If you're checking here looking for my thoughts on the Saints...well, you're not going to get them. I'm so caught up in playoff fever, I simply cannot talk about the team rationally. The fact that the Ravens and Chargers, the two toughest challenges for the Saints, were eliminated makes me awfully excited for the prospects of a Super Bowl. OK, so you got a few of my thoughts. That's it. No more Saints talk until their season is over, however it ends.
Instead, let's talk AFC. Because there won't be enough talk about this game as it is. It's Manning/Brady XXVII! If the match seems to lack the luster of former battles, it might be because neither team has looked as particularly imposing as they have in the past.
Peyton Manning is only one game away from the Super Bowl, where he can choke on football's biggest stage for the first time. Seriously, the Colts have looked good. Manning has looked piss-poor. You can extoll the virtues of a hard-played 15-6 game. You know, that's playoff football, but a Peyton Manning team that doesn't score a touchdown shouldn't be good enough to be in the conference championship.
As for Tom Brady, well, what can I say about him. He deserves it. But he got lucky his year -- a Jets team with no weapons, a Chargers team with no coach. If he and the Patriots had to play the Eagles, like a certain NFC team, they might not have made it so far. An aside, by the way, about Marty Schottenheimer: going for it on that 4th & 11 proved one thing. Namely, that he was more interested in refuting his conservative Martyball reputation than actually winning the game. Even the ballsiest of coaches don't go for it on 4th & 11 deep in their own zone with no score in the first quarter. Completely nonsensical.
Anyway, lucky breaks with the matchup or not, it's pretty remarkable that the Patriots have the chance for another Super Bowl with all of the holes this team has. That being said, both of the underdogs winning to set up this match will do nothing to appease conspiracy theorists who claim the NFL sets its schedule to withdraw maximum storyline potential.