The Bears will win the Super Bowl because defense wins championships. Granted, the Colts have Peyton Manning, arguably the best quarterback ever to lace up the boots statistically speaking, and the Bears have an inconsistent quarterback in Rex Grossman.
The main factors in why the Bears will win: Peyton Manning has never won the big game. Manning’s greatness as a regular-season quarterback is undeniable, but his resume in the post season is less then stellar.
Is it unfair to blame Manning for his team’s lack of postseason success? Of course. Football is a team sport and the play of one individual should not determine the outcome of the game. Well, it does! Winning is like most anything else: You must learn how to do it.
Peyton Manning has yet to learn how to win the big game. Manning’s past career is full of great statistical feats. However one he has yet to get under his belt is a championship. To my knowledge, Peyton Manning never won a high school state championship, a college football national championship and, to this point, a Super Bowl championship.
The Bears defense will be up to the task. If the Bears lose it will not be because their defense did not show up for the game; it will be because their offense did not do its job, keeping Peyton Manning and the Colts offense off the field by utilizing a solid ball-controlled, run-oriented, smash-mouth brand of football.
The Bears’ defense does, however, have its own worries. Other than keeping the Colts’ prolific offense at bay, the Bears have a potential weakness in the middle of their defensive line. The absence of defensive tackle Tommie Harris due to a season ending injury and the off-the-field issues surrounding defensive tackle Tank Johnson will have to be addressed.
There are also some X-factors, factors that have yet to be determined but that will play a role in the outcome of the game, which might have an impact.
The weather is a huge factor.A warm day with no rain, snow or wind would favor the Colts, whereas a cold day with a substantial amount of wind or rain could potentially turn the tide in favor of the underdog Bears.
Another X-factor is how the game will be officiated. If the game is closely officiated with the referees preventing the Bears from playing physical coverage on the Colts receivers the Colts will most likely have their way and a championship ring in their future.
The significance of the way the game is called cannot be understated.
The last X-factor that I will mention is the play of Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri and Bears quarterback Rex Grossman.
Vinatieri has kicked many game-winning field goals in the past while it is interesting to note is the English translation of the Latin first name of the Bears’ quarterback.
The Latin word ‘Rex’ in English means ‘king.’
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Who prevails when a great offense goes up against a great defense? This classic sports argument of strength versus strength will take center stage come Super Bowl XLI this Sunday in Miami. The AFC’s best offense in the Indianapolis Colts will take on the NFC’s best defense in the Chicago Bears.
Most believe that Bears’ erratic and streaky quarterback Rex Grossman stands no chance against future Hall- of-Famer Peyton Manning, while others point to Trent Dilfer, a similarly mediocre quarterback who led the Baltimore Ravens to a title in 2000.
Normally, Grossman’s performance is dictated by his first two drives. If Manning strikes early, Grossman will be forced to throw the ball from behind, something that normally has resulted in costly turnovers throughout the regular season, instantly crushing his confidence.
The Colts want Grossman to pass, but this means Bob Saunders and the Colts defense must do what Seattle and New Orleans could not do in Chicago’s two playoff wins: stop the run in order to force Grossman to try to make plays with his arm. Considering all the fuss about the Colts’ soft run defense in the regular season, Indy has held its three playoff opponents to a solid 73.3 yards a game, shutting down the likes of Larry Johnson, Jamal Lewis and Corey Dillon late in games.
When Peyton Manning scores early and the renewed Colts defense slows down running backs Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson, look for Grossman to start to press and turn the ball over.
On the other side of the ball, Chicago’s 6’3′ 300-pound defensive tackle Tommy Harris is no longer clogging the middle to stop the running game while the secondary has not been the same since the loss of Pro Bowl safety Mike Brown.
The Bears defense was tremendously successful in shutting down Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints’ high-octane offense in the NFC championship game 39-14. But that was on the slippery grass of Soldier Field in Chicago when it was 28 degrees and snowing. While Manning and the Colts are also not going to be in the comfort of their own dome, sunny Dolphin Stadium in Miami should provide for as neutral as a field as possible.
Peyton Manning threw for 349 yards while storming back from a 21-3 deficit against the Patriots defense that supposedly had his number for the past several years. Before the AFC championship game, the Colts won on the road against the Baltimore Ravens, a team built similarly to the Bears in that they both rely on stingy defenses and turnovers to win games.
Tom Moore’s pass-heavy offense has seen Peyton Manning become more efficient in checking down and dumping off to his running backs, picking up short yardage and sustaining long drives. This tires out the Bears’ hard-hitting linebackers, who will have to contend with running backs Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhode.
The Colts, coming from the clearly superior conference, have had to go through much tougher competition than the Bears have in the weaker NFC. The Colts played eight different playoff teams this year, including two wins against the Patriots, who beat the Bears earlier in the season.
Throw in the fact that the AFC team has won seven of the past nine Super Bowls, and it is easy to see why Vegas has the more and experienced Indianapolis Colts as a rather large seven-point favorite.
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