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AFC-NFC Conference Championship Previews

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NY Jets (11-7) @ Indianapolis Colts (15-2)
Sunday, 3:00 p.m. ET, CBS
In 1969, no one (except Namath) gave the Jets a chance against the Colts who had a superior quarterback and were the odds on favorite to win it all. Funny how history continues to repeat. No one thought the Jets would make the playoffs. No one thought the Jets could go out west and beat San Diego (me included). And now, people wonder if the Jets – built on running the ball and hard-nosed defense – can beat the Colts who have been the best team in the AFC (if not the NFL) all season. The Colts are actually responsible for the Jets appearance in these playoffs as they rested their starters in a late season game against the Jets. They got a good dose of a tough, hard-nosed team in the Ravens last week and the formula to beat them will be the same one they use against the Jets. I call it the Jimmy Johnson #48 offense: get out front early, score points, and watch the pack try to catch up the rest of the way. It'll be close early, but the Colts have too much where it counts on offense to be befuddled by a pass rush – even one as good as the Jets. Manning has been here before and that experience will pay off with a return to the Super Bowl.

Prediction: Indianapolis 24, New York 13

Minnesota Vikings (13-4) @ New Orleans Saints (14-3)
Sunday, 6:40 p.m. ET, FOX
If Billy the Saw puppet was calling this game, he'd say: "Yes, there will be offense." The Vikings and the Saints, led by gunslingers Brett Favre and Drew Brees, can tilt the scoreboard. New Orleans defense isn't altogether special but they have forced turnovers in the playoffs and that's one thing the Vikings don't need from Favre who's known to do such. Minnesota's defense is very physical but they can be had for passing yards if a team can keep them off the quarterback. The key to the game is the running backs. New Orleans doesn't really have one and Minnesota has two (one of which – Peterson – is one of the best true backs in the league). Fireworks will flare up early, but the Vikings ability to get after Brees along with the running of Peterson will put the purple gang back in the Super Bowl.
Prediction: Minnesota 28, New Orleans 24

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About J. Newcastle

  • Kaos

    From a marketing perspective, this is a win-win-win-win situation. No matter how it goes this weekend, you’ve got a compelling Super Bowl storyline unlike so many previous games which despite the hype have been duds.

    Saints and Jets win: You’ve got the never before Saints against the miracle Jets. Katrina vs. 9-11.

    Saints and Colts win: Manning vs. his dad’s old team, the established gunslinger against the new pistolero.

    Vikings and Jets win: Grizzled Favre against the team he tried to revive last season. Old guard vs. the new guard.

    Vikings and Colts win: Manning vs. Favre in a Hall of Fame showdown for eternal supremacy. God will be in attendance.

    Whether the game lives up to the hype is another story altogether, but for pre-game buildup this couldn’t have been drawn any better. The “who gives a rip” teams were eliminated for a change.

    In an unusual stance, probably, I’m hoping for a Vikings-Jets Super Bowl. I’ve had enough of the Saints fans crawling out of the woodwork here in LA. They’re like less understandable Bama fans. All this Saints garbage just appearing from nowhere when I didn’t see virtually any for two years. And while I’ve come to like Manning (his SNL work and commercials where he mocks his own stardom make it hard to hate the guy) the opportunity to see a ticked off Manning face is always treasured. He does pouting almost as well as his detestable brother.

  • notthatcool

    I like Indy to win, not sure about covering the 8. When/if Indy gets into the 20’s the game will be over. Jets offense cannot keep up. Just depends on how much Indy puts on the Jets D.

    Not sure about the NFC game. I keep going back and forth. Saints looked bad the last three weeks of the season, then looked unbeatable last week. Bush looked like the back he should be. Minn D looked good last week, but how much of that was Dallas’ O-line? The Saints secondary is good for a few INT’s. This should be a classic, at least I hope it is. Last week games were a disappointment.

  • doug m

    Should be two great games.

    NO and Minn seem very similar. Did Peterson have a good year? Seems like most games I caught he didn’t do much. A drive down field for a field goal wins it. Reluctantly picks NO at home, although fate is on Favre’s side.

    Ryan would be entertaining to have around, but Indy’s experience should help them persevere if Jets stay close, which they could if their run game keeps Manning benched. The better defense wins this one, but I am going with Indy.

  • josh m

    New Orleans has a dangerous running attack. While they don’t have a star like AP, the saints finished ahead of the vikings in rushing yards per game in the regular season. Reggie bush was unstoppable against the cardinals.
    however, i also predict the vikings to win the game.

  • RJ

    My picks:

    Colts by 9

    Vikings by 3

  • RJ

    Excellent comment, Kaos.

  • Indy & NO: Off to Miami.