There are some big games this weekend as the NFL season is now down to eight teams. Who will advance to the conference championship games next Sunday? Here's my look at this weekend's games:
Ravens at Colts
I'm tempted to go with the Ravens. They gave the Colts all they could handle in the regular season and should have pulled out the game. The Ravens dominated New England last week (a team that also should have beat the Colts), but there are two factors in play here. Peyton Manning has heard everyone's opinion over the past couple of weeks about the Colts giving up the perfect season, and he knows that anything short of a Superbowl trip will be deemed as a failure. The other factor, Joe Flacco only threw four completions last week, and he could barely move in the pocket.
Jets at Chargers
My how times change for the media. Almost every analyst picked San Diego as their AFC Superbowl representative before the playoffs, not these same analyst are all over the Jets. The same Jets team that they bashed for how they got in the playoffs. Sure the Jets looked great the past two weeks against the Bengals and I also agree that their defense is awesome, but the Chargers were the hottest team in the AFC down the stretch. Last time I checked, those same guys will be playing this weekend.
Cowboys at Vikings
This may be the toughest game of the weekend to call. Just as the media have jumped on the Jets bandwagon, they are riding the Cowboys now. But what about the love for Brett Favre? Well, that faded down the stretch and now the media are enjoying piling it on the Vikings. I think the Dallas star is going to start losing its shine this weekend. Not only does Favre have something to prove, so does Adrien Peterson. Peterson has been labeled a fumbler of late and his status as the league's top running back has been claimed by Chris Johnson. Look for him to come up big and the Vikings defense will harass Tony Romo into a few mistakes.
Cardinals at Saints
The Saints have also lost their luster and enter the playoffs on a three-game losing streak, but for the first time since early in the season, almost all of the opening day starters are back healthy. Save Charles Grant, the starting defense will be on the field for the first time since Tracy Porter and Jabari Greer's early injuries. And that will likely be the difference in the game. Since the Saints secondary was so banged up in the second half of the season, the defense suffered by not being able to blitz and force turnovers, and they also became a liability against the run. The offense will also come out with something to prove after only putting up 17 points in their previous contests (not counting the Carolina game, which equaled a preseason game for the Saints). With the Superdome rocking and now the news that Deuce McAllister is back on the roster, look for Saints fans to be a big factor in the game day atmosphere
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