Conference championship picks: Vikings, Colts will advance to Super Bowl

By Doug Halberstadt

Sports Columnist

In the NFC Championship game, it’s the Minnesota Vikings versus the New Orleans Saints. In the AFC Championship game, it’s the Indianapolis Colts versus the New York Jets. I correctly picked three of the four teams. The Jets upset the San Diego Chargers and have earned the title of this year’s Cinderella team.

In last Sunday’s (Jan. 17) game against the Cowboys, Brett Favre was nothing short of spectacular. I predicted he’d throw for three touchdowns. He threw for a post-season personal best, four.

The Vikings now have to go on the road to try to win the Conference Championship. This week, they’ll find themselves in the middle of the Big Easy, and it’ll be anything but easy. Favre will have to command a repeat performance for the Vikings to come out on top.

The good thing for Minnesota fans is if anyone can do it, it just might be the venerable Favre. He seems to be analogous to a fine wine. The question is, does he have anything left in the bottle?

It should prove to be a great game. Two great offenses led by two great quarterbacks. Four defensive starters from this year’s Pro Bowl, two from Minnesota and two from New Orleans will anchor their teams’ defenses. Jared Allen and Kevin Williams for the Vikings and Jonathon Vilma and Darren Sharper for the Saints will try to keep the total points scored to a minimum.

I’m hoping Favre continues his run and adds the Saints to his list of victims this post-season. I’m predicting the Vikings by 6.

In the AFC game, I think the clock will strike midnight for the Jets and their glass slipper will end up in 1,000 pieces, courtesy of Peyton Manning and the rest of the Colts.

Manning’s experience, like cream, will rise to the top, while at the same time, the inexperience of Jets rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez will rear its ugly head. I think Sanchez will crumble under the pass rush of Colts’ defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. That should equate to several turnovers and another trip to the Super Bowl for Indianapolis. I’m predicting the Colts by 17.

There you have it. If everything goes according to my predictions, we’ll be watching Favre and Manning in this year’s Super Bowl. That wouldn’t be so bad, would it?

Two future Hall of Famers in the biggest game of the year. I’d say that might finally be a game that actually has the potential to live up to the hype that is associated with it each year.

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

From the Jan. 20-26, 2010 issue

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