So now the hot topic in the NFL is the possibility of an all-New York Super Bowl, Manning vs. Favre. Maybe. Maybe not. I just wonder why we don't hear more Manning vs. Manning talk.
You heard me. Peyton over here; Eli over there. A Super Bowl in the middle.
|Eli and Peyton Manning were MVPs of the past two Super Bowls. (Getty Images)|
Now look where they're going. Their next four games are, in order: at Cleveland; Cincinnati; Detroit and at Jacksonville. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that the Colts should win most, if not all, of those games. Heck, the combined record of their opponents is 9-34-1, for cripes sake.
Then Indianapolis finishes with Tennessee at home. First, the Titans might be coasting by then. Second, the Colts have won four of their past five home dates against Tennessee.
OK, so that one Titans victory was last year. I don't care. If the Colts go into the season finale on an eight-game tear you tell me who wins. I'll take Peyton Manning, thank you very much.
And that's why I wouldn't discount a Manning vs. Manning Super Bowl. If there's anything close to a lock in the NFC, it would be the New York Giants. They're the best and most complete team in football, winning 14 of their past 15 dating back to last season.
They win at home. They win on the road. They win without Plaxico Burress. They win without Brandon Jacobs. They win because they're deep and confident and because their quarterback -- Eli Manning -- is playing the best football of his career.
So give me the Giants in the NFC.
Where the picture becomes fuzzy is the AFC, with Tennessee, the Jets, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis the best and brightest. Everyone figures the Titans will be in the conference championship game, but I'm not so sure after what happened last weekend. In fact, I wouldn't be shocked if they didn't make it.
One reason is Pittsburgh. I love the Steelers, especially if they're healthy. Ben Roethlisberger is big-game tested and the defense is lights out. So is Tennessee's, but we've had this discussion before. Given the choice, I'll take Big Ben over Kerry Collins. And, given the choice, I'll take Dick LeBeau's defense over Jim Schwartz's.
That's not a knock on Schwartz as much as it is respect for LeBeau. Every season the Steelers engulf opponents with their swarming defense, and every season we wonder if LeBeau is Hall of Fame material.
Please. That discussion should've ended years ago. I don't care if he makes it as a player or coach, but he makes it.