Saturday, January 23, 2010

Conference Championship Picks

I've been racking my brain ever since the matchups of Sunday's NFL conference championship games were officially set on who I was going to pick and why. So what I'm going to do is stick with my Super Bowl picks way back in Week 1, way back before I even started this blog and it was Saints/Colts. Instead of saying why the Saints and Colts will win, I'm gonna tell you why the Vikings and Jets will lose.

Minnesota Vikings vs New Orleans Saints

Let's just get this out of the way and keep it real: the Vikings defensive line is the best in the league and will be gunning to disrupt Drew Brees and the offensive mega-machine that he controls on every single down with stunt/zone blitz packaging similar to the Cowboys in how they were able to shake them up. And they are WAY better than the Cowboys defense that held the Saints down for 3 and a half quarters before the Saints offensive line remembered how to block and almost had the Saints in a position to make one of the best comebacks in football history. But they crumbled right at the end at the very last play. Basically what I'm saying is: if the Cowboys can do this to the Saints who boast the best offense in the league, why can't the Vikings do it? Mind you I haven't mentioned Favre, Peterson, Taylor, Rice, and Harvin on the other side of the ball with an offensive line anchored by 62-time All Pro Guard Steve Hutchinson, ex-Seattle Seahawk...excuse me I still hurt over that. So again, why are the Vikings going to lose? I mean there's so many reasons I don't know where to begin honestly but it all begins and ends with one name: Brett Favre.

1. For starters, they're not going to run the ball like they should. We know this game is going to live or die in Brett Favre's hands for the sole reason to make him even more Football God-like than he already is...but its really so they can keep up with the Saints offense. So unless AP breaks out on every other down, running the ball really isn't going to help very much unfortunately. Which leads to...

2. Favre has that gunslinger mentality and he lives for moments to be able to show it off. Too bad he'll be showing it to the Saints defense which leads the LEAGUE in caused turnovers AND defensive touchdowns. Expect at least two INTs and a possible pick-6.

3. Favre may be brilliant, but on home field. He doesn't do well away and he won't here against this athletic defense and the New Orleans crowd that even had the Cardinals offense off base. Favre will get shaken just enough to look human and 40 years old. Want numbers to prove it? This year, Favre has been sacked 23 times in away games this season, only thrown 12 touchdowns out of 262 attempts, and 5 of 7 his league low INTs came in away games. "Men lie, women lie, numbers don't." Especially in football. You don't win a game if you lose the turnover battle and your QB is eating turf all game.

But this is Brett Favre were talking about and if we're speaking numbers his 4th quarter numbers are staggering with 15 TDs to 3 INTs. That's a 5:1 chance of him throwing a TD to an INT in the 4th, that's insane. Too bad Brad Childress is calling this game for the Vikes though so kiss those numbers goodbye. It'll be a close one though: Saints 31, Vikings 24. Sorry Brett, but we'll see you next year in the news I'm sure of it.

New York Jets vs Indianapolis Colts

Look...I know the Jets are the cause of my playoff record being a mediocre 5-3, 2 of the losses being from them. They are primarily led behind that all around amazing defense that has just simply shutdown some pretty damn good offenses in the Bengals and Chargers who are no pushovers by any means. Darrelle Revis has been sensational against some of the best WRs in the league and will square up against Reggie Wayne once more whom he held to 3 catches for 33 yards back in Week 16. Sure, the Colts starters were pulled sometime in the 3rd but at that time the game was very close and the Jets were only down by 6 before making a comeback for the win. Thomas Jones and Shonn Green are carrying the offensive load and helping rookie QB Mark Sanchez breathe easy in the pocket. The Jets are the only team to really play the Colts tough and are the hottest team right now out of the 4 left with a 7-1 record in the past 8 games. Yikes...so why are they going to lose? Well because I'll be damned if they win 3 times in a row and I picked against them 3 times in a row that's why! And for these reasons listed:

1. Mark Sanchez...guy, listen up: you're good. You're going to be amazing for years to come...according to my Madden 2010 franchise mode that has you as the second best QB w/ an overall 98 rating in 2021. But this is the big leagues. The AFC Conference Championship game. Against the Colts. In Indianapolis. Ex-Super Bowl Champs themselves. Against a vengeful defense looking to punish you for beating them and stopping them from reaching a possible 19-0 record. Can you stand up to that kind of pressure? This isn't the Rose Bowl, so don't think you can based off that. Only 23 and already you're playing for a chance in the Super Bowl. You know you're gonna piss your pants and have had nightmares of Dwight Freeney. Its cool, its understandable. Just relax...you're only gonna get sacked 8 times and throw 3 picks.

2. Darrelle Revis vs Reggie Wayne Part Deux. One thing that boggles my mind is even though Revis faced Chad Johnson, Terrell Owens, and Randy Moss twice he still shut them down. How does that happen? Usually the offense tinkers to make sure their star receiver doesn't lose twice to the same DB. But not so for Revis. This matchup is just as important as the Revis vs Vincent Jackson matchup last week. Who ever wins here, will win the game for their team. So Revis...don't slip up now. But.....

3. Peyton Manning vs Jets Defense. Even though the Jets played the Colts tough, they were still losing before the starters got pulled. A win is a win but it wasn't a true win while Manning and Co were on the field protecting their perfect record. Now you're going against an offense who can at will run up the scoreboard and are playing for a Super Bowl appearance. Much more important than a perfect record. You didn't have to deal with #12 in the 4th quarter like the previous teams did 13 games before that. You will here, and you will see why he's the best QB in the game come crunch time.

Now, the Jets do have the coaching edge of controversial coach Rex Ryan backing them up over the more mellow Jim Caldwell. So it'll probably be a great chessmatch of a game, once again being as close as it was in Week 16. But this time Caldwell will be using all of his starters for the whole game instead of substituting them in and out of the game every other play like he did. This is going to be a good one, a close one, maybe even a classic. But I have the Colts winning 27-17 with the game making it look closer than the score implies.

And those are my picks for this Sunday's Conference Championship games. Sadly I won't be watching because I have prior engagements where I was held against my will to attend to. If DVR didn't exist then well I'd be sitting at home, beer in one hand and some sort of wing in the other watching the games. I'll be tuning in possibly the day after to see. SO I'm turning my ESPN Alerts off now so I can be surprised to see the games as if I watched them live. Hope everyone enjoys the games!

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