Those of you who remember and loved Super Bowl XXIX with its record 75 points are going to be thrilled with this year’s clash of two high-octane offenses going at each other full-tilt. This year’s classic will set a new benchmark for high scoring championships with a total of 77 points to be scored, with the Saints taking home the Lombardi trophy 42-35.
As good as Peyton Manning has been, he’s still no Tom Brady in the big ones. Still, I expect he’ll come out firing and generate some good scoring drives. Unfortunately for the Colts and Manning, however, I expect that Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams’ warriors are going to make good on his promise to lay some “remember me” hits on Manning, particularly in the form of Defensive Tackle Sedrick Ellis. Ellis will have a career game applying pressure on Manning–much like the Jets were able to do in the first half of their battle against the Colts. The usually untouchable and unflappable Manning will be harrassed all game long by the Saints defense, much like they did to Warner and Favre. Still, because he is Peyton Manning–a very talented quarterback—he’ll get his points—just not quite enough of them.
On the other side of the field, there is Drew Brees, and this is Drew Brees’ year! As great as his numbers have been this year, however, he’s not a one-year wonder; he has thrown for a total of more yards over the past four years than any other NFL quarterback! The Colts–having faced the likes of Joe Flacco and Mark Sanchez–are finally facing the kind of prolific QB that they have in Manning—but this time–Folks–he’s playin’ for the other guys! And Drew Brees has some great receivers that he knows just how to utilize! He’s been throwing to most of these same guys for 3 or 4 years now, so they are at the point where they can read each other’s minds. Marques Colston had well over a thousand yards receiving and nine TD receptions. You’ve got Devery Henderson and Robert Mechem who will be grabbing the deep balls, and Lance Moore who will do damage in the slot. Tight End Jeremy Shockey is looking to this game to make a statement, and he might very well do so. I look for Reggie Bush (47 catches in the regular season)to have a good game too–breaking at least one catch for major yardage. With all these weapons and Dwight Freeney’s ankle still far from 100 percent, there is no way that the Colts defense can contain Brees and Company.
All things considered, and giving Manning his due, 42-35–Saints–is my prediction, though it could be an even longer night for the Colts if Manning gets frustrated or knocked out early. Get ready for the Super Bowl of Mardi Gras on Bourbon Street! The Saints will come marchin in—Big Time!