No Sleep Till Football

Like Brooklyn Except It's Football

Championship Round – Previews

So I was 4-0 last week in picking the Jets, Colts, Vikings & Saints. That’s puts me back at 5-3 for the playoffs which is pretty good so I’m on a roll here! It’s one of the most exciting Sundays in football period when you have 4 teams, 2 games and one chance at getting to the Super Bowl. Here is how it shapes up:

Championship Round Games

#5 New York Jets (11-7) at #1 Indianapolis Colts (15-2)
#2 Minnesota Vikings (13-4) at #1 New Orleans Saints (14-3)

NYJ @ IND: If you think the Week 16 loss for Indianapolis is meaningful then you are an idiot. The Colts essentially pulled their starters for half the game and yet the Jets still needed a 106-yard return TD and a defensive fumble returned for a TD to get the win. You take those 2 scores away and it’s 15-15 with Curtis Painter playing QB for the Colts! The Jets are a nice story and I think if I were the rest of the NFL, I’d be worried about the coaching acumen of Rex Ryan in the future, but for now, there is simply no way a rookie HC combined with a rookie QB walk into Lucas Oil Stadium and beat the greatest QB who has ever walked the planet. It just doesn’t happen. There are a couple of problems here with the Jets. The first is that they aren’t a come from behind team. If the Colts score a couple of quick TDs then Freeney & Mathis are going to pin their ears back and make life a living hell for Mark Sanchez. Remember that Baltimore has a better offense than the Jets and Indianapolis held them to 3-points with Freeney & Mathis going crazy over Joe Flacco, who is a lot more mature at his stage of development than Mark Sanchez. Another problem for the Jets is that they are a defense that likes to blitz. The problem is that Manning is his absolute best against the blitz. He completes 70% of his passes against a blitzing defense which is ridiculous. The Jets have talked this week about having to disguise their schemes to not allow Peyton to react, but do you really think there is anyone on New York’s side of the ball that is as smart as Manning? I didn’t think so. The biggest problem for the Jets might be that Indianapolis is pissed. We in Indianapolis have heard all month long about how the Jets are this and the Jets are that. In some odd way you almost have the 11-7 Jets coming in as the favorite among the hypemongers with the 15-2 Colts being a dog despite being at home. Remember too that this season Indianapolis is 15-0 in games they’ve tried to win. Sure they completely pissed on history and I do think there is some type of karma attached to that, but we’re past that stage in Manning’s career. As odd as it sounds, Peyton is getting even better. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see this one end in a blowout. Just remember what Peyton has done in the past to some of Rex Ryan’s defenses while he was at Baltimore. It was ridiculous! I’m taking the Colts and I think you’d be pretty same taking the Colts and giving the 8 points to the Jets.

MIN @ NOS: I’m not sure you can get more 50/50 than this matchup. A lot of people are making a pretty big deal about the Saints’ homefield advantage, but they are only 19-13 post-Katrina in the Superdome, meaning they aren’t that fantastic at home despite the rowdiness that goes on with the New Orleans faithful. The other thought on that is that Minnesota has some very strong veteran leadership on the field. Brett Favre wasn’t born yesterday and I think you’d have a difficult argument thinking Jared Allen is going to be affected by the noise. What sticks out for me most in this game is that it reminds me a bit of the games the Vikings had against the Packers. Aaron Rodgers went bombs away on Minnesota, but the Vikings and Brett Favre were about to counter and every stage and dominate in certain instances. The big matchup everyone is talking about is the Minnesota D-Line, specifically the pass rushers of Jared Allen and Ray Edwards (if he plays) against the two tackles for New Orleans. The Saints have to figure a way to run the ball too, but the Vikings are pretty good against the run themselves. The key to a degree will be to see if Minnesota can get pressure on Brees with a 4-man rush with 7 dropping back so Brees can’t pick the Vikings apart. It could get dicey for Minnesota if they can’t make Brees uncomfortable in the pocket. On the other side of the ball I don’t think Minnesota is going to have trouble on offense. The Saints aren’t fantastic against the run and I think with both Adrian Peterson and Brett Favre, the Vikings are going to be able to keep a balanced offense and give the Saints fits. In my opinion there are sometimes stories that just work themselves out historically. I think this is one for Favre. I don’t think the legend of Favre ends in New Orleans, but actually grows a bit bigger. With Favre getting the Super Bowl at the age of 40, he definitely shows the Jets they were idiots not to want him back. He definitely shows the Packers they should have stuck with him despite all the turmoil and he proves again that he’s one of if not the best QB to ever play the game. Then again, Favre has had a career of people doubting him seemingly every step of the way. Why should this be any different? I’m going with the Vikings on the road here. The game is pretty much a toss-up, but I don’t think New Orleans’ homefield advantage is enough to offset the legend of Favre combined with the Vikings pass rush and the greatness of Adrian Peterson.

That will set up a Colts/Vikings Super Bowl. WOW. I don’t think we could ask for better than that. If you said before the season that we’d get a Super Bowl featuring a matchup between Peyton Manning & Brett Favre, I think most people would have asked to fast forward through the season to get to the big game. I’m excited just thinking about it!

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January 23, 2010 - Posted by | NFL Playoffs

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