Can the NFL's Saints pull it off?

Feb 2, 2010 5:03 PM

Denny the Dog by Dennis Ball |

Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints?

Well, if you believe Joe Q. Public and half of the wise guys in town, the answer is simple – dat is Peyton Manning.

The Saints are marching into their first Super Bowl ever. And when you couple that with the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans should be the sentimental favorites.

But if that’s the case, no one is betting with their hearts. The Colts opened 3½ and were a 4-point favorite early last week. But the Colts were quickly bet up to 5½ and have now gone to 6 at a few sports books in town.

The wise guys and the general public showed no affection for New Orleans with the early number. No matter how high the Saints’ fans hopes were for Drew Brees to pull them out of the wreckage of Hurricane Katrina, most bettors felt the number was too low. Their feeling is Peyton Manning is better than any other QB and the Colts defense was better than the Saints so it isn’t close in their estimation.

Manning carved up the best defense in the NFL with the slicing and dicing of the Jets and the week before that he performed the same aerial surgery on the Ravens. So say the Colts backers.

And, in case you haven’t heard it before, NFL fans everywhere will be quick to tell you that Peyton Manning is not only a gifted passer, he’s a genius. He studies most of the day and night, studying film and rarely finding the time to sleep. In fact, he studies so much according to reports I’ve heard that he seldom sets foot on the practice field during the week. He just locks himself in his room and reviews opponents’ games until he nods off to sleep.

I’m surprised he has enough energy on the weekends to call the plays, let alone change all those calls at the line of scrimmage. I wonder if the defensive coordinator and defensive players get as ticked off as I do every time Peyton pulls the check card out of his pocket?

So Peyton Manning will deliver Indianapolis their second Super Bowl title this Sunday. Nearly everyone is in agreement with that Super Bowl outcome. Everyone but me, that is.

I’m backing Payton, but it’s the shorter one standing on the underdog side of the field. My money is on Sean Payton and the Saints to cover the point spread with an excellent shot at winning the game straight up! Denny The Dog is selecting the dog to bring home the money for his ninth straight Super Bowl win against the point spread.



Final Score: Saints 34 Colts 31


The thing that seems to get lost in all the Peyton Manning hoopla is the QB on the other side of the field. Who dat gonna say dat Drew Brees is chopped liver? The Colts aren’t going to breeze to a Super Bowl victory like they did against da Bears a few years back. The experts may think Peyton is head and shoulders above Drew Brees but he’s not. Maybe just a head, but not head and shoulders!

The public and experts alike are betting with both fists on the Colts, as if the Saints QB is Rex Grossman. Drew Brees is better than that and deserves more recognition and respect than he’s received so far. Maybe he’s not up to Peyton’s standards, but he’s pretty darn good. Brees has tossed 34 TD passes and only given up 11 interceptions. It was his fourth consecutive season throwing for over 4,000 yards.

No, he’s not chopped liver, that’s for sure. Fourteen times during the regular season this guy was able to drive his team to at least 24 points. Nine times the Saints went over 30 points and they duplicated that point total last week. In the first playoff game against the Cards they put up over 40 points, a total they were able to pound out in four different games during the regular season. Those stats alone scream out, "Beware of Dog!"

So this big news just in at Denny The Dog’s satellite studio – the Saints and Drew Brees can play, toe-to-toe or helmet-to-helmet, with the Colts. The Saints have already taken down Kurt Warner and Brett Favre, two future hall-of-famers. Why not Peyton Manning? Then we can call it a triple hall-of-fame sack?

Oh yeah, I’m sorry, I forgot already that we may have a slight problem. Manning’s a genius. He reads the defenders’ minds. In fact, he’s so good at reading minds he will be on the next episode of "Criminal Minds."

But seriously, I believe the Saints will give the Colts all they can handle. Sean Payton had two weeks to put together a game plan and I think he’s one of the best coaches in the league. The Aints were 63-97 in the 10 years prior to Sean Payton’s arrival in New Orleans. They’re 38-26 in the regular season and have scored over 27 points per game since Payton hit town. I give no edge to Indy in the coaching department. And when Sean looks at the completed game plan he should feel confident that he has as many weapons or more to fire than the Colts.

Meachem, Henderson and Colston are as good as any wide-outs Manning has to choose from. Shockey is a great target at tight end.

Reggie Bush, Pierre Thomas and Lynell Hamilton give Brees more variety and talent to choose from than Peyton Manning has with Addai and Brown. The trio combined for 171 yards and two touchdowns on 34 carries against Arizona. They may not duplicate those numbers here but the potential is there.

I believe the real wild card the Saints have in their bag of offensive tricks is still Reggie Bush. Bush erupted for 217 all-purpose yards against the Cards on just 12 touches. The same potentially deadly, big play wild card is back in the deck this Sunday. Be on the lookout for a 50 yard plus punt return or touchdown catch from Kardashian’s main squeeze!

I do give the edge on defense to the Colts. But with all of the Saints’ offensive weapons, and I do believe they have more than the Colts, the Saints will overcome the quicker defense. It looks like Dwight Freeney will play, but it won’t hurt the Saints chances with Freeney coming off a sprained right ankle that limited his practice time last week.

The Saints also have a chance to overcome that quick Colts’ D with an opportunistic defense of their own. New Orleans registered 39 takeaways during the regular season and parted opposing offenses from the football on seven different occasions during their first two playoff games.

Will Smith, Sedrick Ellis, Scott Fujita, Jonathan Vilma and Scott Shanle were in the face of Kurt Warner and Brett Favre constantly during both playoff games. I believe they’ll bring plenty of heat to Peyton Manning. Not only will heat be needed to disrupt Manning’s timing, but heat will also be needed to thaw out the turf. Before the game is over, the field in Miami might look more like the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.

The late Saints’ broadcasting legend, Bucky D. (Bernard Diliberto) told all that would listen that the Saints would win the Super Bowl when hell froze over.

The turf in Miami may be getting very cold as the seconds tick off the clock at Super Bowl XLIV. I think there’s a great chance Bucky’s bold prediction will come true. The Saints may just win it all and hell will be officially frozen over!

Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Dennis Ball