I want you to imagine this man shouting everything in this column at you. No, it doesn't make the analysis any better. It is, however, hilarious.
So apparently there's some sort of football game happening today. Have you heard about this thing?
Now, I'm sure you've all heard more analysis than you care to hear about the Super Bowl. I'm sure you've had more than enough predictions to last you a lifetime. After all, every single sportswriter and media personality in the country has covered it from every imaginable angle, over and over and over again.
Well I may not be a sportswriter, and I may not have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but, um, wait. What was I talking about? Oh, yeah. The Super Bowl. Sure, you've heard the best analysis and predictions money can buy. But hey, what else am I going to talk about?
So I thought hey, since I'm up anyway, let's try the old hand at a proper Super Bowl prediction, shall we? Here goes nothing.
Colts 37, Saints 27.
Aaron has spoken, and that's all there's gonna be. (Mentally insert chorus of angels sound effect here. Thank you.)
Why am I picking the Colts, you ask? (Well, besides the fact everyone else is, so it makes me look smart.) I'm picking the Colts because I simply don't believe the New Orleans defense is going to be able to slow down the most transcendent player in the National Football League. It's Peyton Manning vs. the Saints' defense, and I've got to take Peyton.
The thing is, the Saints like to blitz. A lot. Greg Williams is their defensive coordinator, and he's a damned fine one at that. The man can put together a blitz package and scheme like nobody's business. The problem is when you blitz Peyton Manning, you really just sort of piss him off. It's like when you see a bear in the woods, and rather than leave it alone, you start just chucking rocks at the thing. Guess what? You just increased your chances of getting eaten by a bear by several hundred thousand percent. And that's sort of what happens when you blitz Peyton Manning.
On the other hand, the only way to really beat Manning is to somehow pressure him. Doing that, of course, requires either a dominant front four or extra pass rushers. The Saints' front four is good, but not dominant. So extra men it is. What this does is really shift all the pressure on to the Saint's secondary, and that's the key unit in this entire game. If the New Orleans secondary can find some way of putting Dallas Clark and Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon on ice, then they win. But honestly, I just don't see that happening.
On the other side of the ledger, we have the most prolific offense in all of football this year in the Saints' high-flying attack. Plus, you have a huge loss on the Colts' defense in Dwight Freeney
. Even if Freeney plays, there's no way he's going to be truly effective with the degree of injury he has. In all likelihood, Dwight Freeney, one of the top pass rushers in the NFL, will be absolutely no factor in this game.
And you know what? I don't think it matters.
I never thought the Colts' defense would really stop the Saints from moving the ball. I really don't think they'll even be able to hold the Saints' offense down much. Dwight Freeney is one hell of a pass rusher, but I think even with him out there, the Saints are going to put some points on the board. So in all honesty, I'm not nearly as concerned with Freeney's absence as you might expect.
The rest of the Colts' defense has one thing on their side that the Saints really hate: the Colts are fast. They're fast in a way very, very few other teams are on defense, and that's the one thing which has really caused problems for New Orleans this year. The Colts have so much speed, in fact, that I actually do expect them to get to Drew Brees at least a couple of times. I think they get to him just often enough to keep the Saints under 30 points. (Really going out on a limb there, huh?)
In the end, I think it comes down to this: both of these teams are going to score, and plenty. But there are two things Peyton Manning does as well better than anyone else in football, in my ever so humble opinion: beat the blitz and avoid turning the ball over. Those are the two things the Saints do best on defense; they blitz like crazy and create plenty of takeaways.
And so we come right back to where we started. It's Peyton Manning (okay, Manning and his receivers and his offensive line, happy?), against the New Orleans' Saints defense. If the Saints can take the ball away and get to Manning, then yeah, they've got a shot. In fact, if they do those things, I think it's better than a shot; I think the Vince Lombardi Trophy is going to the Big Easy. But guess what? I don't think the Saints will do those things. I think the Colts will hold on to the ball and those blitzes will be just a half-step too slow.
So it's Colts 37, Saints 27. Write it down, use it as your prediction, and thank me later when all your friends want to know how in the world you got so damned smart about football.
On the other hand, if I'm wrong, we never met. And don't try to tell people you got your info from some kook on the internet. Got it?