Sunday, January 21, 2007

Conference Championship Sunday Breakdowns

Today's the day, ladies and gentlemen (or the 8 guys that read this blog).

Time for some breakdowns and game predictions.

Chicago -2.5 vs New Orleans

Keys to the game:

Quarterback play
Some may say this is an obvious one, but I think it rings true more-so in this game than any other playoff game this year. If Rex Grossman can narrow the gap between him and Drew Brees, the Bears will win this game. They're a better defensive team than the Saints are, and Chicago has a distinct special teams advantage. If Grossman can make some plays downfield, look out.

I don't care if Drew Brees played at Purdue so when it was cold in November he played in the cold. This is January in Chicago. HUGE difference. Dome teams outdoors in the playoffs just don't seem to fare as well as they do in their dome. That's just how it is. If this game is sub 25 degrees with any sort of wind, Chicago will have a huge advantage.

Which Defense shows up for Chicago?
The stout, stat producing bunch from the majority of the regular season, or the bunch that got shredded by some offenses down the stretch?

Can the Saints stop Chicago?
I say no. This defensive secondary will be challenged to say the least with the vertical passing game that Chicago utilizes.

Prediction: Chicago 24, New Orleans 20.

Indianapolis Colts -3 vs the New England Patriots

How will the game be called? Tight? Loose? Will the Patriots be able to play physically like they'd prefer?

Patriots Gameplan
Will the Patriots get away from the run like they did in the first meeting, or will they stay committed to it? I, for one, don't believe the Colts "figured it out" but more appropriately played two one dimensional offenses.

Peyton Manning
In their first meeting Manning ran more than he ever did against the Patriots. He converted first downs, and bought himself time to make a play. If he does that again today, look for the Colts to fare well.

3rd Down
Who will convert more 3rd downs? Brady and his magic, or Manning and his effectiveness? The team that wins most on 3rd down today will win this game.


Patriots 27-17 win.

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