- NYJ @ Indy. I have been extra critical of Rex Ryan this year because I find him obnoxious, arrogant and generally unpleasant. But he’s doing something right by getting this team to play at its potential. Problem for the NYJ is that I can’t help but think their potential won’t be enough against the Colts. Everyone is talking about the Colts’ offense and the Jets’ defense, the Jets’ running game, the Colts’ passing game. But few are talking about the Colts’ defense. Yes, the NYJ’s O-Line has been phenomenal, having their way with both the Cincy and SD D-Lines. But the Colts defense is a bit underrated and while the match-up on paper would appear to favor the physical o-line of the Jets over the speed-emphasized d-line (and defense) of the Colts – I think the Colts’ D will be the story in this game. They will be the first to take calculated chances by putting 8-9 in the box to shut down the run. I know I said it last week, but at some point, Mark Sanchez is going to get back into the interception-throwing game. The Jets are good and must be given due credit for getting this far. But Manning and co will be too much. Colts 27 – Jet 13.
- MN @ NO. It’s hard for me to be objective here because, as a Packer fan, I just want MN to get crushed. Hate the Vikings. But with Favre playing and pulling all this “I don’t have alnything left to prove” crap again this week, I REALLY REALLY want the Saints to blow away the Vikes. I happen to like the Saints anyway because I really like Sean Payton – in my opinion, one of the top 4 coaches in the NFL. But this could be a decent game. My guess is that at least for the first 2-3 quarters, this will be more of a defensive game than people are anticipating. In fact, like the Colts’ D, I wonder if the story of this game will also be the thing nobody is talking about: the Saints’ D. The Vikes’ D is quality, but the Saints’ D has had its moments this year – led by Gregg Williams. And, importantly, no safety in the game knows Brett Favre better than Darren Sharper. It’s hard for me to imagine this game ending without some kind of Darren Sharper interception/big play. (Of course, Sharper’s tackling-angles still aren’t top-notch, so he could make a “big-play” the other way too.) At the very least, this should be a fun game to watch with guys like Percy Harvin and Reggie Bush showing massive athleticism. Saints 34 – Vikes 20.