XLIV will be Colts-Saints ... maybe
NEW ORLEANS -- Greetings from P.J.'s Coffee Shop in Uptown New Orleans, where I have come to try to figure out if the Jets have another miracle-of-the-road left in them, whether
On Sunday, I'm going with the Colts, Archie's kid's team, and the Saints, Archie's town's team. With a few asterisks. Because it would not surprise me remotely to see a Jets-Vikings
My thought process on Sunday's games:
Last week, the Jets rushed 30 times for 99 yards in the first 52 minutes of the game at San Diego ... and on the 31st attempt,
On defense, the Jets remind me of the New Jersey Devils. Opposing fans hate the Devils because they muck up the middle of the ice and negate the great skaters of the league with their defense-first style. I expect a similar rushing game from the Colts as I saw in San Diego last week -- 18 carries, 61 mostly fruitless yards for the Chargers -- and so, as usual, the outcome of a big Colts game will be on
Take for granted that
Manning's history is he won't try to force the ball into the coverage area of a great corner -- he famously avoided
For me, what it comes down to is: I won't be shocked if the Jets win, but I can't imagine that Manning will lose.
And so, yes, I should automatically pick the Vikes, because we all recall what the Dallas pass-rush did to the New Orleans tackles in tormenting
I bet in the first quarter, if the Saints run 15 plays and nine or 10 are passes, those nine or 10 will be quick throws to
But the Vikings are so hot right now.
Did you notice how Williams compressed the pocket so effectively last week? His philosophy was to not allow Warner the room to step up a yard or two in the pocket when he began to feel lateral pressure; the theory being that Warner is so slow he can't scramble out of trouble, and Williams was spot-on there. The difference is Favre is much better throwing on the run. He makes some of his greatest plays while improvising out of the pocket -- so much so that the Saints rushers will need to be equally concerned with not giving him an escape route on either side of the pocket.
It's almost impossible to predict this game. Both quarterbacks are so good, and so accurate downfield, that I could see either side winning by 14 or winning a squeaker. I really like both defensive coordinators, and either Williams or his counterpart
This could be like a great golf tournament where it comes down to two great players being even after 70 holes and Mickelson dumping his tee shot on 17 into the trap, and Tiger hitting his into the short grass of the fairway. What could decide it? The noise of the dome? Edwards' balky knee?
A weird choice. But there's something about the way the Jets have played the season, and used Smith, that almost feels like he's been purposely hidden the first two playoff games. Three touches from scrimmage, five yards. That's it. After a 25-touch, 270-yard impact in the regular season, and with the threat of Smith being able to throw it from the Wildcat or shotgun, I just feel like Rex Ryan, offensive coordinator
Normally I'd say a rookie in a championship game is a recipe for disaster. It might be. But I don't think the Jets lose Sunday because of some lack of readiness on Sanchez's part. He hasn't always played well this year, but nothing's shaken him yet.