Super Manning

Superbowl XLIV is so close, yet so far away. I’m actually surprised the media hype hasn’t been worse, and Dwight Freeney injury aside, over-analysis of the two teams has been kept to a minimum. I actually enjoy that a good chunk of the spotlight has been put on Jim Caldwell and Sean Payton, the two coaches. Instead of waiting until the end of the article like normal to make my pick, I’m going to jump right into it.

The Indianapolis Colts will defeat the New Orleans Saints, 34-21, to capture Superbowl XLIV.

Two words why this is going to happen: Peyton Manning. I’ve been saying for years now (even prior to his Superbowl victory) that Peyton Manning is the best quarterback the NFL has ever seen. I fully believe that by the time he retires, he’s going to hold most of the significant passing records. We saw against the New York Jets two weeks ago what Manning can do to a defence. He played the first half just testing out the Jets’ stop unit, and in the second half, he completely dissected it.

On Sunday, Manning will be up against a New Orleans defence that specializes in turnovers. They’ll continue to utilize an array of blitz packages on Indy, and their ball-hawking secondary will be ready to pounce on mistakes. The Saints D may be able to keep the team in the game, and of course, their offence features Drew Brees. I have no doubt that the Saints will put up some points, but I see the Colts’ defence providing a surprisingly tough challenge. In their two previous playoff games, New Orleans has faced defences that believe in constant pressure. Indianapolis will look to use its front four to get to Brees (for the record, I believe Freeney will play), but Caldwell & Co. will be happy to sit back in their Cover 2 package and wait for their opportunities.

KEY PLAYERS

Indianapolis: Joseph Addai & Donald Brown. I know it’s two, but one of them needs to step up and deliver for the Colts. I’m not just talking about running the ball, I’m more looking towards catching passes in the flat. With the Saints dealing up all kinds of pressure, the Colts’ rushers are going to need to be aware and get themselves open for check downs.

New Orleans: Darren Sharper. If the Saints want to have a shot of winning the game, Sharper is going to need to play big. He’s the veteran anchor of their secondary, and is quite good at forcing turnovers. I believe Jabari Greer will be able to hold his own against Reggie Wayne, but Sharper will have to help out Tracy Porter and the rest of the Saints’ cornerbacks with Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon. And of course, there’s also Dallas Clark.

Either way the game goes Sunday, let’s all hope for an exciting matchup. Enjoy the game!

TWO POINT CONVERSION

– I’ve just finished reading the scariest item I’ve ever seen: NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said in regards to how likely a lockout is in 2011, “On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s a 14.”

– the Buffalo Bills are switching to a 3-4 base defence. This one won’t be pretty, give it some time

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