The Indianapolis Colts will get their second Super Bowl title in five years in February, and they’ll do it by beating the first team ever to play a Super Bowl on its home field.
Peyton Manning will lead the Colts to the Super Bowl again this season, but instead of throwing a game-changing interception as he did in Super Bowl XLIV against the Saints, he’ll deliver a Super Bowl MVP-caliber performance against the Cowboys in Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6.
As long as Manning is healthy, the Colts are assured of being one of the best teams in the league. It’s almost absurd that in a league where fans head into every season thinking anything can happen, the Colts have won 12 or more games in seven straight seasons, with Manning being one of the best players in football every single year. But there’s no reason to doubt that the Colts will do it again this year.
There are more reasons to doubt the Cowboys, who feel like a risky pick while the Colts feel like a safe one. But I like the Cowboys’ offensive firepower so much that I’m picking them to earn home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, and I like the Cowboys’ defense just enough to see them not blowing the two NFC playoff games they’ll play in Dallas.
I don’t like their defense enough to beat the Colts, though. The Colts will have the NFL’s best offense, and they’ll leave the Cowboys in their dust in the Super Bowl.
In the end, the story of the 2010 season and 2011 postseason will be Manning. He’ll continue to play at his consistently, almost boringly, great level during the regular season. And after two weeks of “Will he choke again?” questions in the lead-up to the Super Bowl, he’ll get his second ring.
Unless he throws the Super Bowl away in the fourth quarter once again. In which case he’ll be labeled a choker. And I’ll be the fool who confidently proclaimed in early September that Manning would play a great game on a grand stage at Super Bowl XLV.