A quick look into the playoffs

We're in the midst of the NFL post season, and yet there doesn't seem to be much talk about it.  Here's a quick look into the games, some interesting stories and information on the playoffs, and if nothing else, a new article for you to read.

Saints/Vikings

One old division opponent and one new division opponent.  The Vikings have been the favorite to get to the Super Bowl all year once Favre announced he was coming back for the 3434325th time.  A ground game that suddenly finds itself lacking will be they key to the game for the Vikes.  Favre has been great, but hasn't played too well in the playoffs the past few years and typically has been awful in dome games.  Nevermind that he now has a dome as a home stadium, it'll be interesting to see how he does in an away game that means something. 

The Vikings D will have to stay hot and get the ball out of Brees' hands quickly.  If the Vikings can keep the big play out of the game (on the defensive side), they have a good opportunity to win. 

Brees and the Saints look to continue steamrolling their way to the Super Bowl.  It'll be interesting to see who has the hot hand for New Orleans as it can come from anyone on that team.  The one surprising thing about the Saints is it's as much a defensive team as it is an offensive one.  The Saints will also be trying to break the trend we brought up a few weeks ago, that no team that has ever lost to the Bucs has ever won the Super Bowl.  If memory serves me correctly, the Saints have never even been to the Super Bowl.  We'll see late Sunday night if they can punch that ticket.

Colts/Jets

Defense or offense.  Veteran QB or rookie QB. Strong running game or vanishing running game.  First year head coach or first year head coach (whoops).  A lot of subplots to this game.

The Jets have no choice but to ride the young legs of Greene, the veteran legs of Jones and the entire defense to a Super Bowl berth.  The key for the Jets is to stay in the game, not fall behind, keep it close until the end and make one play, you know, all the clichés we hear every week.  Sanchez and the offense are not built to come from behind and wing it around.  The defense will have to stop Manning, a task that no one this year has been able to do.  The best thing the Jets can do is keep the ball for the final 2:30 of each half.  That seemingly is Manning time as he continues to march down the field and score at will.

The Colts have to find some balance.  They don't need a strong rushing attack, but enough of one to keep the defenders off Manning.  He can get the job, we've seen it, but if he starts getting hit early and often, he'll be rattled.  Freeney and Mathis will need to disrupt Sanchez and force a turnover and put the Jets down early.  If that happens, the Colts may run away with it.

Other tidbits

NFL kickers are hitting on an embarrassing 57.5% of their field goal attempts in the playoffs.  I have never watched a kicker lineup from 41 yards and almost been certain he would miss.  It's gotten so bad that my wife has noticed and called Kaeding "an embarrassment to kickers." 

Sanchez is vying to become the first rookie to start a Super Bowl in NFL history.

With a Super Bowl win, Manning may become a consensus top 3 QB of all time right now.  He's been listed anywhere from 5-8 by most writers who are spouting off lists these days.

Who are your picks for the Super Bowl?  How do you see this week's games playing out?

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