the league even calling Dallas to tell them that the refs missed a whopping eight calls against the Lions earlier in the game.

It was a disaster all around.

But you can’t say that the Lions would have won the game if not for that single picked-up flag.

On that play, there were several fouls.

-Brandon Pettigrew facemasked Anthony Hitchens for several yards to get separation. That’s either a facemask of offensive PI.

-Hitchens held on Pettigrew’s jersey while being facemasked, which is a bit understandable considering he probably didn’t want to be dragged by his neck downfield.

-Hitchens made some contact with Pettigrew while the ball was in the air, which could’ve been called pass interference.

Hitchens was face-guarding Pettigrew on the pass, which actually isn’t a penalty.

-Dez Bryant came on the field without his helmet on, which should’ve been 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct.

What would that all add up to? A replay of third down if everything was called.

And when you recall this occurred with more than eight minutes left in the fourth quarter, you can’t say that it was game over for Detroit after this.

Coach Jim Caldwell could’ve went for it on fourth-and-one – and probably made it. That could’ve won Detroit the game.

The Lions could’ve also used some better playcalling than just using short passes on their final drive.

The moral of the story is that if your offence can only put up six points in the final three quarters against an average defence, you don’t deserve to win.

And if you want to give anyone grief about picked up flags, Detroit fans, just remember that the league picked up its figurative flag and let Ndamukong Suh play in a game after being suspended for stepping on Aaron Rodgers’ ankle. Saying that your feet were cold is no excuse for attempting to injure anybody.

As for the division round picks, the lines are from Vegas and the home teams are in CAPs.

NEW ENGLAND -7 over Baltimore

Many will bring up that the Ravens have an outstanding playoff record, especially against the Patriots. I’ll bring up that they’ve never faced the Pats in the playoffs with Rob Gronkowski at 100%. While Baltimore will be fired up for this game, don’t you think that the Pats will be as well? This could be a close one, but with Bill Belichick fully prepared to defend the Ravens deep passing games – and the PI calls that come with it – New England should advance to the AFC final.

SEATTLE -10.5 over Carolina

The Panthers have secretly been one of the hottest teams in football for the past month and a bit. It’s a shame that the Seahawks have been even hotter for even longer. While the Cats also play the Hawks very tight and this should be a very defensive game, those past two matchups took place in Carolina. A visit to the Pacific Northwest will be much different.

GREEN BAY -6 over Dallas

As I said up top, the Cowboys may have deserved to beat the Lions, but that game really could have gone either way. Against an offence as good as the Packers, Dallas may not stand a chance. While the Boys are undefeated on the road, the Pack are undefeated at Lambeau, which carries a bit more weight in my mind. Whenever a warm-weather or dome team is forced to play in negative temperatures, you can expect them to be a little bit of uncomfortable. Granted, Aaron Rodgers is hobbled by a tear in his calf and a strain, but considering the Cowboys’ pass rush isn’t anything special, he may not have to move to make plays.

DENVER over -7 over Indianapolis

This seems to be the one upset that everyone is going with, which is why it’s most likely the Broncos pull it out. Peyton Manning hasn’t looked right the past few games, but now he has had a week off to sort out what ails him. The Colts, quite simply, aren’t that good of a team. Their running game isn’t that good with Boom Herron leading the way and if Aqib Talib can limit T.Y. Hilton’s impact, Indy could be in real trouble. C.J. Anderson’s emergence gives the Broncos a great option in the running game and should be the difference against Indy.

Last week: 3-1

Playoffs: 3-1

Season: 141-111-4

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