Last week: 3-1. Postseason totals: 5-3, Pct. .625. Bets Bets: 2-0, Pct. 1.000.
Home team in capital letters; point spreads (opening line) in parentheses after underdog team; selections with point spreads in bold.
INDIANAPOLIS 16, N.Y. Jets 13 (+7) - So long as the Jets don't fall too far behind early, their top-ranked rushing attack should be able to control the ball against the Colts' run defense, which reported home 24th this season, while on the other side of the ball it's strength vs. strength: Indianapolis had the #2 pass offense while the Jets led the NFL vs. the pass, and did so by a wide margin. The Jets have even enjoyed some recent success in this series, with only a half-point non-cover in 2003 (a 38-31 loss at Indy as a 6 1/2-point underdog) keeping them from owning a five-game covering streak therein. But no wild-card team that won fewer than ten regular-season games has ever made it to the Super Bowl (all three Super Bowl teams with single-digit win totals - the '67 Packers, '79 Rams and last year's Cardinals - were division winners), and while Rex Ryan's defense can be expected to keep this one tight, the Colts should advance.
Minnesota 34 (+4), NEW ORLEANS 27 - Not entirely convinced that the Saints turned any kind of corner last week, as Arizona set a record for points allowed in back-to-back playoff games in the same postseason, giving up 45 in each of them. And the Vikings have pretty much had their way with New Orleans for quite some time, winning four in a row and eight of the last nine, including a 2002 win at the Superdome which terminated a 17-game road losing streak for Minnesota. While it is true that the Vikings were just 4-4 on the road this season, all four losses were on natural grass - and this one isn't; furthermore, no team that ended their regular season with three straight losses has ever - repeat, ever - reached the Super Bowl. Brett Favre was brought aboard with nothing less than a Super Bowl run in mind - and that's exactly what it turns out he will deliver.
BEST BET: MINNESOTA
Colts v Saints for the SB
Home field advantage will be a key factor in both games.
Indys defense is a bit suspect on the running attack, and its basically karma for giving the JETS a GO AHEAD in the playoffs... Its going to bite them in the ass...
Vikings D is hungry and wants some Brees... Dont know of Oline can protect brees for long.
Colts v. Saints as well.
I like the Jets but I think they wont be able to run as well on the Colts as they did on the Chargers. Colts have a relatively quick defense so hopefully the Jets can use some misdirection and keep em off balance.
Peyton Manning and the Colts offense is a much more difficult prospect for the Jets D, who owe their success to blitzing and pressuring the QB, to handle than Philip Rivers or Carson Palmer. Even if Revis spends all day covering Reggie Wayne and is able to effectively shut him down (a big if), the Colts have plenty of weapons in their arsenal to make up for it whether it's Garcon, Collie, or Clark. If the Colts are able to stop the Jets running game (or force them to go to the air by going up a couple of scores), Sanchez will fold under the pressure and it'll be Indy by a mile. I predict Clark has a big game and Sanchez throws at least two picks.
As for the Vikings-Saints, the Vikings will have to have success on the ground initially to gain yards, put up points, and shut the crowd up. The Saints defense won't be able keep up with them and the Vikings pass rush will wreak havoc in the backfield for Brees and Co. The Saints having homefield advantage will keep this game close but, in the end, I think the Vikings take it.
I'm nervous as a Vikings fan for tomorrows game.
Colts - I don't think the Jets will be able to benefit from a shitty kicker for a 3rd week in a row. And even if Indy's kicker struggles, I don't think it will matter. I'm not discounting the Jets D. It's as good as advertised. Indy won't be able to run on them, but I think Manning will connect on short, quick timed passes all game. Wayne might not be in the mix because of Revis, but Indy has plenty of other weapons (same thing I said about SD, haha).
Saints - Could go either way, but I've got to go with the home team in this one. The Saints have the weapons to hurt teams that don't keep containment, and that is a place where the Vikings can struggle. I can see Allen going crazy getting to Brees, and Brees just dumping it over his head to Bush. The Vikings are extremely good against the run, but New Orleans has a multitude of backs they can keep throwing in there to keep them all fresh. Minnesota has plenty of offensive weapons on their own with Rice, AP, and Favre - but they are 4-4 on the road this season, and this will be the toughest place they've played all season.
Saints/Vikings has the potential to be a great game, and I'd love to see a Colts/Vikings super bowl, but with a game this close I'm going with the home team