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Michael Taylor 5th Feb 2010 - 19:04

The Saints can edge the Super Bowl shootout

Forty-three years of Super Bowls led everyone to believe that defence wins Championships, it seems then the forty-fourth running may turn out to be something of an anomaly.

When the New Orleans Saints meet the Indianapolis Colts in Miami for Super Bowl XLIV the talk about defence won't be about how tough they've been or how great they are at turning over the ball rather it'll simply be, 'they get the job done'.

The regular season stats only further that notion as well with the Colts ranking 18th in overall yards per game allowed and the Saints only bettering seven franchises, right down in 25th.

It's a distance from last year's immense Pittsburgh Steelers line or the New York Giants from the year before but nobody will be complaining if both offences come out firing as we know they can.

In truth this is a celebration of offence and the big question on everyone's lips is can New Orleans' multi-faceted attack manage to keep up with Peyton Manning?

The question itself may sound basic but as far as I'm concerned Manning's ability and control of his offence makes him a one man team that most cannot match.

If you weren't inclined to believe that before the AFC Championship game then you certainly would have had trouble denying it after as he ripped open the NFL's number one ranked defence time and time again.

Rex Ryan tried everything to stop the four-time MVP in that second half, it goes without saying that nothing worked.

Blitzes came and Manning had quick release options. The Jets tried to contain the big plays, the first downs kept coming. And all this was against a side that shut-down the offensively sound San Diego Chargers and Baltimore Ravens.

The difference here though is that New Orleans have so many more options to keep their side of the scoreboard ticking over at the same rate.

Drew Brees might not be in the same league as his opposite number but he is perfectly suited to the system Pete Carmichael runs in Louisiana.

He has great quick release targets in Jeremy Shockey, Devery Henderson and Pierre Thomas while Marques Colston and Robert Meacham are playmakers that can turn the game if Brees has time to operate in the pocket.

That's a front where Sean Payton should be feeling fairly optimistic about as well given the doubts surrounding Indy's star pass rusher Dwight Freeney's participation in the showpiece event.

It really can't be underestimated the importance Freeney has on the Indianapolis defence and if his ankle injury keeps him from pulling on the uniform then the Saints don't only gain a physical boost but also a massive psychological one.

It would be a much needed boost as well given New Orleans have the formidable task of coming up against a side full of past Super bowl winners including offensive stars like Manning, Dallas Clarke, Joseph Addai, Jeff Saturday and Reggie Wayne.

Add into the mix young Pierre Garcon, one of the heroes of the Jets game, then you realise the Saints defence could have a horrible 60 minutes but the same has to be said for the Colts D too.

Saying all this I still believe the points spread of 56.5 is huge on this type of stage and I'd be looking at just a tad under that (10/11 under 56.5 total points).

As for the money line I'm viewing this, if the Saints start well, as a straight shootout and one the outsiders could be on the right side of.

Don't get me wrong, the Colts may be worthy favourites thanks to their experience (and Manning) but it's also crazy to dismiss the NFC's number one seed as not potentially having enough to stamp their own mark on the game.

For security you could take New Orleans +4.5 at 10/11 on the spread but I feel, like Greg Williams' play calling, the way to play this is to be bold and back the Saints to do what they do best, blitz and trust the offence to do what they do best (New Orleans to win Super Bowl XLIV 7/4).





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