Keys to Victory

The Indianapolis Colts will win Super Bowl XLIV.  Of that, I am confident.  We are the better team, on both sides of the ball.  Although we both started the season undefeated, we won our first 14, and only lost our last two because we pulled the starters.  The same cannot be said for the Saints.  We have also enjoyed a sustained decade of excellence, unparalleled in the annals of pro football.  We’re used to it.  We know what it takes to win the big game, while these experiences are relatively new for New Orleans.  Oh, and have I mentioned that we have Peyton Manning?  Drew Brees is an excellent quarterback, but he is no Peyton Manning.

Having said that (chuckle), the Colts cannot just show up and expect to win the game, and they know it.  They will have to play well for four quarters to beat this quality opponent.  Here is what they will have to do to become Super Bowl champs for the second time in four years:

1.Get Healthy – Cornerback Jerraud Powers is on the mend and will be needed against the Saints’ high-powered offense.  But the bigger concern is Dwight Freeney.  Our best defensive player, and perhaps the best pure pass-rusher in the NFL, he sprained his ankle against the Jets.  Our defense is built around getting pressure on the QB, in order to protect our secondary, so Freeney’s health is absolutely critical.  I think we can win without these guys, but it will be exponentially tougher.  The good news is that it looks like both will be ready to go.  I hope.

2.Continue to Not Beat Themselves – In the Jets game, the Colts had 5 penalty yards.  FIVE!!  The fact of the matter is, the Colts NEVER implode or beat themselves.  They avoid costly turnovers and penalties, and they must do this again in the Super Bowl.  Especially in the big games, these two things are recipes for disaster.

3.Get Pressure on Brees – As I said, their defense relies on it.  We have too many injuries in the secondary (Sanders, Jackson, etc.) to rely on our corners.  To protect them, Freeney and Mathis have to come up huge, and I think they will.

4.Peyton Being Peyton – Manning is a master of recognizing defenses and adjusting to them.  The Saints will try to confuse him, like every team does, and if Manning plays like he normally does, he will pick it apart.  He also needs to continue to make every throw count, and come up big in the clutch.  These are things he has done all year, and must continue to do if the Colts are to win.  He’s perhaps the greatest QB to put on pads, and he needs to play like it.

5.Protect Peyton – This goes along with #4, but is almost out of Manning’s control.  Just like Peyton, they are amazing at in-game adjustments.  If Peyton has time to throw, he will destroy the New Orleans secondary.  If not, he can still use his amazing pocket presence to find time, but it will make it much more difficult.  The Saints will bring pressure, but if we can adjust to it, watch out.

There are many more things I can put on this list such as keep them honest with our running game, contain Bell and Bush, watch out for Shockey, etc.  But these five are the biggest.  All five are things we’ve done all year, and if we play like that, we will be Super Bowl champs once again.  Go Colts!!

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