Discussion

Blitzing Manning is risky, but necessary

If Saints can apply pressure, Sharper's big-play odds increase

Originally Published: February 5, 2010
By Matt Williamson | Scouts Inc.
Here are five matchups that could impact the outcome of Super Bowl XLIV.

1. Colts QB Peyton Manning vs. Saints FS Darren Sharper: Sharper is a big-time playmaker whom Manning must be wary of. Sharper set the league record for interception return yardage this season and took three of his interceptions for touchdowns.

The Saints may try to employ a heavy blitz package, as they did against the Vikings, but that is an extremely risky maneuver. Even though Brett Favre was hit violently and often, he still did an awful lot of damage against the blitz. Manning will do more damage than Favre did. Blitzing this guy is usually a recipe for disaster. However, the Saints' defense is predicated on producing big plays -- often by Sharper -- and forcing Manning to make poor reads or poor decisions without pressure in his face is nearly impossible. In the end -- and this should shock no one -- there really isn't a good way to defend Manning, but the Saints should try a variety of approaches.

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