And Then There Were Four…

Not exactly a banner week for Paul’s Picks – only Indianapolis came through for me.  The overwhelming trend I noticed in all of the games – they were terribly played. I can’t believe Arizona and Dallas came out so flat, and don’t even get me started on the San Diego Chargers. So we’re left with only four teams in the the quest for the Superbowl, and here’s how they got here.

ARIZONA/NEW ORLEANS

Any signs of rust that New Orleans was thought to have were erased in a matter of minutes. After the opening 70 yard run by Tim Hightower, the Saints took complete control, and actually got a great contribution from someone I didn’t think had it in him – Reggie Bush. I’ve been critical of Bush’s NFL potential ever since he left USC, but yesterday he demonstrated what kind of impact he can have on a team. If the Saints can get half the effort they got from Bush next week, the Vikings are in trouble.

I hope that wasn’t the last game of Kurt Warner’s career. The hit he took from Bobby McCray was devastating, and it’d be a shame for a sure-fire Hall of Famer like Warner to retire after such a dismal game from his team.

BALTIMORE/INDIANAPOLIS

Another stinker. The Colts did just what I thought they’d do, completely overwhelm the Ravens. Joe Flacco wasn’t able to step up (although he’s injured), and the Colts were able to stack the box and hold Ray Rice to just 67 yards.

Peyton Manning threw the ball a whopping 44 times, and the Colts showed what they can do to teams based on running and defence. Study the game tape New York, the Colts are going to force Mark Sanchez to win next weekend.

And more with the retirement note, it could very well be the end for two Ravens. Derek Mason flirted with retirement last year (he actually retired only to come back), and right now he says he’s 60-40 in favour of retirement. But even more upsetting is Ed Reed’s talk of calling it a career. The 31 year old battled injuries all year, and isn’t quite sure whether or not he’ll come back next year. Quite a shame if he hangs up the cleats.

DALLAS/MINNESOTA

Brett Favre is on a mission. Four touchdown passes against an improved Dallas defence was a simply amazing performance. That was the same Favre we saw earlier in the season, the one who can carry the Vikings despite poor performances by Adrian Peterson (26 carries for 63 yards). We also saw how dominant the Vikings’ defensive front can be. They made a mockery of the Dallas offensive line.

As for the Cowboys, looks like Roy Williams didn’t have that huge game I predicted. It’s hard to have a big game when you’re only targeted once. I don’t understand Dallas’ offensive scheme sometimes. 14 carries for Felix Jones, eight for Marion Barber. Roy Williams targeted once. Miles Austin four catches. Talk about a terrible game plan. Now we only have eight months of Jerry Jones tweaking his team until the new season.

NY JETS/SAN DIEGO

Shameful. There’s nothing else to say about San Diego. Nate Kaeding should be cut for his effort, and Norv Turner should fear for his job. Terrible gameplan, terrible execution, a waste of a season.

As far as New York’s concerned, they are playing outstanding football. Shonn Greene’s got a chance to be special, and he’s already made Thomas Jones expendable in the offseason. His 53 yard run was beautiful. Darrelle Revis had no problems shutting down whoever he was covering, and he made an incredible play to pick off a Philip Rivers pass that deflected off Vincent Jackson. Even without the playoffs, I still feel that Rex Ryan should have won coach of the year. If you look at the Jets’ roster, it’s not overly intimidating. Ryan has done an amazing job.

TWO POINT CONVERSION

– Mike Nolan leaving Denver is a curious move. It’s reportedly a “parting of ways”, but there’s got to be something else to it

– Chan Gailey’s now the front-runner for the Buffalo head coaching job… what an embarrassment for the Bills’ organization the coaching search has been

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