Super Bowl XLIV: Why The Colts Will Take Down the Saints

Dan NelsonCorrespondent IFebruary 2, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS - JANUARY 24:  Fans of the  Indianapolis Colts hold up a 'Super Bowl' sign in the fourth quarter as the Colts take on the New York Jets during the AFC Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 24, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

In the NFC Championship game, the New Orleans Saints were given a victory, gift-wrapped and tied with a bow, by 12 men standing in a huddle.

In a game statistically dominated by the Minnesota Vikings, the Saints were given six opportunities to recover fumbles, three of which they recovered.

Brett Favre threw two interceptions, including one that kept the Vikings from kicking a potential game-winning field goal.

Finally, the Saints won the coin toss in overtime, had a great kick return, and struggled to move the ball despite another gift in the form of a phantom pass interference penalty (watch the video, the receiver was untouched).

Add up all the gifts given to the Saints and there are ten reasons for Saints fans to worry about the Super Bowl:

Six chances to recover fumbles.

Two key interceptions.

One 12-man huddle.

One phantom pass interference call from the referees in overtime.

The Saints should have been singing "The Twelve Days of Christmas" at the end of the game for all the gifts they were showered with.

However, those ten gifts may have provided Saints fans with a whole lot of false hope. The Saints cannot go into the Super Bowl expecting the same level of charity from the Indianapolis Colts.

First, the Colts lost just five fumbles during the entire 2009 season, best in the NFL.

The Colts were also the second-least penalized team in the NFL. In other words, don't expect a gift penalty at the end of the game.

Peyton Manning did throw 16 interceptions during the regular season, but no one is looking at him as a Colts weakness heading into the Super Bowl.

Manning has thrown just one interception in the postseason and has completed 67.5 percent of his passes.

The Colts did not lose a game in 2009 until they began sitting their starters. This is a team that no one has been able to match up with this season.

The Saints need to play their best football to win on Sunday and that could be an issue. They were terrible against the Vikings in many facets of the game.

When looking at the box score, one might notice that the Saints were out-gained by over 200 yards against the Vikings.

The Saints also managed just three first downs on 12 third-down chances.

Drew Brees, though fairly efficient, threw for less than 200 yards while the Saints managed just 68 yards on the ground.

The Saints committed nine penalties for 88 yards, including more than one key third-down penalty.

Without the turnovers, the Saints were completely and utterly dominated by the Vikings.

While forcing turnovers is a key to winning in football, anyone who watched the NFC Championship can attest to who was really responsible for all the turnovers—the Vikings.

The bottom line is that the Colts have been playing great football in the postseason and the Saints have been inconsistent.

For the Saints, the ten gifts from the Vikings in the NFC Championship may be losing their luster.

Without them the Saints would not be in the Super Bowl. With them, the Saints are an unprepared, inconsistent team heading to defeat at the hands of Peyton Manning and the Colts.


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