Jets, Colts will meet again
New Orleans hosts first NFC title game
The New York Jets can expect to see Peyton Manning for four quarters this time.
With a 17-14 upset of the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, brash coach Rex Ryan and his hard-hitting Jets earned a surprise spot in the AFC title game at top-seeded Indianapolis.
The Week 16 rematch is one of two conference championship games Sunday featuring some of the NFL’s top quarterbacks.
First, Manning gets another shot at the Jets, who handed Indianapolis its first loss of the season – rallying after the four-time MVP and other Colts starters were pulled early in the second half to rest.
Then, 40-year-old Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings visit Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints for the NFC title.
“I know we’re not done yet,” Favre said after throwing four touchdown passes Sunday in a 34-3 rout of Dallas.
The Jets were the only road team to win in the divisional round, stunning the second-seeded Chargers to fill out the last spot in the league’s final four.
New York goes back to Indianapolis, where the top-seeded Colts showed no signs of rust in beating Baltimore 20-3 on Saturday.
“I told them we wanted to end the regular season fresh, ready and well prepared,” Indianapolis rookie coach Jim Caldwell said. “I believe we did.”
The Jets beat the Colts 29-15 on Dec. 27 after many key players were pulled with a 15-10 lead in the third quarter.
The Vikings and Saints dominated in the divisional round, reminding everyone why the NFC’s top two teams ruled all season before late skids.
Favre is headed to New Orleans to try to return to the Super Bowl 12 years after his last appearance, with Green Bay.
Two frustrated fan bases will be watching closely as the top-seeded Saints host the NFC title game for the first time, less than five years after Hurricane Katrina decimated New Orleans.
The Vikings routed the Cowboys 34-3 on Sunday to set up the showdown.
A day earlier, the Saints trounced the Arizona Cardinals 45-14. Brees tossed three touchdown passes and Reggie Bush scored on an 83-yard punt return and a spectacular 46-yard run.
“There have been some lean years for the Saints. I’ve been a part of a few of them,” right tackle Jon Stinchcomb said. “To be able to be here when I think something special is going on, it’s quite an honor.”
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