1.29.2007

Super Bowl Prediction

I can't help but put myself on record in terms of making a prediction
for Super Bowl XLI. As is often the case with my predictions, I'm
hopelessly contrarian. And as is often the case with my predictions,
I will most certainly be almost totally wrong. But then what's the
fun of not putting your neck out there?

So here's my line of thinking. This feels a lot like Super Bowl
XXXVII four years ago, when the Raiders' unstoppable offense met the
Buccaneers' immovable defense. No one thought you could stop the
Raiders' offense, forgetting that the Bucs' offense wasn't too bad,
either. Final score, much to my chagrin as a lifelong Raiders fan,
48-21.

Flash forward to the present. I think Manning will have a good game;
in fact, I'm rooting for him to have a great game. But I can't help
but think that good defenses always beat good offenses. You might say
the Bears didn't play well the last quarter of the season. So what?
They've had two weeks to rest and to prepare. They're still studs on
the defensive side of the ball, no matter what that five or six week
stretch made you think. I have to think their defense is going to be
responsible for about ten points, whether turnovers leading to
immediate points or great field position.

And while we're at it, put me down for whatever bet that says Devin
Hester will be taking one to the house. If he doesn't, he'll take it
back close enough that the Bears' offense can punch it in pretty
quick. That's another seven points. No such contribution from the
Colts' defense or special teams.

So I'm thinking Manning gets the Colts four scoring drives out of ten
or twelve possessions- yes, that's how stout the Bears D is going to
be - and we'll call that two touchdowns and two field goals.

Grossman is pretty good when you give him two weeks to prepare, and
I've heard so much press about how awful a QB he is that I have to
think he'll have a pretty decent game. Add a frisky running game,
sprinkle in a couple of deep bombs, and we're looking at two
touchdowns and a field goal, or one touchdown and three field goals,
or something like that.

Finally, we've now seen three straight major one-sided contests that
ended up being one-sided in the other direction: the Eastern
Conference's Heat beating the Western Conference's Mavs, the NL's
Cards thumping the AL's Tigers, and the powerhouse Buckeyes getting
thrashed by the upstart Gators. Frankly, I just don't see how the
Colts are so highly favored in the first place, but that's what the
talk has been, so watch me go to the other side.

In the end, it's 34-20, Bears, with an MVP for Ricky Manning, Jr. Not
what I'm rooting for, but what I see.

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