Tailgate Crashers' Super Bowl Roundtable

After two weeks of hype, creating stories that weren’t there, and a Mooninite attack in Boston, the big game is just about here. Two weeks of trying to figure out what quarterback is going to choke first (and my argument that Rex Grossman, by definition, can’t choke) and which one of Manning’s organs Brian Urlacher will raise over his head in victory in lieu of the Lombardi Trophy.

We’ve gathered some of the writers from around the site and lifted Pulse Wrestling’s Roundtable gimmick. With comments open at the bottom, we’ve made this interactive. We want all your Roundtable predictions, too.

We’ll start with me because, well, it’s my zone.

Thomas Daniels: My dad is a Colt fan going back to their Baltimore days. In fact, he loathed John Elway for most his career due to Elway’s draft day trade demand. Elway told Baltimore that, if they didn’t trade him, he’d go play baseball (For the record, one of the more interesting sports’ “what if” arguments to get into: what would have happened if Elway stayed with the Yankees?). As much as I hate to root against my dad, I think the Bears’ take this. I said in my post earlier this week: People are also forgetting that Manning has, at last count, played TWO good quarters in the playoffs. Fortunately for him, they’re the last two, so the other 50 don’t count.. I’m certainly not saying Grossman is a lock to have a great game, but I AM saying that the Bears can win with Grossman having an awful game. They’ve done it a lot this season. The Colts, on the other hand, with Peyton off, will lose horrifically. Everyone is expecting Grossman to have the worst game ever, while forgetting that Peyton is the one who tried really hard to have five turnovers against the Ravens’ defense. The Bears’ defense is no kinder. I expect a lower scoring game, the Bears at +2 turnovers, and another year of ‘Manning’s a Choker’ arguments.

Winner: Da Bears
Score: 27-20
MVP:: Brian Urlacher (causing 2 fumbles)

Widro: Super Bowl 41 will feature the Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts in Miami. Bears QB Rex Grossman has been inconsistent this year, but if he puts it together, could be a force. Peyton Manning finally has the monkey off his back of making it TO the Super Bowl, but it’s all for naught unless, you know, he actually WINS the game. The Bears have been a powerhouse all year but the Colts know how to score, making this one a tough game to pick.

Winner: Colts
Score: 24-17
MVP: Manning

Eric Szulczewski: Oh, yeah, like I can be objective about this. I’ll at least try to be fair; Indy deserves that much from me. Despite all the overanalysis, it comes down to a basic issue: High-Powered Offense Against Ultra-Dominant Defense, and Defense Wins Championships. The question is whether or not the Bears can put up enough offense. I believe they can. Indy played way over their heads in the playoffs in regard to their still-suspect run defense, and Ron Turner knows how to exploit that weakness. In the meantime, the Bears have a pair of corners that can shut down Harrison and Wayne, and Urlacher will spend a good portion of his game slapping the taste out of Clark’s mouth. So, to be fair, let’s give both teams three touchdowns, Indy’s on medium-sized drives (Harrison, Clark and Addai get in the end zone) and the Bears’ on opportunistic moments (two runs by Jones and a pass to Berrian). That means it comes down to the kickers. Who was second to LT in scoring in the NFL this year? Here’s a hint: it wasn’t AV.

Winner: Bears
Score: Bears 30, Indy 24
MVP: Thomas Jones

Mike Hulse: It seems that everyone who’s been predicting this game has gone along the lines of this becoming a close, grind it out game, that the Bears will find ways to score, and ultimately it will come down to which QB has the better game. Most people you ask would say take the 7 points. Most people think Rex Grossman will be fine in his role. They point to the fact that the Colts had to pull out a miracle to win the AFC title, while the Bears rolled over a potent Saints offense. While all of that is true, people seem to be ignoring one plain and simple fact. Short of playing games in freezing temperatures at home (like the NFC Title game), the Bears defense hasn’t been the dominant force it was when the season began. The Colts defense has stiffened up against the run, and if they’re good enough to stop Larry Johnson, Jamal Lewis, and the New England RB corps, I don’t see why they can’t contain Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson. In my head, I can certanly see a scenario where this does become a close, tense battle. I just don’t think it will end up playing out that way. If the Colts pull ahead early, the game is over, Chicago isn’t good enough on offense to catch up. If the Colts don’t pull ahead early, they can certainly strike quick. Throw in the most clutch kicker in NFL history, and a team that’s been preparing for this game for about 5 years now, and I see a game that’s not all that close.

Winner: Colts
Score: 31-20
MVP:: Peyton Manning (like someone else would win it)

Shawn M Smith: This is the game that every little boy dreams to one day play in. Peyton Manning carries the weight of the world on his shoulders: can he win the big one or will he choke in the most important game of his life? Ironically, he won’t choke, but his team’s defense isn’t good enough to win this game. The COMPLETE opposite is true for the Bears, whose quarterback plays like a rookie and while he has a golden arm, he has a nickel brain.

Winner: Colts
Score: 28-27
MVP: Bob Sanders

ML Kennedy: The Colts make a huge special teams error, Moose drops a pass, Olin Kreutz “accidentally” injures somebody, and the announcers fellate Peyton.

Winner: Bears
Score: 25-23
MVP: Number 81, Rashied Davis. (This is a long shot, but if it happens I’ll look like a genius.)

Eugene Tierney: The Bears D shuts down Peyton and the Colts. Grossman isn’t an issue, since the Bears run most of the game. Cheering for the bears, but the game will be boring by the second half.

Winner: Bears
Score: Bears 28, Colts 16
MVP: Urlacher

Neil A. Bisman: Truth be told but I’d rather be watching the Caribbean World Series over on Fox Sports en Espanol but I’ll be a sheep and watch the big game. Is it just me or was it only a few weeks ago that everyone was touting the Chicago Bears as one of the best teams of all time and now they suddenly don’t have a chance in the Super Bowl? Granted, they have been hit by injuries but let’s not count them out before this thing starts. The key to the Bears winning is keeping Peyton Manning off the field and keeping their turnovers to a minimum. Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson are perfectly capable of doing both these things and you would have to imagine that Lovie Smith plans on running, running, and running some more. Considering that the Colts’ run D is among the worst in the league, suddenly Indy doesn’t look like such a lock. I say Rex Grossman is nothing more than a caretaker in this one and the Bears win rather easily.

Winner: Bears
Score: Bears 34 Colts 24
MVP: Thomas Jones

Danny Cox: There’s no way in hell I would pick the Bears, even if I thought they would win. They knocked my Saints out of this thing and we can’t have that. It is going to be a tight game though all the way through as the Bears’ fantastic defense is going to give the Colts’ explosive offense more then they care for. Same goes for the Colts’ offense sticking it to the Bears D-. But with the way the Colts’ defense has been playing this postseason, they are going to totally outman a weak Bears’ offense. Bob Sanders is going to give Rex Grossman fits all day, and that will be the key. Tire out the Bears’ defense and eventually Peyton Manning will find a way.

Winner: Colts
Score: 31-21
MVP: Joseph Addai