I’ve had a rough year of NFL playoff predictions, but hey, everyone has their days. Here is my Super Bowl breakdown –
COLTS/Saints – I feel this game will come down to the quarterbacks. I have said it before and I will say it again: NEVER bet against Peyton Manning if he doesn’t give you a reason to. He systematically manhandled the best defense in the league two weeks ago against the Jets, and the Saints run a similar style of aggressive, hard-hitting defense. Even after falling behind early, Peyton was able to maintain composure (like always) and lead his team to victory. Now he enters Super Sunday, a night in which he already has claimed a championship ring. He quite literally is the heart and soul of this Indianapolis team; his offense boasts a chemistry that is unmatched by any team in the league, largely due to his ability to micro-manage the offense at the line of scrimmage and his teammates’ trust in his judgement. On the other hand, Drew Brees is nothing short of a great quarterback either. He was the most accurate passer in the league this year, and the weapons around him rival those around Manning. Frankly, the only reason Manning and Brees are held to different standards is Peyton’s ring. Like the rest of the Saints franchise, Brees has never gotten this far in the playoffs, and he typically has not been able to replicate his regular season success after week 17. However, if Brees manages to lead his team to victory, we could very well put him and Manning in the same group of elite, historic quarterbacks.
Overall, I believe the Colts are simply too complete a team to bet against. They lost games in the regular season when they didn’t necessarily want to win, while the Saints lost games that they worked hard to win. Unless Manning falls to an injury, this offense will be too potent for the aggressive Saints defense. The Saints do have some intangibles working their way though. They are playing for a ravished city that relies on them for inspiration, Brees will be looking to cement his status as an elite quarterback with a championship, and the team has an underdog status that gives them something to prove. It will be an exciting shootout, but the Colts will win 34-28.