RT's AFC Playoff Preview

Indianapolis v. San Diego – Saturday - January 3 @ 5:00

Indianapolis Offense

To keep it simple, the Colts have been on fire over the last 9 games. They have won all nine including a 23-20 victory over the Chargers. As always, Peyton Manning has been a big part of this streak, winning his third MVP as he continues his march to the Hall of Fame. He has had to be the leader because the Colts offense is last in the league in rushing at 79.6 yards per game. Marvin Harrison, Dallas Clark and Reggie Wayne will need to continue their impressive play for the Colts to move into the second round.

Indianapolis Defense

Much like the offense, the Colts defense is very effective in the passing game but abysmal against the run (24th in the league). As long as LT remains on the bench with another post-season injury, the Colts match up very well with the Chargers. The key for the Colts on defense will be the play of both corners – Hayden and Jennings. If they shut down the passing attack of the Chargers, the Colts will move on.

San Diego Offense

The good news is the Chargers score a lot of points (2nd in the league) including 52 points against the Broncos in a crucial week 17 victory. Philip Rivers has very quietly had a very strong season (#1 Passer Rating, most TD passes) despite a non-existent running game. LT has been nothing more than mediocre and he is hurt once again as the Chargers move into the playoffs. Without an effective rushing attack, it could be a long game for the Chargers.

San Diego Defense

The Chargers defense has been awful. While losing Shawne Merriman is one of the reason the Chargers went 8-8 this year, the real reason is they cannot stop opponents’ air attack (last in the league). Antonio Cromartie is one of the biggest talkers in the league and he started believing his own hype in the off-season. Like most trash talkers, he was less than effective this season and the Chargers struggled as a result. The Chargers’ defense will need to deliver a surprising performance against Peyton Manning in order to win this game.


On paper, there is no reason to believe Peyton Manning and the Colts will not prevail. However, the game is not played on paper and the Chargers have been nothing short of stellar in the last 4 weeks. In addition, any team that gets motivated enough to care about their last 4 games when they are 4-8 is a team I don’t want to face in the playoffs. I think the Colts come up big just like they did against the Broncos and beat the Colts.

Baltimore v. Miami – Saturday - January 4 @ 10:00

Baltimore Offense

Joe Flacco has been the story for the Ravens all year. He was never asked to win games but he was asked not to lose them. He did exactly that. His numbers are not impressive but his composure and stability was. While he did not win a lot of games, the running attack did. Willis McGahee, Ray Rice and Le’Ron McClain have been nothing short of terrific. They lead the Ravens to the 4th ranked rushing attack in the league and they will need this attack to prevail on Sunday.

Baltimore Defense

How is it possible that the Ravens have this good of a defense again!? It was 8 years ago that they went to the Super Bowl with that dominating defense and they still have a great defense. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed continue to impress and they have to be nothing less than giddy to face a quarterback who lobs the ball around the field and a running back who plays passionless football.

Miami Offense

Chad Pennington has proven almost everyone wrong this season by leading a dead in the water Dolphins team to the playoffs. I don’t think Pennington would have had this season with the Jets but a change of scenery is often time all a player needs. Dan Henning deserves a lot of the credit for the resurgence of the offense. His willingness to use Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown in different positions has been a boon for the entire organization.

Miami Defense

The good news, the defense is very strong against the run and does not give up a lot of points. The bad news, they are terrible against the pass. The good news, the Dolphins intercepted Brett Favre three times in their game last week. The bad news, they will be on the field most of the game because of the ball control style of the Ravens.


Let’s cut to the chase – Will Joe Flacco make the Dolphins pay for putting 8 men in the box against the Ravens? The answer is … it doesn’t matter. The Ravens defense will be too much for the Dolphins and I expect them to roll to an easy victory