Cardinals Win Pins Warner vs. Brees
Kurt Warner (Getty)
Kurt Warner (Getty)

Posted Jan 11, 2010


The Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers pleased the league when their game turned into a playoff matchup for the ages. This week, there could be more of the same.

Fortunately for the NFL, the Packers rallied from a 17-point deficit Sunday night to create one of the most dramatic playoff finishes in recent years.

The other three matchups on Wild Card Weekend were essentially decided before the whistle blew to start the fourth quarter. However, the results set up four intriguing matchups for next weekend's Divisional Playoffs.

--The Cardinals closed the action Sunday night, and will kick it off next Saturday in a party fit for Bourbon Street. After combining for 96 points in the duel with Green Bay, Arizona travels to New Orleans for what promises to be another defensively-challenged point fest.

Kurt Warner vs. Drew Brees. Deep receiving corps running all over the field. A Cardinals defense that was just ripped apart through the air and a Saints defense that couldn't stop the run down the stretch but does have the propensity for creating turnovers.

Drew Brees
(Getty)

--They're followed by a far different matchup in Indianapolis, where another high-octane offense led by Peyton Manning will face a near mirror opposite. The Ravens used a swarming defense and power ground game to manhandle New England.

But can they generate turnovers against Manning, build a lead and lean on their ground game again? Or will Manning put points on the board early and forced second-year Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco to complete far more than the four passes he managed against the Patriots? How Manning orchestrates the attack against Baltimore's defense promises to be entertaining.

--Sunday's action pits Brett Favre against Tony Romo in the early game. Both quarterbacks rebounded late in the regular season after criticism began to mount over scuffling offenses. They have similar gun slinging mentalities, and whoever receives better support from his ground game is likely to avoid mistakes. The winner is highly likely to be favored in the NFC

Championship Game. The loser will face another offseason of questions following a disappointing conclusion to the season.

--The final game of the weekend pits the Jets traveling cross-country to square off against the Chargers. It's the second AFC game in which a run-dominant offense will attempt to control the clock on the road and protect a young quarterback.

As well as Mark Sanchez played in Cincinnati, the Jets' rookie had the benefit of working off play-action courtesy of a strong ground game. But how will he react if the Chargers and quarterback Philip Rivers are constantly putting points on the board and forcing Sanchez to answer?

Fascinating theater on tap indeed.



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