As a New York Giant fan, my interest waned a little bit after the Giants went into a swoon and got knocked out of the running. But these are the playoffs and I’m back, ready to root for my remaining favorites. In fact, now that the Giants are out of it, I can watch without getting all nervous and twitchy. Here are my prognostications for this weeks games.
Arizona @ New Orleans: What an amazing shootout last week as the Cardinals outlasted the Packers ! Who’d have thought it would end the way it did ? When Neil Rackers missed a chipshot FG that would have won the game , I took it as an omen that the Packers would win . And when Green Bay won the toss and elected to receive the ball first in OT, I was even more certain. When Arizona caused the fumble and ran it in for a TD, I was in a state of shock. I’ve no doubt who was the happiest man on the feld – perhaps in all of Arizona. I’s got to have been Neil Rackers !These were my two favorite NFC teams and it is a pity they had to play each other. This week, I think that their luck will run out against New Orleans. I don’t think the Cards defense can keep NO’s offense in check . Drew Brees is the NFC version of Peyton Manning and , unlike Aaron Rodgers last week, he has a decent running game to complement his passing. Meanwhile, the Saints defense under Greg Williams will be too much for Kurt Warner, no slouch himself as a passer . The Cards don’t have a a reliable running attack and no matter how good the passing game I don’t feel they can put enough points on the board. Incidentally, it was a classy gesture by the Saints to reactivate their injured Rb Deuce McAllister and bring him back for this game as an honorary co-captain. If only their class would rub off on their tight end ( I refer of course to ex-Giant Jeremy Shockey).
Baltimore Ravens @ Indianapolis Colts: I didn’t need last week ‘s Colts – Patriots game to remind me how dangerous this Ravens team is. The Ray Lewis- led defense is suffocating and if their running game gets going they can put points on the board. Though the Ravens have lost their last seven games against the Colts , several of those games have been very close and the Colts can count themselves lucky to have won them. The Colts record is deceiving since they pulled off many of their victories with late-game heroics from Peyton Manning. The Colts running game is less than impressive and the Baltimore defense will exert enormous pressure on Manning. Inspite of it all, I think the Colts will win in a close, ugly game because of the brilliance of Manning.
Dallas Cowboys @Minnesota Vikings : Brett Favre is not one of my favorites but I will be rooting for Minnesota to send Dallas packing because I detest the Cowboys, from owner GM Jerry Jones thru QB Tony Romo right down to Flozell Adams. Minnesota has a tough task though because Dallas has looked like a complete team in defeating New Orleans on the road in the regular season and then demolishing Philadelphia in the playoffs. The defense is intimidating, the running game deep and Tony Romo’s passing impressive. Meanwhile , Minnesota has struggled at the end of the season. Brett Favre seems to have tailed off and the running game with Adrian Petersen has not been as dominant as one would expect. The crowd at the Metrodome will be loud but the Cowboys handled crowd noise well when playing in NO and playing on the road may not be a factor. All signs point to a Cowboy victory but I’m going to pick the Vikings in a shootout because I think, I hope, Romo will revert back to form and self-destruct.
New York Jets @ San Diego Chargers ; If you had told me at the beginning of the season that the Jets would be in the playoffs and the Giants on the sidelines , I ‘d have asked you what you were smoking. Who’d have thunk it ? Rex Ryan acts like a jerk but he’s done a good job of ramrodding this Jets team and getting them to believe in themselves. The defense is playing great and Darrell Revis is outstanding. Mark Sanchez looks like a franchise QB and the running game is steady if not overwhelming. However, the Jets are going up against what many project as the likely AFC winner and it’s going to be difficult, very difficult.Of all the remaining teams , San Diego is the one I know least about but they appear to be tough on both sides of the ball . The one advantage the Jets have is at coach where Ryan is far superior to Norv Turner. I’d love for the Jets to shut up that loudmouth Philip Rivers but I don’t think it is in the cards. Chargers in a close fought game.
Recap; Saints over the Cardinals
Colts over the Ravens
Vikings over the Cowboys
Chargers over the Jets