Super Bowl XLIV Prediction

I wrote a longer version of this article in my rough draft, but I’m going to do everyone a favor and just skip the foreplay. By now, your well aware of all the storylines centered around Super Bowl XLIV because it’s been shoved down your throat the past two weeks.

So let’s just get naked and do this thing already.

With everyone focused on Peyton Manning’s brilliance, Dwight Freeney’s injury and the Saints’ “destiny,” fans and analysts alike aren’t paying much attention to something that could be the difference in the end.

Whether it’s pounding it up the middle with Pierre Thomas and Mike Bell or testing the edge with Reggie Bush, the Saints can run the ball. In fact, they can run the ball better than people give them credit for.

What’s one of the best ways to beat Manning? If you said “with pressure” then you’d be right, but that’s easier said than done. The Saints battered Kurt Warner and Brett Favre into mistakes in their last two games, but Manning excels at reading a defense at the line of scrimmage, recognizing the coverage and getting the ball out of his hands quickly. Chances are that New Orleans won’t get to Manning consistently enough for it to play a huge factor in the outcome.

No, the best way to beat Manning is to keep him on the sidelines. The Saints can accomplish that by controlling the line of scrimmage and pounding the rock. Once they’ve done that, then the passing game will open up and due to Freeney’s injury, the Colts won’t be able to generate enough pressure with their front four to slow Brees down. If they blitz, Brees can burn them by throwing away from their coverage, which is something he specializes in.

While Brees, Bush, Jeremy Shockey, Darren Sharper and a host of other Saints will certainly play a key role tonight, I wouldn’t be surprised if Pierre Thomas takes on the MVP award tonight. He could wind up being the backbone of the Saints’ offense and the key to keeping Manning on the sidelines.

The Saints win this game with their ground game, and I’m willing to bet that it’ll be a lower scoring game than people think.

Saints 24, Colts 23.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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