I’m taking the Saints

Not that I think many people are sitting on the edge of their seat waiting for my Super Bowl pick – especially since my picks have been shaky this post-season (although I did pick Ind and No to meet in the big game), but I’m taking the Saints in an upset.

Colt QB Peyton Manning has been fantastic this year, as usual, and the progression of WRs Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie has been incredible. But despite the fact that Indy damn near went undefeated, this hasn’t been a dominant team. They’re obviously very good, but their OL and running game has been average (Manning makes the line look so much better than it is) all year. Their secondary is vulnerable, and with DE Dwight Freeney likely limited or even out, their defense could be in trouble.

I wound up being wrong about the keys to the Viking-Saint game, and I know why. Not only was QB Drew Brees off in the game (that might have been his worst game in two years), but their offense was totally constricted due to protection issues. It was literally night and day compared to how they usually run their offense. I think they played things too conservatively in the game too concerned with protection, and it should have cost him, but it did not. Protection on the edges is easily this team’s biggest weakness, but if Freeney is not himself that is a HUGE factor because New Orleans should not have to devote an extra guy to block, meaning they can send more receivers out running routes. If the protection issues are minimized, then Brees should be able to consistently move the ball against this defense.

Now, the Saint defense has some issues as well, but their strength is in their secondary, which works in their favor this weekend. Some people don’t remember because it was two months ago, but when New Orleans’ secondary was at full strength earlier in the season, it was arguably the best in the league. Their starting CB tandem was arguably the best in the league – and S Darren Sharper is such a huge factor. Their run defense has been shaky, but I’m not sure the Colts and their mediocre running game can take full advantage.

Obviously, the Colts could certainly win the game, but when I look at both teams over the course of the full season, I view the Saints as more of a championship team. It’s very close, but I give the Saints a slight edge. I picked them to win the Super Bowl in mid-October after seeing this team in action for 5-6 weeks, and I’m sticking with that prediction.

I’ll be at the game, so predictions aside, I’m just hoping for a good game. That shouldn’t be too much to ask given this marquee matchup.

Category: Fantasy Football, General

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17 Responses

  1. MI-5 says:

    I’m also hoping for a good game.

    I like the Colts. The Colts are playing great now, much the same as they were during their winning streak. But the Saints, are not playing as they were during their streak, the defense has more holes now and the offense is less effective than earlier in the year.

    THe team that is playing better now wins and that is the Colts.

  2. JBeau says:

    Jealous that you will be at the game!! haha…I am rolling with the Colts. Brees didn’t look good against the Vikes, and Freeney will play. Saints won’t be able to run effectively, and I don’t think Brees can outduel Manning. Colts may not have been dominant, but there is NO doubt in my mind that they would have went 16 – 0, while the Saints had a few meltdowns during the year. So I view the Colts as Championship caliber. Just hope for a good game also.

  3. John Hansen says:

    Can’t argue with anyone taking the Colts, but I’m feeling it for Indy. I think Brees had his one and only stinker in the playoffs already. Lot of pressure off the team just being in the game I think.

  4. Stretch says:

    John,

    There is old saying from a Catholic Nun in Louisiana that “No football team should ever be name the Saints”. I will curse them for life.

    I believe in the CURSED. With only 7-Playoff appearances to show in this franchise history since 1967.

    The Saints have no chance to win this game. Colts 30 – Saints 20.

  5. Dave says:

    Stretch are you grasping for straws with the cursed reference? I think so and you know they Saints have as good of a chance to win the game than the Colts. I’m with John on this one, Saints win a shootout and the media cries with Peyton.

  6. Patrick W says:

    Saints will win and it will be due to their defense. Peyton is probably one of the best to play the game, but Greg Williams is going to be able to create a game plan to limit the passing attack. I know a Williams’ led D has never fully shut down Manning, but this secondary is different; they will find a way to win.

    If Sedrick Ellis can pressure Peyton up the middle, it could be a long day for the Colts O.

    Most are predicting a shoot-out, but it would be wise for Payton and the Saints to utilize all 4 of the RB’s to keep the Colts D offbalance and Peyton on the sidelines, frustrated. If they can eat up the clock and score with 7-8 minute drives, the Saints will easily cover/win and the game will go under the 56 points expected to be exceeded by most.

    Normally I’m rooting for the Colts, but being a Chargers fan, I have to pull for my boy, Bress…….still think the Bolts could’ve started a dynasty if they didn’t allow him to leave. :-(

    Have fun at the game, John and whomever is attending with you. BTW, tell Kim K she’s about as useful as Paris!!

  7. Drake says:

    Come on Hansen are you serious? The Colts win easy and heres why: You cant give Peyton Manning 3 weeks to break film down on your defense and not get exploited. Just when you thought the man couldn’t get better what happens? He gets better. This is by far the best season of his career. Not statistically but mentally. Freeny being out does not lose the superbowl for the Colts. Freeny is a beast but he’s not the X-Factor. Oh and one more thing. I love Brees as a fantasy player and I know he’ll be talked about with the Elite as the years go by. However, This is his School year. He’ll get an opportunity to learn from watching a Great make his defense look like Hansens Fantasy advice this year and he’ll use that info to win the big one someday. Peyton had to wait on Brady to get done. Brady had to wait on Aikman to get done. Its the nature of the beast. Get in line and watch the great. Oh and PS I was kidding about your fantasy advice. I won 4 leagues and Christmas money. So quit being so hard on yourself in the podcasts. You did great.

