Super Bowl? Miami Here We Come!
Posted by sportsmaven on January 22, 2007
Don’t let anyone tell you that the Chicago Bears didn’t earn this victory today against the New Orleans Saints. I have never experienced the energy, passion, the intensity contained in Soldier Field today. I have never heard it so loud. The snow fell all game…it was perfect. I refer to my January 18th post as the keys to today’s game with outcomes:
For the Bears:
- Third down conversions as a key stat this week. The Bears are at 31% in stopping 3rd down coversions, which is #2 in the NFL in that category. The Bears held the Saints to 38% in 3rd down conversions.
- Secondly, do not let Drew Brees get comfortable in the pocket. Change the looks he’s getting, use the blitz early, take him out of his rhythm. If Brees is allowed to get comfortable early, his accurate passing will pick the Bears secondary apart, especially with little to no push to the quarterback from the Bears front four. Brees was sacked 3 times today including once on the 3rd play of the game. He was knocked down about 100 times, and committed a key intentional grounding penalty in the end zone to swing the momentum back to the Bears.
- Finally, win the turnover battle and get very physical. The Washington Redskins did this in the regular season and held Brees to his lowest QB rating of the season (59.9). Saints committed 4 turnovers (3 by Brees) Bears had no turnovers. Bears were clearly the more physical team today.
For the Saints:
- The Bears actually match up with the Saints fairly well, so the keys for the Saints are to establish the run early to loosen up the passing game. Deuce Mc Allister and Reggie Bush combined for 10 carries for 37 yards as the Saints abandoned the run early and threw 49 passes.
- Secondly, the Saints need their rush ends, Will Smith and Charles Grant to get a push on Rex Grossman to protect their weak secondary. The Saints are prone to the big play and when they give it up, they give it up BIG. (ask Fred Thomas about that) Put the heat on Rex and the Bears offense slams to a grinding halt. Rex Grossman hardly felt any heat and wasn’t sacked today. Fred Thomas was burned for a 33 yd. touchdown reception by Bernard Berrian.
- Finally, win the time of possession battle. Keep the #1 rated offense in the NFC on the field as much as possible. The Saints lost the time of possession battle, 35:15 to 24:45.
In the AFC, the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning finally got over the hump called the New England Patriots 38-34 to meet the Bears in Super Bowl XLI on Feb. 4th in Miami, FL. Tom Brady had a last gasp opportunity and threw and interception that essentially ended the game. The early line for Super Bowl XLI is Colts giving 7. The NFL Today crew on ESPN and the ESPN analysts are already picking the Colts to win. I suppose the Bears will be playing that underdog card again. No need for me to tell you who I like. Here we go again….