2010 NFL Playoffs Fan Battle: Ravens vs. Colts Preview

To get you ready for the Ravens-Colts’ Divisional Round battle in Indy this Saturday, here’s a preview of the game via a mock dialogue between two fans.

Colts Fan: If you think the Colts are going to be as disinterested in playing the Ravens as the Patriots were last week, then you’re delusional.

Ravens Fan: Oh, I see – the Patriots lost, but the Ravens didn’t win. Do I have that right? Face it, the better team won last weekend in Foxboro. We came prepared to play and they couldn’t match our intensity. And if I were you, I’d be highly concerned that the Colts haven’t played in three weeks.

Colt Fan: No, the starters haven’t played in three weeks – there’s a difference. But Peyton Manning, ahem, the MVP this year, will be ready to go as always. And if anyone should be concerned, it should be Baltimore’s pass defense.

Raven Fan: Have you even been watching lately? The Ravens are tied for eighth in passing yards allowed per game with 207.3. Our total defense ranks third in the NFL and we’re allowing just 16.3 points per game. Plus, we almost beat you in the regular season.

Colt Fan: There’s no prize for “almost,” my friend. Plus, that game was in Baltimore; now you have to travel to Indy this time. Had Jim Caldwell not pulled the starters in the second half against the Jets, we would have easily gone undefeated at home this season.

Raven Fan: Now who’s talking about whoulda, coulda, shouldas? Speaking of Caldwell pulling the starters, that same philosophy has hurt the Colts in the past. Bill Polian insists that momentum means nothing for teams heading into the playoffs but he must be trying to block out all the times that his team has choked after resting starters before.

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NFL Week 16 MVP Power Rankings

It’s been two weeks since we last did these rankings, and while not much has changed at the top, the teams our top two guys play for have been very shaky. In fact, Philip Rivers’ Chargers are the only one on a roll heading into the postseason.

1. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts—If Jim Caldwell benching his starting quarterback in the third quarter against the Jets proved anything, it’s that Manning is clearly and unequivocally valuable. His numbers (4405 yards, 33 TDs) don’t suck either.

2. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints—There is no question that Brees hasn’t been the same since DeMarcus Ware terrorized him two weeks ago in the Superdome. But the MVP race is not based on a few games and Brees still has a league-high 109.6 QB rating, and leads the NFL with 34 touchdown passes.

3. Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans—This guy was racking up yards even before the Titans started winning games this season. And he’s so far ahead of the pack right now, with his sights on 2000 yards and even Eric Dickerson’s record of 2105 yards for a single season. That’s saying something.

4. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers—Yes, he has numbers — 4155 yards, 27 TDs to 9 picks, second to Brees in QB rating with 104.5. But here is why Rivers belongs on here—because all he does is win games.

5. Brett Favre, Minnesota Vikings—Let’s not lose sight of the fact that Favre brought his Vikings back from a 17-point deficit in chilly Chicago before losing in OT. His season has been and continues to be bordering on magical.

Honorable Mention— DeSean Jackson, Eagles; Aaron Rodgers, Packers; Cedric Benson, Bengals; Reggie Wayne, Colts; Jared Allen, Vikings; Vince Young, Titans; Elvis Dumervil, Broncos; Darren Sharper, Saints; Wes Welker, Patriots; Darrelle Revis, Jets; Andre Johnson, Texans; Dallas Clark, Colts; DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys

NFL Week 14 MVP Power Rankings

The first four names on here, all quarterbacks, did nothing to hurt their MVP chances in Week 14. Each won their game, and helped their team win. Especially Drew Brees and Peyton Manning, who continue to roll along without a loss this season.

1. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints—Against Atlanta, in what turned out to be another game too close for Saints’ fans comfort, Brees still completed 31 of 40 (77.5%) passes for 296 yards, 3 touchdowns and zero picks. His case for MVP keeps getting stronger.

2. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts—Manning uncharacteristically threw three interceptions against Denver last weekend, but he still racked up 220 yards and 4 TDs, leading his Colts to victory again. Then he went ahead and threw for 308 yards, four more scores and 1 pick that wasn’t his fault Thursday night against Jacksonville.

3. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers—This guy throws one of the best deep balls in the game, he’s extremely accurate and he just wins. Don’t think Rivers’ Chargers can’t upset the Colts again in the postseason too.

4. Brett Favre, Minnesota Vikings—Not a great game against the Bengals, but the Vikings still won, and at this point in the season, that counts for something.

5. Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans—The NFL’s leading rusher just keeps racking up yards and touchdowns. Johnson has 1626 rushing yards, with a realistic shot at 2000 and an outside shot at Eric Dickerson’s record of 2105 yards in a single season. He also has 42 catches for 391 yards and 13 total TDs.

Honorable Mention— DeSean Jackson, Eagles; Aaron Rodgers, Packers; Cedric Benson, Bengals; Adrian Peterson, Vikings; Reggie Wayne, Colts; Jared Allen, Vikings; Vince Young, Titans; Elvis Dumervil, Broncos; Darren Sharper, Saints; Wes Welker, Patriots

Quick-Hit Reaction: Colts 35, Jaguars 31

Here are five quick-hit observations on the Colts’ 35-31 win over the Jaguars on Thursday night.

1. You want perfection? Try Peyton Manning.
The Colts’ 14-0 record is impressive, but if you’re truly looking for perfection, look no further than Peyton Manning’s night. Outside of a fluke interception that was more Dallas Clark’s fault than his, Manning completed 23 of 30 passes for 308 yards and four touchdowns. He completed his first 16 passes in the game and was absolutely brilliant once again this season.

2. Garrard was just off the mark all night.
For all intents and purposes, David Garrard played a fine football game tonight. He completed 23 of 40 passes for 223 yards and three touchdowns, but the interception he threw on the final possession to seal Jacksonville’s fate was indicative of his night. While he made some great throws on third downs and late in the ball game to help the Jags stay in it, he also overthrew three open receivers in the first half and another handful in the second. He completes a couple of those throws and the Jags win.

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NFL Week 13 MVP Power Rankings

The way the Saints have been winning each week has been like a gift to their fans. That is, it’s been a SURPRISE each week. Sometimes they dominate, sometimes they make it more interesting than it should be, and sometimes they flat out get a, well, gift, from the opposing team. Last Sunday it was the latter against a Washington team that let the Saints back in the game by missing a chip shot field goal. Drew Brees and company took care of the rest, and that’s why our man remains atop this list, with Peyton Manning right there behind him.

1. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints—He’s got a 111.3 QB rating to lead the NFL—3536 passing yards, 69% completion percentage and 29 touchdowns to 10 picks. Oh, and yeah…his team is 12-0 and has already clinched the NFC South.

2. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts—Not much different from Brees’ numbers—3685 passing yards, a ridiculous 70% completion rate, 25 TDs and 11 interceptions…and the same 12-0 record for his Colts, with a clinched AFC South.

3. Brett Favre, Minnesota Vikings—A much more human game for Favre against Arizona Sunday night, but despite those 2 interceptions, he still threw for 275 yards and two scores. It just wasn’t enough, and even worse, the Cardinals may have gotten into the Vikings’ collective head.

4. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers—Despite being sacked a league high 45 times, Rodgers had led his team to four straight wins and has them in position for a wild card berth. And he probably hates this comparison, but his numbers are very Favre-esque: 3399 yards, 25 TDs, 7 picks.

5. Cedric Benson, Cincinnati Bengals—After missing a few starts due to injury, Cedric returned (albeit against Detroit) and promptly carried 36 times for 110 yards. Sure, there are two RBs with more yards per game (Chris Johnson and Steven Jackson), but Benson is making more of an impact for his team…the definition of MVP.

Honorable Mention—Chris Johnson, Titans; Philip Rivers, Chargers; Adrian Peterson, Vikings; Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars, Reggie Wayne, Colts; Jared Allen, Vikings; Vince Young, Titans; Elvis Dumervil, Broncos; Darren Sharper, Saints; Randy Moss, Patriots; Wes Welker, Patriots

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