I hope everyone is having a great Super weekend. I am sitting here tonight watching the Michigan State game, wrestling with myself. Do I wear the Brees jersey to the Super Bowl parties tomorrow or one of my Colts jerseys? This is a great weekend to be a Purdue fan from Indiana. No matter what happens tomorrow, my favorite player or my favorite team will win the championship. In addition to that, how lucky are we as football fans for this Super Bowl? The 2 best teams of the year squaring off in the title game. This is game that everyone wanted (with the notable exception of Brett Favre's immediate family). So, here is a bit of pre-game analysis before we get to the Boilermakings.
I think tomorrow's game will be a classic Super Bowl. These are 2 great teams, with 2 great quarterbacks, and underrated defenses. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see the Saints jump out to a lead of more than 10 points. The one thing you can say about the Saints is that they are unpredictable. Every single week, there is some new kind of offensive scheme or formation, some new wrinkle that you have never seen from them before. Meanwhile, the Colts have a tendency to let even mediocre offenses stay in the game for quite some time. They allowed the Jets to score 2 explosive touchdowns, so much that it even seemed like the Colts were in deep trouble in the AFC Championship Game. New Orleans just has too many weapons for the Colts to contain. They have 3 great running backs who can all punish the Colts should they try to clamp down on Brees. Every single wide receiver they have is a constant home run threat, and Shockey is a big tight end to try and contain with a small defense like the Colts have (he had a pretty good game against them as a Giant, against Bob Sanders).
A lot of talk this week has focused on both of the offenses, but these defenses are playing really well too. The Saints are very opportunistic, known for getting and converting turnovers. On other side, the Colts are quietly the number 8 scoring defense in the league, despite giving two games to the bench players. The Colts have done this despite numerous injuries to key members of their secondary, defensive line, and linebackers. This is nothing new for the Colts, who have also been dealing with the loss of Anthony Gonzalez. The depth problems are going to hurt them early. Offenses less prolific than this have given the Colts young secondary hell. Brady and Moss put on a 45 minute clinic for the Colts' rookie corners in Indianapolis this year. Evenmanaged to turn them around last week, and more than once.
This is the Colts though, and they made a whole season doing this. They have come back late seven times. Ask New England what kind of lead is safe against this team. New Orleans can't let up at any point in this game, because Manning will shred them. Manning will make them pay for every mistake, every person out of position, every mismatch, and every blitz. I have described the Saints defense as opportunistic, and that is the problem. How many opportunities does Peyton Manning ever give the opposing team? The Vikings were kind enough to cough up the ball 4 times last week, and still the Saints took the game to overtime. This was after Manning torched the #1 defense in NFL for nearly 400 yards and 3 touchdowns. If Darrelle Revis and the Jets' better secondary couldn't get Manning to throw a pick, my hopes aren't high for the Saints.
I see this game playing out like the tortoise and the hare. New Orleans is going to shoot out to an early lead, as Brees tests the young defense. On the other side, Manning will take his time, daring the Saints to sell out on a blitz or get too aggressive and leave holes in a zone, and then he will strike. The Colts will take advantage of every single error made by the Saints defense and climb back into the game, and eventually pull away. The Saints game plan is to get in Manning's head, to get at him, make him hear footsteps and force him to make mistakes. I just don't see it happening. The Ravens and Jets couldn't stop Manning and they had the two best defenses in the playoffs this year. After watching that happen, I have trouble imagining the Saints being the team that finally forces Peyton to lose a football game. Drew is good enough to keep it interesting for the whole game, but I don't see that defense containing the Colts. Sorry Drew.
Colts 34, Saints 27
Tell us what you think in the poll, and after the jump we hit the Boilermakings.Football;
Boiled Sports Previews the Super Bowl
As only they can.
Crossfire; Purdue Quarterback Edition
Rooting for Brees or Painter? One sophomore makes an ironic case for the best quarterback in Motor City Bowl history.
Painter Prepares for the Super Bowl
Curtis Painter talks about what it's like to play behind Peyton Manning and preparing for the Super Bowl.
Gary Emanuel returns to become Purdue's co-defensive coordinator
Gary is leaving Rutgers to come coach back in West Lafayette.
More Purdue Fans Rooting for Brees
I know, I keep harping on it, but the whole issue fascinates me. It's amazing to me that Drew Brees is such a great player and person that it is causing Colts fans to root for the opposing team. Is there any other player you can think of like that in any kind of sport? Is there a baseball player that would cause you to root for them over your team in the World Series? A basketball player that would have you switching allegiances for the Finals? A hockey player that would cause you to even watch the sport every once in a while? A soccer player whose name you can even recall? This is a rare thing in sports, and the guy is a Boilermaker. How awesome is that? He even has me questioning my Colts fandom, and I wasn't a Purdue fan until I got here.
Does Kelsey Barlow's choke sign reignite rivalry?
Purdue Basketball Blog reflects on the fallout from Barlow's choke sign, wondering if all the jawing and tough play means the rivalry is alive and well, despite the struggles of IU.
Barlow Apologizes for Gesture
I didn't like the choke gesture Kelsey. I prefer the Kramer way; We don't retaliate, we just get W's.
Bigger fish to fry for Purdue
Should the Boilermakers give up on the Big Ten and focus on March? This was written before the injury to Kalin Lucas, so things have changed now that Michigan State is more vulnerable (at least as I sit here typing this watching them lose to Illinois). Still, this has good analysis about the second half of our Big Ten slate.
Getting by without Kalin Lucas
The Only Colors analyzes how Michigan State adjusts if Kalin Lucas can't play in the next few games. He hasn't played yet in the Illinois game. They did just announce on the broadcast that he is planning to play against Purdue, but he will likely not be playing at 100%. Great analysis by The Only Colors.
Orange Krush Punks Iowa
The student section of Illinois managed to get a 160 person seating group courtside behind the north basket of Carver-Hawkeye arena. We can do better than that next year at IU, right Paint Crew?
Speaking of the Orange Krush, nice win tonight Illini. The Big Ten race is wide open once again.