NEW ORLEANS -- Three things to know about the Super Bowl matchup between the Saints and Colts.
1. You are going to hear the word “Manning’’ more in the next two weeks than you’ve heard in a lifetime. Peyton Manning is the quarterback of the Colts. He’s also a New Orleans native and son of Archie Manning, one of the few legends in Saints history. But this game, at least from a New Orleans standpoint, isn’t about Archie or Peyton. It’s about Drew Brees. His name has been floated around the last few years as an elite quarterback, like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, but the counterpoint to that always comes back to, “Yeah, but what’s he ever won?" Brees now has a chance to win the Super Bowl.
2. Gregg Williams’ defense is going to get its biggest test yet. Ever since the Saints hired Williams as their defensive coordinator in the offseason, they’ve been talking about a different attitude or culture. That’s not just lip service. The major difference between the very ordinary Saints of last season and the very good ones of this season has been the defense. These guys don’t really shut down offenses, but they’re extremely good at coming up with turnovers. Now, they’ve got to find a way to do that against Manning and the Indianapolis offensive machine.
3. If you’re looking for a portion of the Saints that hasn’t received enough praise, try the linebackers. Yes, Jonathan Vilma was selected for the Pro Bowl, which he now won’t have to play in because he’ll be getting ready for the Super Bowl, but Scott Fujita and Scott Shanle don’t get nearly the credit they deserve. Vilma, Shanle and Fujita combined for 19 tackles, an interception, a quarterback hurry, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries against the Vikings. They’ll need to be even better against the Colts.