Super Bowl Showdown: Who Wins?

I have a hard time writing this analysis without the Patriots in this game. However, I'll do my best to cast a prediction. The Super Bowl consists of two teams who defeated us during the regular season, in their own domes- one by slaughter and one by comeback. One has the greatest QB in the game (and possibly all time) and the other has the city of New Orleans behind them. Who wins this game?

I'll do a breakdown of every position and compare the two teams. I'll predict the team with the most match-up victories the overall winner of the Super Bowl.

Is it possible to have both teams lose?

More after the Jump.

Quarterback

Peyton Manning vs Drew Brees. Fivehead vs Facemark. Commercial Stud vs Country Boy. Big Arm vs Big Arm. And no Brett Favre! Who wins this match-up? There are no teams with quarterbacks as important to their team as the Saints and the Colts. Pretty Boy Peyton was MVP of the regular season (and rightfully so) and Brees led the league in Passer Rating (for what that stat's worth). Neither QB really put their team in the position to lose (Brees may have against Miami), and both QBs were basically locks to create a late comeback and help win the game. Some similar games they played:

Manning: NYJ (AFCG)- 66.7% for 377 yards, 3 TDs and 0 picks.

Brees: NYJ (Week 4)- 62.5% for 190 yards, 0 TDs and 0 picks.

Manning: NE (Week 10)- 63.6% for 327, 4 TDs and 2 picks.

Brees: NE (Week 12)- 78.3% for 371, 5 TDs and 0 picks.

When facing similar opponents, Manning come out on top statistically. Both led teams to nigh undefeated seasons, ended with straight losses (3 by NO, 2 by IND) to end the season. However, Manning's been he before and I believe that he's the superior quarterback. There is no other QB in the league that I would want to lead my team, down by 2 TDs entering the 4th quarter. Both QBs tend to make costly mistakes that change the pace of the game. I think Manning is the better QB and can overcome those mistakes.

My pick: The Colts.


Running Backs

Probably one of the easiest positions. The Saints. PT Cruiser and Reggie Bush beat Addai and Brown any day. Addai and Bush seem to be used in similar way- short passes and hoping they make big plays. Bush tends to make those bigger plays. PT and Brown as the running backs and PT is definitely the best back in this Super Bowl.

My Pick: The Saints.

 

Receivers (WR + TE)

Probably one of the hardest positions to compare. Starting with TEs, both Shockey and Clark are liabilities in the run blocking region. Luckily, neither team is a rushing team. Clark is definitely the better weapon in the receiving game, so I'll give the TE edge to the Colts. The Wide Receiver position is harder to judge.

Wayne or Colston - Wayne by a lot. Wayne is easily one of the top 3 receivers in the league. Colston is good, but he's no where near Reggie.

Henderson or Garcon - Push. Both put up similar stats and both can be called upon with reliable hands. Garcon had a monster game in the AFCG. Let's see if he can follow that up.

Collie or Meachem - Meachem put up an absurd stat line over the year, catching (I believe) 5 straight TD passes over a span of 3 games. Collie has emerged, late in the year, as one of the young surprises. I'd have to call this a push as well.

My Pick: The Colts.

 

O-Line

The Colts O-Line kept Manning the most clean in the entire league. However, the Saints have the leagues two best guards in Jahri Evans and Carl Nicks, who can do a passable job in the passing game, but are the best in the business in the running game. The Colts line kept Manning clean- but they were a one trick pony. They didn't have much to worry about with Manning's quick release and overall skill. I expect the Saints O-Line to be a large factor in this game- can they get the running game going? If so, it'll be a long day for the Colts.

My Pick: The Saints.

 

D-Line

Freeney is a little injured, but he'll still play. Mathis, on the other side, is just as impressive. Together, they're EASILY the best Defensive End pair in the game. They can hold their own against the run, but they wreak havoc against the pass. Both had double digit sacks and were first and third in generating QB pressure in the entire league. They made the secondary's job MUCH easier and allowed a pair of young kids to make plays. The Saints, on the other hand, had 6 players with 3 or more sacks (to the Colts 3 players), but only had one player break the 10 sack mark. On another down side, Freeney and Mathis each had around 3 TIMES as many QB pressures as any defensive player on the Saints. What does that mean? Manning is going to have a lot of time. What does that mean? Nothing good for the Saints.

My Pick: The Colts.

 

Linebackers

Both teams have fast linebackers who can make the plays. While the Saints have Vilma, who is probably the best LB in the Super Bowl, the Colts managed to have 3 guys (Bracket, Wheeler, Session) who can all make every play needed. Overall, the Colts beat the Saints in Passing Yards Allowed/Game, Rushing Yards Allowed/Game and Points Allowed/Game. Their versatile linebacker core has a lot to do with that.

My Pick: The Colts.

 

Secondary

The Saints win games by generating turnovers. New Orleans had 10 more picks than Indianapolis. Darren Sharper is a ball hawk, and their secondary (which work under great coaching by Gregg Williams) can infuriate opposing receivers. There is experience and depth in their secondary, which is necessary when playing Manning. The Colts have two rookies (Powers and Lacey) who are expected to face one of the best passing games in the entire league. That said, they probably have to practice against Manning who is okay in his own right. They've played beyond their years and have excelled in a "bend, don't break" kind of defense which has sound fundamentals and, while they probably won't make a big play, they will make enough stops to make a difference. Their safeties, however, get eaten alive when challenged (specifically Bullitt, whom opposing QBs have thrown at 30 times, completed 25 of them for 400 yards and 2 TDs). When their secondary gets spread out, expect Brees to take advantage.

My Pick: The Saints.

 

Overall: Colts 4 - Saints 3

I believe that the Colts will win the Super Bowl by a score of 4 to 3.

Wait, what? That doesn't sound right to you? Alright.

 

Some Key Factors:

1) Saints Passing Game vs Colts Passing Defense - Can the young Colts secondary slow a potent Saints passing game? Prediction: Yes. Mathis and Freeney will go to TOWN on the Saint's O-Line and prevent the Saints from getting into an offensive groove. I'm expecting Brees to go for 250 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs and a fumble.

2) Colts Passing Game vs Saints Passing Defense - Can the Saints handle the best passing offense in the league? Prediction: No. Manning is Manning and is the best at what he does. 300+ Yards, 4 TDs and an INT. Gets MVP.

3) Reggie Bush - Can he continue to make big plays? Prediction: Yes. I'm expecting 80+ Total Yards from Scrimmage and a TD on a 20+ yard play.

4) Dallas Clark - Will he be able to contribute, or will the Saints shut him down? Prediction: No. I think the Saints will focus on taking him out of the game forcing Manning to utilize Collie and Garcon (which he will). Clark won't get more than 50 yards.

5) Turnovers - Whoever wins the turnover battle will more than likely win the game. My bet, is if the Saints win the TO battle by 2+ Turnovers, they win. If the Colts go -1 or better, they win. I predict the Colts to win the TO battle

 

My Pulled out of Thin Air Prediction: Colts 31 - Saints 24

Or: First Team to 30 wins.

 

What does everyone else think?

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