The Big Game: A Super Bowl XLIV Preview

Steve ChottCorrespondent IFebruary 6, 2010

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 02:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts looks on during Super Bowl XLIV Media Day at Sun Life Stadium on February 2, 2010 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

It's that time of year again. When all the hard work from the whole year has finally payed off for the Colts and Saints.

The two opposing QB's were MVP candidates and had some of the most high scoring offenses.

But with the game only days away, it's time to take a look at who has the advantage at each position, determine key players, and crown a winner for Super Bowl XLIV.

Quarterback: Saints vs. Colts

Both are great QB's. Brees has a great future, but for the time being it's Peyton Manning.

He is arguably one of the best to ever play the game, and he has more experience and honestly is the better QB. We all know Peyton will be ready for this game, and after another stellar performance he probably has more commercials and SNL skits ahead of him.

Runningbacks: Saints vs. Colts

I've got to give the upper-hand to the Saints in this match-up. Addai has had a bit of an off year and the rookie Brown hasn't fully developed yet.

While the Saints running game won't be a huge factor, it seems Reggie Bush is becoming more of a complete running-back in these playoffs. He has big play capability, and could be really dangerous as he runs between the tackles like he did against the Cards.

Wide Receivers: Saints vs. Colts

This is a tough one. Wayne is the best receiver out of both teams, but Colston is also very good.

I think the recent emerging of Garcon and Collie pushes this group ahead of the Saints.

Tight Ends: Saints vs. Colts

Even since his not so pleasant departure from the Giants, I am still a huge fan of Shockey, and when he is healthy he is still very good. He plays with more intensity then almost any other player.

But even with how good he is, Dallas Clark is better. With the main focus in the passing game on Reggie Wayne, Clark will be able to get open alot on Sunday and expect a big game from him.

Offensive Line: Saints vs. Colts

This Colts offensive line headlined by Pro Bowler Jeff Saturday has only allowed Peyton Manning to be sacked 10 times all year.

It's going to be hard for the Saints to sack Peyton with the line that he has. They are far superior to the Saints O-Line, and will be a big factor in this game.

Now that we've looked through all the Offensive categories, let's look at where we are and move to the defensive side.



Defensive Line: Saints vs. Colts

This is a tough one, and it all depends on whether or not Dwight Freeney plays. With Dwight Freeney, this is a no brainer. Without Freeney though, it gets a little tough.

Even if Freeney doesn't play(for the record, I think he will) the Colts still have Robert Mathis on the other end and a capable Raheem Brock on the other side for Freeney.

Then you look at the Saints who have Will Smith—who led the team with 13 sacks this year to go with Bobby McCray.

I think I gotta go with the Colts on this one though, because I think Freeney will still play and be a factor

Linebackers: Saints vs. Colts

This is another close one. The Colts have two good linebackers in Clint Session and Gary Brackett. But the Saints have Pro Bowl'er Johnathan Vilma and Scott Fujita.

I think I give this match-up to the Saints though. Vilma had 110 tackles in the regular season and has had six so far this postseason. Look for him and Darren Sharper to be game changers on the defensive side for the Saints.

Defensive Backs: Saints vs. Colts

This one also goes to the Saints. They have the Defensive Player of the Year in Darren Sharper to go along with Jabari Greer and Roman Harper.

The Colts have a young core of defensive backs, so expect Drew Brees to expose them.

But even with the Defensive Player of the Year on the Saints side, I still expect Peyton Manning to expose them

Special Teams: Saints vs. Colts

This is an easy one. Reggie Bush is one of the most explosive players in the game and he has already returned one kick for a touchdown in these playoffs.

Coaching: Saints vs. Colts

This is another easy one for me. Sure Jim Caldwell reaching the Super Bowl in his rookie year is impressive, but how much of that is on him? I'd give Caldwell about 20 percent of the credit for this, with 60 percent going to Peyton Manning and 20 percent to the rest of the team.

Sean Payton is a good coach though. He is a great offensive mind, and will be sure to have the Saints ready for the game.


Key Players for Each team

Peyton Manning, QB, Colts

I'm not ready to crown him the best ever yet, but if he wins this, I'll have to look into it.

He will be ready to go for this game, probably over-prepared, and I expect him to do nothing except pick apart this defense for over 300 yards and lead his team to another Super Bowl.

He'll get all of his receivers involved, and it will be too much for the Saints defense to handle.

Drew Brees, QB, Saints

Just like Manning is the most important to his team, if for some reason Brees doesn't show up then this game will be a complete blowout.

Brees is this whole teams offense, and if he isn't there then it will get ugly. But if he comes with his game face, he will be scary.

Dallas Clark, TE, Colts

Everyone will be focusing in on Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne, but Dallas Clark is an impact player. He and Jason Witten are the best receiving TE's in the league.

I like Dallas Clark to be a sleeper for Super Bowl MVP.

Reggie Bush, RB, Saints 

If Reggie Bush can get some sort of running game going for the Saints then we could be looking at a big Saints win. When the Colts can just focus in on Drew Brees and don't have to worry about Bush then it is a huge advantage.

If he has a game like he did against the Cardinals though, we could be looking at the Saints winning their first Super Bowl.

Also, if Bush can get a big kick return, or even a return for a touchdown, then it could provide a big spark.


Prediction: Colts 38, Saints 30

It's going to be a high scoring game for sure. But in the end, you have to go with Peyton Manning.

He is going to be ready for the Saints, and he will know all of the blitzes they will throw at him. Before the game against the Jets, he went back to games he had played against the Ravens, whose head coach is the former Ravens D-coordinator.

It's hard to say that the whole game rests in one players hands, but this game is Peyton Manning's to lose.

Dallas Clark said during the week that "If we win it's because of Peyton".

His teammates believe in him, and they really have no reason not to.

The only way I can see the Saints coming away with this game is if Reggie Bush has a huge game.


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