Saints need to run the ball in order to beat Indy

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New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, left, looks for an opening against the Minnesota Vikins during the first quarter of the NFC Championship at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, Sunday, January 24, 2010. Photo courtesy of MCT

Super Bowl XLIV hosts two of the more prolific offenses in the game today. The New Orleans Saints led the league in scoring, averaging just under 32 points per game. Meanwhile, the Indianapolis Colts, led by four-time MVP Peyton Manning, continue to score at will against its opponents.

Everyone expects to see a shootout, but for New Orleans to walk away with its first Super Bowl victory in team history, a few things will have to happen.

First and foremost, the Saints need to get back to what they did so well all season long, run the ball effectively. Two-thirds of the way into the season, New Orleans was in the top five rushing the ball, yet fell off a bit as the season progressed.

Most people think of that great passing attack, led by Pro Bowl quarterback, Drew Brees. However, it was their ground game that caused opposing linebackers and secondary to creep up to the line, creating open spaces in the zone for Brees to hit. This game will be no different. If Pierre Thomas, Mike Bell and Reggie Bush have success on the ground, the Colts will find it really difficult to stop the Saints offense.

On defense, the Saints have thrived all year on creating big plays and getting turnovers. New Orleans finished the season second in takeaways with 39, behind only Green Bay with 40.

Peyton Manning should be able to move the ball efficiently against the Saints defense, so it’s critical for them to cause some havoc and force Indianapolis into mistakes and turnovers.

On paper, this is one of the most intriguing match ups we have seen in Super Bowl history. Both teams began the season 13-0 and had looked as though they were destined to meet each other here. The only questions that remain are whether it’s time for Manning to cement his name among the all-time greatest players in NFL history? Or is it destiny for the Saints and the city of New Orleans?

Prediction: Saints win 35-31