Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Countdown to Super Bowl XLI:
Who/What Are the X(LI)-Factors?

Earlier this morning, I talked about how I think Devin Hester (and, by extension, the performance of the Colts' special teams on Bears KR/PR) will be the biggest X-factor in the game. Yes, even more than the Sex Cannon, Rex Grossman. Here's the question for discussion/debate this afternoon: In your opinion, who (or what) is/are the biggest X-factor(s) in the game? Don't forget to offer up at least a little backup analysis of why.

(Tell you what: It won't be K-Fed. Seen his ad yet? Here's the link. He's such a schmoe.)

34 comments:

Ben said...

At least K-Fed is getting paid to make fun of himself now.

Dan Mega said...

Grossman, Grossman, Grossman.

If he has even just a very pedestrian day, say 15-30, 1 TD, 175 yardes, and NO TURNOVERS, the Bears have a very good shot at winning this game. If he turns it over I think the Colts 'O' will make Chicago pay and pay dearly.

I also think that the Bears are going to take huge advantage of that run D. The media has been saying that the run D for Indy has stepped it back up, but they haven't had the tandem of Jones/Benson yet.

H said...

Speaking of the K-Fed Commercial, did anyone else here that the american association of restaurant workers, or whatever it is called, is complaining that the ad unfairly demeans fast food workers. God I hate this politically correct crap.

thirdstringjd said...

This Super Bowl in my mind is the Colts to lose. By that I mean if the Colt offense can stay on the field for sustained drives against the very worn down Bears defense. And the Colts defense can stop the Bears on 3rd down the Colts will win.

In my mind this Super Bowl almost comes down exclusively to Manning and whether or not he can refrain from throwing back breaking INTs (like he almost did to Asante Samuel in that Pats game).

If Manning plays mistake free the Colts win.

CMFost said...

If the Patriots who do not have a returner as dynamic as Hester can get big yardage on Kick returns against Indy there is no reason to think the Hester will not take at least one kick back for a touchdown.

But I really think the key for the Bears to pull the upset will be how they cover Dallas Clark. The poor coverage of the Patriots on Clark was one of the keys reason the Pats could not stop the Colts offense. I think the Bears corners are better then the Pats so they should be able to handle Wayne and Harrison it just who going to stop Clark.

danthemanwise said...

What is everyone's obession with Hester? Granted he is a great return man and won a few games for the Bears, BUT, he also cost them two games this season because of his fumblitis. Anyone remember the Dolphins game? He could very well be the X Factor but in a negative way. He lead the league in return fumbles by far.

Just keep that in mind when singnig all praises to Hester.

Patriots64 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patriots64 said...

WFAN(Simmons interview)

Generik said...

Hester had 6 return TDs spread over 18 games this season.. No reason to assume it will definitely happen this week.

I think the X factor this week is going to be the defenses, and by extension, the battle for field position. The Colts have stopped 2 of the best running backs in the league in these playoffs. I would think if they play a similar gameplan this week to what they did to limit Larry Johnson and Jamal Lewis they should be able to contain the Bears running game for the most part. If they do that, then the onus of the Bears offense falls on Sex Cannon. It has been said he is most succesfull when he throws the deep pass, which is one thing the Colts cover very well. So he may be forced into the short passing game, which is not his strength. If that happens, it will be interesting to see if he is patient enough to check down recievers, and more importantly, if he has enough time with the likes of Freeney and Mathis bearing down on him.

To stop the Colts, I think Urlacher is going to have to have a big game covering Clark. He is probably the only guy who will be able to limit Clark in the middle of the field without leaving Harrison and Wayne in single coverage. If they leave either of those guys in man coverage, Peyton is going to make the Bears play. The Bears have been shown to be a little soft against the run, so I would expect to see a very healthy dose of Rhodes / Adai running up the gut to open up that play action in the middle and latter stages of the game.

In all honesty, this game could go either way. I firmly believe the Colts will soundly beat the Bears Sunday night, but if a few key people step up, or if they continue the trend of forcing turnovers, the game can change dramatically.

