The Conference Championships are done and the match up for Super Bowl XLIV is set. Two weeks from now, the Colts will battle the Saints in Miami, and Vegas has already installed Indy as an early four-point favorite. Both teams faced tough opposition on Sunday, but the two best teams of the regular season plowed through and made it to the final game of the tournament.
Man, that NFC Championship game was a classic. Football fans got to enjoy a back-and-forth overtime battle between the top two offenses in the league. Favre was slingin’ it all over, and Brees was efficient. Adrian Peterson played like a beast, but he put the ball on the ground twice. In a game with so much scoring, the Saints D managed to step up big time. After forcing six fumbles and pounding the snot outta Brett Favre throughout the game, New Orleans forced Farve into throwing two critical interceptions. Favre’s late pick in the 4th quarter wiped out any chance of a Vikings victory in regulation.
By the final whistle, the Vikings and the Saints were all knotted up, so it was time for some free football. The Saints won the toss, and it was game over. Favre never got to see the field in overtime. Brees and company marched down the field and set Garrett Hartley up for a makeable 40-yard kick. Hartley’s kick was true and the Saints advanced to their first Super Bowl in franchise history.
Favre’s gonna take heat for that ugly interception that came at the absolute worst time in the game, but damn that guy played tough. By my count, Favre was nearly knocked out of the game at least five or six times. He stood tall and took all kinds of abuse. In the end, he couldn’t make up for all the mistakes and turnovers. Minnesota was a coin flip away from going to the Super Bowl, and that’s gonna stick with these guys for a long time. Who knows if Favre’s coming back or not, but he had an amazing run this season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him make another run with this Minnesota team. He surely doesn’t want to end things with his pants on the ground.
The Colts looked shaky early on in their AFC Championship bout with the Jets. New York came out energetic and played a near-flawless first half. Everything was working for Gang Green in the first two quarters. The Jets were getting all kinds of pressure on Manning, and Peyton’s signature choppy playoff feet were in full effect. Braylon Edwards even caught a pass for the Jets — an 80-yard touchdown pass (seriously!). In the early stages, it looked like the Jets were in complete control, but the Colts managed to put a touchdown on the board right before halftime, and the momentum shifted.
Sanchez played like a champ, but it didn’t matter. The Jets scored 17 points in the second quarter, but failed to put up any points in the second half. On the flip side, Peyton Manning was simply surgical in the last two quarters. He settled down, got time to throw and was just spreadin’ the ball around around at will. The Colts scored 24 unanswered points to close out the game. The Jets weren’t designed to score quickly in comeback situations, so once Manning got hot, they didn’t stand a chance.
Manning threw for 377 yards and three touchdowns. Darelle Revis was able to take Reggie Wayne out of the game, but the retooled and banged up secondary of the Jets couldn’t prevent Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon from putting up a combined total of 18 catches for 274 yards and two touchdowns. The Jets were a fun team to get behind, but you always knew it would end like this. Their feelgood, smash-mouth Cinderalla run couldn’t go on forever.
We’re two weeks away from the Super Bowl, and the oddsmakers already anticipate this game being the highest scoring Super Bowl of all time. The total is at 56 now, and if that holds up, that’ll be the largest total for any Super Bowl. So there’s gonna be plenty of people rushing to get their money in on an OVER bet for the biggest game of the year. If you love high scoring offenses and ridiculous point totals, this year’s Super Bowl is going to be sick.