We now know half of the teams that will compete in the championship games next week — and neither came as a big surprise, at least not to me, and I’m now 4-2 in playoff picks after going 2-0 yesterday. The New Orleans Saints will hold the NFC championship in their Superdome after easily dispensing with the Arizona Cardinals. The Indianapolis Colts bested the Baltimore Ravens in a mostly defensive battle, with the only two touchdowns being scored by Indianapolis in the last three minutes of the first half. Both teams had the number-one seed in their conferences and the first-week bye. Will that pattern hold in today’s games?
The Jets hope it won’t when they visit the San Diego Chargers. The Jets surprised some people by getting through its first-round game, but they won’t get past a tough San Diego team that won 11 in a row to finish the season with the second seed. The Chargers are a good all-around team, and they’re rested up. The Chargers should easily handle the Jets, 33-20 — and set up a tough game for Indy in the AFC championship.
The other game is tougher to call. Dallas got hot at the same time that the Minnesota Vikings got cold. The last two impressive Cowboys wins both came against Philly, but Minnesota is a more complete team when it’s firing on all cylinders, which its final game seemed to show. Dallas now has to play in the Metrodome, one of the most daunting arenas in the NFL. This one will probably come down to the last drive — and it’s really hard to pick against Brett Favre at the Dome under those circumstances. Vikings edge the Cowboys, 27-24.