The field is down to eight and soon to be four by the end of the weekend. Playoff football is simply the best, and there's no loss for interesting matchups in all four of the games on tap. So I decided to share some of my thoughts on the games coming up on Saturday and Sunday.
Arizona Cardinals vs. New Orleans Saints, Sat. 4:30 pmThis is not an easy one to favor one side over the other because both offenses are unbelievable. Either team is capable of scoring at any time on any play. This is a game, as a fan, you hope ends up like the Cardinals game against Green Bay last week. It could easily be a shootout and come down to who has the ball last.
I give the edge to New Orleans because of their home field advantage. That crowd is going to be at peak decibel level because they haven't seen a playoff game like this in a long time. Plus I believe the Saints defense is a little bit better than Arizona's so I'm giving the Saints the edge in this one.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Indianapolis Colts, Sat. 8:15 pmI just don't think the Ravens have enough offense to beat the Colts. They scored over 30 points last week primarily because of the Patriots' turnovers. The Indianapolis offense gets all the headlines, but that Colts defense can pressure the passer and they're fast and athletic. Playing in the dome they'll be able to take advantage of that athleticism.
Really though Peyton Manning and that offense has the potential to put up a lot of points in this one. I know the Ravens are known as a physical, pounding defense, but I just don't see them keeping up with Manning. The Colts might not score 40, but I see them scoring more than enough to win this game.
I realize the Ravens will be motivated to shut down the NFL MVP in Manning, but he's just too sharp and his decision making is so consistent. I don't see the Ravens having enough answers to slow that Colts offense down. Manning is playing some great football. That offense has just too much firepower.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings, Sun. 1 pmThat Cowboys defense is playing really well right now. I think this game is going to be a lot closer than some might think because that Dallas defense is on a roll. And as a quarterback it's hard to say this, but defenses do win championships. And Dallas' defense is really coming on and Tony Romo is not turning the ball over.
If they can get some pressure on Brett Favre it could make for a long home game for the Minnesota Vikings. Of course I'd like to see the Vikings win this one so Brett can get another shot at it.
No matter what the Vikings are going to have to get Adrian Peterson going in this game to have a chance. They can't rely on Brett to bail them out on drives all the time because Dallas will bring the pressure and history shows if you pressure Brett Favre, particularly up the middle, he's going to force some passes.
Once he starts getting heavy pressure Brett takes more chances. Brett wants to win and if he has to do it on his own he'll try to do it. And sometimes that gets him into trouble.
So if the Cowboys can shut down the Vikings run game and make Minnesota one-dimensional they've got a really good chance of winning this one on the road.
New York Jets vs. San Diego Chargers, Sun. 4:40 pmI think this will be the end of the road for the Jets. The Chargers have just too much firepower from top to bottom on their roster for the Jets to handle. They have all the ingredients you need to win in the playoffs.
New York has done a nice job of running the ball and playing solid defense and it has gotten them this far, but this week I think they're facing a deeper more talented team that has just too much momentum.
The Chargers are peaking, and you can argue the Jets are too to a certain extent, but winners of 10 or 11 in a row I think San Diego will be able to keep that momentum going, especially on their home field.