With Super Bowl Weekend finally upon us, the next two days will drag.
This is the weekend that pretty much everybody who is anybody has been waiting for. Football fanatics, regular passive fans, the non-football fans, the clueless girlfriends, the clueless period.
You get the idea. Pretty much everybody will be watching the Super Bowl this weekend, if not for the game itself, for the hilarious commercials, the halftime show, and the national anthem.
The Super Bowl provides something for everyone, which is why it is so appealing to all of America.
The Super Bowl may indeed, be the ONLY television broadcast where you cannot find the power within yourself, to get up off of your butt, to even get food, because of all of the features that go along with Super Bowl Sunday.
Everything, and everyone involved in the Super Bowl hype is glamorous. The weeks leading up to the Super Bowl feature some of the biggest and best parties that you will find in the whole world. It also features some of the biggest media gatherings of the season, on Media Day.
The fact that the NFL is the only league where the champion is decided with one game just adds to all of the excitement.
Even the best of the best get nervous for the Super Bowl. This may be that players, or teams, only chance at being crowned as the best team in football ever. Look at some of the teams that have not even been close to a Super Bowl in their history:
The Jacksonville Jaguars, the Houston Texans, even the New Orleans Saints have not tasted the success that one feels when finally getting to that Super Bowl.
For the players that finally make it, it may very well be their only shot at getting a championship.
The raw emotion that goes into the whole 60 minutes of play is what the true die-hards crave. This is what they do not get to see in the regular season, the two best teams in the league playing in the last game of the year, to be known as the best team in the league for that year.
So you get the picture, the Super Bowl is the biggest, and baddest fad this nation has seen that is televised. So without further ado, let me take you on a tour of how I see the game, between the Indianapolis Colts, and the New Orleans Saints, and read, as I give you my take on the matchups, and who I think will get the win, and be crowned as this years champion of the NFL.
Let’s first start off with the key injuries for both teams:
Did not participate in practice: DE Dwight Freeney (ankle), CB Jerraud Powers (foot).
Full participation in practice: RB Joseph Addai (shoulder), CB Antoine Bethea (back), LB Gary Brackett (knee), RB Donald Brown (foot), CB Melvin Bullitt (knee), OT Ryan Diem (knee), CB Aaron Francisco (hand), RB Mike Hart (ankle), DT Antonio Johnson (shoulder), OT Charlie Johnson (foot), DE Robert Mathis (shoulder), G Jamey Richard (shoulder), K Matt Stover (left calf), TE Jacob Tamme (ankle), OT Tony Ugoh (knee), K Adam Vinatieri (right hip), WR Reggie Wayne (knee).
CB Randall Gay (foot/illness); CB Malcolm Jenkins (hamstring); DE Bobby McCray (back/ankle); S Pierson Prioleau (quad); WR Courtney Roby (knee); S Darren Sharper (knee); TE Jeremy Shockey (knee); DE Will Smith (groin); T Zach Strief (shoulder); LB Jonathan Vilma (knee); T Jermon Bushrod (thumb); LB Jonathan Casillas (ankle); TE Darnell Dinkins (foot); G Jahri Evans (foot); LB Scott Fujita (knee); CB Jabari Greer (groin); WR Robert Meachem (ankle); WR Lance Moore (ankle); CB Tracy Porter (knee)
RB Lynell Hamilton (ankle)
Both teams have listed a lot of players that will be playing without a doubt, and will be playing as close to full speed as you can get.
The serious injuries that fans should be worrying about is the ankle injury that Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney suffered in the AFC Championship game, and the injury to Colts corner Jerraud Powers.
Michael Lombardi, from the NFL Post, is reporting that Freeney will likely only play in obvious pass situations, which limits the speed of the Colts densive line, which is arguably their biggest strength.
The limited use of Freeney also allows the Saints offensive line to double team right end Robert Mathis, who is a good player in his own right, but is overshadowed by Freeney.
Raheem Brock would likely get the reps in the absence of Freeney.
In what will most likely be a shootout anyway, this gives New Orleans Sains All Pro Quarterback Drew Brees, even more time to get the ball out of his hands, and into the grasp of one of his many playmakers.
It does not help the Colts defense that the Saints have one of the most physical pass protecting lines in the game. Passing is the Saints specialty, so they are used to pushing back the oncoming pass rush at this point in the season.
5. Gregg Williams vs. Peyton Manning
4. Dallas Clark vs. Saints linebackers
3. Colts receivers vs. Saints cornerbacks
2. Saints offensive line vs. Colts pass rushers
1. Peyton Manning vs. Darren Sharper
Keys To Game:
The keys to the game will be as follows, first up is the Colts:
First and foremost, the Colts will have to score on almost every possession. If they don’t, it could prove costly. While Peyton Manning is clutch in big time situations, I would not want Brees to be in the game come crunch time.
If the Colts allow the Saints to hang around, it could prove to cost them the Super Bowl ring that they have worked so hard for.
I believe the Saints have a better all around defense than the Colts, and that without Freeney, the Colts have a huge dent in their armor, which will allow Brees to run rapid all over the Colts secondary.
To stop this of course, the Colts will need to get some hits on Brees, and get him on the ground. This may be easier said than done though. Brees has one of the quickest releases in the game, and he is more mobile than most quarterbacks in the league, especially Manning.
If the Colts fail to get a good pass rush on Brees, and allow him to stand in the pocket for most of the game, Brees will torch the Colts, and win a no contest in getting his first ring.
Next up is the Saints:
The Saints will need to be able to run the ball successfully against the Colts defense. The Colts will be expecting the Saints to come out and pass the ball, and try to establish an early lead.
What the Saints need to do is wear down the Colts defense, and run the ball down their throats, but at the same time, show that they can score on a moments notice, with a big play.
Getting the run game going will be key for the Saints, as getting more run situations eliminates Dwight Freeney from the game, since he should only be on the field in passing situations.
Finding a way to stop the Colts offense will be key for the Saints as well.
If Manning breaks loose, and has a career day, the Saints will come away from the game losers. The Colts have a lot of options on offense, and while they put up some impressive offensive numbers against the league’s best defense in the AFC Championship game, the Saints defense is no slouch, especially when Gregg Williams in the evil genius behind it all.
This will undoubtedly be a game for the ages, featuring a high scoring game, with both quarterbacks looking to outduel each other, and each team looking to prove who has the better offense.
The team that shows that it can drive down the field and kill some clock, but still come away with some quick scores, will be the team that comes away with the victory, and in my mind, I see that team being the Saints.
The Saints have the all around better coaching. The Saints have both defensive and offensive masterminds, and also have an offense to match the Colts. So the X-Factor then must be the defense in this game. This matchup goes to the Saints as well, which somehow force the unlikely turnovers.
Peyton Manning is not invincible to throwing interceptions, he threw 3 in one game against the Denver Broncos this year. And if the Saints can get the pressure on Manning that defensive coordinator Gregg Williams would like, Manning will be in for a long night, and rest assured, will throw at least two picks.
The Saints defense is no joke. They have some of the best ball hawks in the league, and one of the best matchups of the night will be Saints free safety Darren Sharper against Peyton Manning.
This may go down as one of the best Super Bowls in history, and I predict that the Saints win in a shootout, 45-41, with Drew Brees getting the Super Bowl MVP award.