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NFL: Playoff Saturday Picks!

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The playoffs begin today, with Arizona facing a surging Carolina, and Baltimore hitting the field - for a third time this season - with Pittsburgh...

Arizona faces a tough challenge. Made a bit awkward by Bruce Arians guaranteeing a win, his team faces a suddenly toughening Carolina defense. The Cardinals' defense will hold the keys to any Arizona victory today. The Panthers' Cam Newton will be who to watch for Carolina, but it's the defense - and Arizona' QB, Ryan Lindley - who could devolve this into a rather ugly contest.

In an upset: Carolina wins: 17-14

Baltimore intrigues me. Joe Flacco is going to be the hero or goat today. I think he'll shine against a familiar, and mercurial Pittsburgh Steelers team today. Don't under rate the Ravens defense, who will face a LeVeon Bell-less Steelers' offense. They'll need the running game to spark a victory, and I think it's unlikely. Baltimore has a curious vibe about them right now. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see them run away with this game if the Steelers don't score early.

The Super Bowl dark horse wins: Baltimore 34-17