New Orleans Saints ( 11-5, 6-2 away) vs. Seattle Seahawks (7-9, 5-3 home) @ Qwest Field on NBC, 4:30 PM ET
Line: NO by 10
Reason To Watch: This game should be surprisingly closer then most people are predicting. Of course a huge factor will be who is starting under centre for Seattle, but with the crowd noise and ball hawking safety like Earl Thomas could give the “hawks a fighting chance.
The Saints will be without running backs Pierre Thomas and rookie Chris Ivory. Losing Thomas, who has not been healthy all season, is a real blow to New Orleans, who will now rely on the tandem of Reggie Bush and Julius Jones (yes that Julius Jones).
Plus, you have to factor in that the Saints are a dome team, travelling across country, to play in the windy and loud West Coast. All factors that could lead to a very close game.
New York Jets (11-5, 6-2 away) vs. Indianapolis Colts (10-6, 6-2 home) @ Lucas Oil Stadium on NBC, 8:00 PM ET
Line: INDY by 2.5
Reason To Watch: This is a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship game. Peyton Manning isn’t playing his best football but neither are Mark Sanchez and the Jets. I don’t see the Jets having enough of a pass rush to knock Peyton off his rythem or cause him to make throws on the run.
There are two very intriguing one on one match-ups in this one like WR Reggie Wayne vs. CB Darrelle Revis and LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson vs. DE Dwight Freeney. If Ferguson does a good job on Freeney this should allow TE Dustin Keller to make plays in the middle of the field and drive the Jets offence. If Ferguson fails to block Freeney, Keller will be forced to help double team taking away an important outlet for a struggling QB.
Now if Revis can single-handedly shut down Reggie Wayne (which is far from easy), Peyton will then have only have a field to play with, and with Cromartie having a favorable match-up against Pierre Garcon, makes TE Jacob Tamme the main option.