Observations from the press box at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro ...
1. Even though the Las Vegas spread likely won't reflect it, the Jets should be thankful they're playing the Chargers next week -- not the Colts. Here's why:
*The Jets defense matches up well against a Chargers offense that can't run the ball (ranked 31st in the NFL this season). New York had the best passing defense, by far, and just the eighth-best rushing defense.
*The Chargers have some issues against the run since Jamal Williams got hurt, so the Jets might be able to hold the ball longer and keep it out of Philip Rivers' hands.
*San Diego lost to the Ravens, who are basically a carbon copy of the Jets.
*The Chargers could be overconfident against a Jets team they don't know very well. Indy wouldn't have that problem.
I'm not making a Namath-like prediction, because if the Jets fall behind at all they don't have a chance, but they're a bad matchup for the Chargers.
2. The Patriots haven't won a Super Bowl in six years and the buzzards are circling. Ravens receiver Kelley Washington ran off the field chanting "The era is over" in the hallways of Gillette Stadium. Washington wasn't alone. Lots of reporters posed the question to both Baltimore and New England players after the game. Dynasties fade ... but this one isn't quite done yet. They overcame a lot this season and still lost a few games they should have won. If the Patriots can go to Indy and outplay the Colts, they're going to be really dangerous after fixing some of their gaping holes. Coach Bill Belichick has some draft picks to play with, and next season, a fully healthy Tom Brady should be more consistent.
3. The Donovan McNabb debate has become a cliché. Nationally, people seem to have a hard time understanding why so many Philadelphia fans and columnists want to get rid of a Pro Bowl quarterback when so many other franchises are lost at that position. But if you're a fan of a team that's never won a Super Bowl, you have the right to focus on the negative.
Besides, at this point, aren't you curious to what McNabb would look like on another team? He still has a great arm. Could he win a Super Bowl in Carolina or San Francisco? And wouldn't it be great to see how far Andy Reid could go with Kevin Kolb?
Regardless, the Eagles organization doesn't seem to care what fans think. And that strategy has worked moderately well -- even if they can't win a ring. Hit the "Comments" below with your thoughts on McNabb's future.
4. Other than Peyton Manning (and maybe Drew Brees), I'd put Tony Romo up against any other QB left in the playoffs. Hit the "Comments" with your QB rankings.
5. You can start printing virtually every 2010 preseason prediction right now -- the Packers will be the most popular Super Bowl pick in the NFC. But right now, they're more aesthetically pleasing than championship-caliber, from top to bottom, and their defense still has a long way to catch up to the offense.
6. Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is getting a lot of credit for the club's wild-card win, along with head-coaching buzz. But if he's so smart, why did he need to have Rex Ryan, a man who doesn't know anything about offense, step in and basically save the season by limiting Mark Sanchez's risky throws?
7. Braylon Edwards is a victim of expectations. If he was a third-round pick, we'd be talking about his outstanding downfield blocking and the big first down he had Saturday. He gets too much heat for the drops -- it's not his fault everyone overrated him.
8. The Vikings should treat Brett Favre like Mark Sanchez. Minnesota doesn't need to throw the ball more than 15 times, because Dallas' pass rush will just cause problems for the Vikings.
9. Does anyone really think Pete Carroll is the man to buck the trend of college coaches flailing in the NFL? Just because he had a little taste of the league in New England and New York? He better hope he brings in the right personnel guru or Seattle can look forward to a Saban-Spurrier-like experience.
10. Cardinals-Packers ... one of the top 10 playoff games of all time? I think so. Weigh in below in the "Comments" section.