One last X factor.. Peyton. So far in the playoffs he has been very un-Manningesque, with the exception of the second half of the AFC championship game. Will we see the regular season Manning or more of the "human" Manning this week. I personally think he is primed to put up some very gaudy numbers in a statement game to once and forever close the chapter on "Peyton is a choker / can't win the big one".

Natsfan74 said...

The match-up of the game is the Colts Tight Ends against the Bears Linebackers. If the Bears can cover the tight ends, then they can stop the Colts offense.

If the Bears win a shoot-out, say 41-38 or something, how will we view Peyton's inability to win? Assuming no pick-6 or game changing turnover type thing, how much of the pressure is actually on Manning? The Colts defense will not stop the Bears offense. Can Peyton keep up the pace?

Brian in Oxford said...

And what happens if Manning gets injured early, and Sorgi leads them to a 20-17 win?

I agree with everyone so far, about the linebackers ability to cover the Colts' receivers in the middle of the field. Urlacher should be busy.

Who will be this year's Tim Krumrie?

Generik said...

I hope there is no Tim Krumrie this year.

Natsfan74 said...

but wouldn't it be fun it was one of the QBs?

Patriots64 said...

Urlacher will be the Krumrie!!

mark said...

If Sorgi wins the game, I really think Urlacher will stab himself.

Ever seen Sorgi play? I guess only people who are big enough Colts fans to have watched preseason or "garbage time" have, so probably not. Anyway, it's not pretty . . . I think it's open to debate as to whether he or Orton is better.

There we go--how about if both teams are down to their worst quarterback? Sorgi vs. Orton for all the marbles! America trembles.

Brian in Oxford said...

Well wait, Sorgi's the backup, but does Indy have a 3rd, emergency QB?

Or would Harrison line up and take the snaps?

Generik said...

Orton was awesome at Purdue.. and lest you forget, he has a career record in the NFL of something like 12-1 (or 2). Granted most of that was the defense..

And yes, having watched almost every Colts game during the Manning era, I have maybe seen Sorgi throw the ball about a dozen times. I honestly don't think he threw a single pass this season, probably due to the fact that the only team the Colts really blew out was the Iggles. The Colts had Mark Rypien as a backup as recently as a couple seasons ago.. I would feel more comfortable with him coming into the Superbowl then Sorgi.

mark said...

No, Indy does not carry a third QB.
So if Manning and Sorgi both went down, they'd be pretty much fucked.

And yes, I did watch most of the Kyle Orton Era at Purdue; I've watched far, far more Boilermaker football than is really good for me. I grew up there (WLHS '92), and even spent some Purdue seasons as a teen (awful teams then!) selling Coke at Ross-Ade.

Anyway, greatness in college doesn't necessarily translate. The Bears last season were winning despite Orton rather than because of him. His QB rating was pretty effin' low, and the only reason he was starting was because Grossman went down and the #2 (whose name I already forget) turned out to be terrrrrrrrrrrible.

Chaddogg said...

Devin Hester and Brad Maynard. Field position will win this game for the Bears, mark my words. Accuscore on ESPN even did a breakdown of the game something like 10,000 times, and the reason they're predicting a close game is largely due to Hester and Maynard combining to give the Bears good field position and the Colts bad field position.

I also think Mark Anderson (the Bears 5th round rookie DE phenom) plays a big role in getting pressure on Peyton), and Reggie Wayne plays a role by fumbling. Bears win (oh, and Rex posts an above 80.0 passer rating)

H said...

Doesn't the fact that everyone (read: the media) is talking about Devin Hester (sp?) as the x-facotr automatically negate him as an x-factor? If people are expecting him to have an effect on the outcome of the game, then it isn't an x or a surprise, but the expectation. Or am I way off base here?

Ben said...

If Orton plays that means that both Griese and Grossman can't come back into the game, as he's their 3rd QB (emergency). Better chance of me playing QB this week then Orton.

Ben said...

I don't think Mark Anderson will get to be a factor much at all. You have to figure it will be tough to rotate him in on passing downs if the Colts run the no-huddle. And if you leave him in every-down, then the colts run the ball at him.

Natsfan74 said...

