Behind Blue Eyes: Can New Orleans Saints' Sean Payton Outwit the Colts?
Talk about your classic chess match.
Sunday afternoon, two offensive masterminds will match wits in what all but promises to be an epic, high-scoring Super Bowl.
On one sideline, there's Peyton Manning, the most talented, prepared quarterback in football. It's one thing to have the physical tools. But to have a coach's mind to go with it? It's almost not fair.
On the other sideline, there's the most original, inventive coach in football, Sean Payton. No team in the league has more offensive sets than his New Orleans Saints.
Frankly, both offenses are a joy to watch, and it's a shame that one will have to lose.
Well, maybe not too much of a shame for the Indianapolis Colts, who already have earned a championship ring recently.
But enough with the writer bias, on with the article at hand...
So, which defense will have the bigger migraine headache this weekend?
Here's a look at what both do best, and who should come out on top.
New Orleans Saints
Weapons, weapons, weapons.
This is a team that can hurt you from anywhere; a team where any given player can be a star any given week.
As mentioned, no NFL team has more base offensive sets—and variations thereof—than the Saints. Sometimes it's a straight up vertical passing game, other times it's pure gadgetry.
Heck, sometimes they'll grind it out for good measure.
Bottom line, you never know what this team is going to do. But one this is certain, and that's that head coach—and offensive playcaller—Sean Payton will find a way to exploit any defense out there.
As is the case with any team, it all boils down to whether his team executes on the field or not. But considering that quarterback Drew Brees is a master of the offense, the chances are always good.
And speaking of weapons, the Colts aren't short on talent and would-be stars, either. Like the Saints, they seem to have an endless array of ways to beat you.
No. 2 receiver (Anthony Gonzalez) goes down in the preseason?
No problem, we'll just have a little-known Division III college player (Pierre Garçon) step up and perform like a seasoned veteran.
And on and on.
Quarterback Peyton Manning relishes the challenge of trying to out-duel opposing defenses. You may fool him at first, but almost always figures out what you're doing. Simply put, nobody's better at in-game adjustments than he is.
And like their Super Sunday counterparts, they too can play any type of game, be it a shootout or a power football, grind-it-out defensive battle.
So what's the secret for success come Sunday? Simple execution.
On the one hand, the Saints offense has a bit more flair and firepower.
On the other hand, the Colts are better at consistently executing, and can use the "been here before" mentality to their advantage on this, the world's biggest stage.
However, if Sean Payton, the master motivator, can find a way to keep his troops settled down and not spot the Colts an early lead, one has to like New Orleans' chances in this one.
A celebratory parade has been scheduled by the city of New Orleans for next Tuesday; win or lose.
If the Saints follow Payton's blueprint, they'll have a Lombardi Trophy in tow.
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