- First off, Happy Super Sunday everybody! Hope you all have a safe, exciting, degenerate day! If you're driving, drive safe, but if not, as always Get Drunk and Get Laid!
Lets breakdown the teams first off for those of you who don't watch football too much. Refer to my "Football for Women" post for further questions.
- The Colts offense centers around all-world QB and if he wins this game, imo the greatest QB in NFL history Peyton Manning. They run a no-huddle hurry-up offense innovated by Jim Kelly's Bills in the 90's, but which has been perfected by Manning. The no-huddle makes it tough-impossible for defenses to make substitutions, and get their defense properly situated. Even when they do, Manning is a master at making the correct reads at the line of scrimmage, often calling out which players are assigned to blitz, and which are dropping into coverage on the play. Therefore, he frequently audibles, calling for plays that are designed to beat the defense the Saints are going to call.
- The Colts ranked dead last in the NFL this year, but by choice. They usually play out of the shotgun, and run former LSU Tiger Joseph Addai only enough to set-up play-action. Their offensive line is solid, playing fantastically against the Jets, and is anchored by perennial Pro Bowl Center Jeff Saturday. The Colts have plenty of weapons to throw to however, with former THE U guy Reggie Wayne being their #1 wideout, and TE Dallas Clark presenting huge matchup problems over the middle of any defense. WR's Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie have stepped up huge this year for the Colts, particularly in games where defenses have been dead-set on not letting Wayne and Clark beat them.
- Defensively, the Colts rely on an explosive pass rush led by DE's Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney, with a very fast linebacking core that helps them shut down most teams' running games, including the Ravens and Jets, two of the best running teams in the game. They must get that strong pass rush, because their secondary plagued by injury this year, is very young and vulnerable, and has been burned by explosive pass offenses all year. PM Randy Moss and Brandon Marshall if you don't believe me.
- If the game comes down to kicking, placekicker Matt Stover is a very reliable veteran kicker with plenty of experience.
- Like the Colts, QB Drew Brees is the heart and soul of this team, who brings an unquestioned fiery leadership that has sparked the team and the entire community. Brees has plenty of weapons to throw to in Devery Henderson, Jeremy Shockey, Marques Colston, and late year standout Robert Meachem (Rocky Top!) to head the league's #1 passing offense.
- One of the problems for the Saints is that the strength of their offensive line is on the inside, headed by All-Pro Jahri Evans. Their Tackles have to perform better against Indy than they did against Minnesota, or you can expect a lot of 3 and outs again.
- Perhaps even more importantly, the Saints have to be able to run the football effectively , and maintain a balance to their offense that they have had all season. Their two-headed monster of Pierre Thomas, and the explosive triple threat Reggie Bush who also returns punts must be able to elude the Colts' quick linebackers, and force the Colts' safeties to come up a couple of steps and make plays, opening things up for the passing game. They need to keep their defense, and more importantly Manning off the field, and try and control the T.O.P.
- Defensively, the coaching staff of the Saints has said that they aren't good enough to stop teams without forcing turnovers. The Saints' D has given up mountains of yardage all season, but thrived on big plays especially turnovers. This was never more evident than in the NFC Championship game where Minnesota moved the ball at will, but was done in by five turnovers. Headed by Trojan Sedrick Ellis, linebacker and Haitian Jonathan Vilma, and All World safety Darren Sharper, the Saints have playmakers on all three levels, and will need to find a way to disguise their defenses, and somehow find a way to make Manning turn the ball over, or this game could get ugly.
The Prediction: Peyton picks the Saints' defense apart with the same combination of quick passes and deep strikes that he destroyed the Jets vaunted D with. Unlike the Vikings, the Colts protect the ball. Brees @ Co. struggle against Indy's pass rush, and falling behind and becoming one-dimensional they struggle to move the ball, and Indy rolls: 34-17.