Colts v. Saints - Super Bowl Preview and Prediction

February 6, 2010

This year's Super Bowl match-up features the teams with the best records in the NFL. So why does it still feel like something of a let-down for most of the nation (i.e. those not from Indy or New Orleans)? Probably because there were several more interesting scenarios that could have played out amongst this year's playoff participants.

However, the one larger story that might draw in more fans on a national level is the city of New Orleans itself. Many fans are likely to root for the Saints to win this year simply because they are sympathetic to the plight of the impoverished city.

I must admit, imagining a victory celebration in a once-destroyed New Orleans is fun. However, there are a number of good reasons to cheer for the Saints over the Colts. Among these reasons are:

1. The Saints NFL history is so pathetic, it would be nice to see the underdog franchise win.

2. The Saints have never won a Super Bowl but the Colts have won twice. Peyton Manning led the Colts to victory just a couple of years ago and therefore many of the Colts players have experienced Super Bowl success.

3. The city of New Orleans has somehow been able to keep a perpetually losing franchise in place despite natural disasters. The city of Indianapolis stole their team from Baltimore.

4. The Colts "cheated" the NFL Fans by sitting out starters during the regular season with no regard for the possibility that they might have ended the season undefeated. Who wants to reward that kind of gutless "practical" football?

Nonetheless what many fans "want" has little to do with what will actually take place on Sunday.

Here is the breakdown and pick for this year's Super Bowl. For anyone counting the's record is 12-4 in picking winners.


2009 NFL MVP Peyton Manning had another spectacular season and is as equipped as any quarterback in the league to handle the pressure of both the moment and the Saints defense.

Wide Receiver Reggie Wayne has been the most consistent weapon in the offense and old reliables like Tight End Dallas Clark can be counted on as well. The key will be if Joseph Addai is able to give the Colts a consistent running threat, as the Colts ranked 32nd in rushing offense this season.

For New Orleans, they must get to Manning the way they pounded Kurt Warner and Brett Favre. Doing so against the talented Colts line will be challenging enough, but dealing with Manning's ability to audible and adjust plays in response will be that much harder.

To have real success against the Colts, Middle Linebacker Jonathan Vilma and Free Safety Darren Sharper will specifically have to come up big for the Saints. It will be a good sign for New Orleans if those two guys are around the ball all of the time as it will suggest that the Saints have been able to anticipate some of Manning's choices.


The Saints have been able to put up points on virtually every team this season. They averaged an NFL leading 403.8 yards and 31.9 points per game. That performance shouldn't change drastically against the Colts either.

The injury to Dwight Freeney is getting a ridiculous amount of coverage, but at the end of the day even a slight impact on his game might be significant. If Drew Brees is given time to throw and the timing of the Saints offense is not disrupted, the Saints should move the ball fairly regularly.

Of course, the Colts have almost always been underestimated on the defensive side of the ball. Defensive tackles Antonio Johnson and Daniel Muir will have the responsibility of shutting down the Saints running game, which was surprisingly ranked #6 this season. If the Saints are forced to become a one-dimensional passing offense, it gives the Indy defense a much better chance at controlling Drew Brees and the passing attack.



There have been suggestions by Saints Head Coach Sean Peyton that Reggie Bush will be given the ball a lot in this game and that the Saints will rely on his big play ability. Listen closely: If the Saints actually attempt to do this they will almost surely lose the game. Bush is given flashy nicknames like "X Factor" by some, but in reality he should merely be described as what he is: "above average punt returner."

Bush averaged more yards per carry (5.6) this year than any other by far as he never even averaged 4 yards per carry his 3 previous seasons. However, it helped that he only carried the ball an average of 5 times per game during the 14 regular season games he played in. The point? A few "change of pace" carries during the game is what Bush can offer, but not much more than that.

Further, despite what media hype may want to suggest or forget, Bush actually had career lows in punt returning and receiving this year. In fact, Bush's punt returning reputation is actually based on past years and his recent playoff performance against Arizona. During the regular season, he ranked last in the NFL for returners with 10 or more attempts (4.3 yds/attempt).

Rarely has an NFL player been so talked about but produced so little. Now somehow there is an expectation that Bush will have a "break-out" game and star in this year's Super Bowl. A word of advice: When Bush gets the ball try and remember that these aren't the USC days anymore - don't hold your breath.


Drew Brees may have been the best quarterback in the NFL this last season. He and coach Sean Peyton have created an offensive juggernaut in New Orleans. But neither have ever been on this big stage.

There is no reason Brees should not produce in this game. The Colts defense is good, but cannot shut the Saints offense down. The question is whether Brees can take it to the next level to step into the status of being a permanently elite quarterback. He has a compelling story of personal tragedy and every one wants to root for the "little guy" QB who proved the naysayers wrong.

A win by the Saints and we will ask if this is the beginning of a Joe Montana-Bill Walsh like dynasty in New Orleans. A loss and the Saints offensive accomplishments will merely be a nice, but shortly-forgotten story.


Don't bet against Peyton Manning right now....


Manish Pandya
Staff Editor for


  1. Saints are gonna take this thing. its our year and Brees can't be stopped! Without Freeney, Indy is no threat.

  2. Manning will be on his back all day. Just watch Clark over the middle, and the Saints will win this thing easy.

  3. Peyton, Reggie, Dallas & company will school the Saints. Everytime Brees leaves the Superdome he looks like an average QB.


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