Win and you’re in, to the Super Bowl that is. Fierce NFC North rivals face off in Chicago, while hopefuls in New York travel to the Steel City.
Twenty-nine days ago, Jim Caldwell, Peyton Manning and the rest of the Indianapolis Colts endured a flock of boo birds amongst their fans at Lucas Oil Stadium. With home field advantage through the playoffs safely in hand…
All of that history was thrown out the window as easily and as quickly as the Ravens’ Ray Rice sprinted 83 yards less than a half a minute into the game. Little did the football world know, the game could have ceased right there. Fans of New England might have been happy if that was the result. Baltimore picked three Tom Brady passes. The Ravens sacked Brady three times and knocked down the Patriot QB three more times.
In November, the Indianapolis Colts won four consecutive games by a combined total of 10 points. Meanwhile, the New Orleans Saints have lit up scoreboards to the tune of 407 points while limiting opponents to 221. For one day, at least, the two undefeated teams changed roles. Indy sprinted to a 21-3 lead, and its defense held serve as they downed the Tennessee Titans, 27-17. New Orleans needed overtime to best the Washington Redskins, 33-30.
With two teams maintaining undefeated records, the Minnesota Vikings might go unnoticed. Well, maybe not. The pressure of going undefeated is off them, and the Vikings might have the best lineup in the NFL. Instead of falling apart like Humpty Dumpty, Brett Favre contniues to lead the potent Viking offense. Yesterday, the Vikes rolled up 537 total yards against the Chicago Chihuahuas…er…Bears. Favre with Adrian Peterson, and Sidney Rice are as lethal a trio as any in the league. Minnesota averages 31 points per game. New Orleans leads the league at 36.9, and Indy scores 27.6. At the same time the Vikes limit opponents to 18.5ppg. New Orleans opponents score 20 ppg. Indy’s adversaries get 16.7.
On the other hand, the Colts woke up the echoes of cliches past and ‘grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat.’ This week’s most debatable coaching call made for great drama as Peyton Manning led the Colts to two touchdowns in the game’s final 3:00 for a 35-34 triumph. Belichick and the Pats went for it on 4th and 2 inside their own 30. The Colts D held, and the rest is highlight material.
Tom ‘Terrific’ and his Pats have had plenty of pictures in the paper ‘being rhythmically admired,’ but Bill Belichik’s crew will need to ‘do it till their through it, so they better get to it.’ New England travels to Indy for a Sunday night show down with the Colts next week. After that those pesky Jets come to town. If that isn’t bad enough, the Pats geaux to N’Awlins for a Monday night soiree with the Saints.
…there is a football team that started the season 5-0. Since then, the Giants have dropped three. Now it looks like the G-Men are caught in the middle. There is a distinct difference between the haves of the NFL (Indy, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, and Denver) and the have-nots ( St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Cleveland, and Kansas City). The Giants seemed stuck in the quagmire between the two. Things looked good when Eli Manning hit Kevin Boss with 1:54 remaining in the half. Despite playing poorly, New York pulled to within16-7. Momentum was theirs. Then the Eagles struck twice. Momentum turned into a 30-7 deficit. The second stanza didn’t look any better for Big Blue.
After limping through three losses, Mark Sanchez “spit in the face of these Badlands” and led the Jets to a 38-0 drubbing of Oakland H.S.. Sanchez went 9 of 15 for for 143 yards and one touchdown. Okay, so the game plan didn’t take many chances. At least they Jets coaching staff showed Sanchez can do an efficient job of handing off the pigskin.
The Saints rolled up 493 yards of total offense and left no doubt in trouncing the formerly undefeated New York Giants, 48-27. Brett Favre tossed three touchdowns, but it almost wasn’t enough as the Minnesota walked a thin line in defeating Baltimore, 33-31.