Monday, January 25, 2010

How predictable

The top two seeds in the playoffs are going to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1993. Not only are the Colts and Saints the top two seeds, but they've been the frontrunners, along with the Vikings, the entire season. They faltered at the end, finishing a collective 1-5 in the last three weeks, but they were still at or near the top of everyone's self-important "power rankings".

Good teams doing well is good business, apparently. The second-round playoff games were decided by 31, 31, 17 and 3 (down from 10) points. Still, oddly enough, the TV ratings were the highest they had been in 16 years. It was a 15-percent increase over last year.

It's a great game, at least on paper. The Saints scored over 500 points this year, almost a touchdown per game more than the Colts, who scored 416. Peyton Manning is one of the top three or five quarterbacks in history, while Drew Brees puts up stunning numbers if he doesn't quite figure into many rankings just yet. The Saints started 13-0, the Colts started 14-0.

One team represents a region that has been hit hard in recent years. The Saints' success is also a fantastic opportunity for frighteningly melodramatic journalistic charitython pieces about what the Saints mean to the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, the Gulf region, the Vatican, and the Frankish king Clovis I, who is reputed to have come up with the fleur de lis.

At any rate, the Colts opened as four-point favourites largely because they are an established brand. But the Colts played the Jets, who got this far because they got not one, but two freebies in the regular season, and then beat the Bengals and Chargers to get here. Parenthetically, opportunity is a fantastic thing: you can't throw wins back like home runs, and champions benefit as much from opportunity as they do talent. The Colts did fall behind 17-6 to the Jets. The Saints played the Vikings and got five turnovers, but still needed four quarters and change to win.

Since overly-detailed analysis of a highly unpredictable event makes people look smart, I'm going to make some predictions. Look for this New Orleans Saints football to utilize screens to take advantage of a Larry Coyer Colts defense that likes to pursue, that likes to run fast. Incoherent gurgling sounds from Shannon Sharpe and Dan Marino. The Saints, meanwhile, will go with three or four-receiver sets and burn the Colts up top since they like to bring those safeties up to blitz, especially in that A-gap since left tackle Jermon Bushrod has a nipple ring.

The final score: Colts 30.4, Saints 24.3.

3 comments:

Jennifer said...

I think you're giving the Saints way too much credit-- I don't think they have much chance against the Colts. Manning would have to really choke. In the NFC game yesterday, neither team looked very good. The Vikings had so many turnovers but it wasn't because of a particularly strong N.O. defense. If the Saints were really that good, the game should have been a blowout. There were some pretty good drives in that game for both teams, but neither looked like Super Bowl material.

オテモヤン said...

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Jennifer said...

I can read "sex", but didn't click on any of those.

More spam, I guess? I think you need to set your "word verification" on the harder setting.