Rest nearly whitewashed rust during the Divisional Playoffs.
The New Orleans Saints looked faster than the Arizona Cardinals, the Indianapolis Colts never blinked against the Baltimore Ravens and the Minnesota Vikings slowly but inevitably punished the Dallas Cowboys into submission. The combined score of the three games was 99-20.
The New York Jets were the only road team to win over the weekend against a team coming off a bye week (San Diego Chargers), riding a red-hot defense to the AFC Championship Game. Now they return to Indianapolis, and coach Rex Ryan continues his weekly routine of playing up his Cinderella team.
"It's a football team that we expect to win against," said Ryan. "They know we're a good team. Do we know they're a great team? Yeah, of course. No question. I don't know if Santa Claus is going to be that good to me again. I will say, I'd like to see Peyton Manning not play next week."
Ryan is of course referring to the Jets' last visit to Indianapolis, when the Colts removed Manning and several other starters while holding a five-point lead. The Colts' run at perfection went by the wayside, and in the process Indianapolis opened the door for the Jets to squeak into the playoffs.
Already a hotly-debated move by president Bill Polian and coach Jim Caldwell, many will consider it poetic justice should the Jets turn around and keep the Colts out of the Super Bowl.
"Obviously, we have a fairly decent familiarity with the Jets because it hasn't been that long since we've seen them. Besides that, we practiced for them last week as well. Pretty thoroughly I think," said Caldwell.
Meanwhile, the Saints and Vikings were among the teams that scuffled the most down the stretch during the regular season. But they both came out firing in their playoff opener, and there's a fine line between a pair of offensive powerhouses with aggressive defenses.
Both teams have plenty of momentum entering Sunday's tilt.
"When you're this deep into the season, you're going to face the best of the best," Saints right tackle Jon Stinchcomb said. "You don't get to this point without being a solid group."