The NFC Championship Could be Decided by Several Intriguing Individual Matchups
Football Painting by Artist John Robertson
One guy runs, the other guy chases him.
Reggie Bush (No. 25 in the painting), the 2005 Heisman Trophy winner, was the second overall in the draft out of USC in 2006, selected by the New Orleans Saints. But his numbers this year have not been exactly dashing. Jasper Brinkley (No. 54), the Minnesota Vikings fifth-round rookie middle linebacker, has only six games under his belt.
The two of them will face off in the NFC Championship title game on Sunday. If you ask both of them how they are going to do you will get the same answer: "Bet on me."
The problem is, both are good bets. Although Brinkley is stepping into the cleats of the Minnesota Vikings injured middle linebacker E.J. Henderson, do not let the lack of Brinkley’s pro experience fool you. He can bring you down like a wolf on a deer. If a guy plays middle linebacker for any team in the NFL he is not on the field for a light romp. He lives life for third down and two.
And do not let the deer fool you either. Against Arizona last weekend, Bush bounded for 84 yards on 5 carries, snagged four passes for 24 yards, and pranced punts back for 83 yards. Total 191 yards. That was close to half of the total offensive yards for the game.
There might be more interesting individual match-ups – for one, Saints free safety Darren Sharper vs. Brett Favre. They were teammates in Green Bay. Sharper once played for the Vikings and had several battles with Favre when he was still playing for the Packers. They know each other's patterns well.
The obvious match-up to watch is Farve/Drew Brees. We know what they can do game in and game out – and it is a recurring drama watching these two riflemen.
But Bush/Brinkley – that is different. We have no idea who is coming to play. You may want to cover your eyes when Bush gets the ball. And you may miss the "thud" that never comes from Brinkley. But what you will probably see is the wolf snapping at the heels of the deer. And sometimes the wolf gets the deer and sometimes the deer gets away.