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NFL Week 20 2010: Championship Weekend

By: Nick Popyack

[Have a comment? Click the title of this article and go crazy!]

       The NFL has whittled down its ranks to the final four. In the NFC, two offensive juggernauts face each other, while polar opposites face each other in the AFC. No matter which team you’re rooting for [chances are, your team’s already been eliminated], it looks to be an interesting championship weekend. Here’s week 20.

New York Jets @ Indianapolis Colts
[Sunday 3:00]

       The Jets didn’t win last week. Nate Kaeding lost it for the Chargers. He might have had an All-Pro year, but he was the difference between them winning and losing that game. It just goes to show you that a great regular season means nothing if you can’t pull through in the postseason. That said, the jets did hold one of the most potent offenses in the league to 14 points, and they’ll need to do the same this week if they hope to win.
       Indianapolis’s greatest strength is the least talked about: Their defense. Including last week, the Colts have held 8 opponents to 16 points or less this season. Facing a team whose offense is based around the run, they limited the Ravens to 87 yards on only 19 attempts. The Ravens outthought their offensive attack, having Joe Flacco pass the ball 35 times. In the nine games he threw 30 or more times last season, his team was 3-6. New York’s offense is incredibly similar, but with Mark Sanchez under center, the numbers are a little different. In 17 games this season [Sanchez missed one game in the regular season with a knee injury], Mark Sanchez has six games in which he’s thrown the ball 20 times or less, and eleven games in which he’s thrown 21 times or more. In the games with 20 or less attempts, he’s 6-0. In the eleven with 21 attempts or more, he’s 4-7, including a seven game losing streak, only broken last week. In short, the fewer times Sanchez throws the ball, the more likely it is he’ll win.
       However, Sanchez is going against the first ever four time league MVP, Peyton Manning. He’s shown this year that he can score a touchdown with a one play drive or a 12 play one. He’s faced Rex Ryan’s defense before, and beaten them every time with the exception of the game this year in which he was pulled. Playing the whole game, I see an end to New York’s run.
Indianapolis Colts

Minnesota Vikings @ New Orleans Saints
[Sunday 6:40]

       If there was any doubt about the Saints being able to play after losing their last three regular season games, it has since been erased. After being only scoring 44 points in their last three games, while allowing 67 points in those final three, they went out and scored 45 points and limited the high-flying Cardinals to 14 points. The Vikings did similar things in their game, winning in a blowout, 34-3. With the huge margins of victory, predicting a winner becomes difficult.
       The Vikings were recognized as a rushing team with Adrian Peterson in the backfield, but with him failing to reach 100 yards in eight straight games, the Vikings have turned to Brett Favre. Favre showed that he’s not done yet, throwing for four touchdowns and no interceptions last week when the running game stalled. With the recent turn to the passing game for the Vikings, you could easily give the edge to them. However, the Saints found a running game this year, making these teams even more evenly matched.
       The edge does go to the Saints, though. The Vikings held teams to fewer yards in the regular season, but the Saints got more turnovers. New Orleans were third in the league with 26 interceptions, while Minnesota was tied for 26th with only eleven. These teams are incredibly even when it comes to offense, so defense will win this championship.
New Orleans Saints

Recap:
Indianapolis Colts
New Orleans Saints


Last week’s winner: Nick [3]

2009 Regular Season totals:

Nick: 164
Kavik: 163
Pat: 151 [15 weeks]

2009 Postseason totals:
Nick: 4
Kavik: 3
Pat: 2


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1 comment:

  1. Looks like the two best teams are playing in the Superbowl afterall. It will be fun to watch these
    two quarterbacks dueling.

    ReplyDelete