Super Bowl XLIV Preview Extravaganza: The Pick

It has all come down to this. The two weeks of hype, chatter, and anxiety has concluded. This is a Super Bowl with so many storylines and potentially historic outcomes. Either the Indianapolis Colts win and Peyton Manning furthers his legacy as the greatest QB of our generation, or the New Orleans Saints bring home the city’s first ever pro sports championship.

On a personal level this is probably the first Super Bowl where I have nearly no rooting interest for either team. I’m on a completely neutral level and that should make this game a lot more enjoyable for me.

Super Bowl XL – I was rooting for the Seahawks.

Super Bowl XLI – Rooting for the Colts (Peyton Manning specifically). Also, Rex Grossman would’ve been the worst QB to ever win a Super Bowl.

Super Bowl XLII – Giants all the way!

Super Bowl XLIII – I hate Arizona, so go Steelers!

Super Bowl XLIV –  I just want a great football game.

That’s how I feel right now. I’m not going to lie to you, but this was a dull NFL season. This season had several good, wacky, lucky, and/or miraculous plays, but the quality of the games themselves were lacking. For every Colts vs. Patriots classic there were 5-6 games that ended in blowouts. Kickers forgot how to kick, and coaches had too many mental lapses (okay 90% of those were from Jim Zorn). There is no way fans should be subjected to the Eagles losing to the Raiders as Andy Reid runs the ball only 6 times against a terrible run defense. I shouldn’t be subjected to Seahawks games. Not every matchup can be an all-time great, but there were too many putrid-to-inconsistent teams and not enough decent-to-elite teams. As a result, I was bored out of my mind.

Today is the day where I can forget about the past and witness the greatest sporting event in American sports. Two truly elite teams with fantastic, exciting offenses will electrify Miami for the right to a Lombardi Trophy.

I’ve gone back and forth on who I think will reign supreme and it’s only last night that I made my pick. But will the Whatifsports machine have other ideas?

Man: Colts 38 Saints 28. I am not going to doubt Peyton Manning anymore. He is such an intelligent QB that even if Gregg Williams decides to blitz him to death he will adjust and have the Saints defense in a tizzy. The other angle here is if Manning isn’t pressured at all and the Saints secondary is forced into zone schemes and man coverage, Manning will win that battle. I guarantee it. I’ll simplify it then…the Saints are definitely not stopping Peyton Manning. Their running game sucks but they’ll have enough effectiveness to extend drives behind Joseph Addai’s menacing 2 yard runs.

Austin Collie, Pierre Garcno, Reggie Wayne, and Dallas Clark will tear New Orleans apart.

Many fans and pundits alike are eager to know whether or not Dwight Freeney will play. I think it would be a massive loss if Freeney doesn’t play, but hopefully those same fans and pundits realize that guys like Raheem Brock are perfectly capable of stepping up and filling his spot. Freeney is a dominant defensive end but you do not need a dominant DE to put pressure on the QB. Brock is very good and can generate pressure along with Robert Mathis. I think that will be the case.

New Orleans will have several solid offensive drives under Drew Brees’ wing. However I think the Colts defense will force at least two turnovers to negate any threat of a potential scoring drive. Expect big games from Marques Colston and Robert Meachem. Brees will also heavily use his tight ends Jeremy Shockey and David Thomas.

I’m thinking the Saints’ running attack could be mildly effective at worst and good at best. Pierre Thomas is a very underrated running back with good power. Reggie Bush offers the speed. The only way the Saints will have a good running day is if they use the pass to set up the run.

Defensively I’m not sure the Saints will do much against the Colts offense, as mentioned earlier. Darren Sharper and Tracy Porter are it for their secondary. Everyone else they have is sub-par.

I love the Saints so much but they aren’t a better team than Indy. Brees is an elite QB but the consistency of Peyton Manning drives me to the Colts.

MVP: Peyton Manning (26-39, 304 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT)

Machine: Colts 33 Saints 27 (OT). Indy recovered from an early 13-0 deficit to win the first ever overtime Super Bowl in dramatic fashion. In the 1st quarter New Orleans opened the scoring with a 56 yard strike from Brees to Robert Meachem. Indy sputtered on offense and the Saints twice kicked field goals to take their 13-0 lead. In the 2nd quarter Indy got on the board with an 11 play, 74 yard drive capped off with a touchdown pass from Manning to Pierre Garcon. On the ensuing possession Brees was picked off by Antoine Bethea in his own territory. Matt Stover kicked a field goal to cut the lead to 13-10. Towards the end of the half the Colts took the lead with an 11 yard Austin Collie touchdown reception.

New Orleans took the lead back with a 19 yard touchdown pass to Robert Meachem again to make the score 20-17. In the 4th quarter New Orleans completed a 14 play, 94 yard drive that began back in the 3rd quarter with a 1 yard touchdown run by Pierre Thomas on 4th and goal. 27-17 Saints with 12 minutes to go.

Peyton Manning surgically produced a 9 play touchdown drive with just 2:59 remaining. Reggie Wayne was the recipient of a 3rd Manning touchdown pass. The Colts defense stopped the Saints and got the ball back with 1:52 remaining.

Facing a 49 yard field goal, Matt Stover drilled it as time expired to send the game into overtime. The Colts were stifled on their opening possession, but heartbreak struck for New Orleans. Drew Brees’ pass from his own 16 was picked off by the rookie Jacob Lacey and returned to the 2 yard line.

Donald Brown, another rookie, clinched the Super Bowl with a short touchdown run and Indy hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in epic fashion.

Peyton Manning was MVP and you can look at the box score in the link provided for more info.

It’s game time. Let’s end this season with a bang.

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One thought on “Super Bowl XLIV Preview Extravaganza: The Pick

  1. JG

    too many mental lapses (okay 90% of those were from Jim Zorn) – He learned from the master Holmgren Dilfer better than # 4 ? Really ?

    If the Super Bowl is anywhere near the game Caps/Penguins was, it will be a good game. If SB goes to OT, Florio will freak out

    Reply

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