February 01, 2007

Don Banks
I get the feeling that Peyton Manning and the Colts may start slowly against the Bears, struggling to find the same sense of urgency and offensive rhythm that allowed them to overtake the Patriots' 18-point lead in the AFC title game. But fortunately for Indianapolis, the Bears' Rex Grossman isn't equipped to use that opportunity to build a big lead and go Joe Namath on the heavily favored Colts. In time, Indy's edge in terms of postseason experience and offensive talent will show itself, giving the Colts a comfortable double-digit margin of victory. Tony Dungy, Manning and the rest of the Colts have already done the hard part, enduring that late regular-season slide and plowing through tough opponents like Baltimore and New England in the playoffs. Having finally reached the NFL's ultimate game, they're not about to be denied.
Colts 30, Bears 17

Jeffri Chadiha
The Colts' defeat of New England in the AFC Championship Game proved that Indianapolis had become a tougher team. They've won playoff games with Manning playing poorly, unheralded players stepping up in clutch situations, and a defense that continues to play out of its mind after a lousy regular season. When a team has all that going, it's pretty hard to bet against it. The Bears won't make it easy, but they'll have a tough time beating the Colts. As several Colts offensive players said after their win over the Patriots, this simply is their year.
Colts 27, Bears 23

Nunyo Demasio
The sole area where Chicago holds a distinct advantage is special teams, particularly with returner extraordinaire Devin Hester. But unless the rookie cornerback sets a Super-Bowl record with a couple of returns for scores, Indy's dynamic offense will be the difference. Chicago's defense is talented even without Tommie Harris and safety Mike Brown. But Brian Urlacher and Co. have never faced a tandem of Pro Bowl wideouts in Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne. Harrison, who has been quiet in the playoffs -- ON THE FIELD -- is due for a virtuoso performance while facing Charles Tillman. The Bears' power-running duo won't get a chance to wear down Indy's vulnerable run defense. That's because Grossman will be busy trying to overcome a double-digit deficit with his arm. Grossman will be solid, but Manning will be sterling.
Colts 31, Bears 24

Peter King
It's simple. It's Peyton Manning's time. Don't buy any of the guff that he hasn't played well in the postseason. Against two of the best five defenses in football -- New England and Baltimore -- the last two games, Manning led the Colts to 53 points in eight quarters. Against the Ravens, he totally cut off the momentum of a great defense, leading five scoring drives and playing keep away during vital points at the end of the game. Against the Pats, he was perfect in the second half, leading the Colts to more points (32) than a Bill Belichick defense ever allowed in one half. Forget the stats. Just forget them. He's trained his whole life for this game, and he won't disappoint.
Colts 27, Bears 21

Michael Silver
Peyton Manning and Tony Dungy just took out the 800-pound gorilla. Do you really think they're going to let the Bears keep them from completing their career-making quest? Let me first say that, contrary to what Lovie Smith might suggest, I have great respect for Chicago. Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs are two of my favorite players -- and dudes -- and I expect the Bears to make enough big plays on defense to keep it interesting for awhile. But I can't see Grossman, at this stage of his career, coming close to holding his own against Manning, who just outdueled Tom Brady and redefined himself before a skeptical nation. As with Steve Young in Miami 12 years ago, this is Manning's time, and Dolphins Stadium will be Peyton's Place when all is said and done.
Colts 27, Bears 13

Dr. Z
The Patriots' defense would unsettle Rex Grossman more than the Colts' unit will, but New England's offense wouldn't put as many points on the board as Indy will. The no-huddle will give the Bears trouble, if not right away then later in the game. Grossman may put up numbers, depending on Indy corner Nick Harper's health, and Chicago will do a bit of damage on the ground. But I don't see the Bears matching the Colts' scoring machine. Indianapolis will pass early and run late.
Colts 34, Bears 24

Tim Layden
Yeah, I'm expecting offense. One NFL player (who shall remain nameless here) told me last week that he expects the Colts to "kill" the Bears by running Joseph Addai and then getting Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne in man-to-man, where Peyton Manning will carve up the Bears' D. But Ravens' defensive coordinator Rex Ryan warned me not to assume that the Colts' run defense will shut down the Bears' physical offensive line. Too much conflicting information. Here's what I think: Both of these things will happen. Manning will throw for a million yards and the Bears offensive line will punish the Colts, trying to keep Manning on the bench. Devin Hester will bring back a kick at some point. Rex Grossman plays well, but tips the balance with a couple of picks that put Manning back on the field as the Colts win their first Super Bowl in 36 years.
Colts 38, Bears 35

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