2010 Super Bowl Preview

II | 2/3/2010, 1:42 p.m.


IMAGES: (1) Super Bowl Logo; (2) Indianapolis Colts Logo; (3) New Orleans Saints Logo

By Robert P. Stephens, II - Special to WI

The 44th annual Super Bowl will feature the high-powered offenses of the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints, Sun. Feb. 7. The kick-off is set for 6:25 (EST) from Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Fla.

The Saints (13-3) champions of the NFC defeated the Arizona Cardinals 45-14 and the Minnesota Vikings 31-28 with its high-powered offense.

The Colts (14-2) also feature a passing attack that is considered one of the best in NFL history, led by Peyton Manning. The Colts defeated the Baltimore Ravens 20-3 and the upstart New York Jets 30-17 to set up the NFL'S championship matchup between the NFC and the AFC champions.

The two quarterbacks, Dru Brees and Payton Manning, are leaders of their respective teams with Manning considered the veteran of the two. Here are the stats for both quarterbacks in post-season play.

comp. att. yds. tds rating
Manning 56 83 623 5 104.6
Brees 40 63 444 6 116.1

I will give the edge to Manning and the Colts.

The rushing attack for the New Orleans Saints is led by Pierre Thomas. During the post-season, Thomas rushed for 113 yards on 27 carries for a 4.2 average. Reggie Bush, the playmaker from USC, averages 7.7 yards per carry with 92 yards on 12 carries. Lynell Hamilton has 22 yards on 6 carries. The Saints will spread their backs out using the pitch out as part of their offense.

The Colts are led by Joseph Addai with 103 yards on 27 carries for an average of 3.8. Donal Brown is the back up with 28 yards on 12 carries. The Colts thus far in the post-season have experienced problems with their running attack. I give the edge to the Saints.

At wide receiver both teams have talented playmakers. The Saints are led by Pierre Gardon with 16 catches for 185 yards for an average of 11.6 yards and one touchdown. The veteran Reggie Wayne, with 11 catches for 118 yards, will be the receiver to watch. Wayne will be looking for redemption after his performance against the Jets. Austin Collie has 11 catches for 175 yards for an average of 15.9 remains a deep threat. Dallas Clark the tight end is always a threat. Addai is tops among the running backs as a receiver with 4 receptions.

The Saints counter with Devery Henderson the deep threat with 8 catches for 119 yards and an average of 14.9. Veteran Marques Colston with 105 yards on 8 catches is as steady as they come.

Reggie Bush has six catches for 57 yards and is a long ball threat. The question is will Bush get the blocking he needs to get in open space. Thomas also has six catches for an average of 9.3. Tight end Jeremy Shockley the former Giant is a post-season veteran.

This will be a toss-up.

The Saints on defense are led by linebacker Scott Shanie. The linebacker has 14 solo tackles to lead the team. Veteran Darren Sharper with eight solo tackles and 13 assist is a one-man gang covering the turf. Cornerback Tracy Porter has 13 solo tackles.

Cornerback Randall Gay has 10 solo tackles. Cornerback Jabari Greer joins the hit parade with 9 solo tackles and veteran linebacker, the savvy Jonathan Vimer, has 6 solo tackles. Most offensive schemes prefer to stay away from the hard hitting former Miami Hurricane.

The Baltimore Colts counter with linebacker Gary Brackett with 10 solo tackles. Cornerback Kelvin Hayden has 11solo tackles.

Defensive tackle Daniel Muir has 8 solo tackles and 4 assists. Robert Mathias at the defensive end has 5 solo tackles and 3 assists. Speaking of avoidance the Colts will have the best defensive player on the field in Dwight Freeney who does not have the top stats. Freeney is a one man wrecking crew who can create chaos without touching the quarterback or the rusher. This is a tough one but will lean with Saints.

The Colts are the veterans in this one and that's usually the safe bet in athletic events.