Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon combined for 18 catches Sunday, two for TDs.
The New Orleans Saints are looking to pull off a ‘Miami miracle’ when they take on the Indianapolis Colts in the 44th Super Bowl on February 7.
Indianapolis (16-2 straight-up, 12-6 against the spread) is a five-point favorite at most offshore sports books, with a total of 56 points. Las Vegas Sports Consultants (LVSC) sent out a pointspread of Indianapolis minus four, but that quickly moved up.
The Colts are coming off a 30-17 win over the New York Jets in the AFC Championship Game. That included a ‘cover’ of the 7 ½-point spread, but it was a lot harder than it seems.
New York jumped out to a 7-3 lead with an 80-yard touchdown pass from Mark Sanchez to receiver Braylon Edwards. The Jets had a shocking 17-6 margin before Peyton Manning went to work. A touchdown pass before the break made it 17-13, and the Colts scored 17 unanswered points in the second half for the victory.
The 47 combined points scored went ‘over’ the 40-point total. The ‘over’ is 5-1 in Indianapolis’ last six games.
The Colts are 7-0 ATS in the last seven contests that Manning played the whole game. That doesn’t include the Week 16 and 17 losses, to the Jets and Bills respectively, when Manning was pulled early.
New Orleans (15-3 SU, 9-9 ATS) is breathing a huge sigh of relief after its game versus Minnesota. The Saints were able to win in overtime 31-28 despite being out-gained in total yards (475-257), first downs (31-15) and time of possession (36:49-27:56).
The Saints failed to ‘cover’ as four-point favorites. They’re 1-6 ATS in their last seven games, only ‘covering’ against Arizona in the divisional round.
New Orleans is 2-0 'over' in the playoffs, after the ‘under’ was 7-1-1 in its prior nine games. The Saints have scored 38 PPG and allowed 21 PPG in the postseason. That’s a big reason the total is 56 points after LVSC sent out a 52-point opening.
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The reason the Saints won last week was turnovers. New Orleans caused six Minnesota fumbles (recovering three) and intercepted Brett Favre twice. The last pick came towards the end of regulation, and kept the Vikings out of field goal range. New Orleans won in overtime with a 40-yard field goal from Garrett Hartley.
New Orleans can’t rely on turnovers in the Super Bowl as the Colts have only two in the playoffs. Manning has just one interception in 83 playoff passing attempts.
The Saints will be making their first Super Bowl appearance. The last franchise in this scenario was the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs were 3 ½-point underdogs to the Oakland Raiders, but won 48-21.
The Colts are making their fourth trip to the Super Bowl, all in Miami. The franchise was located in Baltimore for the first two. The last one was three years ago, with Indy winning 29-17 over Chicago as seven-point ‘chalk.’ Manning had 247 passing yards and was the MVP.
Indianapolis’ Jim Caldwell is the fifth rookie coach to lead his team to the Super Bowl. The record for the first four is 2-2 SU and ATS. The last rookie coach was Bill Callahan, and his 2002 Raiders got killed.
Colts cornerback Jerraud Powers (foot) and defensive end Ervin Baldwin (shin) are both questionable against New Orleans. Saints cornerback Malcolm Jenkins (hamstring) and kick returner Courtney Roby (ankle) are questionable as well.
These teams last met in 2007 in Indianapolis, with the Colts winning 41-10. That game should have little bearing on what happens Feb. 7.
Weather in South Florida should be comfortable in the 60s. CBS will have the broadcast beginning at 3:25 p.m. (PT).