The National Football League playoffs have narrowed the fieldto four teams in the race for the Super Bowl.
The defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots beat the visiting Indianapolis Colts, 20-3, in cold snowy conditions Sunday. New England's tough defense stifled Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, who completed 27 of 42 pass attempts but could not guide his team to the endzone.
The Patriots advance to the American Conference championship game in Pittsburgh, where the Steelers beat the New York Jets in overtime (20-17) on Saturday. New England suffered one of its two regular season losses in Pittsburgh.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said his team will have to overcome a difficult hurdle to return to the Super Bowl. "It is going to be our toughest game all year. We know what that team is all about, pretty similar to ours. They are very tough, very hard and very physical. Going to that stadium is tough too. So we have our
work cut out,” he said.
In Philadelphia, the host Eagles advanced to the National Conference championship game by beating the Minnesota Vikings, 27-14. The Eagles were led by quarterback Donovan McNabb and a clutch performance from Freddie Mitchell. He made five key catches for 65 yards and scored two touchdowns.
Philadelphia has lost three consecutive conference title games at home. But McNabb says he feels the fourth time will be different. "A lot of good things have happened to other teams. I think the inspiration for us is the Boston Red Sox (of Major League Baseball) who went on to win the whole deal [first World Series title since 1918]. And there are a couple of other teams. But I think the good thing about this year is we are a better team. We are healthier. And I think the guys just have it in their mind of what we need to do in order to get [to the Super Bowl],” he said.
Philadelphia hosts Atlanta next Sunday after the Falcons dismantled the Saint Louis Rams on Saturday (47-17). The Eagles are trying to get to their first Super Bowl in 24 years. The Super Bowl will be on February 6 in Jacksonville, Florida.