We are set, Super Bowl XLIV, the Big Game. The Indianapolis Colts will take on the New Orleans Saints in what is the highest seeded matchup in the Super Bowl since 1994. I picked both of these teams to make it to the big game (because I am always right) and while my pick was unoriginal, it did have to weather the storm because many people picked the Vikings (because of that QB up-north) and many people picked the Jets (because everyone thought it would be fun to just hop on a bandwagon with no wheels as the Jets were way overmatched.) But me, I stuck to my guns and it payed off.
But enough about last weekend, we have one more game to play (actually 2, we have the Pro Bowl next weekend, what is up with that?) and with that one more game, we have a clash of what I believe to be two similar football teams. They both have great quarterbacks with loads of playoff experience, they both have high-powered passing games and don't particularly focus on the running game, they both have lack luster defenses in terms of Super Bowl caliber teams, and they both are really used to winning (Saints 15 wins, Colts 16 wins).
Probably the most intriguing matchup is at quarterback. Drew Brees and Peyton Manning are considered by many (including me) as the two best QBs in the NFL. But while the matchup is intriguing and will be fun to watch, to make any comparrisons between the two is like comparing Ferraris to Lamborghinis, people are just fans of their aesthetic features and their performance is very similar.
Super Bowl XLIV will come down to the match-ups that everyone isn't excited about watching. New Orleans and their defense that gives up a lot of yards but does get turnovers versus Indianapolis' defense which is the quintessential example of a "bend but sometimes break" defense. As the saying goes, "defense wins championships". The problem: It looks like neither team is going to win a championship. The Colts ranked 18th during the regular season in total defense while the Saints ranked 25th.
The problem for the Saints will be, can they get the turnovers like they did against the Vikings. It will be harder for New Orleans to get to Peyton Manning then it was for them to get to Brett Favre (I mean that QB up-north).
The problem for the Colts will be can they sustain a consistent rush to put pressure on Drew Brees and can they stop the Saints running attack of Pierre Thomas and a newly found Reggie Bush? The Saints don't necessarily have to deal with this as much as the Colts do, as the Colts rank dead last in the NFL in rushing. The last team to make it to the Super Bowl and rank last in rushing was way back in 2009, when the Arizona Cardinals made it to the big show and lost on the final drive to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But will this Super Bowl turn out for the Colts like it turned out for the Cardinals last year? Many may think that they are completely different match-ups with many differences. Before you completely write off this attempted comparison take a look at these apt similarities. Both teams had somewhat new head coaches, they both had playoff tested QBs, and they both had similar situations with their running games.
The X-factor for the Colts will be can they get the running game going (like they sort of did against the Jets) and can they avoid turning the ball over. For the Saints, it will be, can Reggie Bush become a factor as a running RB. We all know he can be a threat in the passing game (the Colts also know this), but can he put it between the tackles and have the same success that he had against Arizona. If Reggie Bush can get it going in the running game, I don't think Indianapolis has enough to stop both a great passing game and a great running game.
With all of these points, it is time for me to make my Super Bowl XLIV prediction. I think the game will be close and lower-scoring than people think. In the end I am sticking with my early season prediction and picking the Saints, 24-21. Remember all of the factors I presented when making your Super Bowl predictions and no matter who wins the game, this should be one of the best match-ups we have seen in quite a long time. Enjoy the game and go Saints!