Yes, football fans, it’s time to rejoice. It’s that wonderful time of year: the NFL Playoffs.
So far this post-season, we have seen a share of crazy games and upsets (I don’t even know where to begin! The incredibly high scoring Cardinals-Packers game; the Ravens-Patriots game where New England was upset at home; or the Jets-Chargers upset… I can go on and on!).
However, I think the best matchups and performances have yet to come. Here are my predictions for the AFC and NFC Championship games, as well as for the Super Bowl...
NFC Championship: Minnesota Vikings vs. New Orleans Saints
Although the Saints have home-field advantage and the Louisiana Superdome is a tough place to play, I feel like the Vikings will pull out the win by a small margin. I think Adrian Peterson will have a big day, and will simply run all over the Saints’ injury-plagued defense. Plus, I expect Brett Favre to step-up big and put on an even better performance than he did against the Cowboys. A trip to the Super Bowl for Favre will be colossal to his legacy and will act as a sort of pay back to the Packers, who refused to take him back when he wanted to come out of retirement two years ago. However, I think the dynamic New Orleans passing attack, lead by Drew Brees, will keep the game extremely close.
Final Score: Vikings 38, Saints 35
AFC Championship: New York Jets vs. Indianapolis Colts
Yes, the Jets have been red-hot, and yes, Darrell Revis will probably lock down Reggie Wayne entirely, but I expect Peyton Manning to find his other receivers and lead his team to a victory. The New York rushing attack may cause some issues for the Indianapolis D (I expect Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene to each find the end zone at least once), but I think the Colts offense will just be too much to handle in the end, even for a very good Jets team. Sorry coach Rex Ryan, but when he’s on, there’s no stopping Peyton Manning.
Final Score: Colts 34, Jets 17
Super Bowl: Minnesota Vikings vs. Indianapolis Colts
This game can go either way. It all depends on who shows up with the better stuff. I think that the Vikings have a better defense, and if Adrian Peterson and Brett Favre can perform like they have in recent years, they may just squeak out a victory. However, Manning and company are on a roll, and if they steamroll over the Jets in the same way they did the Ravens, there will be no stopping them. They are confident, have a variety of receivers to throw to (sometimes too many to cover!), and a running game decent enough to keep the defense on their heals.
Final Score: Colts 31, Vikings 24
Super Bowl MVP: Peyton Manning