The final game of the NFL season is here. It is a saddening thought that this season has gone by so quickly and will be over with in just a few days, but the game itself should be a good one. Super Bowl XLI, live from Miami this Sunday evening, features the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts. The game has a ton of storylines surrounding it that makes it that much better. Below are my thoughts and my prediction on the game. Overall, I've been far worse than I expected in predicting this year's playoff games, but hopefully I get the biggest one right.
There are many questions surrounding both teams prior to kickoff in Super Bowl XLI. For the Bears, the obvious question is which Rex Grossman will show up on Sunday. Grossman has had an up and down year due to a great game and then a couple of horrific games. In the playoffs however, Grossman has been very good considering how many people doubted him. In this game, I don't see the "bad Rex" showing up in Miami, but I don't think he will play lights out either. Look for his play to be somewhere in between, but leaning towards the good side.
For the Colts, there are two questions. The one that I am sick of hearing is, "Can Peyton win the big one?" Peyton Manning's track record has been sketchy when he has played in the "big games," up until the Patriots one two weeks ago of course, but I still don't think that will factor in to how he plays. Manning seems to have this relaxing factor in him that just leads me to believe he won't try to force anything. Plus, he hasn't been great in the previous playoff games and the Colts have still won anyways.
The other question I have for the Colts is if they can shutdown the Bears' rushing attack. The Colts really do need to force Rex Grossman to beat them as Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson can really get going if Indy doesn't shut the run game down. All season long the Colts had a terrible run defense. In the playoffs, when it counts most, they have stepped it up and stopped their opponents running game handedly. But in this game it is very important to keep the playoff trend going as eliminating that part of Chicago's offense will be a big help. I don't necessarily think Indy will shut them down but I don't believe Chicago will have a field day either. I'd say again, somewhere in the middle, which will keep the game close.
Overall, this game, for me anyways, boils down to execution. The Colts are the obvious favorites in this game but that doesn't mean Chicago should be counted out. The fact that no one is even giving the Bears a chance leads me to believe they have a great hope. In my opinion though, I see the Colts winning this one by a score of 24-14. Indy gets out early with a couple Manning touchdowns and then keeps the Bears from coming back late in the game.
I'll apologize in advance to the Colts contingency if Chicago ends up winning. So far in the playoffs, I've picked against Indianapolis in all three of their games and every time I have been wrong. Hopefully for the Colts, the opposite effect doesn't happen here.
Good luck to both teams and here's to hoping this is a great Super Bowl.