With all this talk about Indy’s superior offense and Chicago’s stalwart defense heading into Super Bowl XLI, one tends to forget that neither the Colts nor the Bears were the most dominating team in the NFL at their respective strength.
That right belongs to the San Diego Chargers, whose running back outscored the entire Oakland Raiders team this season and the Baltimore Ravens, whose defense ranked first in almost every statistical category.
The truth is this game is being billed as “unstoppable force versus immovable object” because the alternatives are pretty bleak. Indy’s defense can’t have less than eight in the box without looking Paris Hilton penetrable. And let’s face it. Chicago lets a guy named Rex lead its offense.
1) Peyton Manning goes off – 350 yards, 4 td, 1 int
Obviously, if Manning has this type of game, Chicago has absolutely no chance. The Bears simply don’t have the fire power to trade touchdowns with Indy. If this happens, we’re looking at a 49ers/Chargers Super Bowl XXIX kind of game.
2) Manning chokes, Bears defense scores – 250 yards, 1 td, 3 int
Completely possible, given Manning’s history up until the second half of this season’s AFC title game. If Chicago puts itself in the same position New England did at halftime two weeks ago, it won’t relinquish the lead.
Indy’s offense gets held in check, but the Bears fail to make any huge plays of defense. This would be one of those 13-13 late fourth quarter games. The Colts might just be a little too much in this spot. If given the opportunity, Manning is a much safer bet to lead his team down field for a score than Grossman is.
Prediction: Indy 24 – Chicago 14