Thursday, November 1, 2007

Pats-Colts: Yea, yea, yea...

Honestly, if you're anything like me, which you should be, you're probably sick to death of all the Pats-Colts nonsense that has prevailed over all things sports for the last week. Yea, it's overkill much like eating to much candy but the fact remains that it is still the two best teams in the NFL going head to head with storylines and bullshit out the ass.

Well, I decided to take a gander at each team and see how they stack up. This is pretty informal and I'm not going to bore you with stats, rather, I'm going to, very subjectively may I add, analyze each facet against the other team's and see if I can convince myself that the Colts won't we go.

Quarterback: This is why the matchup is what it is. The debate was always, "Manning puts up the numbers, but Brady wins the rings." The way I see these two, their roles have switched. I look at Peyton and I see a QB who is in total control of his offense. It's not about the numbers anymore, or even any facet of the passing game that makes him dangerous, it's that he can see your defense and will fuck you up. Indy's offense is unstoppable, and Peyton is the chief reason why.

On the other hand you have Tom Brady. He has been putting up historic numbers...blah blah blah, everyone has heard this shit all day long. You know what? Hit the fucker. There I said it, was that too bad? Put Tom Brady and Randy Moss on their ass and see how they like it. I'm sick of watching these teams drop into stupid coverages that gets them away from what they do best and just give Brady days and days to find Randy. Well, that type of defense is exactly what the Colts do, the Pats aren't going to have an easy time with the Tampa 2 that Dungy is famous for. More on that later. Let's see how easy it is to throw bombs when you don't see any man coverage and you have Mathis and Freeney on your ass. Edge: Colts.

Running Backs: Addai vs. Koolaid. Come on, this is a no-brainer. Koolaid has been hurt for a large chunk of the year, so has Addai, but when Addai is on the field, the Colts actually use him. Addai is the PERFECT Colts RB. He is super shifty, has pretty good size, blazing speed and is smart enough to adapt to Peyton's audibles and go out as a reciever. Koolaid could be an 1,800 yard rusher, if, you know, the Patriots ran the ball at the end of games instead of continuing to go deep just to run up the score...Edge: Colts.

Wide Recievers/Tight Ends: Wow. Are you kidding me? Reggie Wayne, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Marvin Harrison, Donte Stallworth, Dallas Clark, Ben Watson...what a group. I could spend days talking about this shit, but I'll spare you. As great as the Colts' pass catchers have been, they aren't Randy Moss. Edge: Patriots.

Offensive Line: Both units fly under the radar with a few notable names, Jeff Saturday and Matt Light are the biggest ones, yet operate on a high level. Brady, literally, hasn't been breathed on yet being highly impressive in pass blocking. However, the Colts are a different animal all together. They adapt and flow with Peyton (do you see what I'm getting at? The entire Colts offense is one unit, rather than a group of parts like the Pats) and are absolutely BRUTAL run blocking. People know by now, but this line is so far removed from being the finesse type that was maligned in 2003-4, just look at last years' playoff run for evidence. In the AFC Championship game, the Colts line destroyed the Pats, and on that last run, Jeff Saturday must have driven human dam plug, Vince Wilfork, halfway through the back of the endzone. Don't even mention that 12 play, 11 run, 11 minute drive against the Ravens, that'll just further shore up my point. Edge: Colts.

Defensive Line: Again, the stars here are ridiculous. It's hard to compare a 3 man front with a 4 man front, especially when you consider the difference in philosophies, but it's not nearly as close as you'd expect. As great as Freeney and Robert Mathis are, and as well as the replacement DT's have been for the Colts, the Pats' D-Line is in another stratosphere. Seymour, Wilfork and Warren are beyond peer. The whole defensive unit for the Patriots all starts up front with these guys, and there's a reason it's one of the best units in the league. There isn't a more physically dominating 3-man front, I'd almost wager to say in NFL history. That could be a stretch, but these guys are that good. Watching the two Pats' playoff games last year exhibits the point with brutal effiency. They completely tore apart the Jets, which is easy enough to do, but against the Chargers, it was painful. When you need all 5 blockers to take care of 3 guys, there are going to be opportunities to make plays for the linebackers and safeties, and you don't have to be concerned with rushing additional guys to collapse a pocket either. Edge: Patriots

Linebackers and Secondary: This is a hard thing to evaluate. Yea, the Patriots have superior guys all throughout, but that doesn't make them better. Sure Vrabel (douche), Adalius, Colvin...they're great so are Asante Samuel and Rodney Harrison, and Ellis Hobbs is more than capable. However, none of those guys are Bob Sanders. And none of those guys play in the Tampa 2 scheme.

The Tampa 2 isn't about stud personnel, rather, it's about scheme and covering the field. The corners are not matching up with Randy Moss and Stallworth one-on-one instead, reamaining disciplined and covering their area of the field. The Colts corners aren't the fastest guys in the world, but they cover space quickly and don't get out of position, and when someone does come in their area, there are usually multiple guys there waiting to make the tackle, rather than leaving space for the offensive player to make a move.

I just said the Tampa 2 isn't about personnel, but there is one player on the Colts that trumps that sentiment, Bob Sanders. He gets to the ball quick and doesn't miss tackles and that great reaction time allows him to make plays on passes. For all intents and purposes, he is the enforcer over the middle, evidenced by his great tackle of MJD on Monday Night Football in Week 7. The fact that he is able and willing to kick ass is what moves the Colts. Without him, they are a much different defense, as has been chronicled throughout last year.

The Tampa 2 can be picked apart. There are holes where a smart WR can sit down and get chunks of yards and it is somewhat vulnerable to the running game. However, this is where the personnel comes in. The Colts' D-Line, while not the world-beaters the Patriots line are, are blindlingly quick and can get to the QB in a hurry. Mathis and Freeney are too good completely stop and the Pats' O-Line is going to have its hands full trying to give Brady time to look through his progressions, instead forcing him to make a hurried throw where the Colts' quick defenders can make a play on the ball. The DT's are quick and active and can penetrate through the middle, leaving a less than mobile QB like Brady, a practical sitting duck for the bookends to drag down. This is what gives the Colts the advantage over the Pats. The Tampa 2 scheme won't allow the Colts to get burnt deep, will limit the underneath shit, and put pressure on the pocket. That's 3 things the Patriots haven't seen this year. Yea, they've seen Cover 2 schemes before, but not by a team as viciously built for it like the Colts. Edge: Colts.

Special Teams: I'm giving the advantage to the Colts because of Vinatieri. The Pats aren't far behind though. Edge: Colts.

Coaching: Belichick is a genius, but an asshole. Dungy is a genius and a nice guy. It's a tossup, but based on what I've seen so far this year, I have to give the nod to that asshole in the sweatshirt. Edge: Patriots.

Prediction: 38-34 Colts

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