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Who Will Win Super Bowl XLIV?

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Above the question of Dwight Freeney’s ankle. More than the feel good story of the New Orleans Saints and their effect on the city. Even beyond the ubermensch godlike yet still everyman aura that is Peyton Manning. One question is dogging the minds of sports fans.

Who the hell is going to win the Super Bowl?

Picking games is an exercise in futility as I have increasing found out in recent years. Once upon a time I seemed to have a knack of picking winners. I predicted the Carolina Panthers beating the Dallas Cowboys back in the 1996 season. I did pick the Cincinnati Bengals to upset the Kansas City Chiefs bid to perfection in 2003.

But here I sit this season after predicting a San Diego Chargers and Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl scratching my balls and wondering whether there is any need to pick and analyze games. I suppose this is my existential crisis of sorts.

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Of course as someone who follows sports religiously to an almost psychopathic extent I just can’t help myself. I need to look through offenses, defenses, line play, quarterbacks, special teams, et al. to achieve some context into the game. So here are my 472 words of masturbation that in the end will amount to nothing once the game is played out.

As I said in the first paragraph Colts quarterback Peyton Manning is an ubermench on the playing field. Everyone saw this in full displaying during the AFC Championship Game. During the first half of the game, the New York Jets disguised and blitzed Manning so much they actually were able to sack him twice. As the Jets took a 14-3 lead it looked like Manning was in fact human. That slack jawed visage looked even more slacked jaw in confusion.

But in the Colts last drive in the first half something clicked in Manning, and he released the ball after dropping back three steps content in getting short gains. He figured out the Jets defense and cut through them like Sherman’s march to the sea. From that point there was no stopping him, and he led the Colts to a 30-17 victory. The Jets made a fatal mistake in that game: they felt their initial game plan was enough to last the entire game.

While Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is telling anyone who will listen that the Saints defense will put a hurting on Manning like they did against Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game, all it is are just cute words that will give the Colts offensive line ammunition. The Saints defense in no way is as intimidating as the Jets defense. And seeing what Manning did with the Jets, they need more than just to pressure Manning.

The only way for the Saints defense to frustrate Manning is to come with four different game plans for each quarter. And not just different wrinkles of the same defense. They have to be completely different so as not to give Manning any time to decipher them.

If the Saints defense fails, then the Saints will fail since their offense won’t be able to bail them out. The Saints beat the Vikings because of opportunistic interceptions and sloppy ball handling by the Vikings. Their offense looked just about nonexistent for most of the game. In fact apart from the 45-14 win in the divisional round against the Arizona Cardinals, the Saints offense has looked hobbled since week 14 when they barely got past the Atlanta Falcons 26-23 in the Georgia Dome.

To put it succinctly, the Saints are in trouble which is a shame because it would really be great to see them pull this out.

Now here is the part where I wrap up everything nicely and give my prediction in a cocksure manner that people either believe everything I have said above or think I am the ultimate in Massengill products. But anyone reading my words should take into account my abhorrent record in picking these games in during the playoffs.

With that in mind, the Indianapolis Colts will defeat the New Orleans Saints 49-31.

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