Our take on the game:
Saints 34, Colts 31 OT
I think the Colts are the better team, but something tells me the Saints can pull out another Miracle in Miami to cap off a tremendous season. And given that the Saints managed to win an overtime thriller that by all accounts they could have easily lost, I’m angling for another OT thriller in Super Bowl XLIV.
It’s hard to believe that in 43 past Super Bowls, there’s never been an overtime game. There’s been three games that were tied in the final minute, but this game strikes me as the ultimate match-up of two high powered offenses, yet both teams also possess solid defenses. Both teams were undefeated at 13-0 which is very unusual (the undefeated 1973 Dolphins had to wait longer than ever this year before they could pop their champagne corks as the NFL’s only undefeated season), and the Colts had a legitimate case to potentially have been undefeated if they hadn’t rested starters after getting down to the Jets.
So yes, the Colts should be favored, I was thinking by 3-4 points. I think 5-1/2 points is too much, so if the Saints were to lose, I still like them to cover the spread. Yes, they could have lost to the Vikings, but when a team survives a scare, that often makes them feel even more like a team of destiny. And who can’t root for New Orleans to get a taste of the glory after all that city has been through in recent years.
So look for the former “Aints” to truly perform like Saints, with a magical finishing drive to send it to sudden death, and an overtime victory to cap it off. It might be too much to ask for this perfect of an ending, but the Saints and New Orleans sure do deserve it.
Saints 37, Colts 31
The cinderella story culminates with a Super Bowl win for New Orleans as they capture their first title since arriving on the scene over 40 years ago. The heartbreak, struggles and tragedy for this team/city come to an end with a thrilling victory over the favored Colts. The big receivers for the Saints (Henderson, Colston) will be the difference along with a solid offensive line that gives Drew Brees time to make plays. The other wildcard being Reggie Bush, who is used to playing big in these kinds of games. There is really nobody on the Colts defense to stop his vertical attack. Peyton Manning is one of the alltime greats but their running attack is secondary here. The speed and experience on defense for the Saints is underrated and unassuming. The Colts receivers are good but I doubt will come up big as they did against the undersized Jets. Injuries for the Colts (Freeney) may be a bonus for the Saints. It'll be a shootout, don't leave the room for too long!
Sentimental hopes will be dashed as Peyton Manning and the most professional team in football (surpassing the Patriots) will take care of business easily on Sunday. The game will probably also be lower scoring than many expect. The main thing here is that the Colts have been here before and expect to win the game, while the Saints are kind of just happy to be here and have no idea what they are facing. Expect Saints receivers to drop unexpected passes, and Peyton Manning to burn the Saints defense with his trademark line audibles for a few big passes. The AFC in general has proven to be a stronger conference in recent years, winning 5 of the last 6 Super Bowls (the only exception being the memorable upset by the Giants over the Patriots). The last time the Colts were in the big game in 2007, they won 29-17 over the Bears, despite playing a fairly mediocre game. Expect a similar easy win this time around, as well. There is a reason why all the "early money" pushed this betting line from Colts -4 to Colts -5.5.
Colts 34, Saints 24
For Super Bowl XLIV, the Colts are favored by roughly 5 point, with an total points over/under set at 57. The Colts have won every game that they have tried to win this season, but almost just as important, they are 5-0 against the spread in their last 5 games when favored. From a practical standpoint, Peyton Manning is in a bid to become arguably the greatest Quarterback of All Time if he can win his second Super Bowl ring. The Saints were fortunate to make it this far as Bret Favre and the Vikings handed them the NFC Championship game. I feel great for New Orleans, as the people of that city deserved to make it to their first Super Bowl, but unfortunately, I think their run stops here. The Colts were able to beat the Ravens (#1 Defense in the NFL) twice, the Patriots (#4 Defense) once, and the Jets (#8 Defense) in their magical run this season, then there is no reason to believe they can't cap it off with a win against the Saints and their #9 ranked defense. Colts will win by enough to cover the spread and take the over on Total Points.
Have a great weekend and enjoy the Big Game!
Disclosure: No positions.