If youâ€™re looking at tonightâ€™s big game as Brady Vs. Manning, then youâ€™ve bought into the hype of the moment. First, there is no Brady Vs. Manning contest, unless you think that regular season stats equal greatness. Most years, except last, Manning has outmatched Brady in the stat area. But who went to the Super Bowl and won it? Last season, neither did. In previous years, only Brady has gone to the big game and won all three of them. To me the case is closedâ€”Brady is superior. He manages to rise into the occasion more often than not in the big game and put his team into a position to win.
Tonightâ€™s game is about one team against another and one coach and his staff against the other. QBs will be important but they are a given. They are both superior players.
Coaching: It is Bill Belichick against Tony Dungy. Much of this game was won or lost in the planning this week. These are both topnotch teams and that means he who has the best game plan, who can adapt to surprises and who has prepped his team the best will have a decided advantage. Advantage: Patriots
Secondary: Last season after six tries the Colts finally beat the Pats, hammering them. But what was lost on many was that the Patriotsâ€™ secondary was severely depleted, having gone into the depth chart by 7 players (there arenâ€™t 7 players in one position on the depth chart). This year, the Patriots secondary is intact. The Colts also possess a fine secondary. But both will have their hands full against these QBs. Advantage: Neither– equal
Against the Run: Itâ€™s been tough for the Colts to stop the run this season, while the Patriots have been able to contain runners. The Patriots running squad is much deeper than the Colts. Advantage: Patriots
Field Goals:In a game that can be won on the last play from 45 yards deep (or closer), thereâ€™s one guy you wantâ€”Adam Vinatieri. The Colts have him. Experience, skill, talent and poiseâ€”he has it all. Advantage: Colts
Receiving Corps: The Pats were in disarray at the start of the season, but now have developed the timing, tempo and rhythm with 5 to 6 solid receivers. The Colts possess a whole lot of talent with big play potential. Advantage: Colts
Running Game: The Colts have a good one but the Pats have a good one with amazing depth. They did not have this last season or perhaps ever. Advantage: Patriots
Quarterback: At this time and momentâ€”they are equal. Forget stats. Advantage: Neitherâ€”equal
Weather: Outdoors in Foxboro. No snow or rain, but it will be cold. Advantage: Slight one to the Pats.
Both Lines: The Pats have the decided edge on defense and also possess one on offense. Advantage: Pats.
Although much of the focus is on the two QBs, it will come down to all of the other players and to the non-players and their ability to upset the game plan of the opposing team. That means the defensive units on both clubs must perform to their highest levels and one coach must out coach the other. This is less about Brady Vs. Manning and more about Belichick Vs. Dungy and New Englandâ€™s front office Vs. Indianapolisâ€™ front office.
The line is -3 Pats, which is simply home field advantage.