ARLINGTON, Texas — While posting convincing wild-card wins on Saturday, the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys looked like teams that might stick around for a while.
New York must wait to see who wins Sunday’s Ravens-Patriots game before it knows whether it’s going to Indianapolis or San Diego. Dallas can start packing for Minnesota.
The Jets and Cowboys have pluses that could advance them to championship weekend:
Why the Jets can win again: They have two proven assets: the league’s No. 1 rushing offense and No. 1 defense. "They might have a chance to make a move," Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer told reporters after his team’s 24-14 loss. "Their defense is that good."
Why the Jets may stop here: It might be too much to ask for rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez to keep up with Peyton Manning or Philip Rivers.
Why the Cowboys can win again: Their 3-4 front can slow down Adrian Peterson and put plenty of pressure on Brett Favre. Tony Romo can attack Minnesota’s weakness: its pass defense. "Our goals are much bigger than winning the first game," linebacker Keith Brooking said after his team’s 34-14 win over the Eagles. "We have a lot left that we want to accomplish."
Why the Cowboys may stop here: If they can’t get the power running game going against Minnesota’s stout front and get off to a slow start, it will be hard to overcome the Vikings’ feeding off the home-crowd energy.
This story appears in Jan. 10’s edition of Sporting News Today. If you are not receiving Sporting News Today, the only daily digital sports newspaper, sign up today for free.
Vinnie Iyer is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.