Sunday, January 24, 2010

Duty Calls

The trouble with predictions is you have to keep making them. I have nothing particularly witty nor uniquely insightful to say about the Colts, Jets, Vikings and Saints, but damn it, there's an obligation at work here. What kind of ex-scribe would only pick the playoff divisional round?

Anyway, to our topic. The Jets, who are a promising but in truth middling team, caught a lucky break against the Colts in December and have made the most of it. That is to their great credit. Since they ARE a New York team, it is not to the amount of credit they've gotten this week. Rex Ryan talks a lot, but one stat about the playoffs he's failed to mention is this: Opposing field goal kickers are 0-5 against New York in postseason. Nate Kaeding has more to do with the Jets' presence in the AFC championship game than does any single member of the New York roster.

The Colts remain as they ever were. It always LOOKS like they should be vulnerable to a team that can control the ball on the ground and keep the score down, and sometimes they are (see the 2005, 2007 and 2008 playoffs). Last week against the Ravens, however, they sure weren't.

We can and do overthink these things (NFL Network has a six-hour pregame show today!!). For the Jets and Colts analysis shouldn't beyond the basics. In the green corner, we have Mark Sanchez. In the blue corner, we have Peyton Manning. That rests the Colts' case.

Approximately 99 percent of football fans would like the Saints today. So would I. What could be a better story? What could be a more fun team to watch play in the Super Bowl? Why can't I pick them?

I can't because I remain impressed/frightened by the Vikings' defensive line, which gave poor Tony Romo a Class A beating last week AND stuffed the Dallas running game in the bargain. Added to that, I think I've stopped expecting Brett Favre to have that throwback three-interception game I've been expecting since training camp.

Wouldn't you know it. My next to last pick of the football season, and I spend three hours watching the game and hoping I'm wrong.


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