A funny thing happened on the way to the Saints next Super Bowl...a bunch of crazy birds got in their way. Matt Hasselbeck played like he was in his prime and Marshawn Lynch had the beastly run of a lifetime (which you have probably seen) to lead the Seahawks over the defending champions, 41-36...so much for defense. Not many folks had this upset...save for Keyshawn Johnson and a few others...but, the Saints were ripe for the picking -- they had not been playing well the last few weeks of the season, they were coming to play in a very noisy stadium, and they placed their top two running backs on IR during the week before the game. As the game was winding down, it appeared that the Saints just might catch the 'hawks, but then the amazing happened...rejuvenated tailback, Lynch ripped off a 9 tackle-breaking, 67 yard run to put Seattle up by two scores. The stunning effect of the run and the crowd's uproar actually registered a seismic event in the Seattle area...which leads me to believe that perhaps the Seahawks need to adopt the name of the local minor league hockey team, the Thunderbirds. Next the Seahawks face the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field, where they won earlier this year. We'll see if Seattle can continue its magic carpet ride. The other NFC game would seem to generate much more interest as the Green Bay Packers go back to Atlanta to play the Falcons, where they lost at the end of November on a last second field goal. This should be a good battle between Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan against the opposition defenses. I wouldn't be surprised if Green Bay pulls off the upset.
The AFC match-ups pit division foes against each other for the third time this season -- the Baltimore Ravens play at Pittsburgh, and the New York Jets play at New England. The Jets continue to reflect the bravado of their coach Rex Ryan as they continue to smack talk the Patriots. That these two teams plainly don't like each other is quite evident. Belichick's crew is being quiet for the most part, save for star QB Brady who...more or less...has been their spokesman. The Patriots ripped the Jets, 45-3, toward the end of the season, and although they shouldn't take the Jets apart like that again, the Pats would appear to have the stronger team in many reaspects...particularly at QB, where veteran, Tom Brady would appear to give his team a distinct advantage over second-year New York QB, Mark Sanchez. I will say this, though...Sanchez led a game winning drive against the Colts last week with under a minute left. Granted he did start with great field position, but it still is no easy feat. The Steelers would seem primed for a big showdown with the Patriots in the AFC Championship, but the Ravens are going to be a tremendous challenge. Since I have a significant dislike for the Steel crew, here is hoping that Joe Flacco, Ray Rice and company can win one on the road in a tough place. Happy viewing!