  8. John Hansen says:

    I’m here with my wife, who by the way met and had her picture taken by me with Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade, Kevin James, and Rob Scneider yesterday. Not to name-drop or anything.

  9. Sisyphus says:

    Unfortunately most games, particularly in the Super Bowl it seems, that look good on paper don’t turn out that way. I suspect that I am one of the very few people looking at this game as a defensive struggle. The edge there goes to the Colts pretty convincingly despite the injury status of Freeney (assuming he is not a scratch); even without him they still have a slight advantage. The Colts injuries on defense have demonstrated they are incredibly deep defensively particularly in the secondary and they have the fastest defense in the NFL. This matches up very well against all of the normal advantages that the Saints have against every other team. On the other side of the ball while Greer has been outstanding and the Sharper opportunistic their defense is outmatched by the offensive weapons that the Colts have beyond Wayne and Clark.
    The Saints will need something like a two turnover advantage and a non-offensive score (special teams or defense) to win this game and the odds of all that coming together are not good. On the other hand if they have turnovers or give up a defensive score things could get very ugly. Personally I hope for a well-played game by both teams but if that is what happens I expect the Colts to win fairly comfortably (ten points or so with the possibility of a back door cover by the Saints).

  10. JBeau says:

    Sisyphus…you and my dry cleaner are the only ones looking at it that way I guess. He doesn’t think the Saints will score more than 17 points on the Colts. These two teams got here because of their offense for the most part. Saints had a little more defensive help than the Colts….but its gonna be an aerial show today. Let the games begin.

    Hansen, were you at the Comedy has-beens ball or something??

  11. Patrick W says:

    C’mon, John, pat yourself and a few others on the back. The Saints played better football for the ENTIRE season…..they are the better team. It’s a shame the majority of the pundits didn’t see it. I guess it’s hard for people to remember past the previous couple weeks. :-)

    I figured Greg Williams would create a nice plan for Manning, but I must say, I’ve never seen a unit use separate plans for each quarter. The two weeks to prepare worked more in the Saints favor; their coaching staff did a fine job.

    Hope people read what I said, “the Saints will easily cover/win and the game will go under the 56 points expected to be exceeded by most”…….Vegas made a killing from this game.

    Maybe John can give away some DTV Sunday Ticket subscriptions so people can watch the games during the regular season! ;-)

  12. Jeff A says:

    Drake, how do you like your crow served?

  13. WRArtMonk says:

    Good call John. For some reason though, the outcome of this years Superbowl made gave me this eerie feeling that the entire thing is rigged. You just don’t ever see Peyton do that. Maybe it was Wayne’s bad knee on the route, but that play felt like a boxer taking a dive. Only the boxer wanted the whole world to know he was being forced to take the dive so he made it extremely obvious.

    Anyway, the real reason I’m writing is I had to pass along this Espn Cutler/Martz article in case you didn’t see it. It’s oozing with “insane person” man love. Despite the odditity of pairing up two crazy people, this story line as already been done. Ever see a show called Pinky and the Brain. (it never ends well for “The Brain”) The quotes by Martz in this article left me speechless. Not in a good way, but more like when that “overly sappy” drunk guy sitting next to you at the bar who starts talking about his 3rd divorce & how much better he’s going to be to his 4th wife who he just met a week ago. This time is going to be different and I’m going to be a changed man. “Bartender, another double here”.
    http://sports.espn.go.com/chicago/nfl/news/story?id=4898405&campaign=rss&source=NFLHeadlines

  14. MI-5 says:

    I got the good game I was looking for. I found myself routing for the Saints, which I didn’t expect. I stand corrected on my pick – the Saints are king of the whole and rightfully so.

  15. John Hansen says:

    I agree Martz to Chicago with Cutler could blow up badly, but it could also work out. I can tell you for a fact Martz doesn’t take any crap, and I guarantee his hiring had a lot to do with that fact because Cutler needs to be reeled in and harnessed. I’m a Cutler apologist simply because he’s so insanely talented, but even I was appalled at times in 2009.

  16. JBeau says:

    Yeah, good call on the game John. I am not surprised the Saints played so well, but I am still very surprised Manning wasn’t the better QB on Sunday.

    I think Martz is the perfect guy for Cutler. Like you said, he doesn’t take crap, and he knows his shit. Looks like Martz is smart enought to put Hester in a reduced role on offense too….he just isn’t a #1 WR.

  17. Stretch says:

    John,

    M.Martz to Da Bears is what the doctor order. A real OC. I think J.Knox will benefit the most. His touchdowns should increase from 6TDs to possibly 8TDs – 10TDs under Martz passing scheme.

    He could be the next Miles Austin. He is already a solid #3WR low-end #2 on my cheat sheet.

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