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- Chicago and Indianapolis to silence the doubters?

Ian Hetherington January 21, 2007
Ian Hetherington
NFL Columnist

Tell Ian your opinion.

New Orleans Saints vs Chicago Bears
This is, “I wish I could pick this the other way around, but I really can’t.” I’ve really liked the Saints this year… they’ve had their iffy moments, and I don’t just like them for the feel-good story. It’s just because they’ve been playing football that’s entertaining to watch, and often when they haven’t played so well they’ve scraped through with exhilarating late wins. But can I see them going to Chicago and winning? I’m afraid I don’t think so. The Bears specialise in having a defence that’ll bend but won’t break, and they’ve had more than a few games this season where they’ve spent four quarters soaking up pressure and then waiting for the offence try and do enough at the other end. Grossman is unlikely to lead a pulverising offensive effort, but they’ll more than likely put up a respectable amount, so what the game is likely to come down to is how well the Brees and the rest of the Saints offence can do, and whether they can take the chances that they can get, because those chances are unlikely to come thick and fast. The Saints will give the Bears a test, but I see Chicago getting to the Super Bowl with another uninspiring offensive game.

New England Patriots vs Indianapolis Colts
I like New England because of the attitude and the way they always manage to peak at the right time. But I also like the Colts, and it’d be nice just once to see them at least get to the Super Bowl, but I don’t know whether I think they’ll manage to put one over on the wily Patriots. Though they might be better equipped for it now than would have been last season when they strolled through the regular season, ‘cause they finally seem to have learned that they don’t have a God-given right to score touchdowns and that they sometimes need to battle and scrape to get a result. They’re still protecting Manning well and giving him the time he needs, and the defence has stiffened up (almost unbelievably so) since the beginning of the post-season, putting them in with a more realistic shot of getting through this one. I’m not prepared to take it being in the Colts’ back yard into too much consideration as by this stage of the season New England just play. Home or away doesn’t seem to matter. Belichick and Brady are good at putting wins together by this point and I can see it happening again unless the Colts maintain their defensive effort and manage to get back to their point-scoring best. Will they? Who can tell. It’s a safe bet. It’s a dull bet. But I’m afraid I’m gonna have to go right ahead and pick the Patriots. I’ve picked the two sensible-but-uninteresting picks. I feel so tame.

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