Fans of offense rejoice this is the game for you. Two teams with outstanding passing games meet up in the first game of the Divisional Playoff Weekend. The Saints enter the game on a three game losing streak after starting the year 13-0. The Cardinals are looking to reach the NFC Championship Game for the second year in a row, after their exhilarating 51-45 win over the Packers last weekend. The Cardinals and Saints both can put up a ton of points and their defenses will both have trouble containing the other. It should be a great home field weekend for the Saints, as the City of New Orleans would host the NFC Championship for the first time if the Saints can win. The Saints also have an advantage in the running game, as Beanie Wells is not a reliable running back, while the Saints have gotten a strong season from Pierre Thomas who will provide the difference as the Saints win a close one.
After putting the car in the garage following their 14-0 start the Colts must hope they can get their motor running fast in the playoffs or the team’s decision to rest their starters will become an albatros on the franchise forever. This week they have to worry about another bird as they the Ravens who scored a dominant win over the Patriots on the road last weekend. The key to the win; was the running of Ray Rice who landed a devastating first punch with an 83 yard TD gallop on the first play of the game. However, in their first match up on November 22nd the Colts underrated defense held Rice to 3.6 yards per carry, his lowest output of the season. Without Rice dominating it would be hard to imagine the Ravens winning in Indy, as Peyton Manning has found a way to win every game he’s been on the field in the 4th Quarter, and he will be able to do it again this week as the Colts advance to the AFC Championship.
The Cowboys come into this game firing on all cylinders, as Tony Romo has silenced his critics with his play in December and his strong performance over the Eagles last week. However, he and the Cowboys have their work cut out for them as they have to go into the Metrodome and face a strong and balanced Vikings team. The Vikings may have allot of focus on their offense with Brett Favre under center, but they also have a solid defense. The Vikings are also unbeaten at home this season and that begins to be a key stat when you get deeper in the playoffs, as the teams that play at home in the later rounds have invested allot of time and energy at being able to land the home games. That is not to say it will be easy as the both teams are very much evenly matched statistically. When teams are that close the key becomes protecting the football. The winner of this game will be the team that wins the turnover battle, and that team will be the Vikings as their defense will get a couple of interceptions and win the game by a Field Goal.
The Jets may have the best defense in the NFL, but this weekend they will be flying into a buzz saw as the Chargers now that time is now for them. The Jets are just starting to come into their own and should be a strong contender for the next few years. The Chargers are at the other end of the hallway in that their window of opportunity is starting to close, as LaDainian Tomlinson is not the back he used to be and their defense is starting to show some wear. However, with QB Phillip Rivers coming into his prime the Chargers who won their last 11 games to close the regular season are primed and ready to bring a championship to San Diego. The Chargers have been fighting for several years to be in this position and have the playoff experience the Jets lack. It’s basically going to be a sixty minute learning experience for the Jets who will be able to take this loss and build off for the future as the Chargers know it’s now or never for them to win the Super Bowl.