Today, it's deux or die

Published: Saturday, January 14, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 14, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
Sequels frequently flop in Hollywood, but in the NFL, they're box-office magic.
That's why the league is eagerly awaiting this weekend's Part II party. All four divisional playoff games are showdowns between teams that met during the regular season: Washington at Seattle, New England at Denver, Pittsburgh at Indianapolis and Carolina at Chicago.
That's the kind of instant replay everyone can get behind.
Back when the stakes weren't win or else, the Redskins beat the Seahawks, the Broncos beat the Patriots, the Colts beat the Steelers and the Bears beat the Panthers.
But only the foolish will be breathing easy this weekend.
"There's a very fine line between confidence and complacency," said Dave McGinnis, defensive coordinator of the Tennessee Titans. "If you win the first game against a team, the worst thing you can do is fool yourself into thinking the second game will be easier. You don't want guys having that mind-set."
As football coaches often say, it's hard enough to beat a team once during the season, let alone twice. That said, all four of last season's divisional playoff games were rematches too, and the four teams that won - the Steelers, Falcons, Eagles and Patriots -- also won the regular-season matchups.
So, if we were going by the 2004 script, the Redskins, Broncos, Colts and Bears would be battling for two Super Bowl spots. But this is football, where the only script is the list of plays a quarterback wears on his wrist.
There are sure to be some unpredictable twists in this weekend's slate of sequels.

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