Fans of of­fence, re­joice! Saints, Colts fig­ure to pile on the points

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS -

move the chains.

Indianapolis (16-2) of­fers Pey­ton Man­ning, the only four­time MVP, throw­ing to a deep group of tar­gets led by two 1,000yard re­ceivers: Reg­gie Wayne and tight-end Dal­las Clark.

And while the Colts’ D has been stingy in the play­offs and the Saints force lots of turnovers, this could be a matchup that wears out the score­board at Sun Life Sta­dium.

Indy, win­ner of the last Su­per Bowl here three years ago, is a five­point favourite.

“We have to be bal­anced and mix the run and the pass,” Brees said. “We have to have a plan for their pass rush, be­cause we know how they can rush the passer. Take care of the foot­ball, try to keep Pey­ton and that of­fence off the field as much as pos­si­ble and take ad­van­tage of the op­por­tu­ni­ties when we get them.

“ You can’t be one-di­men­sional against th­ese guys, be­cause they are too smart for that. You have to be able to do both. If you can do it ef­fi­ciently, pos­sess the ball, con­vert third downs, keep them off the field, eat up the time of pos­ses­sion — all of those things that you talk about as an of­fence, that’s the key for suc­cess.”

Ex­cept that’s not nec­es­sar­ily what the Saints do best. They are not a grind-it-out team. New Orleans had ex­plo­sive plays this sea­son from 75, 68, 66, 55, 54, 41, 37 and 36 yards. The Saints ranked sixth in yards rush­ing in 2009, but they went 15-3 be­cause of their pass­ing prow­ess.

New Orleans al­lowed just 20 sacks dur­ing the sea­son, but that’s seven more than Indy’s QBs made. With DE Dwight Freeney, the Colts’ pri­mary pass rusher, ail­ing with an­kle lig­a­ment dam­age, it could present Brees more op­por­tu­ni­ties to throw.

The matchups of Colts DBs An­toine Bethea, Melvin Bul­litt, Kelvin Hay­den, Jer­raud Pow­ers and Ja­cob Lacey against Col­ston, Robert Meachem, Dev­ery Hen­der­son, Shockey, Thomas, Bush and Pierre Thomas will be in­trigu­ing.

Still, the key to the game will be Man­ning against a vul­ner­a­ble New Orleans de­fence. And that’s the dif­fer­ence.

When Dar­relle Re­vis, the best cover cor­ner­back in the league, blan­keted Wayne in the AFC ti­tle game, Man­ning looked else­where. Youngsters Pierre Gar­con and Austin Col­lie were un­stop­pable. The Saints don’t have a Re­vis, and their de­fence doesn’t come close to match­ing what Indy faced from the Jets and Ravens.

Bot­tom line: Man­ning may be play­ing the best foot­ball of his sen­sa­tional ca­reer — cer­tainly good enough to win the Colts’ sec­ond NFL cham­pi­onship in four sea­sons. COLTS, 37-27. ——— RECORD: Ver­sus spread, 2-0 (110-133-3 sea­son); Straight up, 2-0 (173-83 sea­son) Best Bet: 6-13 Up­set Spe­cial: 10-9

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