Colt v. Bears, 625p, Sunday, 2/4, CBS – One of the myriad talk-radio prognosticators who’ve been held hostage in Miami with too little to do for a week now claimed that the best team in the NFL is not playing in Super Bowl XLI. He claimed that team was San Diego, and their absence somewhat tarnished the matchup between the Colts and Bears. This is a consequence of too much time on one’s hands and, most importantly, too little to do.
Sure, the Chargers (14-2) won one more game than the Bears (13-3) and two more than the Colts (12-4). But the “best” team – if you’re defining it by the best regular-season record – typically doesn’t reach the championship in most sports. Besides, I’m a glass-half-full guy. That two of the teams with the three best regular-season records are here could make this one of the most compelling and competitive SBs ever.
I think it will be.
The much-touted Peyton Manning– Rex Grossman mismatch will come into play. I expect both QBs to play well. Mannings “well” far exceeds Grossman’s but expect Rex to keep the Bears in the game by leveraging the teams two-heading running attack – Jones and Benson – to keep Manning and the Colts off the field. Additionally, expect the Bears special teams to but Grossman in good field position, preventing him from having to execute heroics to keep Chicago in contention.
When the Colts have the ball Manning will be lethal. Not every possession, and maybe not for long stretches. But as witnessed in the AFC title game, he will find a groove. The Bears defense will focus on applying pressure everywhere – up front, on the edges and, of course, in the backfield. But it isn’t infallible. And if Manning finds a groove, the pressure will turn around and bite the Bears in the butt.
And did I mention Adam Venitieri? Manning doesn’t even have to led the Colts into the end zone. Getting within the same area code all but guarentees will get points. So the Bears’ charge isn;t simply to keep Manning out of the end zone, but out of is vicinity, as well.
Can’t be done. Not with the Indy defense executing and confident. Not with Manning flush from the biggest victory of his career.
It will be close, but Peyton Manning and head coach Tony Dungy will rise. Colts 28, Bears 24.