I think the Bears would turn to Griese before Orton.

Accuscore also predicted an Ohio State win in the BCS Title Game. I really, really wish that thing were accurate!

Ben said...

My X-factor is hunter hillenmeyer. With all the attention paid to Urlacher and Briggs and Vasher and Tillman and Tank, and everyone else. Hillenmeyer will run around free. 10 tackles and a forced fumble, that's my prediction.

J Fitty said...

Hopefully not the officials.

thirdstringjd said...

Are we giving the Bears D to much credit? Don't get me wrong they're good - but they were good last year and remember that Carolina playoff game.

There has been nothing this season to make me think that the Bears D-backs can even come close to covering the Colts wide outs.

Marvin Harrison might not be as flashy as Steve Smith but he won't have to be. The Bears defense is not shut down automatic this season and that might come back to haunt them in this game.

Luke Bell said...

We really need to stop slobbing Hester. Probably 95% of all big returns are due to an illegal block that the officials miss. Nobody can be consistent enough in the kick/punt return game to be considered more than a "threat to take it all the way."

Return men can be regulated. I don't think Hester will be much of a factor at all. No way he will win the MVP like Desmond Howard (which was a joke-Favre should have won it. Bitter Packer fan here.)

starkweather said...

I BLEED GREEN & ORANGE! but I'm with h - you can't be the x-factor if everybody is talking about you. And you can't be the MVP when your team loses by 20 either. I say Dominique Rhodes is the x-factor. He's the only Colt that plays with any emotion - they would have lost last week without him and I haven't seen anyone write him up yet for that. He's the emotional leader of a bunch of robots. And Larry Johnson is better with a broken leg and both eyes gouged out than Thomas Jones + Cedric Benson. But you're right that the COlts haven't played a running back duo like them.

Jason said...

Hey man, don't insult K-Fed. He pinned John Cena a month ago.

Sean said...

How has nobody, and I mean NOBODY (bloggers, media, ESPN, etc.) focused on, and pinted out, the ULTIMATE X-Factor for Super Duper Bowl XLI in Miami???...

Adam Vinatieri!!!

The guy is the greater playoff kicker in the history of football, and perhaps the most clutch athlete of all-time (quite a statement, but the argument is no weakling, maybe MJ tops him, but whatever).

Sure Manning must not turn over the ball; Sex Cannon has to make the gimme throws; Cato has to stuff the middle; Urlacher has to keep Clark in check, etc.

But in the field-position battle that XLI is sure to be...what is more important than putting points on the board, getting "a little something for the effort," as Bill Murphy puts it in Caddyshack.

Vinatieri has already won 3 Super Bowl rings for Brady, why not make it a healthy 4 on Sunday...The guy simply does not miss, and when the Bears hold Peyton on 3rd Down, who better to have run on the green than Adam the Great???

Generik said...

Actually I have a new thought on possible X-factor. Aaron Moorehead. Who? you ask... He is basically the 4th option WR now 3rd with Stokely out.. Peyton has been giving him more and more looks as this season as gone on and he is ALWAYS in single coverage (Duh). Anyway, you may recall the Colts / Ravens game, he is the one that caught that 40+ yard bomb that was just overthrown and could not be caught in bounds. I could see the Bears overlooking him all game and then Peyton airing one out for a huge play that completely reverses the field position.

On a completely different note.. Yesterday Indianapolis officially announced a bid on the 2011 Superbowl. Indy will have the new stadium in 2009 and has proven to be competent at hosting bigtime sporting events. So this would be the potential lineup of sporting events in Indy in 2011 if we get the SB:
Superbowl
Final Four
Indy 500
Brickyard 400
F1 Grand Prix (if that race is still held at least)

Pretty damn impressive lineup I would say. Indy used to be called the "Amateur sports capital of the world".. I think this town is shedding that mantle and gracefully transitioning to full fledged sports city.

H said...

Again, Vinatieri can't be an X-Factor, because he is EXPECTED to make a difference for the Colts. That's why they went out and signed him after letting Vanderjagt walk.

Sean said...

h,

Agree to Disagree...

H said...

Sean, fair enough.