NFC Championship Sunday Match-Ups and Predictions

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Well my picks for the Divisional Round didn’t exactly go quite like I had expected them to, but this reporter is most happy about one prediction being accurate and that is the victory of the New Orleans Saints. The black and gold played the Arizona Cardinals in the first game of the weekend and I was there inside the Superdome to watch the complete demolition in what could have been Kurt Warner’s final game. Retirement may be a viable option after the Saints took a lopsided victory 45-14 showing that the three-game skid at the end of the season was nothing more than a bump in the road.

Later on Saturday, the Indianapolis Colts welcomed the Baltimore Ravens into their house and played a very close game for the first 28 or so minutes, but then it was all Colts. Well, even then it wasn’t really all anyone. The Ravens had 270 total yards of offense while the Colts only had 275. It was a 3-3 game until the Colts scored two quick touchdowns in the final two minutes of the first half. During the second half, the Ravens were causing turnovers but making enough mistakes on their own to make those turnovers pointless. Even then, the Colts only score 3 more points and finished the game with a 20-3 victory.

Our early game on Sunday saw Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings absolutely destroy the Dallas Cowboys like they weren’t even on the field. A 34-3 victory means that the Vikes will be heading South to play the Saints in a game of two very high-powered offenses. Favre connected on four touchdown passes; 3 of which were to wide receiver Sidney Rice. Adrian Peterson wasn’t a huge factor, but he wasn’t truly needed either. The Cowboys just could get nothing going offensively and couldn’t make a stop on defense either. 3 turnovers by Tony Romo are what eventually did them in.

The final game saw the Chargers appear to dominate on the momentum of their 11 game winning streak, but the rookie-filled Jets would hear nothing of it. San Diego never seemed like they could get into a good rhythm, but for the first half, neither could the Jets. The second half proved to be the key along with turnovers as Mark Sanchez and Shonn Green are leading the Jets into Indianapolis next week for a chance at the Super Bowl. The jinx was on unfortunately for the Chargers as Nate Kaeding who had made 20 straight field goals and not missed from within 40 in forever botched 3 field goals.

Four games have decided the AFC and NFC Championship games which will take place this weekend and they are going to be a lot of fun. It will all begin at 3:00 P.M. EST (2:00 P.M. Central) on Sunday, January 24 with the AFC Championship game in Indianapolis which will then be followed by the NFC Championship from New Orleans. After that, only two teams will remain and the next game played will truly be for all the marbles. So let’s take a look at what is on tap for championship Sunday.

Last Week: 1-3

  • #5 New York Jets @ #1 Indianapolis Colts
  • Lucas Oil Stadium
  • Sunday, January 24, 2:00 P.M. Central on CBS

If the Jets play like they did against the Chargers then my prediction could end up a lot closer or even reversed. Peyton Manning are going to have to come out firing and get a lead on this team because those rookies clad in green and white are going to be ready to fight. No-one expected the Jets to walk into San Diego and take care of the hottest team in football. I know I didn’t. So right now the Colts better be prepared for the fight of their lives if they want to get back to the big game. Mark Sanchez is trying to climb out of Broadway Joe’s shadow and a win here could do just that, but I think Indy will get it if they play like they know they can.

Please don’t think my prediction won’t change a few times this week before Sunday comes around, but I’m trying to keep it close and stop my head from double thinking. After watching both AFC games this weekend though, it just looked like the Jets honestly want it more then the Colts do. Both teams are very talented and have all the weapons on both sides of the ball to go all the way. Now it will be about execution and who has the biggest heart when it’s time to hit the field.

Prediction: Colts 24 – NY Jets 20

  • #2 Minnesota Vikings @ #1 New Orleans Saints
  • New Orleans Superdome
  • Sunday, January 24, 5:40 P.M. Central on FOX

The Saints saw Arizona come into the Dome and they proved that the three-game skid was a fluke and that too much rest was not a problem at all. New Orleans is healthy now and playing just as they were at the beginning of the season en route to a 13-0 record. The offense is clicking on all cylinders with the defense doing its job and then some to protect the big lead. Minnesota allowed Dallas into their house and just ripped them up exposing the Cowboys as a fraudulent team from that hot December. Brett Favre looked on target with everything he put up as the defense almost appeared to know the Dallas playbook.

Both teams have a lot of momentum going into this NFC Championship game, but I just can’t help but think the Saints have more. I was in the Superdome this past Saturday and it was louder then I had ever heard it before. The fans were insane and pumped up and really became the twelfth man on the field no matter if the offense or defense was out there. Favre and the Vikings are used to playing in a dome, but this time it won’t be home-field advantage and that could cause a lot of fits. My original pick last week was closer to the final outcome of the Saints’ game more so then what I changed it to later in the week, but I think this one will be a tad closer.

Prediction: Saints 35 –  Vikings 27

Plenty of coverage this week as the weekend draws closer. I’ve got a lot of work to do breaking down the Saints and Vikings so be on the lookout for a lot more to come. For the first time in franchise history, the Saints are hosting the NFC Championship game and this city is about to get turned upside-down. Can’t say I blame them though because it is something that we’ve all been waiting on for a very long time. The time is almost upon us folks and it’s just getting started.

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