It was the other AFC divisional game that was really the upset of the year, so much so that Schottenheimer may become the only coach to get his ass fired after a 14-2 season.
Apparently Schottenheimer supposedly overcompensated for his notorious conservative play-calling in the playoffs by being overly aggressive. But that's not even half of it. The Chargers lost because they were undisciplined, blowing plenty of opportunities to score and to put the Patriots away. Only Tom Brady, who must have been born with a lucky horseshoe in his ass, could get intercepted on a do-or-die 4th-and-10 play, and have it turn into a first down for his own team. Chargers DB Marlon McCree, who caught and then fumbled that errant pass with just a few minutes left in the game, will have a room next to Tony Romo in the NFL off-season nightmare infirmary. All McCree had to do was smack the ball into the ground; instead he gift-wrapped it and handed it back.
As they say, sometimes it's better to be lucky than good, and New England has the tremendous fortune to be both. So it's another Brady-Manning playoff showdown, but this time in Indianapolis. And these two teams are the only ones so far in the playoffs to each have a game decided by more than three points. This is probably Manning's best chance to get that Brady monkey off his back, once and for all, but the Pats have a slight edge on defense and in their running game, and things just seem to roll their way at the right time. This should be one of the more entertaining conference championship games in recent memory.
Patriots 31, Colts 27
As for the NFC, the underachieving Bears were lucky to squeak past the overachieving Seahawks in overtime. They will not get such help from the Saints, who let the opportunistic Eagles stay in the game a bit too long, but will be ready for Da Bears, and will drive Rex Grossman crazy all day with line pressure and linebacker stunts and blitzes. If there's a good old-fashioned -40º wind chill blizzard, all bets are off, but assuming roughly today's weather:
Saints 27, Bears 17.