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Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Fact or Fiction: Divisional Playoffs

ESPN.com

Everyone has opinions about what will happen during the NFL season. And the predictions will either prove to be true or false.

So we've made four bold statements and asked our ESPN experts -- former NFL players Eric Allen and Merril Hoge -- whether or not they believe the statements will eventually become fact or fiction.

On which side of the fence do they sit? Click on the links below for their answers.

Curtis Martin must have a big day for the Jets to win
Michael Vick is a bad matchup for St. Louis' front 7
The Eagles can't afford to get into a shootout with Minnesota
The Pats need to score at least 30 points to beat the Colts

Curtis Martin must have a big day for the Jets to win
Merril Hoge
Fiction: The Jets did a great job last week getting backup running back LaMont Jordan involved in the game, so I don't think Curtis Martin has to be spectacular. They do need him to get 100 all-purpose yards to keep the Steelers' defense honest and to maintain an offensive balance for the Jets. Offensive coordinator Paul Hackett has done a good job recently of incorporating Martin into the short-passing game. Hackett should continue to do that to keep pressure off Martin and to maintain pressure on the Steelers' defense. That will also keep the Steelers from blitzing Chad Pennington all day.
Eric Allen
Fact: The Jets need Curtis Martin to have a big day in the passing and running games to be successful. The Jets are facing one of the best and most powerful rushing offenses in the league and need to keep the ball away from Pittsburgh as much as possible. Martin is the key to that because if he can account for some big first downs, and keep the Steelers offense off the field, the Jets can win. Chad Pennington needs a strong running game to be successful, and if Martin is contained, Pennington could struggle.