Saturday, February 6, 2010
Super Bowl XLIV Preview: Saints v. Colts
Super Bowl XLIV: Saints v. Colts, Sun Life Stadium, 6:25pm ET, CBS
Jim Nantz and Phil Simms in the booth
Without a doubt you know all the storylines coming into this game. Peyton Manning's dad played for the Saints. Peyton grew up in New Orleans. A Saints win would be great for the city of New Orleans (emotionally, of course, not financially) four years after Hurricane Katrina. Dwight Freeney has torn ligaments in his ankle. It goes on and on and on.
The only one of those points that will matter once the two teams take the field on Sunday, though, will be Freeney's ankle. It's almost not even a matter of if he plays or not, rather will he be effective while playing or just hurt his team by trying to go out there?
From all accounts, this looks like it will be an offensive shootout. Usually when that's what everyone thinks it turns into a defensive struggle, but I just don't see that happening with these two teams, both so similar in their makeup.
The Colts and Saints both have great quarterbacks, good receivers and really nothing spectacular in the running game. Reggie Bush has become what everything thought he would be, albeit for just these last few games. When it comes down to it, it will be a contest through the air.
Having said that, I think it's advantage Peyton and Company. Manning is perhaps the best quarterback of this or any generation. He has three MVP's and one Super Bowl title. While Brees is no slouch, Manning has continued to do it with an ever-changing cast. What has made the Saints' defense effective this year is forcing turnovers, something that won't be very easy with Peyton Manning on the other side of the line of scrimmage. They can rush, blitz, stunt, or do anything else they can think of but Manning will likely have an answer.
Don't get me wrong, I don't think this will be a one-sided contest. The Saints will get their punches in but when it comes down to crunch time, Peyton Manning will step up and lead his Colts to a second Super Bowl title in four years.
Prediction: Colts 34, Saints 27