Saturday, January 23, 2010

Playoff Pigskin Prognostications, Part Piri*

Last week I shocked the world by predicting the Jets to make it to the AFC Championship. Which they did. Can it happen again? And can the Magical Geritol trip of LORD FARVE continue? Let's see....

New York Jets At Indianapolis Colts
The Colts played the Baltimore Ravens last week—a run-heavy team with a sophisticated and stout defense. And the Colts destroyed them, This Sunday, the Colts play the Ravens 2.0 in the New York Jets. Rex Ryan has his guys executing his vision to perfection at exactly the right time, completely dismantling the surging Chargers on a "You-Know-It's-Coming-Now-Stop-It" run game.

Problem is the Ravens tried the same strategy last week and they got only 87 yards on the ground after running up 234 yards against the Patriots the previous week. The Colts defense stepped up big, after being the 30th ranked rushing defense. Can they do it again against Shone Green and Thomas Jones? The Jets offensive line will have to make holes against the quick, stunting Colts defensive line. The Jets probably will miss Leon Washington more than once or twice come Sunday.

Since a week 11 31-20 loss against the Patriots, the Jets defense has surrendered a paltry 9.8 points a game. And as with last week, Ryan knows he doesn't have to worry a lot about a run game and can essentially game plan against a one-dimensional offense (albeit a Peyton Manning one-dimensional offense). The Jets ran their number 1 against the pass rated defense against Phillip Rivers, and confused him into a poor performance. Can Ryan do the same to Manning and his offensive line?

Manning is in for a rough afternoon. And his team does not match up well against the Jets. The Jets can run the ball against anybody, and have a talent for stopping high-powered passing offenses. And Manning doesn't perform nearly as well against 3-4 defenses as he does against 4-3. The Jets have forced 3 interceptions against Carson Palmer and Phillip Rivers. If they can force Manning—who is playing with 2 young WRs and threw 16 INTs this year, highest since 2002—to make mistakes, they have a chance. Overall the Jets will play this game for keeps and keep the Colts on the ropes. However, the Colts are too talented a team and have too many weapons. Final score:
Colts: 20
Jets: 16

Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints
Last week, the Vikings dismantled the Cowboys by attacking the vastly overrated Cowboy offensive line to the tune of 6 sacks. This week the Vikings will go up against the number-1-rated Saints offensive line. To have any hope, the Vikings need to hit Brees a lot, due to the fact that their secondary is banged up and an unharried Brees is going to light them up. Unfortunately for them Brees has only been sacked 49 times in the past 3 years. Not a good sign for the Vikings.

Another bad sign for the Vikings is that the New Orleans biggest weakness—their defense against the run—is the Vikings biggest problem lately. Adrian Peterson hasn't rushed for over 100 yards in 8 straight games. In 26 attempts last week against the Cowboys, Peterson only accumulated 63 yards. His longest rush was for 11 yards. The Saints biggest strength number 3 rated pass defense, happens to be the Vikings biggest strength right now.

So put that all together, the stout Saints pass defense, the porous Vikings pass defense, the impotent Vikings running game and the robust Saints offensive line—and it spells Advantage Saints. And with the raucous "Who Dat?" Nation making life hard for Farve in the SuperDome, as well as the headachey Percy Harvin most likely sitting out the game, and the verdict is:
Saints 43
Vikings 31

Enjoy the games!

* Piri  is "two" in the Shona language used in Zimbabwe and parts of Mozambique.

1 comment:

Pete S said...

There are also a series of Portugues dishes known as Piri Piri. They have hot peppers in them. Maybe they Portuguese borrowed the word for some reason.

Solid predictions, P-Cat...Nobody has stopped the Saints from scoring this year, and you have to figure that Manning will get to the End Zone at least twice.