Before I get into what I think will happen in the game this weekend, I want to give some quick thoughts on a few storylines the NFL has produced over the last couple of weeks:
Vikings can't get the job done: I don't know if the Vikings were the better team in New Orleans a couple of weeks ago, but they have no one to blame for not having a game this weekend but themselves. They turned the ball over five times before their last drive and still had an opportunity to win the game.
It's also a shame that Brett Favre's season will probably only be remembered for the last pass that he threw as he had a great year, but that pick was horrible. He had at least five easy yards if he would've run the ball. Hopefully that interception will be enough to keep him off of an NFL field for good.
LT needs a reality check: LaDanian Tomlinson recently said that he was not willing to take a pay cut and that he thought his time with the Chargers would end soon. LT needs to realize that he is now just a slightly above average back and that no team will pay him the kind of money he's making now.
The Pro Bowl needs to go back to the old format: The Pro Bowl will be back in Hawaii next year, but it also needs to go back to the week after the Super Bowl. More than 30 players dropped out this year, including Colts and Saints players for obvious reasons. Most of the players only go because it's a free trip to Hawaii anyway and I don't want to see a bunch of third and fourth alternate guys playing in an all-star game.
Super Bowl XLIV: There are plenty of reasons to like the Colts in this game. They looked extremely impressive in their victory over the Jets in the AFC Championship Game. The Saints, on the other hand, were extremely lucky to escape the NFC Championship Game with a victory. The Colts also have the better defense.
Obviously, the most dominant story of Super Bowl week has been that of Dwight Freeney's right ankle. Even though he didn't practice today, there is no doubt in my mind that he will be on the field on Sunday. The question is how effective he will be.
My guess would be that he will not be very effective. He won't be so ineffective that he's hurting his team, because he'll probably only be in for a few plays on each series, but there is no way he can be as dominant as he is accustomed to being. That's great news for Saints left tackle, Jermon Bushrod.
That means that if Indy is going to win this game, Raheem Brock is going to have to step up. We all know that this is going to be a shootout, so each team is going to have to count on their defense to get at least a few stops. If Brock can do half of what Freeney does on a regular basis, the Colts will be in good shape.
For the Saints, it's been very simple for them on defense all year: get turnovers. They can't count on getting five—or probably even three—turnovers from Peyton Manning, so they can forget about keeping the Colts under 30 points. Their job in this game is to give their offense a chance.
I think they know that Manning is getting ready to carve them up, especially after what he did to the Jets once he figured them out. However, I think they also know that their offense has more weapons than Manning's does and that Brees & Co. are very capable of keeping up with the Colts.
If they can pick Manning off once or twice and keep the Colts somewhere between 30-35 points, they should be happy.
That brings me to the offenses, where the game will be won for the Saints. The Colts' defense is fast and underrated, but they're not good enough to contain the Saints. First of all, Reggie Bush will not be a factor unless the Colts are ignorant enough to kick to him. Indy will cover him like a receiver, so his statline will look something like it did against the Vikes.
However, the Saints still have Pierre Thomas, Mike Bell, Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Robert Meachem, Lance Moore, Jeremy Shockey and David Thomas. All of those guys are legit threats to take it to the house when they get their hands on the ball. If the Saints need to put up 40 to win the game, they can.
As long as the Saints don't leave to much time on the clock when they take the lead in the fourth quarter, the city of New Orleans will finally get a champion.
New Orleans wins, 38-34.