Kansas City at Indianapolis
The Chiefs got an enormous break when the Denver Broncos pulled one of the biggest choke jobs in NFL history by losing at home to the SF 49ers, and now they are on their way to Indy to play a team that everyone has been able to run on at will. This bodes well for the Chiefs, because they have Larry Johnson, a big punishing RB who can ramble and is highly durable (416 rushes this year). The burden will be on Johnson, because KC cannot throw the ball. KC QB Trent Green has struggled since returning to the lineup after a concussion sidelined him mid-season, and his head obviously hasn’t cleared, because he’s throwing the ball as though he’s wearing fogged up glasses. Indy, on the other hand, is playing fairly good football, even though their defense gives up an average of 173 rushing yards per game. The Colts offense is clicking, however, and they will be tough to beat at home. After watching this one, you’ll be asking yourself, “Whatever happened to defense?”
FINAL SCORE: COLTS: 41 CHIEFS: 24
NY Jets at New England
The Jets surprised a lot of people this year and their head coach Eric Mangini has done a great job getting them into the playoffs. Their offense relies on short quick passes by QB Chad Pennington (average 10.2 per pass), and that just might work against a Bill Belichek defense. Pennington is a quick study and a smart field general, so if they have a shot, he’s the man that can get them there. On defense, the Jets have trouble stopping the run, which means Pats RB Corey Dillon could dominate. New England always seems to take it to another level around playoff time. QB Tom Brady is a master in the big ones, but this year the team has lacked something. Not having a big-play receiver could haunt the Pats in this one, so the pressure will be on Reche Caldwell. They say defense wins the important games, and New England has the superior defense in this matchup, so I like the Patriots.
FINAL SCORE: PATRIOTS: 20 NY JETS: 16
(This posting gave me a great opportunity to display a photo of the New England Patriots cheerleaders -- some of the very best in the business!)(See above)