No, I’m not talking about the popular Canadian whiskey. It’s time for the Conference Championships in the NFL. After this weekend, we’ll know which two teams will clashing for the Lombardi Trophy. Both games have their share of intriguing story lines, and hopefully the teams I pick actually win games this weekend.
NY JETS @ INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, 3:oopm
It’s a rematch of Week 16, but this time the Colts won’t be resting their starters. The Jets are the playoff upstart – very few people expected them to get this far. They’re getting big time plays out of their defence (I don’t need to write anything more on Darrelle Revis), and Shonn Greene has been electric (135 rush yards and a score against Cincinnati, 128 rush yards and a score against San Diego). He’s been the team’s single most important weapon in the postseason. It’s getting repetitive, but once again I believe this comes down to Mark Sanchez. He attempted only 15 passes versus Cincy, and 23 last week against the Chargers. He’ll have to be on his game to top Peyton Manning & the Colts.
Speaking of Manning, he went up against a tough defence last weekend, and threw the ball 44 times. Facing the Jets number-one ranked defence is a challenge, but not one above Manning. Reggie Wayne will all but be negated by a certain Jets cornerback, but that still leaves Dallas Clark, Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon for New York to handle. The biggest key for the Colts will be slowing down the Jets number-one ranked rushing attack. Last week they limited Baltimore to just 90 yards on the ground, but can they keep the intensity up?
Paul’s Pick: Indianapolis
MINNESOTA @ NEW ORLEANS, Sunday, 6:40pm
How much does Brett Favre have left? He threw four more touchdowns, but this weekend he gets the Saints opportunistic defence. The Saints led the league in takeaways this year, so it’ll be interesting to see what Favre has in store. Adrian Peterson had another disappointing performance last week, but this time out he’ll see a much weaker rush defence. As for the Vikings’ stop unit, last week’s effort has to be scaring the Saints. If Ray Edwards is healthy, look for the Minnesota front four to terrorize Drew Brees.
Brees himself has a plethora of weapons, including the suddenly-relavent-again Reggie Bush. As long as the Saints offensive line is able to keep Brees upright, the league’s leading passer should be able to spread the ball around and put up some points. The Saints defence is what scares me. Yes they force turnovers, but they’re also prone to big plays. Minnesota has some big-play makers on their side, so the Saints may want to use a few more zone coverages to take away open space.
Paul’s Pick: Minnesota
Well, there it is. Only three games left on the NFL schedule (and no, the Pro Bowl does not count). Let’s just hope that these games provide more excitement than last weekend.
TWO POINT CONVERSION
– Wade Phillips and Norv Turner both received contract extensions. I certainly didn’t see that one coming
– it’s a wonderful time of year… the beginning of mock draft season