Feb 5, 2010

Finish Strong: Super Bowl XLIV

All the hype. All the build-up. The history. Dwight Freeny's ankle? Peyton Manning going against his hometown team? Hurricane Katrina? 43 year wait? Do the Saints deserve to be here? Are the Saints dirty? Is Manning the best ever? The Who. Carrie Underwood. Southbeach. Miami.

All of these storylines will soon be put to rest as Super Bowl XLIV will finally be played this weekend. Yes, there's actually a football game involved in all of this madness.

The Saints and Colts were the best teams in their conferences all season and finally will meet on the biggest stage. Media day is behind us, practices are winding down, and gameplans are being polished. We'll finally get the answers to all the questions, and the most important one, especially, who's going to win SB XLVI?

You're probably tired of hearing about how great Peyton Manning is and how the Saints defense won't be able to stop him. You're also probably tired of hearing about how Drew Brees is almost as good and is underrated. Word all week has been that the Saints will have to be able to match the Colts in scoring and this could go down as one of the highest scoring, competitive Super Bowls ever. I wonder if it will even be that close.

My heart wants to pick the Saints and pick them big. Look at the road they took to get here. Sure, the AFC has traditionally been a tougher road than the NFC, but not this year. Look at the teams that the Saints defeated this year: Eagles, Patriots, Cardinals, Vikings, Jets, Falcons ... their playoff road alone, Cardinals & Vikings, was rougher than the Colts, who defeated two wild card teams. Then check out how the teams won this year. The Colts had a few games that were low-scoring and they just pulled out at the end. I see high scoring and blowout games on the Saints schedule. All in all, I don't think the Saints are getting the respect they deserve in this game. Too many people are putting far too much stock in the Vikings game, where Minnesota out gained New Orleans in just about every statistical category.

I've heard numerous media analysis say that the Saints offense has been iffy for the past few weeks. Did they miss the Cardinals game? Wasn't that just a couple games ago? Then there's the injury factor. The Colts have two key starters nursing injuries. Be sure that Sean Payton will work to exploit these weaknesses. I just don't see the total one-sidedness of the "experts" picks. Sure Payton Manning is great and it will be nearly impossible to confuse him, but he does make mistakes.

I don't want to hear that its destiny for the Saints, but this is Drew Brees' time. He has been waiting for this his entire life and he actually gets it. He knows what the Saints mean to Louisiana, especially New Orleans. He wants this win more than anything, and as long as he plays like the Drew Brees we've come to know with the Black and Gold, the Saints will win.

(prediction after the Saints Super Bowl team picture, any idea why they lined up backwards with the numbers from right to left?)

Saints 31

Colts 20

MVP: Jonathan Vilma - I think Drew Brees is the "favorite" on the Saints, but I also think the Saints defense has gotten overlooked this year. Vilma, the Pro Bowl linebacker, always seems to find the ball and has a knack for making big plays.

If the Saints are able to pull off the victory, here's a preview of what we'll see Sunday:

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