New Orleans vs. Chicago: Let’s get rid of the unimportant game first. Sometimes I wonder who the Saints’ defensive coordinator is — the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers? Then again, a porous defense may be no liability against a Rex Grossman, a stage 3 hurricane at least waiting him to happen. On other hand, I expect the Bears to come loaded for Bears football. Coming off a biweek, they were sluggish against Seattle. But this time it’s for all the marbles, or whatever it is a trip to the Super Bowl is worth these days. Prediction: The Bears.
New England vs. Indianapolis: This one is for the ages, at least until next year. Paul Chesser has juggled the numbers correctly. All signs point to Tom Brady having a fine game. But then again, one has to assume that Peyton Manning will have a breakout playoff game at long last. The only trouble is, he’ll be throwing against a sounder defense than his own. Everyone is saying it’ll come down to the kicker for each team — and that Vinatieri is unbeatable. I don’t agree. No matter how many in a row he’s made, it’s the one that he misses that will be the killer. Plus, he’ll suddenly remember that his Super Bowl achievements weren’t accomplished in a Colts uniform. His buddies are on the other side of the scrimmage line. Everyone will say he choked when he misses the big one, but what he’ll really be doing is refusing to beat the team with which he’ll be forever be identified. Prediction: The Patriots.
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