I amazingly predicted yesterday’s games correctly so there is a good chance I will go o-fer today. But I’ll give the old MFA in Poetry from a small art school try! I’ll take a look at all four of the playoff games on Monday, so for now get your game face on (not your O face please) and get ready for some hot NFL on FOX and CBS action!
Dallas @ Minnesota 1:00 ET
Fox Announcers: Joe Buck and Troy Aikman
There is a good chance that one of the QB’s in this game will look like a little kid out there, be a gunslinger, or heal blind children with his incredible pocket presence, but only one can move on to the NFC Championship game. Will it be the Viking Song or Tony Romo? Amazingly there are other players in this game and they also will have some bearing on the outcome. The teams matchup well, both have good quarterbacks, a good running game, the ability to pressure the quarterback, a good run defense, and a somewhat suspect pass defense.
It’s hard to discount the roll that the Cowboys have been on so I won’t try too hard. Yes, the Eagles aren’t as good as they appeared to be, but the Cowboys made extremely short work of them and looked great on the road in New Orleans who just dismantled the Cardinals. That’s my round-a-bout way of saying the Cowboys are for real, but are the Vikings? They slumped hard toward the end of the season and righted the ship against the towel throwing in Giants. So both teams have a winning taste in their mouth and should come into the game with confidence. But which team will end the game with confidence? I don’t know! Answer your damn question already!
Ok, ok, I’m taking the Cowboys. Favre has avoided making poor decisions this season, but DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer are good and should force him to make throws he doesn’t want to. And I no longer doubt Tony Romo. I probably should, but the guy has made good decisions this year, and even in the games that count. Yes, Jared Allen was supermulletman early in the season, but with help he can be stopped, run at him and double him, and don’t let him play the Packers in which he tallied 7.5 of his 14.5 sacks. Adrian Peterson has had trouble breaking 100 yards rushing this year and can’t seem to take over games and I believe that is more the o-line’s fault than his. The same o-line that will need to protect Favre. The Boys have the offense to beat any team, but I believe it’s their defense that wins this one for them.
NY Jets @ San Diego 4:40 ET
CBS Announcers: Jim Nantz and Phil Simms
I’d like to have some crazy shamanistic insight into how and why Vincent Jackson will be able to escape from Revis Island, but I don’t. It probably won’t happen, and if it does there will be plenty of casualties. The good thing for the Chargers is that VJax isn’t their only offensive weapon. Gates, Floyd, Sproles, LT, and Naanee can all catch the ball. Does this mean the Jets will get blown out by the Chargers unstoppable offense? No. The Jets pass defense is good, but just as you saw a good Ravens defense get picked apart by Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers can do the same to the Jets.
The Chargers averaged 26 points a game whereas the Jets gave up a measly 12. Something has to give and I think it will be the Jets D. Why are you so confident? Good question, but stop bothering me! I believe the Chargers will force Mark Sanchez to throw the ball, and not those out routes and little roll out misdirection high school routes, some real honest to Betsy passes that he has to decide, ok, who do I throw this thing to? And if what we’re hearing about Shawne Merriman and his health is true, then we could see Sanchez scrambling for a hot dog.
As I’ve said over and over again, I believe the run and D way of winning championships is over. Yes, you need some semblance of a defense to win a game, but the Colts’ defense isn’t why they won yesterday. Yes, it was good, but it went against a team where the engine (as Ray Lewis likes to call the QB) wasn’t up to code. Is this game The Jets’ defense vs. Philip Rivers? No, it’s Rivers vs. Sanchez. That’s the way the NFL wants it. They want their marquee names to have the most impact on the game so they’ve made it nearly impossible to beat their heads in. The Chargers should win at home.