Thursday, 1 February 2007

Super Bowl Prediction

Yin and yang. That’s sort of the theme for this Super Bowl, because the teams seem to be complete opposites.

In the Indianapolis Colts we have a great offensive team. They are balanced and lethal, able to score on 1 play or shove a 15 play drive right down your throat. Peyton Manning seems poised to break all sorts of QB record by the time he retires, Joseph Addai is getting better and better as he gains experience, and the WR corps (led by Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne) may be the best in the NFL.

In the Chicago Bears we have a great defensive team. They are fast and relentless, able to bring the pressure or drop back and force you to make a bad throw. They are led by their MLB, Brian Urlacher, who will go down as one of the greats. They pressure the QB, their secondary makes great plays, and everyone just swarms to the ball.

So we know what we’re going to get from these two units. Which means that for the most part this game will be decided when the Bears offense is on the field. The Bears offense has been consistently inconsistent all season, led by Rex Grossman. Through a quarter of the NFL season Grossman was the NFL MVP. By the last quarter of the season fans were about split on whether or not he should still be the starter. He has physical tools, but he’s still a young guy and gets rattled and forces things when pressured.

The Colts defense was much maligned all season long but has come to play in the playoffs. In the first 2 rounds they were nearly impenetrable, and in the Conference Championship they made stops when they had to. Led by Dwight Freeney, they are a fast and athletic unit, but they have been pushed around at times.

So what does all of this mean? Well, I think the QB matchup will tell the tale. Peyton Manning has been historically good in his career while Rex Grossman is one of (if not the) worst QBs ever to make a Super Bowl. I expect the Colts fast front 7 to get to Grossman and put pressure on him, forcing him to make bad throws and get rid of it before he has to. Then I expect Manning to capitalize on those and score enough on the Bears stout defense to bring the Super Bowl to the Colts, officially getting the monkey off of Manning’s back.

I've been a pretty strong Grossman basher all season, and I still don't think he's very good. They're in the Super Bowl, but it's mostly because of the great defense and special teams, and the fact that they've found the running game here in the playoffs in a big way. If I'm wrong and Grossman wins the Super Bowl, I'll be eating my words on Monday, and you all have the right to taunt me. However, I don't think I'll be having to do that.

Colts 27-16.