Broncos Hope to Avoid Chargers Footsteps

Sunday's NFL Wild Card match-up features the second AFC West team to make the NFL Super Bowl tournament. With the San Diego Chargers eliminated thanks to their 20-17 OT loss to the New Yor Jets, the Denver Broncos travel to Indianapolis while the Green Bay Packers, who suddenly become one of the favorites in the NFC; will host the struggling Minnesota Vikings.

The Colts, who strolled through the rest of the season after their Halloween loss to the Chiefs 45-35 at Arrowhead played their back-ups and third stringers last Sunday as the Colts dropped a meaningless game to the Broncos in Denver 33-14. The re-match will probably be more entertaining.

"The regular season is over with and it's been a good run for us," Peyton Manning said. "Statistically, those things don't carry a lot of weight in the playoffs." This week's game has been marred with the news of the $75,000 fine that was levied by the NFL on Broncos safety John Lynch who struck Colts' tight end Dallas Clark for his fourth major fine of his career. Thought the NFL didn't suspend him they'll probably be watching closely on Sunday and will be quick to throw the flag or eject him if he tries to lop off the head of another Colts player. In tomorrow's game Manning will be going for his career third playoff victory, and if they get the win the Colts will play at New England. A place Indianapolis has not won in the last two tries. Including the season opener this season and the AFC Championship game last season. Last season when Denver played Indianapolis in the playoffs, the Colts routed the Broncos 41-10. Manning threw for 377-yards, five touchdowns, and went 22 for 26 in the passing department. Four of those touchdowns came on Indianapolis' first four drives of the game. Expect more of the same on Sunday.

Prediction: Indianapolis 38-Denver 13

The last game of the weekend pits the Green Bay Packers and Brett Favre in what he hopes is the beginning of a Super Bowl drive. The Packers last played in the big game back in 1998 and with the Eagles struggling down the stretch they could be the NFC's most marketable commodity. But first they have to defeat their NFC North rival Minnesota at home. The Vikings have lost 22 of their last 24 games outside on the road, so their chances of moving on are slim to none as the Packers have only lost two playoff games in their legendary history at home. Still the Packers can't take anything for granted and they have to put their best foot forward to gain some much needed momentum.

The Vikings come into the game with a little dissention as their star player left the field early last week in Washington as time was winding down. Wide receiver Randy Moss left last weekends game early as Minnesota tried recover an onside kick with two seconds remaining. Then Moss appeared on ESPN later in the week claiming he didn't know if head coach Mike Tice was the right guy for the team. Well that's too bad because the Vikings are set to bring Tice and his entire coaching staff back for one more season.

"I understand his frustration," Tice said trying to down play the situation, "but we can't let our frustrations make us make poor decisions of poor judgment."

In their season series the teams have battled to identical 34-31 scores as the Packers won both games. Favre threw seven touchdown passes in the two games this season, and kicker Ryan Longwell booted two game winning kicks with time expiring.

The Vikings will have to win this game without starting safety Corey Chavous who will be out with an elbow injury, while Packers wide out Robert Ferguson is questionable.

Prediction: Green Bay 24-Minnesota 23

Next weeks playoffs will go as follows Indianapolis wins, the Jets will travel to Pittsburgh and the Colts will play a rematch of the AFC Championship game of a year ago in New England. If the Colts should lose then Denver will go to Pittsburgh and the Jets will head to New England.

In the NFC Green Bay will play Atlanta if they win while St. Louis will travel to Philadelphia; Minnesota if they win will go down to Atlanta should they win on Sunday. Top Stories