Friday, February 02, 2007

Friday's Off The Wall/Super Bowl Preview Blog

Yes, I know it's late in the day but that still doesn't mean that I can't get around to getting to the Happy Friday Blog. Indeed it is a happy Friday, in fact it is a Super Friday. Unfortunately (or fortunately) there will be no off-the-wall stories this week, but there will be a Super Bowl preview. The way I see it, once every 20 years something comes around that makes the football fan inside of me relatively happy. And since I was not born to this world when the Bears won Super Bowl XX, I might as well enjoy Super Bowl XLI. So, here's my preview.
  • BEARS OFFENSE VS. COLTS DEFENSE- I understand that the Colts defense has been playing well since the playoffs have begun and haven't allowed a 100 yard rusher in the last three games. However, in the 16 games before that they allowed a 100 yard rusher in each of those games. FS Bob Sanders is the key to their D. The Bears have one of the more talented back field duos in 1,000 yard rusher Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson, a former 4th round pick looking to explode on the big stage. Yes, the Bears passing game does have its deficiencies, especially when "Bad Rex" shows up. However, QB Rex Grossman's familiarity with the Cover 2 defense coupled with the lack of a Colts blitzing scheme should keep a clear line of vision for Rex. Establishing the ground game with TJ and Ceddy or establishing a passing attack with Desmond Clark, Muhsin Muhammed and Bernard Berrian will be key for the Bears. Edge: Bears.
  • COLTS OFFENSE VS. BEARS DEFENSE- The Colts are lead offensively by all-world QB Peyton Manning. The Bears are lead by all-world MLB Brian Urlacher. The Colts running game is no slouch with perennial second stringer Dominic Rhodes and rookie Joseph Addai. The Colts have a clear advantage over the Bears when it comes to the receiver position with Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison and TE Dallas Clark. However, it's not like the Bears don't have stars on their defense with D-linemen Alex Brown, Adawale Ogunleye and rookie Mark Anderson. They also have physical defenders that historically give the Colts problems in CBs Nathan Vasher and Charles "Peanut" Tillman. Oh, did I forget to mention the tackling machine? The wild card in this game could be the play of nickelback Ricky Manning Jr. The Bears play more of a Cover-3 than a Cover-2 come to think of it. Edge: Even.
  • SPECIAL TEAMS- Colts K Adam Vinatieri has a slight edge over first-time Pro Bowler Robbie Gould. Vinatieri has championship experience and ice water running through his veins. However, it was Vinatieri who taught Gould his two-step kicking style and that might come back to haunt him if it's a field goal battle. This might be the only area the Bears have a clear advantage over the Colts thanks to the explosiveness of All-Pro KR/PR Devin Hester. If you saw the AFC Championship game, you saw Patriots KR Ellis Hobbs almost return a few to the house. The consensus among media-folk is that if it was Hester returning, those turn into touchdowns. Edge: Bears.
  • COACHING/INTANGIBLES- Another place in which the teams are evenly matched. Everyone knows the story between Colts coach Tony Dungy and the leader of the Bears Lovie Smith, so no need to beat a dead horse (unless it's a Colt of course.) What few are talking about is the assistant coaching staffs. Dungy's right hand man is offensive genius Tom Moore. Lovie's sports one of the most complete coaching staffs in the NFL from top to bottom. Offensive Coordinator Ron Turner is underrated, but sometimes his play calls are head scratching. Defensive Coordinator Ron Rivera (the first Puerto Rican defensive coordinator in the Super Bowl by the way) has been a perennial head coaching candidate the last few years and this might be his last hoorah as Bears DC. The Colts are playing that "Team of Destiny" card along with the "Peyton Manning is Steve let's get the monkey off his back" card as well. No one has played the "Nobody respects us card" like the Chicago Bears, heck they're coached it to a tee. As much as I'd like to give this to the Bears, the two teams are too similar to choose one over the other (LoL, I used three different terms for the word two/to/too.)
  1. A successful running game that will enable them to control the clock and keep Peyton Manning off the field.
  2. Rex Grossman limits his mistakes and is able to stretch the field enough to allow the running game to be successful and allows his receivers (specifically deep threat Bernard Berrian) to be playmakers. Rex Grossman may need to be a playmaker in this one, and I think he's up to the task!
  3. The Bears defense lives up to its smashmouth billing. Yes, DT Tommie Harris and SS Mike Brown are out, but Tank Johnson and Todd Johnson are filling in quite admirably. Tank should be the most motivated Bear not named Rex Grossman on the field (hopefully he can stay on the field.) I'm hoping the Bears go New England Patriots (circa 2004) on Manning and his receivers.
  4. X-FACTOR: Devin Hester's ability to give the Bears good field position, if not his ability to put the ball in the end zone himself. He hasn't had a TD return in a while.
  1. Peyton Manning's offensive line keeps the pass rush away from him. If their offensive line is stout against the Bears defensive line, Manning may be able to pick the Bears defense apart if given enough time.
  2. Rex Grossman plays like an idiot. I understand that this is the Colts keys to victory, but it's simple. If Rex Grossman decides not to show up and decides he'd rather throw completions to the defense, the Bears have no shot.
  3. Speaking of showing up, the Bears defense must show up to stop the #2 offense in the NFL. They did an amazing job against Drew Brees and the Saints. However this game is at a neutral site with fair weather conditions. We'll see if the good Bears D shows up.
  4. X-FACTOR: Adam Vinatieri. He's the best in the business. He's the best clutch kicker in football and if the game comes down to #4 and a game winning field goal, I won't be able to watch.
WHO I GOT: It'd be absolutely wrong for me to pick against the Bears. So I won't. This might be a very close game, potentially it has the makings of one of the best Super Bowl games in recent history. PREDICTED FINAL SCORE: BEARS 24 COLTS 16. How'd I come up with that score? BEARS SCORING: A rushing touchdown a piece for Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson to go along with a Rex Grossman TD pass to WR Bernard Berrian, and a Robbie Gould field goal. COLTS SCORING: A Peyton Manning TD pass to Reggie Wayne to go along with three Adam Vinatieri field goals.

Here's hoping I'm right.

No comments: