It’s a dream Super Bowl matchup as the top two seeds in each conference are meeting for an NFL title for the first time since the Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys squared off in Super Bowl XXVIII to finish off the 1993 season. The Saints arrival in Miami for the big game on Sunday, February 7th is especially significant for a franchise and city that has endured some tough times on and off the field.
Brees vs. Manning
Most of the attention leading up to this game will focus on the quarterbacks for the two clubs. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees has emerged as one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL after an ungraceful exit from San Diego early in his career. After he struggled in his first two seasons with the Chargers, San Diego decided that Brees wasn’t the quarterback of the future for the club. Ironically, Brees developed as an elite quarterback right after the Chargers drafted Phillip Rivers. Over the last six years, he has fired 173 TD passes with just 79 interceptions. This year, he led the NFL in touchdown passes and quarterback rating.
Indianapolis signal-caller Peyton Manning can enhance a legacy that is already quite impressive in Super Bowl XLIV. In just 12 years as a pro, he is already in the top four all-time in passing yardage and touchdowns. Manning captured his fourth MVP award this season. The New Orleans native will be facing the team that his father starred for in the seventies. Archie Manning never played on a winner in his decade as the quarterback of the Saints.
Colts appear to have defensive edge
While it is debatable as to which team has the better offense, it appears that the Colts are the better squad on defense. Neither club has an elite stop unit. Both teams finished in the bottom half of the league in total defense during the regular season. While the Colts defense will give up some yardage between the twenties, the club’s defense is able to bear down in the red zone. Indianapolis finished 8th in the NFL in scoring defense during the regular season and has allowed an average of just ten points per game during the postseason.
In contrast, New Orleans must deal with Manning after allowing nearly 500 yards to the Vikings in the NFC title game. The strength of the defense is its ability to force turnovers. The Saints defense came up with five turnovers against Minnesota and the club had 26 interceptions in the regular season.
Colts win a shootout
In the end, this Super Bowl should be able to live up to the hype. Brees and Manning will be able to take advantage of some average offenses. In a battle of top signal-callers, Manning is just a little better than Brees. On defense, the Colts also have a slight edge over an opportunistic Saints stop unit. While theSaints might be satisfied by reaching the Super Bowl for the first time, Indianapolis will be focused on getting another title after winning a championship three years ago. The Colts prevail in Super Bowl XLIV.