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Halo 02-07-2010 05:07 PM

Final thoughts on Super Bowl XLIV
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A final by-the-numbers look at Super Bowl XLIV between the Saints and the Indianapolis Colts:

0: The number of times the Saints have been point-spread underdogs in a meaningful game before the Super Bowl. Carolina was favored over New Orleans in the final week of the regular season when Drew Brees and a host of starters did not play.

Of all the reasons to pick the Saints to win today, the idea that they thrive in the role of underdogs is the dumbest. They were on top of most writers’ NFL power ratings after they clobbered the New York Giants in game No. 5 and stayed there until their late-season slide. We’ll find out today how they handle being underdogs.

2: The number of teams with 10 or more victories the Colts have played, including the playoffs, an unprecedented occurrence. Incredibly, their only games against opponent that finished with double-digit wins were Arizona and New England, which both won exactly 10 games. Their two playoff victims, Baltimore and the New York Jets, went 9-7 in the regular season.

Discounting the two strike-shortened seasons, no other Super Bowl team has played fewer games against double-digit winners since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule in 1978. The 1999 St. Louis Rams played just one in the regular season, but they beat two more in the playoffs (Minnesota, Tampa Bay) en route to the Super Bowl.

5: The number of double-digit winners the Saints have faced this year. They beat Philadelphia, New England, Arizona and Minnesota and lost to Dallas. It’s also the number of NFC playoff games (out of five) I predicted correctly before the playoff starters. Normally, I shy away from self-promotion, but I’m just sayin.’

10: The number of Colts’ players who scored a touchdown this year – seven on offense, two on defense and one on special teams.

19: The number of Saints players who scored a touchdown this year. The complete list is Mike Bell, Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush, Lynell Hamilton, Drew Brees, Heath Evans, Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Jeremy Shockey, Robert Meachem, Lance Moore, Darnell Dinkins, Dave Thomas, Courtney Roby, Darren Sharper, Jabari Greer, Tracy Porter, Anthony Hargrove and Remi Ayodele. Bush scored on offense and special teams. Meachem scored on offense and defense.

29-12: The number of ESPN analysts who pick the Colts (29) and the Saints (12) at That 71-percent breakdown in favor of Indianapolis is pretty representative of the sentiment across the nation except in Who-Dat land.

Read the rest at The Examiner

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