Sports Outside the Beltway

On To the Conferences Championships

And like that the weekend ended, the ice storm rolled in from the plains and the NFL’s four remaining teams began the week of planning for the big games on Sunday. A quick look at who’s in and what to expect. Fuller previews will be posted on Friday.

New Orleans at Chicago

The Saints are marching into the NFC Title game against Da Bears. Chicago’s swarming defense had a little trouble with Seattle, who coulda shoulda, woulda, but didn’t win on Sunday. The Saints run in the playoffs began witht heir defeat of a game Eagles squad on Saturday. Both teams can score. Both teams can defend. One teams gotta lose. Rex Grossman shook off the goat horns leading Chicago to tie the game late and win in overtime. Drew Brees’ playoff success has come this season. Niether team has much experience this late in the season. Chicago has not been to a conference title game since Ditka was coach. The Saints are making their first ever appearance.

New England at Indianapolis

In Indianpolis a blood feud will be renewed. Somewhere the NFL brass is delighted with this matchup. Had the Colts beaten San Diego to get to the Super Bowl, talk of beating Marty Schottenheimer and his abysmal playoff record would have ruled among the chattering classes. Instead Peyton gets to go up against Tom. Tony against Bill and the Colts can again try to beat the Patriots. And may the best team win. Indy has the golden footed kicker who booted the Pats to three Super Bowl Titles. New England still has the quarterback and the coach who have been so difficult to beat in the playoffs. Belichick has always enjoyed game planning to confound Peyton manning. The last two regular season games meetings have gone to the Colts, but in neither game has Manning menace Rodney Harrison been a factor (IR last year, departed in the first quarter this year). Watch the injury report to see if Harrsion can go. Unlike previous Colt-Patriot playoff tilts, this game will be in the RCA Dome. New England doesn’t have the cold and snow of home field advantage. Both teams are playing their third playoff game of the postseason.

There will be more written about the Pats-Colts matchup, because it is the marquis game. New Orleans-Chicago is an after thought. It’s not right, but it is true. Both games appear to be evenly matched contests. Confernece Championship Sunday has never been better.

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Indy over the Saints for the Title.

Posted by Fersboo | January 16, 2007 | 11:26 am | Permalink

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