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Sunday, February 07, 2010

Saints v. Colts - Super Bowl XLIV will be won by Colts

Super Bowl XLIV pitting the NFC Champion New Orleans Saints v. The AFC Champion Indianapolis Colts will be a game filled with passes and trick plays. It will be one of the most exciting Super Bowls ever.

The Super Bow game features the NFL's 9th best offense (2nd in the NFL in passing for the season) in the Colts against the league's 25th-ranked Saints defense. That's the key matchup. Sports observers can write about imagined challenges between specific Colts receivers certain Saints defensive backs, but the reality is one-on-one pairings are rare because of the variety of coverages used; the Saints will try to keep everything in front of them with a zone coverage system and work to prevent the Colts from hitting the home run ball.

But the Colts will mix short passes and runs; the Saints will move away from the zone, crowd the line-of-scrimage, and blitz. And that's where the Colts big play will come from, absent a blown coverage, which the Saints haven't done much this year.

The Saints NFL number one-ranked offense will be a variety show featuring shifts, man-in-motion, and a lot of play action. Look for not just one, but two flea flickers; what will stop them is the Colts defensive speed (which was augmented by more blitzing in the postseason, making it better than its 18th-ranking during 2009). The Saints will call a number of "wheel route" passes trying to match the fleet Reggie Bush against the Colts' linebackers. But the Colts will blitz more often this game, and add to their already hard-charging pass-rush. That effort will be led by Dwight Freeney, who's played a week-long game of media possum, but is ready to turn his effort up to a super human level.

The other difference will be on special teams. This is where the Saints have a slight speed edge and the Colts will have to play carefully to stop the long kick return.

With all of this, the Colts offense will be too much for the Saints. The Colts win Super Bowl XLIV, 34 to 20.

Colts v. Saints on SFGate.com | Colts v. Saints on Twitter | Colts v. Saints on NFL Business Blog

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