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Feb. 7, 2010

NFL - Super Bowl predictions

by Ava Wallace, Online Editor-in-Chief and Rose Wynn, Online Sports Editor
This may be the most emotional Super Bowl in history. Four years after Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans Saints will make their championship debut as millions of fans ask, "Who says they're going to beat the Saints?" The man looking to answer that question is Peyton Manning, who will be facing his father's former team, the one he rooted for throughout his childhood. Manning is also looking to earn his second championship ring after playing with the Colts for 12 years.

This game promises to be the best Bowl in years. It's the first Championship meeting between two number-one-seeded teams since 1993! It will be fantastic to watch these near-perfect teams battle it out. Every game in the season boils down to one Sunday night and we couldn't be more excited.

Standings:
Rose: 177-90
Ava: 181-86

Last Week:
Rose: 1-1
Ava: 2-0

Sunday, Feb. 7

New Orleans Saints (15-3-0) at Indianapolis Colts (16-2-0)
Rose - Indianapolis
Ava - Indianapolis

Rose says:
With stellar quarterbacks that rank at the top of the league for both passing and completion percentages, it's no surprise that the Saints and Colts are meeting at the Super Bowl this year. Both the Colts' Manning and Saints' Drew Brees have helped lead the teams to success. In passing, Manning had the league's second highest yardage with 4,500 yards and Brees came in sixth with 4,388 yards.

Indianapolis also has a slight edge in overall offensive capability; the Colts allowed only 12 sacks this season, which is the lowest number in the NFL. It's a safe bet that Manning won't even be sacked once by the lower-ranked Saints. Manning was also extremely careful with the football this season; he can boast no fumbles for the entire year, while Brees threw 11 interceptions. If Brees doesn't watch his ball-handling, he could be looking at two turnovers in this Super Bowl match-up.

Both the Colts' Peyton Manning and Saints' Drew Brees have helped lead the teams to success. Courtesy of BBC News
Both the Colts' Peyton Manning and Saints' Drew Brees have helped lead the teams to success.
While Indianapolis' quarterback takes the cake, New Orleans and Indianapolis are both strong in terms of playmaking ability. The commanding WR Reggie Wayne has caught 100 passes for the Colts this season and TE Dallas Clark has consistently caused opposing linebackers to cower. Saints' RB Reggie Bush has a similarly dominating effect on opposing linebackers and expert WR Marques Colston is imposing competition for Indianapolis' less-experienced cornerbacks.

Indianapolis still has the edge though, even as the injury of Dwight Freeney faces the potent team. But as the Colts dive head-first into the big game, even this wrinkle doesn't pose a large problem. While the Saints' protection strategies may benefit from a Freeney absence, Indianapolis can still be potent with effective compensation by defensive ends Raheem Brock and Robert Mathis.

Let's face it: the Colts are the more powerful team overall. In their only two losses of the season, the best Colts starters were resting on the sidelines. These star athletes will certainly be on the field come Sunday, revved up and ready to win, which will give Indianapolis the odds they need for a victory. And if this game is a battle of the quarterbacks, the Colts definitely take the cake.

Ava says:

The Colts are going to win their second Championship in three years for three reasons: 1) the Saints will give up too many passing yards, 2) their trusted blitz won't be very effective against Manning and 3) Reggie Wayne, Pierre Carçon and Austin Collie.

Who do you think will win Super Bowl XLIV?
  • Indianapolis Colts
  • New Orleans Saints
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The Saints force their opponents to focus on the most elemental part of the game: holding on to the football. New Orleans strips receivers of the ball as if it were an animal instinct; they force turnovers better than anyone else in the league. The Saints also run the blitz like there's no tomorrow and will take advantage of any slip-ups in quarterback protection. Though that strategy worked like a dream against the Vikes, Peyton Manning can read a blitz better than some of the best in the league.

The Saints also have one fatal flaw: they surrendered over 300 passing yards in their Championship game. The Saints will have to do better than that against Indy, whose three dynamic young receivers Wayne, Carçon and Collie will surely dominate Sunday's game. On top of all that, Peyton will be able to out-throw Brees. But no matter who wins on Sunday, it'll surely be a Bowl to remember!



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