By Devon Jeffreys
It had to happen sometime.
Peyton Manning is going to the Super Bowl. Manning overcame his demons and he overcame Bill “the sweatshirt” Belichick’s New England Patriots to take a trip to Miami.
The Indianapolis Colts were supposed to be the premier team in the league this year. They started out 9-0 before losing to my Cowboys in Dallas. They proceeded to go 3-4 to end the season at 12-4 missing their chance at a first-round bye.
The Colts defense started to fall apart as the season wore on and their low point came just 45 minutes up the road in Jacksonville when they allowed 375 rushing yards to the Jaguars in a 44-17 loss. But the defense finally decided to show up when they needed it the most. They allowed 32 yards rushing to Larry Johnson in the first round of the playoffs. Then they held the Super Bowl favorite (at least my pick to win it) Baltimore Ravens without a touchdown. Then came the Patriots.
In the first half, things looked bleak for the Colts, but the defense allowed just 13 second half points and allowed Peyton and company to put on a show.
Manning has carried the “choke artist” tag his entire career. In college he couldn’t beat the Gators when he was with Tennessee. In the pros he couldn’t beat the Patriots when it counted or, last year, the Steelers. Now with the weight nearly off his shoulders, Peyton needs just one more win to secure his place in NFL lore.
That win should come on Feb. 4. Now I’m putting myself out on a very shaky limb here with this prediction. My prediction will be here for everyone to see long after the confetti falls in Miami and if the Colts lose, I’m sure I wil hear it. Luckily, I don’t know many Bears fans here at Flagler, so it wouldn’t be too bad.
That said, I still cannot show any confidence in the Bears. It’s Rex Grossman. Have you watched him play? Maybe you were watching Dick Clark on New Year’s Eve, but I was watching Grossman get benched in favor of Brian Griese.
Many would point to the Bears defense as the key, and they could be, but in the last few weeks they have not been playing as well as they did to start the year and I don’t think they have what it takes to stop Manning and his plethora of options on offense. The pieces just don’t fit for the Bears. They were the best team in the NFC, but the AFC continues to be the better conference.
So here’s the pick: Colts 31 Bears 21. Write that down.