Remember when everyone was talking about how the Jets backed into the playoffs? They needed to win their last two games and somehow got lucky enough to face two teams that had already clinched spots in the postseason. Indianapolis coach Jim Caldwell took out most of his starters with Indy holding a 15-10 lead in the third quarter in the week sixteen match up with New York. The Jets eventually won 29-15, a game that if they had lost would have eliminated them from playoff contention. How fitting is it that they now face the Colts in the AFC Championship? How great would it be if New York beat the Colts this week? That would be some crazy karma.
Time: Sunday at 3:00 PM EST on CBS
How they match up: As I mentioned before, the Jets owed the Colts a lot as they headed into wildcard weekend. They were arguably the biggest underachieving team this season, and thanks to Indy, they backed into the playoffs. New York’s defense is ridiculously good. They don’t have a weak link in the whole chain and Darrelle Revis can (and will) shut down any Pro Bowl receiver you send his way. They have a dominant running game led by Thomas Jones (1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns), but their passing game –led by rookie Mark Sanchez- is suspect and the second worst in football. As long as Sanchez doesn’t make any mistakes though, everyone will be happy in New York.
The Colts seemed unbeatable early in the year and easily dismantled the Ravens last week. Indy’s defense looked great in holding Baltimore to only 3 points, but they weren’t great in the regular season. Indy’s defense allowed almost 100 more yards per game than New York, and their rushing defense was near the bottom. This is not a good combination for a team facing by far the best rushing offense. But, on offense, they still have Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne. Too bad their running game is atrocious.
Last time they played: Week 16: Jets 29, Colts 15.
Prediction: I’m probably going to take a lot of heat for this, but I really feel like the Jets are the better team. People seem to overlook New York because they finished 9-7 and barely made the playoffs. Yet, they have won seven of their last eight games and have a devastating rushing attack and overall defense. It’s time that Indy’s glaring weaknesses are exploited. I’ll take the Jets in a huge “upset” 24-20.
Time: Sunday at 6:40 PM EST on FOX
How they match up: This is a dream match up for NFC fans. Rarely, do the top two seeds make it to the championship game and I don’t see a more potentially exciting game. These two teams both have top five offenses and this has the potential to be a shoot out with gunslingers Brett Favre and Drew Brees. The glaring difference between the two teams is on the defensive side of the ball where the Vikings have a stacked top ten defense led by Jared Allen and Antoine Winfield. New Orleans’ defense on the other hand, has and is more of a work in progress. They have the ability to play big, but still tend to give up big plays and ranked as one of the worst units in football.
Even with the stout defense on the Minnesota side of the ball, I still think this game will be a shootout and both quarterbacks will put up big numbers. This game will be won in the trenches AKA through the running attack. The Saints have the holy trinity of Pierre Thomas, Mike Bell and Reggie Bush and the Vikings have all-world runner Adrian Peterson.
Last time they played: October 6th, 2008: Vikings 30, Saints 27.
Prediction: This is not an easy game to pick. The nice story would be for Favre to win this one and then go on to win the Super Bowl and retire on top. But, who can really guarantee that even if that played out Favre would actually retire? The Saints may not have the greatest defense in the world, but I don’t think that will even matter since they will still find a way to carve up the Vikings secondary in a 28-20 win by New Orleans.
What do you think? Leave a comment or throw me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
30 year old freelance writer and The Father Life‘s resident beer columnist and sports editor. He also writes about fine beverages for drinkingmadeeasy.com and Chilled Magazine. On top of that, he writes about college and professional lacrosse for insidelacrosse.com. He’s also written for Genesee Valley Parenting Magazine, the Democrat and Chronicle Newspaper and ESPN.com. “Osburn on Tap” appears monthly in THE FATHER LIFE. For questions, comments, or if you have a story idea for Chris, throw him an email email@example.com. Also, follow him on twitter http://www.twitter.com/chrisosburn