Friday, February 5, 2010
Colts defense will be X factor in Super Bowl XLIV
For all the talk about the high powered offenses that will be on display this Sunday during Super Bowl XLIV in Miami, it is defense that will ultimately be the difference maker in the game. How the Colts defense plays, more specifically, will determine the outcome of this game. Much has been made of how lucky the Colts really were to win their first fourteen games, with a few victories that could have easily gone the other way. I would argue that luck had little to do with it. The Colts have had one of the more underrated defenses in the NFL this season, and they showed the world how good they can be by putting together two back to back stellar performances against two of the top rushing teams in the AFC, the Jets and the Ravens. Colts' defensive ends Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney, two of the quickest players at their position, make up one of the more formidable pass rushes in the league. They will need to pressure Drew Brees constantly so he does not have time to complete the downfield throws that have become his signature. Middle linebacker Gary Brackett anchors a run defense designed not to give up the big play, and will work hard to keep running back's Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas in check. Even if Freeney is not able to go this Sunday because of torn ligaments in his ankle, the Colts will have the personnel to contain Drew Brees and the Saints. Chances are Freeney will play. If there is one game a player is willing to risk further injury, it is the Super Bowl because all players know how hard it is to get back to this game once you have been there. And I believe that while Peyton Manning is a big reason why the Colts have made it back for their third SB appearance, an Indianapolis victory will be in large part due to the play of their defense.