Breaking down the Big Game

Throughout the entire season, the Colts and Saints were the teams to beat in the NFL.

For the first time since 1993, the two No. 1 seeds will square off in the Super Bowl. With no clear favorite, we broke down the top reasons each team will go home with the Lombardi Trophy this Sunday.

Three reasons the Indianapolis Colts will win the Super Bowl

1. Peyton Manning

I, too, was waiting for the Colts’ offense to flatline this postseason. Surely Manning would face a pass rush that trumped his ability to stand in the pocket and connect with his receivers at will. And surely the Ravens or the Jets would have thrown enough blitz packages his way for that to happen. After all, both teams were among the top three in defense this year. They tried. They failed.

2. Offensive line

Math isn’t necessarily my strong point, but it wasn’t too difficult to crunch these numbers. Manning passed for 4,500 yards this season and was only sacked 10 times. And for those of you who struggle with math more than I, that’s an average of 450 yards per sack. While I doubt Manning will eclipse even 400 yards, I’ll be more surprised to see if the Saints get to him once.

3. Defense

As the saying goes, “defense wins championships.” Well, that was before Peyton Manning met Drew Brees in Super Bowl XLIV. Both the Colts and Saints average over 25 points per game, which is going to make it difficult to keep either pass-heavy offense from going downfield with ease. The key will be to see which team can “bend but don’t break” the least. With that said, the Colts have the edge, giving up less yards and points per game this season.

Three reasons the New Orleans Saints will win the Super Bowl

1. Drew Brees

This postseason, Brees has posted a 116.1 QB rating, has thrown no interceptions and has been sacked once. The Colts ranked 14th this season in passing defense and only recorded 16 interceptions. After facing Joe Flacco and rookie Mark Sanchez, the Colts are not prepared to face a quarterback like Brees.

2. Receiving corps

Drew Brees has an arsenal of weapons at his side. Seven different receivers caught 35 or more passes in the regular season, including three wide receivers, two running backs and two tight ends. Those seven receivers also combined for 29 touchdowns in the regular season and six so far in the postseason.

3. Secondary

Anchored by 13-year-veteran Darren Sharper, the Saints’ secondary can be a nightmare for quarterbacks. Although the team ranked 26th in passing yards allowed this season, they were third in the league in interceptions with 26, including nine by Sharper. They also returned five of those interceptions for touchdowns. As we all saw with James Harrison’s 100-yard romp in last year’s Super Bowl, one play can change the dynamic of a game. All of these players have the ability to take the ball the distance if they get it in their hands.