Super Bowl XLI Preview
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Feb 2, 2007 4:30PM
After two weeks of hype and Bears-coverage overload by the media (we didn’t even know that was possible!), the big game is almost here. In a little over 48 hours, the Bears and Colts will face off in Super Bowl XLI.
The Bears remain seven-point underdogs according to most major sports books. But we think they may surprise some folks — just like they did against the Saints. Most of the experts picked the Saints to win, but the Bears ran roughshod over the Saints on the way to a 39-14 victory.
We certainly don't believe it'll be a blowout this time. And we also don't agree with most of the experts, not even this freakin' dolphin.
USA Today's panel made their picks, and only one in the group picked the Bears.
ESPN's groups of football gurus are mostly picking the Colts, too, although as of Thursday night only half had made their picks. Maybe they're waiting to see which players get arrested for solicitation or run off to Tijuana before making their final prediction?
Sports Illustrated's ageless Dr. Z compares the Bears and Colts position by position. The Bears win the comparison 14-9-4, but he still picked the Colts to win 32-24 since, for example, Peyton Manning is much better than Rex Grossman, while Alex Brown just barely gets the nod over Dwight Freeney.
It's not just the experts who are going with the Colts. ESPN's SportsNation poll shows 68% of voters picking Indy, with Illinois the only state where a majority picked the Bears.
So are things really that hopeless for our beloved Bears? We think not! If the Bears were able to neutralize the Saints' top-rated offense, then why not stop the Colts, too? When the Bears defense has a chip on their shoulder, they get mean! The Bears' run offense should get the better of the Colts' run defense — they're just not as good as they've played throughout the playoffs, and the Cedric Benson / Thomas Jones tandem has been improving all season. Ultimately, we think the outcome's going to hinge on one big play. It might be a Devin Hester return for a touchdown. It might be an Urlacher-forced fumble inside the Colts' 10-yard line. It might be a Rex Grossman interception. It might be a Peyton Manning 50-yard bomb with less than two minutes to go. But we have this feeling that Lovie Smith's going to be carried off the field Sunday night, just like Ditka in 1986.
Our prediction: Bears 34-Colts 31.
Image via Wikipedia.