Bears to win with defense

By Lucas Deal

I’ve been writing this column every Friday since the beginning of basketball season. I’ve written about everything from Illinois’ starting lineup to the unbelievable Kevin Durant.

This week, I’m changing it up a bit.

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For today’s column, I want to look at the Super Bowl. On Sunday afternoon, the Bears will take on the Colts in Super Bowl XLI.

Now there’s nothing that has been said or written about this game that you don’t already know, so if you expect to get some new information from me, you should find another story to read.

I simply want to look at both teams’ strengths and weaknesses and make an educated prediction about who should win the game.

Hey, everybody else gets to make their predictions, why can’t I?

What the Colts need to do…

Peyton Manning is good. Really good. From timing routes to deep balls to broken plays, no quarterback in the NFL is better at moving the ball down the field than No. 18. His arm strength, accuracy and knowledge of the game are unparalleled and many NFL experts believe that when he’s on, he can’t be stopped.

Against most teams, that’s probably true; but I can’t necessarily say that against a team like Chicago. The Bears feature a Cover 2 defense that will drop seven players into coverage and force Manning to throw short passes. While I’m not a fan of the Cover 2 in most cases, I think it’s a solid defensive scheme against Manning. By dropping seven players into zone coverage, the Bears should be able to take away the Colts’ deep-strike offense. This will force Manning into a lot of quick passes and crossing routes, which should move the ball slowly, but steadily.

As for the Colts defense, it’s not really that good. During the regular season, they were the worst run defense in the league, allowing more than 170 yards per game. Their defense has played much better in the postseason, but regressed a little in their 38-34 win over the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.

If Indianapolis wants to beat Chicago, that regression can’t continue. Chicago’s going to want to run the ball, so they’ll have to be able to step up and stop it. If the Bears backs start breaking off five-yards-a-pop runs, it could be a long day for the Colts.

What the Bears need to do…

All eyes are on Rex Grossman, but should they be? Chicago’s quarterback has been the talk of Chicago all season for his erratic play and that talk hasn’t receded since the team hit Miami.

That being said, I think the Bears offense has its best chance of being successful if they limit young Grossman’s chances to fail. Run the ball and use play action. Basically, don’t get fancy just because it’s the Super Bowl.

As for their defense, I think Chicago’s signature unit is the key to this game. If the Bears defense can play like they did for most of the game against the Saints, Chicago is good enough to slow, if not stop, Manning. They’ll need to get just enough pressure from their front four to move Manning around and then tackle, tackle, tackle when the ball reaches the secondary. Missed tackles will kill this team.

Chicago has to play to its strength; they’ve got to fly to the ball and lay big hits. Indianapolis’ offense is not physical and if Brian Urlacher or Lance Briggs land a couple of big hits on the Colts wide outs in the first quarter, they won’t be quite as willing to stretch out quick slants as the game goes on.

Basically, just do what the Bears do. Play physical and play angry. Be mean.

The pick…

I want the Bears to win, but I’d be a bad writer if that was the sole reason for picking them to win. I wouldn’t be a bad writer, however, if I took the Bears because I think they’re going to play the better game.

I do.

Bears 23, Colts 19.

Lucas Deal is a senior in Communications. He can be reached at [email protected]