I didn’t do a preview for yesterday because I was busy, but most people with a brain would have picked the Saints and Colts. Yea, people talked about how both didn’t play well at the end of the season, but that didn’t seem to matter. Today has two games that are a bit more interesting.
Jets at Chargers-
This game is interesting because it will test the old adage that “you have to run and play defense” to win in the playoffs. If this has as big of an impact as people put on it, the Jets win because they have one of the best defenses and the best running game in the NFL.
Last week, the Jets dominated with the running game and made Mark “Sanchize” look like a superhero. The simple fact is that Cincinnati was never a good offensive team and that controlling the clock was the key to winning. This week, they are going to have to outscore a very high-powered offense, not just play defense and run. Sanchez is going to have to be a bigger part in the offense and that isn’t good.
I think the Thomas Jones has a good day, but ultimately, the Jets will be force to abandon the running game in the second half because the Chargers get ahead early. I think Sanchez struggles a good bit and makes a couple mistakes, including a few picks. Phillip Rivers will show why he is a top 5 quarterback in the NFL and even though Darrelle Revis should do a good job shadowing Vincent Jackson, they have no answer for Antonio Gates OR Darren Sproles on special teams.
Prediction: Chargers 27-13
Dallas at Vikings-
We have a very fun quarterback matchup here and that will be 90% of the talk in this game. You will here about “the monkey that is finally off Romo’s back,” and how well Favre has played despite turning 40 this year. Yea, those guys are stars and will be big in the game, but that isn’t where my focus is.
The biggest battle here will be the Cowboys front seven against Adrian Peterson. Peterson is such a big threat, but this year has not been nearly as good as his numbers suggest. He had almost 1,400 yards, which on paper is great. However, when you look deeper, you see that he failed to reach the 70 yard mark in six games. If the Vikings want to win this game, Peterson needs to be the guy that rushed for 143 yards against Baltimore in week 6 and not the guy who rushed for 19 against Arizona. My guess is that he will struggle against a Cowboy defense that is playing out of its mind and Favre will be forced to do a lot by himself.
The Cowboys running game is going up against an equally tough rush defense, but I think the versatility they have with Marion Barber, Feliz Jones, and Tashard Choice will give them some success. In addition, Romo will have a great day against a secondary with issues, including a banged up Antoine Winfield. As dirty as it makes me feel to pick the Cowboys, I don’t see anything else happening.
Prediction: Cowboys 24-21