Grand Central Magazine’s staff predictions for Super Bowl XLIV

Grand Central Magazine's sports writers predict the outcome of Super Bowl XLIV

Jason Shubnell: Colts

Not a hard argument: Peyton Manning. He is the smartest quarterback playing today. Along with Brett Favre, he is the Iron Man of the NFL. Whatever the Saints try to throw at him, he will break it down like he has this and every other year he has played in this league.

Despite a below average running game this season (leading rusher Joseph Addai’s highest total came in  the divisional playoff game two weeks ago with 80 yards) and a reliance on two inexperienced receivers, Manning put up a career high in passing yards and earned his record fourth MVP.

Whether Brees and the Saints want a shoot-out or a struggle, I would be hard-pressed to bet against Manning.

Colts 35 Saints 27

John Schneider: Saints

All this talk of Dwight Freeney’s injury is making me nervous. And why are the Colts favored anyway? True Peyton Manning is, in my humble opinion, the best to ever play the game, but Drew Brees is surrounded by more playmakers.

Without the presence of Freeney, I don’t see the Colts putting the necessary pressure on Brees, and he will pick them apart. Plus I think the Saints are wearing the “Team of Destiny” tag.

Saints 34 Colts 24

Josh Berenter: Colts

In any sport, you can’t teach experience.  It’s simple, the Colts have it, and the Saints do not.

The Colts have 26 members on their current roster that were a part of the team in Super Bowl XLI, in Miami.  The Saints have only six players on their active roster that have been to a Super Bowl.

I think with everything surrounding the circus that is Super Bowl week, including media day, players getting tickets and the temptation of South Beach, the Saints will come up short next Sunday.

The Colts aren’t satisfied with simply making it to the Super Bowl.  They are on a business trip and expect nothing less than the Lombardi trophy being lifted by reigning MVP Peyton Manning.

Colts 31 Saints 24

Tim Hanson: Saints

The saying that defense wins championships will be thrown out the window in this Super Bowl.  The Colts and Saints have two of the most explosive offenses in the NFL, but one offensive weapon will stand out when the game is over: Reggie Bush.

No other player can impact a game in so many ways.  This postseason, Bush already has touchdowns receiving, rushing, and on a punt return.

One thing that cannot be overlooked is Bush’s abilities as a punt returner which will turn the field position in the Saints favor. The playmaking ability of Bush will be the difference in the final score of Super Bowl XLIV.

Saints 34 Colts 28

Jerry Taylor: Colts

To me, the key matchup to the Saints/Colts Super Bowl matchup is the Colts wide receivers vs. the Saints secondary. Colts quarterback Peyton Manning has proved time and time again if you double his favorite target WR Reggie Wayne, he will throw the ball to someone else to move the chains and score some touchdowns.

Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie and Dallas Clark (the Colts’ starting tight end) have shown that if they are left in single coverage, they will exploit any secondary. I believe that both the Ravens and the Jets had a more complete secondary than the Saints do. Look for the Colts receivers to have the upper hand Sunday night against the Saint’s secondary.

Peyton Manning is the best football player on the planet. He is getting two weeks to prepare and scheme against the Saints defense. However, a parade is scheduled on February 16 in New Orleans; the annual Mardi Gras parade. That’s the only parade happening in the “Big Easy” this year.

Colts 38 Saints 31

Doug Sears Jr.: Saints

The New Orleans Saints, on the backs of their big play, turnover-causing defense, will beat the high-powered Indianapolis offense and win Super Bowl XLIV.  Led by Darren Sharper, a prototypical riverboat gambler in the middle of the field, the Saints will employ key interceptions and forced fumbles as they have all season.

The Saints had 26 interceptions in the regular season, five for touchdowns. They forced 15 fumbles, and recovered 13 of them.  When the Saints have an opportunity to take possession of the ball, they rarely miss it. And before we fall too deep into the myth that Peyton Manning is the perfect QB, keep in mind he was tied for sixth in the NFL with 16 picks this season.

Saints 26 Colts 14

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