Saturday, February 3, 2007

The Super Bowl Prediction

The moment that everyone has been waiting for is finally among us. James Mason has sat down at his keyboard to give the world his Super Bowl pick. Since nobody reads this but me, I think its time to stop talking in the third person.

This was a moderately interesting week of talk. There has probably been an equal amount of columns about the significance of the race of the two coaches and jokes about that angle being blown out of proportion. It’s not surprising that Lovie and Tony are being treated like conquering warriors; it gives us as Americans a chance to act like racism is dead.

Tank Johnson and Rex Grossman have taken a lot of heat for different things. Johnson has been criticized for his legal issues (which don’t include any murder charges, by the way) and Grossman for his struggles as a QB. In my opinion, Tank Johnson isn’t a barbarian and Grossman isn’t the worst QB in Super Bowl history.

In fact, an interesting dynamic with the Bears are the contract situations of some of the key components of this team. Ron Rivera will be a free agent after Super Bowl XLI. Pro Bowler Lance Briggs will be a free agent as well, and Grossman and Lovie Smith are among the lowest paid in their respective positions.

Win or lose, the Bears will be dishing out a lot of money if they want to be back at the Super Bowl next year.

For the Colts, this is Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning’s chance to win the big game they couldn’t win, 2 weeks after they won the big game they couldn’t win.

Marvin Harrison has made alot of noise by being the "anti-T.O.", or pretty much a regular guy. Good for him, bad for his wallet. Say what you want about antics, but I don't think many people knew who Joe Horn was until he did this.

All things considered, the Colts are big favorites in this game. Vegas has them by a touchdown, and many people think the Colts will win fairly easily.

However, both Bill Simmons and my mom think the Bears will win. As for me, I’ll first go to the good old tale of the tape.

Bears Passing Game vs. Colts Pass Defense

Chris Collingsworth was on the Jim Rome radio show this past week. He’s considered one of the best analysts in the business. He made an interesting point about Rex Grossman that I never heard anyone else bring up this week. All of his good games and most of his decent games came in either domes or warm weather. (Don't forget, Grossman was a star at the University of Florida.)

With the exception of the Arizona game, he usually sucks when it’s cold. As for tomorrow, it’s going to be around 70 all game. However, it will probably be rainy and windy which might bring this advantage down some.

The Bears have two other things working in their favor. First, Bob Sanders will probably have to help with run defense, which will open up Bernard Berrian deep. Second, the Colts and Bears run the same defense, so the Bears will have a good knowledge of what the Colts.

Advantage: Bears

Bears Running Game vs. Colts Run Defense

The Colts run defense is very different with Bob Sanders, who only played four games in the regular season. They’ve shut down every team’s running game they’ve played this post season with Sanders back.

However, having Bob Sanders back just makes their run defense average, instead of horrible. Plus I like the way the Bears backs have been running. They ran really aggressive against the Saints last week, and fought for extra yards all game.

Advantage: Push

Colts Passing Game vs. Bears Pass Defense

The Bears have a lot of injuries at safety and will probably start two rookies. The Cover 2 defense is very dependent on the safeties, especially if there is no pressure on the quarterback.

The Bears safeties are so suspect that I like the Colts big on this match up. Danieal Manning made a horrible play on Reggie Bush’s touchdown last week (corny Youtube kid alert!), and I can see him giving up at least one big score this game.

Advantage: Colts

Colts Running Game vs. Bears Run Defense

In my opinion, everyone has been sleeping on the Bears defense. They are a defensive team first, especially when it comes to stopping the run. If Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister are the best running back combo of all time and the Bears shut them down, I have to believe that the Bears will do the same to the Colts' backs.

Fortunately for Colts fans, I never bought into all the Bush hype. They’re good, but they’re not that much better than everybody else. Deuce and Reggie combined for 2,562 yards from scrimmage and 18 TD’s. Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes combined for 2,298 yards and 13 TD’s. Factor in the trickiness of Peyton’s no-huddle offense, and I’m going with a push.

Advantage: Push

Special Teams

Devin Hester > Terrence Wilkins. Adam Vinateri > Robbie Gould. That’s all you really need to know about this match up. How about more Hester highlights?

Advantage: Push

Coaching

I’m not going to mock the significance of two black coaches in the Super Bowl. It’s a great accomplishment, but we haven’t climbed the mountaintop just yet. For starters, nobody is calling these guys geniuses. Instead, we get pieces about how classy they are, etc. These guys can flat out coach, and don’t get the respect they deserve for their intelligence and what they contributed to football X’s and O’s.

Since Tony brought in Lovie, I’m going with Dungy over Smith.

Advantage: Colts

Karma/Luck/Focus/etc.

There isn’t much to talk about in this section. A black coach will win this game, and a black coach will lose this game. Grossman is due for a game to silence the critics, while Manning and Dungy can finally get the monkey off their back.

Advantage: Push

All things considered, I think it will be a shootout. With both teams running games stalled, I can see a lot of points put up in a match-up between two defensive masterminds.

Final Score: Colts 37, Bears 31 (With my recent prediction history, the Colts will probably win 9-3.)

1 comment:

nadum said...

I didn't realize we had to comment on other people's blogs so I'm a little late to the game. I'm just going to make it extra long so it can hopefully make up for some of the ones I didn't post.

Rex Grossman absolutely stinks. He piled up 7 of his touchdowns in two games against Detroit and Green Bay. I'd counter this with some fact that he threw his interceptions against good teams, but they stunk too.

My prediction is that we will learn in the near future that Rex Grossman caught Lovie Smith doing some kind of dastardly deed and has been blackmailing him ever since. Unless Brian Griese and Kyle Orton spend practice getting drunk and heckling the other team, there's no way that anyone wouldn't have turned to Griese way before the Super Bowl, nevermind after it was made clear that "Bad Rex" had shown up to Miami.

And as great as it was for hopefully helping the future of diversity at the head coaching position, Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith aren't exactly world class intellectuals. The Bears defense basically overcame Grossman, overcame a terrible defensive strategy (playing off the receivers the entire game without adjusting) and overcame a ridiculous time of possession ratio to hold the Colts to 22 points and force three turnovers.

Meanwhile, Dungy has had the most talented team in the NFL for five years and had basically over backwards into a Super Bowl. The Patriots had just come off an insanely hard fought victory against San Diego on the road while the Colts went to Baltimore, kicked some field goals and went home. And the Colts still shouldn't have beat the Patriots.

They shouldn't have beat the Bears either. With even a moderate level of competence at Halas Hall, Tommie Harris doesn't get injured because he's on the field 40 minutes a game (again this is because Grossman sucks so bad) the Bears put together an offense that can score more points than it gives to the other team and the Bears turn Peyton Manning into the guy we see everytime he plays a healthy and rested New England team in the playoffs.

All I'd ask is that the readers (I have no idea how many people read this, if any of you are Rex Grossman fans, sorry but I'm commenting for class. And sorry because he stinks too) is to think about what would happen if the same scenario played out in Philadelphia. In a city that would just as soon never see McNabb step on Lincoln Financial Field again, what in the world would happen to Lovie and Rex if they pulled off that performance in the Super Bowl?