By Hobson Lopes
This coming Sunday, live from Miami, Florida, we will all witness two great quarterbacks, who led their teams to the number one seeds in their conferences, face off. It will be this Sunday, when the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints face off in Super Bowl 44 at Sun Life Stadium. This Super Bowl marks the first time in history that the Saints make the trip. Even the great Archie Manning-father of Colts QB Peyton- couldn’t lead the Saints to the big dance. This marks the second time in four seasons that the Colts make the trip. At Super Bowl 41, Manning led the Colts to the victory over the Chicago Bears in Miami at Dolphin Stadium.
While many people hoped to see the Colts battle the Brett Favre lead Minnesota Vikings team, the Saints ruined those plans with a thrilling victory in overtime in what was one of the sloppiest playoff football games this reporter has ever seen. The way the Saints were able to take the ball away from the Vikings at will is a sign of how good their defense may be. The way the Vikings moved the ball at ease aside from those turnovers is a sign that the Saints may be in for a long flight home after the game. Manning is the smartest player in the NFL. He doesn’t give defenses too much time to sack him, and doesn’t make the same mistakes that the great Favre does. If the Saints want to win this game, they need to look at film from last season to find out how to beat the Colts.
The Colts were 14-0 going into week 16 against the New York Jets. In the second half of that game, Colts coach Jim Caldwell benched his starters to rest them for the playoffs. In week 17, Caldwell left his starters in the game only enough to get some milestones, and then benched them again. While Caldwell received criticism from everyone in the media, and from everyone in attendance at those games, his decision has paid off. The Colts lost both games, and by doing so, didn’t even help the Saints. The Saints can’t go back and look at the film of what the Jets or Bills did that week. It won’t be the same guys on the field that day.
The Saints do have a shot in this game. The Saints have one of the highest powered offensive attacks in the NFL. QB Drew Brees is one of the top three QB’s in the game and his ability to spread the ball around make it difficult for any defense to lock on to just one receiver. Running Back Reggie Bush has come out of nowhere in recent weeks and finally looks like he did in college at USC. Throw in back up Pierre Thomas, who led the team in rushing this year, and the Saints have one of the top 1-2 RB duos in the league. If they can do anything major against the Colts great defense is still to be seen. If the Saints truly want to have a chance to win this game, they need tight end Jeremy Shockey to get back to playing like he did in the first half of the season. Shockey, one of the few Saints with Super Bowl experience, needs to play a big part in the receiving game, as well as blocking up front against the Colts highly talented linebackers.
My prediction for this game is the Colts winning 34-28. Peyton Manning will win his second Super Bowl MVP award, and look for former UCONN Huskies star Donald Brown to have a big game. Manning will throw for over 300 yards, with 3 TD, and 1 int. Brees will match Manning’s numbers, but it will be the Colts running attack that makes the difference in Miami.