The NFL Playoffs: Still Better Than The BCS

Dan SmithCorrespondent IJanuary 19, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 27: Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts passes the football in the first half against the New York Jets at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 27, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Jets handed the Colts their first loss of the season, 29-15. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

There have been eight NFL playoff games and six of them have not been competitive. One of the competitive games was a defensive slug fest.

Still, there is something about a tournament that makes it all exciting. If polls decided who played in the Super Bowl last year, then Tennessee would have played the New York Giants.

Both of those teams were upset in their first playoff games. The one seeds fared better this year as both New Orleans and Indianapolis will host the conference title games.

Survive and advance, it is the one thing that the BCS lacks in its post season. It is what makes a tournament such a fantastic way to settle a league's champion.

All 12 teams have played in this year's NFL playoff, so lets take a look at the games and maybe see if we can figure out what will happen.

The best game was one for the ages in Arizona. The Cardinals dominated the first half. Aaron Rodgers threw for over 300 yards in the second half and a 45-45 game ended with a Carlos Dansby defensive touchdown in overtime.

The other competitive game was a heartbreaker for the San Diego Chargers. Philip Rivers threw an early touchdown and two missed Nate Kaedng field goals made it 7-0 at the half over the New York Jets. The Jets scored the first 17 points of the second half and clinched the game on a Thomas Jones fourth down run late in the game.

The heartbreak was made worse as the future of LaDainian Tomlinson in San Diego is cloudy. I hope his last game in San Diego isn't the 12 carry and 24 yard effort he had on Sunday.

The Colts looked efficient in their 20-3 win over Baltimore. Much in the manner that Baltimore looked efficient in their 33-14 throttling of the New England Patriots.

The same progression evidenced itself in the NFC where Dallas took it to Philadelphia only to have Minnesota take it to them.

The Cardinals played in the most competitive game then turned around and played in the least competitive game when they went to New Orleans.

The NFC Championship Game is the dream matchup of the Minnesota Vikings against the New Orleans Saints. Brett Favre and Drew Brees are both leading high powered offenses. Jared Allen and Jonathan Vilma both lead their defenses. The Vikings do have an edge in defensive fire power, while the Saints have the dome field advantage.

In a dream matchup, I think the bigger dream will come true. Not Brett Favre's return to the Super Bowl, rather the New Orleans Saints first trip to the Super Bowl.

New Orleans 37

Minnesota 33

Now onto the Jets. This team has already beat all four of the AFC division winners. They fell behind the Bengals by a touchdown before beating them for the second straight week. They took the Chargers' best shot and walked away with the win.

They fell behind the Colts in the third quarter of their Week 16 game only to score the final 19 points and end the Colts' perfect season.

That game did have some news in it as the Colts pulled their starters with the third quarter lead. It started this perception that the Jets backed their way into the playoffs.

The truth is that the Jets are the best defensive team and the best rushing team in the league. They have beat up on their two opponents and have a real chance at beating the Colts.

If their script goes the right way, they will get a lead, Mark Sanchez will manage the game, and the defense will shut down Peyton Manning. I think that the script will go right. Rex Ryan's defense will limit the Colts' scoring chances and Mark Sanchez will not have to make plays until the end of the game when the Colts find their way into the lead. That is what is amazing about the Colts: I watched the Miami Dolphins play their game plan to perfection and they still lost to the Colts.

These two teams once met in a Super Bowl, and 41 years later they are playing for the AFC crown. The Jets are heavy underdogs again and they will make this another slug fest.

Indianapolis 19

New York 17

After six bad games out of eight, I am picking two tight and intense conference title games.

You just have to love the hope a tournament brings as the next game could be the greatest game ever played.