New England vs. Indianapolis: Philip, you are correct in saying this is a hard call, but you leave a few facts out of your analysis that further illustrate just how difficult a prediction it is. First, the Colts defense played well against an anemic Baltimore offense and a one-dimensional Kansas City offense. Second, countering home-field advantage, is the fact that New England was 8-1 on the road this year, including last week’s victory at San Diego, who had also been undefeated at home. And as Sports Illustrated‘s Don Banks notes, Tom Brady is 10-0 in domes in his career, 23-1 on artificial turf, and 12-1 in the playoffs. New England lost earlier this year to the Colts when Brady had no go-to receivers and overall the team was still finding its way. And I suspect the game will come down to rookie kicker Stephen Gostkowski’s leg, not Vinatieri’s. Prediction: Patriots.
New Orleans vs. Chicago: If the Bears had trouble with Seattle’s offense, it’s not going to get any better with the multi-dimensional Saints’ attack. Drew Brees was the MVP runner-up and has too many weapons for Chicago to cope with. Prediction: Saints.
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