Saturday, February 03, 2007

Your Super Bowl XLI Fix 2.3.07 [J. Mark English]

  • Lets start off with predictions from the experts in the media:
    • Vic Carucci - My pick for Super Bowl XLI: Indianapolis 27, Chicago 13.
    • Len Pasquarelli - No one is counting on Manning repeating that feat Sunday, but if he can control Clark in the middle of the field, the former UCLA standout will provide the Bears an opportunity for an upset victory.
    • John Clayton - Vegas favors the Colts by 6½ points and so do I. Why wouldn't I? I've been predicting a Colts Super Bowl for three years. Their date with destiny was delayed by the Patriots' mini-dynasty and a great run in the playoffs last year by the Steelers.
    • Bill Simmons - Well, I believe in the Bears from Chicago. I see this being one of those Super Bowls that's crappy and disjointed for most of the first half, followed by a point explosion right near halftime and one of those second halves when the teams just trade scores (like the Pats-Panthers Super Bowl). And in those games, either team can win, right?
    • Paul Zimmerman - The no-huddle will give the Bears trouble, if not right away then later in the game. Grossman may put up some numbers, depending on Indy corner Nick Harper's health (he missed the last three quarters on Sunday with an ankle injury), and Chicago will do a bit of damage on the ground. But I don't see the Bears matching the Colts' scoring machine. Indy will pass early, run late.
    • Peter King - It's simple. It's Peyton Manning's time. Don't buy any of the guff that he hasn't played well in the postseason. Against two of the best five defenses in football -- New England and Baltimore -- the last two games, Manning led the Colts to 53 points in eight quarters. Against the Ravens, he totally cut off the momentum of a great defense, leading five scoring drives and playing keep away during vital points at the end of the game. Against the Pats, he was perfect in the second half, leading the Colts to more points (32) than a Bill Belichick defense ever allowed in one half. Forget the stats. Just forget them. He's trained his whole life for this game, and he won't disappoint.
  • Two great articles from the New York Times, one about Buddy Ryan, and the other about the Hispanic barrier in the NFL.
  • Rick Morrissey represents the homer paper for the Chicago Bears, over at the Chicago Tribune. He looks for the Bears to come up huge so long as they don't get cold feet.
  • Mike Chappell represents the other side, at Indy Star, and he's concerned with the ultimate match-up: a great offense vs. a magnificent defense.
  • Da' Bears Blog writes: Benson and Jones must do their best impression of Taylor and Jones-Drew and Ron Turner must not make the mistakes of Herm Edwards and Brian Billick. The Colts defense is vulnerable on the edges and that is where the Bears must run, run, run. Wear the Colts down and the Bears can repeat their fourth quarter success of two weeks ago.
  • Colts Couch Crew writes: Finally, what really scares me that no one is talking about is the Bears running game, which has come alive in the playoffs. Few people realize this, but its not THAT you run against the Colts defense; its WHEN you run against the Colts defense. Remember all those third-and-nine’s and third-and-seven’s the Patriots had early in the game? Remember seeing the draw to Kevin Faulk and Corey Dillon? Remember the first downs and big yardage gains? I do. And it scares me. The Colts pass rush, led by Dwight Freeney, absolutely thrives on those types of ‘passing downs.’ The only way to fight it isn’t going to be throwing to Mushin Muhammed on those downs; its going to be running it right down the Colts’ gut while their ends rush upfield and outside. The best way they can keep Grossman from making turnovers is if they can successfully run the ball on second and third downs. This will neutralize the Colts pass rush.

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