Wednesday, February 3, 2010

For the Saints to win the Super Bowl...

I went over the Colts keys yesterday, now it's time for the Saints.

-Establish the running game.
We all know that Drew Brees and the New Orleans passing game is dangerous. Part of the reason it's so dangerous is the balance the Saints possess on offense with the league's sixth-best rushing attack. Whether it's Pierre Thomas or Reggie Bush (or even Mike Bell), the Saints are a successful running football team, and they should be able to assert their will on the Colts defense in that department.

The Colts shut down the Jets' top-ranked rushing game, but Thomas Jones was hobbled in the playoffs and New York's offense doesn't have the balance of New Orleans'. The Colts won't be able to stack the box without opening up deep throws for Drew Brees, meaning the Saints should have success on the ground all day against one of the league's poorer run defenses.

Once the Saints get the ground game going, they will likely look to exploit the Indianapolis defense with the play-action pass to create big plays. Brees will look to freeze the linebackers and safeties and let speedsters like Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem get past the defense, a task that will become even easier if they can establish a threat on the ground.

-Hit Peyton Manning and force turnovers
Notice i use the word "hit" rather than "sack." What use would my keys to victory be if they were virtually impossible to perform? The Saints could bring seven blitzers in the A gap and Manning would find a way to get rid of the football to the open man; he's just that good. Gregg Williams stole a line from Rex Ryan saying, "When you hit the quarterback, the whole team feels it." I wonder what his plan is for this week...

In all seriousness, everybody knows the Saints will come with pressure against Manning. And everybody knows that the chances New Orleans gets to Manning more than once or twice are remote. The only goal in pressuring a quarterback like Manning is disrupting his rhythm and timing. Once you let Manning get into a groove, it's nearly impossible to get him out of it.

The Colts will score their share of points, as will the Saints. But if New Orleans creates enough pressure to disrupt Manning, and they can do that with defensive end Will Smith (13 sacks) even without blitzing, they could force a turnover or two that will turn the game in their favor. The winner of this game will be the team whose defense can take away the most possessions from the opposing offense. The Saints' pressure-heavy, ball-hawking defense may have the best shot of any team to do that to Manning.

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