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Tuesday Question - Bears or Colts?
Posted Jan 22, 2007

Since it'll be all recruiting all the time when the rest of the world is dealing with the Super Bowl, we're getting the picks and predictions out of the way now in the weekly Tuesday Question.

Past TQs
- Early bowl surprises and trends
- 3 things to look for from the bowls
- Do you want the Alabama job?
- What are the 3 best non-BCS bowls?
- Who's 2nd in the Heisman race?
- Michigan-OSU rematch?
- Michigan or Ohio State?
- Should Louisville be No. 3?
- The nat'l title game will be ...
- The best one-loss team
- Rule changes to help the flow
- The Midseason Stuff
- The real top five ranking
- The early coach of the year is ...?
- These three teams are for real, these three aren't
- After 2 weeks, who's better, who's worse?
- 10 Greatest Quarterbacks of All-Time
- 10 Greatest Defensive Players of All-Time
- 10 Greatest Regular Season Games of All-Time
- 10 Greatest Playmakers of All-Time
- 10 Worst Heisman Winners
- 10 Greatest Bowl Games
- All-Time Offensive Team
- All-Time Defensive Team

Pete Fiutak           

Q: Bears or Colts?

A. I really like both Peyton Manning and Rex Grossman. They've handled their unique pressures and criticisms with class and without turning into jerkweeds. They really are good guys. With that said, I don't believe in either one.

Sorry, but Manning didn't get the big game monkey, or whatever you want to call it, off his
back just by having one great half against New England. That was the AFC Championship, not the Super Bowl. Is Fran Tarkenton, Jim Kelly or Dan Marino considered a big game quarterback? It's unfair, but compared to John Elway, Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw and Tom Brady, nope.

Either the win over New England will liberate Manning and make him more relaxed and comfortable in the brightest of spotlights, or the two weeks of media attention will be suffocating. I'm picking the latter. If the Patriots could knock him around, then the Bears, with two weeks to prepare, will be popping him early and often.

Grossman apologists are popping up all over the place, and he did come up with a nail-in-the-coffin drive against the Saints, but if he's just not that good. He might be at some point, but he's way too inconsistent, throws the ball behind too many receivers, misses others, and has been a liability for too many stretches. Get even the slightest bit of pressure on him and the play is over, and he's more about not making mistakes than actually keeping the offense moving. Even so, he should be just fine because the Chicago running game will go nuts, and he has shown the ability to come through when the team absolutely needed him to.

Don't believe the mirage; Indy can't stop the run. New England inexplicably stopped running after having a ton of success early on, and Chicago won't make the same mistake. This Bear team thrives off the tired "no one believes in us" line and blew away New Orleans partly because of that attitude. The seven point spread, and two weeks of everyone picking the Colts will fire the D up to play at the level it was at against Drew Brees and company.

Manning will throw four picks, Devin Hester will return a kick for a touchdown, and Chicago will win in a walk.

Chicago 34 ... Indianapolis 20

Richard Cirminiello

Q: Bears or Colts?

A. Okay, you can finally stop making the Peyton Manning to Dan Marino parallels after this game.  With a clear head and a huge weight about to be lifted from his shoulders, Manning will lead the Colts to a closer-than-the-line indicates win over the Bears, getting the signature victory in the Sunshine State that eluded him during his Tennessee career.

Indianapolis 27 ... Chicago 23

Michael Bradley

Q: Bears or Colts?

A: Okay, people, Super Bowl XLI comes down to one simple question: Do you really think Rex Grossman can lead a team to the world championship? Sure, there have been some shaky quarterbacks who have won it all, but Grossman makes Mark Rypien, Brad Johnson and Trent Dilfer look like Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw and Troy Aikman. The Bears beat New Orleans because the Saints couldn’t stop turning the ball over. Don’t count on the Colts doing that in Miami, although Reggie Wayne sure looked like he wanted to give the game away on that last TD drive. Yes, the Bear defense is formidable, but without Tommie Harris and Mike Brown, it lacks the ability to hold down the precise, balanced Colts attack. Now, Indy could have some serious trouble on special teams, since Chicago rookie Devin Hester may think he’s going to return nine kicks for touchdowns, but if the Bears are going to rely solely on a rookie return man for their offense, it’s not going to be good. It will be interesting to see whether Manning lets down after beating Captain Hoodie and the Babe Magnet, but I think the reverse will happen. Beating the Patriots will allow him to relax and thrive. Indianapolis finally gets it done.

Indianapolis 27 ... Chicago 17

Matthew Zemek

Q: Bears or Colts?

A. Rex Grossman has always been a gamer. Whether at Florida or in Chicago, he's always been the kind of player who will, at times, step off the gas pedal and let down his guard. However, in big games and high-stakes moments, the man knows how to get the job done. He should have won a Heisman. Chicagoans should be ashamed of themselves for their season-long abuse of Grossman, manifested in the form of support for the not-very-distinguished Brian Griese. Grossman proved to the world--and in what amounts to just his second full season of NFL ball (due to injuries)--that when the lights are bright and the pressure is overwhelming, he knows how to rise to the occasion.

Heck, he even performed well in the playoffs last season, only for his defense to let him down. In 2007, Grossman bailed out his defense against Seattle and then played a turnover-free game against the mistake-prone Saints. The Bears have a quarterback who has earned the right to avoid criticism for quite some time; expect Rex Grossman to have an entirely respectable Super Bowl.

With that said, however, Peyton Manning is set to crown himself a champion... even if the Bears do have Grossman, Alex Brown, Todd Johnson, and who knows how many other Florida Gators on their roster. After all, Manning never knew what it was like to beat the Gators during his college career.

This Super Bowl--which will be decided by turnovers, plain and simple--is the Colts' game to win or lose. It's not hard to see why. The Colts shrugged off their nemesis from New England in the kind of fashion that permanently dispels a whole host of psychological demons. It wasn't just that Indianapolis defeated Belichick and Brady; it was the way in which the Colts overcame all the ghosts of their recent past that will propel them into Super Bowl XLI as a commanding favorite. Had the Colts won an ugly 17-9 game against the Patriots, this game would be a toss-up. But after slaying the dragon with epic flair and unconquerable resolve on Sunday, the Colts are a team transformed. For all the belief the Bears have about themselves, the Colts have just come through a crucible that almost always produces enduring champions.

The Boston Red Sox--after years of losing to the New York Yankees--finally defeated their archrivals in the 2004 ALCS. Guess what happened in the World Series? Yeah--a Sox sweep. This situation involving Peyton Manning and the Colts parallels the journey of the Red Sox two and a half years ago. Think about it: could a defining and memorable triumph not lead to a Super Bowl for the Colts? Could a team play with emotional baggage and lose just two weeks after throwing aside years of burdens in one historic comeback? That's the simple reason why the Colts ought to be an overwhelming favorite in this game. It's not about matchups or strategy; it's about psychology. In the Super Bowl, you have to have your mind right if you want to win. The Bears believe; the Colts, however, are totally transformed.

Indianapolis 34 ... Chicago 21