The most popular storyline will be Colts quarterback Peyton Manning playing against his hometown team — the one his father played 10 losing seasons for from 1971-1982. Archie still calls New Orleans home, and will no doubt have some conflicting emotions as the Saints play in the franchise's first Super Bowl.
His son will be playing in his second in the past four years. And after facing a pair of run-based opponents that swarm the quarterback on defense, Peyton Manning knows he'll have to put consistent points on the board to win a second championship. New Orleans gave up 475 yards of offense to Minnesota, but also forced five turnovers.
Meanwhile, New Orleans' high-flying offense nearly went into hibernation the second half against Minnesota. Granted, the Colts lack the bulk along their front seven to dominate the trenches the way the Vikings did. But defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis will have an opportunity to swing the game should the Saints continue to face constant third-down situations (3-for-12 against Minnesota).
In fact, both front sevens can be dominated physically. Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams admitted he lacks elite personnel up front, which forces him to turn to exotic blitz packages.
For the Colts, it will be about limiting the ground game and not getting sucked into big plays on screen passes so Freeney and Mathis can pin their ears back on third down. Saints quarterback Drew Brees struggled to step up in the pocket and make strong, accurate throws in the face of pressure against Minnesota.
In the end, these are teams built in very similar modes capable of putting on quite a show in South Florida in two weeks.
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