Rotating Header Image

NFL Playoff Picks: Conference Championship Round

Disclaimer: These picks are one writer’s views that should not be used for actual gambling purposes.  I don’t say this because I’m anti-gambling, I’m all for it, I say this because I don’t want you to lose a bunch of money and swear off this site forever.

Ok, some quick thoughts on the games this week.  Partly because I’ve been out of town and partly because in depth analysis has gotten me to 1-7 so far this postseason, not ideal if you are looking to dominate the world of online betting.

New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts

Will we see a repeat of Week 16?

Another rematch for the Jets against a team that laid down against them late in the season.  No one in Indianapolis needs to be reminded of how the Colts abandoned perfection in order to rest up for the postseason, and the Jets took advantage.

There is no mystery about how the Jets have progressed this far in the postseason, their run game and their defense.  The Jets should run the ball for the majority of the game, as the Colts ranked 24th during the regular season in run defense, allowing 126.5 yards per game.

The defensive game plan, however, might need to change.  The Jets have been successful by blitzing, but Peyton Manning was sacked just 10 times during the regular season.  His offensive line gives him time, and when the blitz comes, Manning takes advantage of the 1-on-1 coverage.  He will likely need to avoid Reggie Wayne, who will be spending the day on Revis Island, but will have Dallas Clark, Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie and others in man coverage if (or when) the Jets do continue blitzing.

Bottom Line: The Colts defeated the Ravens last week, a team with Jets coach Rex Ryan’s fingerprints all over it.  If the Colts employ the same gameplan, run successfully, and keep Peyton Manning upright, we should see a similar result.  Plus, I’ve gone against the Jets twice, why not keep up the streak?

The Pick: Indianapolis (-8)

Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints

The Saints will need him to step up again

The Saints have never reached the Super Bowl, let alone hosted an NFC Championship Game.  The Vikings have never won the Super Bowl, and haven’t made it there since the 1976 season.  A drought will end on Sunday.

While it’s extremely beneficial for the Vikings that this game is being played indoors in late January, the Saints should still have a massive dome field advantage.    Both of these teams were on top of their respective games last week, so all else equal, this tips the scales in the Saints’ favor.

A big part of the Vikings’ success last week came from their defensive line, as Dallas QB Tony Romo was pressured all day and lost crucial fumbles in the backfield.  However, a big part of that came from two guys who missed practice this week due to knee injuries, DE Ray Edwards and DL Kevin Williams.  If either of those guys misses the game or are at less than 100 percent, it will spell trouble for Minnesota.  In addition, the Vikings’ electric rookie receiver Percy Harvin is suffering from migranes again, which caused him to miss the Vikings’ Week 14 game.

If Minnesota is going to win, they are going to need to be balanced.  The Vikes know the Saints defense will be focused in on Adrian Peterson which means Favre will need to utilize his receivers and tight ends effectively to be successful.  As a result, a big key to this game will lie with the Saints’ secondary.  If they can play the way they did last week against Arizona, and possibly force Brett Favre into old habits, they will have a chance to make a big play that will affect the momentum of this game.

Finally, the Saints will need an effective run game to keep the Vikings honest.  The Vikings’ secondary is the weak link on their team, and if the Saints can force the Vikings linebackers to stay up to stop the run, Drew Brees will be able to have another great day like he did against the Cardinals.

Bottom Line: They say home field is worth 3 points, but the Superdome crowd should be worth at least another 1 or 2. Both teams played great last week, but without the crowd’s help the Vikings might not be able to get across the line as quickly on defense, which could be the difference.  Oh, and you will see pigs flying through the air before you see me pick a Brett Favre team on the road in January.

The Pick: New Orleans (-3.5)

Editor’s Note: I may have missed the NFC Championship Game by 1/2 point, but there was a reason for that whole Favre and pigs flying comment.  Here it is.

All lines taken from sportsbook.com and accurate as of the time of publishing on Saturday, January 23, though I do not condone online NFL betting.

Share/Save

2 Tweets

2 Comments

  1. TheCoach says:

    The majority of people are taking the Colts to kill the Jets this
    week but you have to consider how well New York matches up against
    Indy. Indy has the worst running game in the league, and is ALL
    Peyton. The Jets have the #1 pass-defence and if they can put the
    clamps on Peyton early… it could very well be a Jets win. TheCoach
    isn’t calling a J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS win but they will cover the
    spread. I know Indy shut down Baltimore’s running game last week
    but the Jets strive on being quick and elusive.. something Ray Rice
    isn’t…

    Minnesota and New Orleans is going to be such a good game. I was
    hoping all season long these two would meet up in the NFC
    Championship and honestly.. either team could team this game. The
    Saints are -3.0 favourites and historically home team get given three
    points for the home-field advantage… so basically this game is a
    pick-em and there is ONE thing that I like about the Saints and its
    that home-field advantage. Last week Warner and Romo combined for 7
    sacks and 4 fumbles largely in part to not being able to communicate
    with their offence. The SuperDome is NUTS and I don’t care how much
    experience Favre has, the crowd can help a team and also hurt the
    other so much.

    Feel free to check out my picks with scores (and of course
    cheerleader pictures) @
    http://www.lionsdenu.com/category/sports/nfl-guide-2009-2010/

    Best of luck to all this week,
    Regards,
    TheCoach

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Additional comments powered by BackType