Friday, January 22, 2010

NFL 2009: Championship Games

Some intriguing match-ups this weekend for the Championship round:

New York Jets (+7.5) at Indianapolis Colts

"Karma is a Bitch!"

The Colts hope there is no karmic backlash after they gift-wrapped their regular season game against the Jets in Week 16. The story about the Colts throwing away their chance to go 19-0 has been beaten to death by everyone. But little is said about how the Colts disrupted the Karmic balance by letting the Jets a free shot at the playoffs, in the process, shunning out teams like the Texans and the Steelers. The Jets already proved that there is possibly some truth to this, as they beat the Bengals after the Bengals threw away their regular season game in Week 17. Now the Jets have a shot at the Colts again. Only this time, the Jets are on a roll, playing great defense and soaring with confidence. The Colts now have to slay the monster created by their own actions.

In terms of football, the Colts should be very confident going into this game. Their offense is in rhythm, not bothered by that long layoff they had. Revis might be on Reggie Wayne, and so Peyton may have to deal with Dallas Clark, Garcon and Collie more than usual, which is only a minor hurdle for this offense. The Colts defense is probably the most under-rated unit left in the playoffs. They may be built small, but they are built for speed. They will not give Mark Sanchez much time all game long, and if he holds on to the ball too long, you can expect some turnovers too.
But the Jets do not throw a lot, do they? They will try to pound the ball up the middle of the Colts defense, softening them with each call. The Jets should not shy away from the run, even if it is not successful to begin with. If they pound it enough times, eventually the Colts D is going to let a few break free. The Jets should also be careful not to try too many gimmick plays or runs to the outside. That will be playing into the hands of the fast D of the Colts. On defense, the Jets have their task cut out. They know Revis will take care of business on his end. The other guys wiould have to limit the damages by the rest of the Colts receivers. The Colts anyways do not run a lot, so the Jet's run stopping deficiencies will not be tested a whole lot.

My Pick:
Against the spread: Jets (+7.5)
Outright Win: Colts

Minnesota Vikings (-3.5) at New Orleans Saints

This match up is even more intriguing that the Jets-Colts encounter. You have two quality QBs, at different stages of their careers, and with contrasting public appeal going at each other. Favre is the old man in the Vikings locker room, trying to joke around with guys half his age. He already has a ring and anything more will just be a cherry on his career pie. Brees on the other hand, is in the prime of his career. He is a way better QB than people think he is. He is bidding for his first ever superbowl appearance. This game might spring him to the "darling" status that people like Favre, Manning etc enjoy. Also in this match up are 2 teams that have never won a superbowl. Both teams have had strong teams that have never been able to go the distance. Fan bases on both sides have had rough times. The Saints have the added "Katrina" factor on their back. The whole city has ridden this team to phase out all the suffering and trauma caused by that ill-fated hurricane 4 years ago. It will be hard not to root for the Saints on this one, unless of course you are a long-time devastated Viking fan.

On the field, everyone expects it to be a shoot out, with 2 teams with some real good offensive fire power. Which means, the defenses will have to show up to give either team an edge. Both teams have holes in their defense. The Vikings are shaky at best in the secondary, but they have a good defensive line to make up for that. They will want to get through to Brees before he has time to tear apart their secondary. The Vikings are stronger at pass defense than it looks on paper. But they will need to provide pressure up-front to keep Favre in check. Also, the Saints will hope their defense does not get leaky, as it often does, against the run.

A couple of intangibles are on the side of the Saints though. In my opinion, the coaching on the side of the Saints is more steady and level-headed, when compared to Chilly of the Vikes. Also, the Vikings have so many hit or bust players (Favre, Peterson etc). Moreover, the game is being played in the super dome at NO. The atmosphere will not only be loud and very anti-Viking, but the positive energy exuded by the crowd is usually grabbed by the Saints en route to Super Bowl XLIV. The Saints are no more the Ain'ts

My Pick:
Against the spread: Saints (-3.5)
Outright Win: Saints


Last Week (without the spread): 2-2
Last Week (against the spread): 3-1

Playoffs (without the spread): 3-5
Playoffs (against the spread): 4-4

Regular season Record (without the spread): 178-76

1 comment:

  1. Interesting! Thats pretty cool! You don’t mind if I come here more often and read your posts do you? I love to blog but only on good subjects. Like this one for instance! Can’t wait till you post something else.
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