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Super Bowl XLIV Predicitions: Underdog Upset

Watch for Fast Releases from the Indianapolis Colts’ Cool-Headed Peyton Manning and an Arsenal of Attacks from the New Orleans Saints’ Multi-Talented Offense.

In the Super Bowl, it always comes down to how well your quarterback plays under pressure.  Super Bowl XLIV will prove to be no exception, as evenly matched quarterbacks — Payton Manning and Drew Brees — go head to head. Defensive schemes, offensive diversity and injuries will also be a factor in who will leave Miami with the Vince Lombardi Trophy in their arms on Super Bowl Sunday.

Players to Watch:

In the Super Bowl, it always comes down to how well your quarterback plays under pressure. 

The Colts’ Peyton Manning is so quick with his decisions and his releases that it will be very tough for the Saints’ defense to get to him.  On the other hand, the Saints’ Drew Brees stats have been better all season; he has had fewer interceptions, a higher completion percentage, a higher quarterback rating (109.6), and he has thrown one more touchdown than Manning (99.9). 

Manning’s stats may have been improved if the Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell had not pulled him and other starters in the 3rd quarter against the New York Jets on December 27th, resulting in the Colts’ only loss for this season.  Stats aside, Manning has won a Super Bowl before and I think that ultimately puts experience on his side, giving him the upper hand.

Also watch for the Saints’ running backs Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas to be diverse point-scoring assailants against the Colts’ injury-plagued defense.  With the Colts’ star defensive end Dwight Freeney injured, as well as Colts’ corner back Bob Sanders, watch for Robert Mathis to try to step up to the challenge of hunting down Saints’ Brees, Bush, and Thomas. 

Plays to Watch:

One of the biggest questions lingering over Sunday’s Super Bowl game is whether the Colts’ all-time sacks leader Dwight Freeney will be playing or not.  His 3rd degree lower ankle basketball sprain basically translates to a complete tear of a ligament on the outer side of his ankle.  If he is playing, he will be battling pain, swelling, and instability, which mean we won’t see his trademark inside spin move or his quick explosiveness that puts pressure on opposing quarterbacks.  The Saints’ will attack and test Freeney early in the game by either running the ball at him or cutting him with a short passing game to see if how he can hold up.   If Freeney is out of the game, I don’t think the Colts’ backup Raheem Brock is up to the challenge of stopping the Saints’ Drew Brees, who has yet to throw an interception in this post-season, or Saints’ double talent running backs Bush and Thomas. 

There is no doubt that Peyton Manning will be playing fast, level-headed football and capitalizing on his strengths of picking apart the defensive schemes of any opponent, and the Saints will obviously be no exception.  He also has a strong triumvirate of receivers to throw to in Austin Collie, Pierre Garcon, Reggie Wayne, who were instrumental in beating the New York Jets in the AFC Championship Game. 

Deciding Factors:

Like I said before, the Super Bowl always comes down to how well your quarterback plays under pressure.  Peyton Manning has done it before, he’s won it before.  And if Drew Brees wants to win, he’s going to have to play the game of his life.  He’s going to have to play mistake free football.  And because of the pressure of this game, many talented quarterbacks have choked. 

When you have the two of the best quarterbacks in the league going up against each other, the other deciding factor is whose defensive line and blitz schemes can get to the quarterback.  The Colts’ Defensive Coordinator, Larry Coyer, is truly one of the best.  But he’s one of the best because he’s got a great defensive team to execute his schemes, with it all starting in the defensive front and ending with a defensive line.  With Freeney at only fifty percent due to his ankle injury, it’s up to Raheem Brock as back up to execute.  I believe this will be one of the deciding factors in Sunday’s game. 

Finally, the Saints bring diversity to the table in the face of the Colts’ Manning-dependent offense and injury plagued defense.  The Saints have had 21 different players score points this season, showing they’ve got many cards to play out there and few injuries, which will stack up in their favor under pressure. 

Who Will Win:

This game reminds me of Super Bowl XXXII when the Denver Broncos played the Green Bay Packers.  We (Denver Broncos) were 13 point under dogs and the quarterbacks were John Elway ad Brett Favre.  We won because we outplayed them, we out hit them and John Elway played one of the greatest games of his life to prove himself to be the better quarterback that day. 

This game is not going to come down to stats, players on paper, schemes, or anything else predictable.   Just like Super Bowl XXXII, the hungriest team with the best quarterback and best blitz schemes will come out as the World Champions.   These quarterbacks are very evenly matched, but given the Saints’ offensive diversity against the Colts’ injured defense, I predict Saints to be the Super Bowl XLIV Champions after a very close game. 

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2 Responses to “Super Bowl XLIV Predicitions: Underdog Upset”

  1. matt said:

    I read your book, its awsome

  2. Jason Tafoya said:

    Romo,

    Im the guy that briefly ran into you at the Denver Airport the other day. I just wanted to again say thank you. I grew up watching you, thinking that you are one of the best. It was an honor meeting a childhood hero. Both you and your wife were extemely nice. Thanks again,

    Jason

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