Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

Super Bowl Pick

Posted by mizzou1028 on February 5, 2010

Last week: 1-1  Playoffs: 5-5

This year’s Super Bowl is going to have to be one heck of a game to live up to the excitement of the previous two seasons.  Two years ago, we saw what might be the best catch in NFL history by David Tyree, leading the Giants to an upset win over the previously undefeated Patriots.  Last year, we saw a spectacular 100-yard interception return TD by James Harrison to end the first half, and then we saw Ben Roethlisberger lead an amazing winning drive, outdueling Kurt Warner.  This year does shape on paper to be a very entertaining contest, with Peyton Manning matching up against Drew Brees in a QB showdown, not to mention the story of the Saints lifting the city of New Orleans from the never forgotten wreckage of Katrina.  It is for this reason that I would imagine most people without a rooting interest would like to see the Saints win.  If you have no hand at the blackjack table, it is hard to root against that story.  In any case there is no reason this shouldn’t be a competitive and highly entertaining game.   As a side note, I mention every year that at my house the game is the focus.  Not the commercials, not the halftime show, none of that.  I refuse to attend a party where the game is not the sole focus of the evening.  Don’t get me wrong, we’ll have plenty of food, beverage, etc and some of the commercials are usually funny, but this is about football, period. 

I always say the Super Bowl is the toughest game to predict during the whole season because what happened prior to this point is completely irrelevant.  With two weeks to prepare, there are no secrets.  Each team knows exactly what the other has up its sleeve.  This is a one game scenario for both teams, there is no tomorrow, and therefore there is a certain amount of unpredictability that doesn’t exist during the regular season or even in earlier rounds of the playoffs.  This is why we have seen a number of stunning upsets over the years (Giants-Bills 1990, Patriots-Rams 2001 and Giants-Patriots two years ago the chief ones that come to mind).  Granted, a lot of times the favorite ends up coasting, but we have long been trending toward closer and more exciting games in the Super Bowl as opposed to the blowouts we saw in the 80s and early 90s.  This is the ultimate one game situation where it can be decided by a timely turnover, a single big play, one costly penalty, or any number of random things. 

The Colts have rebounded very nicely during the playoffs after they pulled their starters and waved the white flag in the final two games of the regular season.  I have to admit that I thought this was a big mistake that I thought would cost them in the end.  So far it hasn’t, and you can’t really deny that the players have looked fresh in the past two games.  I still think in the end, perhaps years from now, the Colts may regret that they missed a shot at 19-0, but if they win the Super Bowl I guess it’s hard to argue with their way of thinking.  Indianapolis particularly looked like the fresher, crisper, more energized team two weeks ago when they pulled away from the Jets in the second half.  Peyton Manning is playing perhaps the best football of his career, and continues to be able to find open receivers no matter what the situation.  Against the Jets, Reggie Wayne was blanketed by Darrelle Revis and Dallas Clark was having a hard time getting open, so Manning simply looked for Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon, who combined to haul in 18 passes for 274 yards and 2 touchdowns.  The amazing thing about Manning, not only in that game, but throughout his entire career, is how infrequently he gets sacked and how quickly he can get rid of the ball with stunning accuracy.  Sure the Jets got hits on him early in the game, but that didn’t last very long.  For his entire career, Manning has eaten defenses alive that have attempted to blitz him.  The Saints have thrived in the playoffs on hitting Kurt Warner and Brett Favre as often as possible (in Favre’s case there should have a couple of roughing the passer/late hit penalties that weren’t assessed, including a big one on Favre’s first interception, the play where he hurt his ankle), but I think hitting Manning will prove to be much harder.  The Colts’ offensive line has been outstanding all year, and against the Jets they did a tremendous job controlling the play, especially in the second half.  I think the Colts have a big edge here between their offensive line and Manning’s ability to get rid of the ball quickly in the event he does experience some pressure.  The Colts have no shortage of weapons that can get open, and while the Saints have a good secondary, I think their inability to get to Manning with any kind of frequency could well be their downfall in this game.  As it was two weeks ago, the Vikings rolled up a staggering number of yards against the Saints.  New Orleans may get to Manning a little bit early in the game, but they won’t be able to do it for 60 minutes.  The Colts running game does rank near the bottom of the league, but so does the Saints’ run defense.  I think this game will be won through the air anyway, but in terms of the Colts offense vs. the Saints defense, I give the Colts a huge edge.

The Saints’ offense has also been playing extremely well during the postseason, and like the Colts, they have bounced back from a regular season finish that saw them stumble to three straight losses, including one to Tampa Bay at home in which they lost despite the starters playing the entire game.  Against Minnesota, the Saints were fortunate to receive a huge gift in the form of six Vikings turnovers.  I think the odds of the Colts turning it over that many times is zero, so for the Saints to have a chance to win this game they are going to need to take advantage of every offensive opportunity they get.  I think the Saints do have a chance to be able to run the ball with Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush, as well as utilize Bush to try to get big plays out of the backfield.  The Colts’ defense doesn’t do anything fancy, but they’ve proven to be more than solid enough to get the job done.  The key for the Saints will be to be able to control things offensively and keep Manning on the sideline as much as possible.  Drew Brees is certainly a top 5 quarterback in the league without question, and the Saints will need him to utilize his ability to extend plays in the pocket and find his receivers.  Dwight Freeney is not 100 percent for the Colts’ defense, but he’ll play.  Between him and Robert Mathis, the Saints’ offensive line could have their hands full.  It will be important for New Orleans to stay away from third and long situations where they’re going to have to pass and the Colts’ pass rushers can tee off on Brees.  If the Saints can get success on the ground, it will open up Brees to be able to go down the field and get some big plays.  The biggest thing is the Saints can’t afford to have any three and outs where they hand the ball right back to Manning.  I also think the Saints have a better ability to make things happen on special teams, especially in the return game.  If the Saints can get a return TD at some point during the game, it could be enough to be a difference maker. 

This should be a highly entertaining game with lots of passing and big plays.  I think this has a chance to rank with the memorable Super Bowls of the past two seasons.  In the end though, I think Peyton Manning really wants to win this game at any cost, and I think as well as he’s playing right now he’s not going to be slowed down.  I think Brees and company will be able to stay in it for a majority of the contest, but I can see the Colts pulling away in the fourth quarter. 

The Pick: Indianapolis 34 New Orleans 24

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2 Responses to “Super Bowl Pick”

  1. Doug Baker said

    Did you /really/ have to remind me of David Tyree in your second sentence? I wish I could forget he ever existed! And he hardly does anymore, really.

    You and I are very close on our score of the game! I hope the Saints win though.

  2. I must say this is the second time I have visited your blog and Im loving it! I added your website to my rss reader. Looking forward to see more posts!

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