I was asked by two separate people today to post my predictions for this weekend's NFL playoff games...I didn't know the public interest in seeing me intellectually stumble was so high. I mean, TWO PEOPLE! What's next, three people? Or four? Yipes.
So I'm going into Conference Championship Weekend with my head held high, because I know it's absolutely impossible for me to go 1-3 this time with my picks. 'Course, the probability of my being wrong across the board is much higher, but...well, whatever. Here're my picks.
Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints
Now here's a bit of weird history/storyline stuff for you: the last time the Saints made it to the NFC Championship game, they played the Bears. The Bears beat them and went on to lose Super Bowl XLI to the Colts--who are playing for the AFC Championship. Okay, that's not so awesome. But this should be a good game. Both teams feature explosive offenses, stellar players, and lots and lots of wins. If this becomes a passing duel, I'll call it for Brees and the Saints. He's got the weapons and the younger arm. But under any other circumstances, I have to go with the Vikings (despite my hatred of them). The Vikings have that dominating quality, that killer instinct that's SO important. They have the crafty gunslinger Brent Favre at QB--all that experience HAS to be worth something. They have my homeboy Percy Harvin, the Offensive ROY, and AP. And most importantly, they have a solid defense. New Orleans can match Minnesota weapon-for-weapon, but the difference in D will be the difference in this game. It will be a close game, but I'm calling this one for Minnesota.
Minnesota 34, New Orleans 24
So how 'bout them Jets? They're the George Mason of this year's NFL playoffs. The final four teams remaining in the playoffs are seeded #1, #1, #2, and...#5? But the Jets are for real--or they've gotten incredibly lucky. I'll go for "they're for real", and I'll add that this will be a dangerous game for the Colts. Talent-wise, the Colts have it where the Jets don't--but I am going to be a maverick and pick the Jets to win this. Why? The answer is simple: the run game. I asked a friend about his opinion on this game, and he basically said that Indy has to make Mark Sanchez beat them. I agree with that--if it's Sanchez vs. Manning, Manning will win. But I don't think it'll be Sanchez vs. Manning--I think this game will end up being Jets Running Backs vs. Manning. And if the running backs have some sort of success, the Jets will win. Here's the good news for New York: Indianapolis has a terrible run defense. So...I'm calling this one for the Jets. Manning will do his level best to win it by himself, but I think he's not going to be able to scrape together a win.
New York Jets 28, Indianapolis 24
There it is. Sorry Saints and Colts fans...I had to. :D
Long live statistical stuff!