Sunday, February 07, 2010

Super Bowl XLIV

New Orleans vs. Indianapolis (-4.5)

There's not a lot to break down in this game, so I'll be brief. These are the top two teams in the league. Indy was famously 14-0 before they made the conscious decision to quit trying to win until the playoffs started. New Orleans made it to 13-0 before faltering. It's so rare to get the two best teams against each other in the Super Bowl. I am so excited to see this game. And they're built similarly as well. Both use a wide-open aerial attack to establish leads in the first three quarters of games, then rely on a fresh ground game and opportunistic defense to lock the contests away. The Saints passing offense has Drew Brees and an endless supply of weapons. The Colts have Peyton Manning, the greatest commander of an offense I have ever seen, and an endless supply of weapons. So why am I taking New Orleans to win? A couple of reasons. The main one is that I simply trust the Saints pass defense to make a play late in the game more than I trust the Colts pass defense. I'm calling a crazy back-and-forth battle of offensive machines marching up and down the field, but I believe in Darren Sharper, Jonathan Vilma, and Will Smith to make the one play that changes momentum more than I believe in Antoine Bethea, Robert Mathis, and a hobbled Dwight Freeney. The secondary reason that I don't like the Colts has to do with my background betting horses. Not that I was ever much good, but one lesson I picked up is, before you fall in love with a horse's credentials and his streak of placing well in his last several races, check the class of those races. Make sure that you're not about to bet on a horse who has won his last three races on the claiming level but is now stepping up to allowance company. Or a horse riding high in lower allowance races who's now running in a graded stakes race. In other words, I absolutely hate the Colts pass defense in relation to the two playoff games they played. First, they got to hold Joe Flacco and the 18th-ranked Ravens passing offense to just three points. Then, they saw rookie Mark Sanchez and the 31st-ranked Jets passing offense, and even then, they let career underachiever Braylon Edwards get behind them and score an 80-yard touchdown. Ladies and gentlemen, the New Orleans Saints and the #4 passing offense in the NFL represent a major step up in class. If the New York Jets could throw for 257 yards in the AFC title game, what the hell are Drew Brees and the Saints going to do to them? Give me the Saints in an all-time gunfight at the OK Corral. Who dat?

My Pick: New Orleans 42-37