By the Numbers


Everyone likes to try and predict the winners and back it up with any number of different statistics. While never one to jump on the bandwagon, this one is just too tempting not to ride for at least one post.

Both teams have had stellar numbers throughout the season:

  • Offense: Overall- Colts 9th, Saints 1st; Rushing-Colts 32nd, Saints 6th; Passing- Colts 1st, Saints 4th
  • Defense: Overall- Colts 18th, Saints 25th; Rushing- Colts 24th, Saints 21st; Passing- Colts 14th, Saints 26th

The most notable stats here is the dead last ranking for the Colts in rushing defense paired against the 6th best rushing attack of the Saints. For years the Colts have had trouble defending against the run. Teams have been successful against the Colts by controlling the ball and keeping the high powered offense helmed by one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history off the field. Pair that with the fourthbest rated offensive line for the Saints with he explosive style of Reggie Bush and the power of Michael Bush and versatility of Pierre Thomas and the Saints may have the formula that it takes to bring down the Colts.

In sticking with the numbers theme there is more that needs to be explored before dubbing a winner. Manning threw for more yards than Brees this season (4500 to 4388); Brees had a better QB rating (109.6 to 99.9); Maning has thrown more interceptions (16) and Brees has been sacked more (20). The Colts have had the best rusher of the two teams (Addai with 828 yards) and the best receiver in Reggie Wayne (1264). However, the Saints have managed to spread the ball around more to their entire group of receivers with Marques Colston, Robert Meachem, and Devery Henderson  all getting at least 760 yards or more. The bulk of the Colts passing goes through Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark, Clark with over 1100 yards and Wayne 1200+ yards. However, the Saints have one of the best ball hawks in the league in Darren Sharper. Sharper would love to take one of the interceptions Peyton Manning almost seems fond of throwing to the house and give the Saints offense a little help.

The initial stats raise some questions. Further review only raises more. Will the Colts offense be able to put up enough points against the equally potent Saints attack? Can Darren Sharper shut dow either Reggie Wayne of Dallas Clark? Can the young Colt secondary stop all the long range threats that the Saints have? How much of a factor will the running attack be? Will it come down to field position and whose punter can pin the other team deepmore often (Colt’s punter Pat McAfee averages .7 yards more than the Saints Thomas Morstead, 44.3 to 43.6; both have a long of 60 yards; McAfee has three more points inside the 20, 21 to 18; Saints have allowed one punt return for a TD while the Colts have not).

Stats allow the talking heads to talk abot something for hours on end with no end in sight. To pick a winer off of stats alone I would hae to include one more. Peyton Manning led the Colts to more 4th quarter comebacks this year then some quarterbacks have in an entire career (7). With so many stats being so close and so many of one’s positives countered by the other this is the one that will make a difference on Sunday.

Colts win in one of the best Super Bowls to date. As for the score- I dont’t know, but from these two teams I would expect a whole lot to not enough.