Monday, February 1, 2010

SB Pick

Super Bowl Pick

After a 67% regular season, I am now 5-5 in the postseason, after picking the first 4 games wrong. The Super Bowl will decide whether I am above .500 or below .500. It all comes down to the Colts and Saints, who have been on a collision course for Miami ever since week 1. Will it be the Team of Destiny, or the Team of Dominance? The hurricane-hit city of hope, or the fair-weather-fans of Indy who booed their own team for going 13-1? The best quarterback in the NFL, or the second best quarterback in the NFL? (Note: I’m not sure which is which.)

America will be rooting for the Saints; residents of Indiana will be rooting for the Colts.

I still haven’t decided who I’ll be rooting for.

I love the ‘Destiny’ angle and Drew Brees is one of the classiest, nicest players dating back to his Purdue days. But the Saints have Shockey. And Reggie Bush. And Harry Connick Jr. And I don’t want to see any of those clowns celebrating.

I like the Colts too, but when I went to the Colts-Pats game in November and saw half the stadium leave when the Pats took the lead by 13 with 4 minutes left, I lost any respect I had for the Indy faithful. I seemed to be the only one in Lucas Oil Stadium who knew Peyton Manning would come back and win the game, and I was the only one who wasn’t cheering for the Colts. Between that and the week 16 booing, I’d say Colts fans are the least deserving fan-base in the NFL, other than Pittsburgh of course.

So I’m rooting for New Orleans’ fans.

But I like Peyton, and Wayne and Clark and all those guys, and the Colts are such a classy, no-nonsense team who plays the right way. I also like the fact that if Manning wins it, he really cements himself as one of the all-time greats without question, and I’d be okay with that. I like Bill Polian, and Jim Caldwell, and especially Tony Dungy. So I’d be okay with the Colts winning. The only problems I have with that are a) watching Eli celebrate the win, and b) Colts fans who don’t deserve it.

So overall, I’ll be rooting for New Orleans, but understanding that in a historic perspective it’s better if the Colts win, and I will not lose any sleep either way. Unless I’m rooting for the Lions or against the Steelers, I really am not invested in who wins or loses any game.

As far as my prediction, right now I’m leaning towards the Saints, and here’s why:

(yes, Andy I realize you wrote basically this same thing but I thought about it a few days ago and then saw you write it yesterday so stop copying everything I say!)

The last two games, the Saints D has played against Kurt Warner (who just had arguably the best season of his career) and Brett Favre (ditto). Their defense has been torched, but it’s also been primed to face the best QB in the NFL who isn’t on the Saints. Gregg Williams will continue to apply pressure on Manning, a strategy that both the Jets and Ravens tried to no avail. But the alternative is to rush 4 and force Manning to make tough throws, and if you do that, Manning will destroy you. It’s a lose-lose situation, but at least pressure packages give the Saints D the chance to make a big play or two.

The Colts defense, on the other hand, has played back to back games against Joe Flacco (who absolutely fell apart as the season progressed) and Mark Sanchez (a rookie with some hideous facial hair). Are they ready for Drew Brees? No. Not even close.

The Colts D will continue to rush Freeney and Mathis and rely on the overall speed in the middle of the field to stymie the passing attack. They’ve faced two straight rushing offenses and fared pretty well, but their primary weakness is against the pass, and Brees should be able to roll over them with ease.

We all know this is going to be a high-scoring, offense-dominated Super Bowl, and it’s probably going to come down to the fourth quarter. But my gut tells me that the team who gets off to a faster start will be in control, and will have the luxury of running the ball and staying flexible on offense. (Even though in both Championship games, the team that got off to the faster start ended up losing). But I think the Saints will be that team. I think Brees leads them to at least 2 TD drives in the first quarter. I think Indy has to play catch-up, and Brees makes it difficult by continuing to score every chance he gets. I think we’re in store for an epic QB dual, a back and forth scoring affair that makes both defenses look pedestrian, and I think at the end of the day, everyone will be saying, “Well what do you know, Drew Brees is the best quarterback in the NFL right now.”

The highest scoring Super Bowl ever was 49-26, a combined 75 points, when San Fran beat San Diego in 1995. I’d say the odds of this game breaking that record are at least 1:3. Each team needs to score 5 TDs and someone has to score one more. No sweat.

I think we’re looking at 35-45, Saints.

But then again …

The Colts are 15-0 in the last 15 games that they’ve actually tried to win. Dating back to last year, they are 25-1 in their last 26 games in which they actually tried, and the one loss was an overtime game against San Diego in which the Colts never got the ball in OT due to the worst rule in all of sports (the coin flip). It’s tough to bet against those odds. It’s tough to bet against the most clutch player in football, Peyton Manning. (Never thought I’d say that …) It's tough ...

But the Saints are the Team of Destinae.
(yes I realize it's spelled wrong but it looks better like that)

Saints by 10.

Brees - MVP.

And Manning makes this face:

Enjoy the Super Bowl (and commericals).
Go Lions.


  1. Great thoughts. Here's an idea I read about how to fix OT, and wondered what you thought:

    Instead of ending the 4th quarter and going to a coin flip, end the fourth quarter just like the third - offense retains ball and field position - but the game remains sudden death in the fifth quarter.

    Keeping sudden death means that it is more important than ever to stop teams at the end of the 4th.

  2. Thats a solid idea.

    I also like the idea of 'first team to 6 wins.' That way if you get a good kickoff return it doesnt automatically win you the game with a field goal.

    too bad the nfl is too lame to ever do anything cool like that. but they have to get rid of the coin. at least go the route of the ncaa.