Rex Ryan didn't have a great year with predictions -- after all, he guaranteed a Jets Super Bowl -- but he sounded pretty confident Friday with his forecast for this weekend's AFC and NFC Championship Games:
Giants over 49ers, Ravens over Patriots.
"I think the Giants, when you look at them, they can throw the ball, they can move the football better against San Francisco than San Francisco can move it against the Giants," Ryan said in an interview on WFAN. "The Giants are, statistically, like the 28th-rated defense in the league, but they're not playing that way. I just think that pass rush ... When you watched the 49ers play against the Ravens, that pass rush ate San Francisco alive.
"I think the Giants are going to take this game. Eli (Manning) is hot. I like the fact that both running backs are healthy. You could be looking at a Ravens-Giants rematch." Of the 2001 Super Bowl, he meant.
Asked about the AFC title game, Ryan said the Ravens will take the same approach the Giants took against the Patriots in the Super Bowl four years ago, meaning a four-man rush.
"I think Terrell Suggs might be the difference in this game," Ryan said of the Ravens' pass-rushing star. "I don't know how about guys can block Suggs, and I got the answer -- no one. The Ravens' offense has to show up. They have to protect the football. I think they can move on the ball, no question. Let's face it, I'm cheering for the Ravens."
Ryan is, of course, a former Ravens assistant. He also doesn't want to see the hated Patriots win a Super Bowl; that would mean one more ring for Bill Belichick that Ryan would refuse to kiss.