INDIANAPOLIS COLTS vs. CHICAGO BEARS
The Colts come into Miami as a touchdown favorite over the Bears. Indianapolis has finally exercised their playoff demons, conquering the Patriots on way to their first Super Bowl in the Peyton Manning era, while the Bears have reached the big show for the first time since their 1985 super squad won the whole thing. A battle of Defense against Offense ensues when Brian Urlacher and the Bears take on Peyton Manning and his Colts.
An Argument for the Bears
Chicago comes to Miami saying all the right things. They also show up as a touchdown underdog, something that rarely works out for the heavily favored team. Chicago has proven throughout the playoffs and during the regular season, that they can win close games (27-24 over the Hawks in Round 2) and finish games they dominate (39-14 over the Saints in Round 3). Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson have steamrolled opposing defenses, rushing for a combined 294 yards and 5 touchdowns in two playoff games. And Rex Grossman, amongst much criticism, has done everything he has been asked to do, including the completions of some huge throws down the stretch to set his team up for victory. Underdogs often play with a confident, nothing to lose manor, giving them a slight edge when the going gets tough. Chicago has lost 3 games all season, and that’s only if you count a meaningless loss to the Packers in Week 17. The Bears score more points per game than the Colts. Ask anyone, the Bears defense is better than the Colts defense, no question about it. The Bears are 7-1 against the Colts all time, winning their last match-up with the Colts, 24-17 in 2005, when they held Peyton and the Colts to 30 rushing yards and 172 yards through the air, while forcing 6 fumbles. That game was in Indianapolis. The Colts finished the regular season 2-4 while the Bears finished the season off 4-2. The bottom line is, the Colts gave up huge rushing games all year long, while the Bears have dominated teams on the ground, while taking big chances off of play action through the air. Rex Grossman has dealt with the pressure of big games well, while it’s Peyton Manning that has looked like a frustrated young quarterback for much of post season play. The Colts don’t have a rushing attack that can force the Bears to respect the ground game, leaving plenty of defensive backs to give Manning trouble. If this game comes down to special teams, the Bears get the nod over the Colts, as Devin Hester is the most electrifying player on either team. With their will to win in tact, he Bears should win this game easily.
An Argument for the Colts
The Bears have proven over t the latter half of the season, including the playoffs, that they can’t stop the pass adequately; So how will Chicago limit a team that has Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison at the receiving positions, with Peyton Manning throwing the pig skin? Answer: They won’t. Manning finally found his passing touch with the game on the line against the Patriots. Peyton, who is often touted as the best passer in the game, finally finds himself in the Super Bowl, and he won’t fumble the snap in this one. With Dallas Clark stepping up in the playoffs, Manning has too many weapons for a Bears defense that has had trouble stopping quality passers all season long (as even Drew Brees tossed for over 350 yards against the Bears). The Colts dominated time of possession all season long, and hold that title over the Bears as well. Indy is 9-4-1 ATS recently, when playing on grass. While many people like to give the Bears the nod in special teams this week, they must be forgetting a certain kicker that was acquired before this season began. Adam Vinitieri anyone? Yes, he just happens to be the most clutch kicker in the game. I’m sure Devin is fast and shifty, but Adam has won a playoff game or two, not to mention a Super Bowl championship. Devin who? And I know Chicago has picked up yards all season long, but Indy is much better than the Bears in that category, and when they get to the red zone, unlike the Bears, the Colts score at an alarming rate. Many people will question the Colts defense coming in, but how can you do that with the way they’ve played in the playoffs, when defense matters most? Sure, the Colts gave up 157 rushing yards per game during the regular season, but this time of year is anything but regular, and the Colts, in turn, have stepped right up. In each of their playoff games, they didn’t give up 100 yards, holding Larry Johnson and the Chiefs to 42 yards on the ground, giving up only 83 yards to the smash mouth Raven rushing game, and only 93 yards to the two headed monster rushing attack of Corey Dillon and Laurence Maroney. Now that’s a run defense. And how can the Bears 13 win regular season convince anyone? As they only played 4 playoff teams the entire year. And it’s hard to believe the Bears can slow Manning, Reggie, Marvin, and Dallas when they gave up over 200 passing yards per game to the poor passing attacks in the NFC, not to mention 550 yards in two playoff games. Don’t let the hype of the Bears defense deceive you, the Colts have outplayed them defensively throughout the post season race to the Super Bowl. And that, my friends, should be the difference.
Lucky Lester’s Super Bowl Take – 1 Stat Says It All
Many believe quarterback play will decide this game, while others believe the team with the best running attack will take the rings home. Others claim the best defense will decide the Super Bowl, and some even go as far to say big plays on special teams will help crown a winner. However, if I had to pick one single stat that I all but guarantee to go to the winner of the game, I would choose Time of Possession. And that’s one of the main reasons I’m taking the Colts. Because, sure, the Bears have a wonderful defense. Great players, great speed, and strength up front. But Peyton Manning can thread a needle with the best of them, and his three main targets know how to get open. The Colts will run the ball plenty on Sunday, but their key to controlling the ball, and the clock, will rest on the accurate dump down passing of Mr. Manning. He knows how to get first downs, and he can hit a 7 yard stop pattern with the best of them, something that will hurt the Bears early and often. The longer Chicago’s defense sits in their stance waiting for Peyton to make a change, and snap the ball, the more they’ll struggle to stay rejuvenated. This struggle will tire the Bears defensive front, making the game come easier to Indy. While the Bears possess a healthy rushing attack, Rex’s inability to be consistent on easy throws will hurt the Bears attempts to control the clock, in turn, helping the Colts win the game. That’s my take, one stat line should decide it all, and my money’s on Peyton to get it done!
Take the Indianapolis Colts (-6.5) over the Chicago Bears, in Miami. This is one time that the great offence will trump the great defense, and finally we can stop hearing people talk about Peyton Manning not winning a Super Bowl. The line has fallen a bit, from 7 to 6.5, which makes the Colts that much more attractive to my betting senses. The Colts beat the Bears 35-24 as a late score puts the game out of reach in Miami.