Here Comes the Saints

The Super Bowl is the biggest game of the year, the best of the best. For the first time since 1993, the top two seeds of the playoffs have made it all the way to the Super Bowl, but the game will most certainly be closer then the 51-24 shellacking the Cowboys put on the Bills. We have two of the most prolific passing offenses in the league and two of the worst defenses, too. Brees and Manning, Colston and (maybe) Reggie Wayne, and many many more weapons. One team is eventually going to come out on top, and don’t kid yourself into thinking one of the quarterbacks won’t be the MVP. So who’s it gonna be?

Saints (+5.5) over Colts

The line for this game started at 3.5 the day after the NFC and AFC Championship game and rose the next day to 5.5 points. So in terms of Vegas spreads moving, that’s just about as much as any game has moved in one day. So does that mean that the Colts are going to win easily, or does that mean that all of the ignorant betters jumped on a close line early? That’s why I’m here, to supply the reasons why the Saints (or Colts) will win.

Without question, the two biggest stars by far will be the Peyton and Brees, the All-Pro quarterbacks for the Colts and Saints. Peyton has been gaining speed in the press on the topic that if he does win this Super Bowl, he could be the top quarterback, or even player, of all time. That in itself is ridiculous because he will still have won as many Super Bowls as John Elway, one less then Tom Brady, and two less then Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana. But that’s not important at the moment. What’s important now is the play of both field generals.

Peyton Manning and Drew Brees have both had fantastic regular season, no one can doubt that. As I’ve said before, Peyton Manning is the best regular season quarterback in recent memory, but he hasn’t been one to step up in the playoffs. After the first round of the playoffs (when you play the worst playoff teams), Peyton is 6-5 with 15 touchdowns to 12 interceptions while Brees is 3-1 with 9 touchdowns to only one interception. Brees can make all the plays Peyton can without turning the ball over. In fact, Brees hasn’t thrown an interception since Week 15 versus Dallas. Manning is not as accurate as advertised; he certainly hasn’t been as accurate as Brees has been.

As for the running backs, neither team has an overly competent running game. Both have running backs by committee; the Saints have Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush, and Mike Bell, while the Colts split their few runs between Joseph Addai and rookie Donald Brown. The Colts and Saints have the 24th and 21st run defenses respectively, but it is yet to be seen what the poor run defenses and offenses will yield. My guess is that Reggie Bush will take advantage of the Colts’ poor defense and break out a few long runs and swing passes. Thomas and Addai will also have serviceable games, but no more then sixty yards appiece.

The most recent twist to the Super Bowl is Reggie Wayne aggravating his knee. If he can’t play on Sunday, or he can’t go at full speed, the Colts are in trouble. Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie are nice, but without Wayne to distract a very underrated Saints’ secondary, so Dallas Clark will really have to step his game up. While the Colts have a better quality of receivers, the Saints have a great quantity of receivers. They have Coltson, Robert Meachem, Jeremy Shockey, Devery Henderson, Lance Moore, Bush, Thomas, and David Thomas. Brees’ favorite receiver is the open receiver, so don’t look for an overload to one player.

Dwight Freeney's ligament in his ankle is torn off. Completely off

Dwight Freeney's ligament in his ankle is torn off. Completely off

So from my 17 hours of stat crunching and film watching (sarcasm) I have concluded that this game will be a shootout. One interesting note is that unlike the Saints, who have faced two straight juggernaut offenses, the Colts haven’t faced a strong offense since Week 12 versus Houston. The Saints have held the Cards and Vikes mostly in check, while the already hurt Colts’ defense has only had to face Joe Flacco and Mark Sanchez. To make matters worse, the Colts are already missing Bob Sanders and Dwight Freeney won’t be close to his regular self. Without those two superstars, the Colts will be depending on aging Gary Brackett and Robert Mathis.

Mardis Gras wil be rumbling through New Orleans starting on February 16th, but it certainly possible for the party to start nine days Earlier. Bourbon Street is crazy already, but imagine how crazy it will get if the Saints win? The city of New Orleans needs this more then Indianapolis, and they will use that and their underdog mentality to propel them to the top. In the end, all I have to say is…who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints?

Prediction: Saints 38 – Colts 35

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