TIME FOR SUPERBOWL XLI
Personally, what’s up with the logo? I don’t like the nice happy light blue? Somehow, it does not really give me a picture of a gridiron battle to come, but rather a something you would see to get you to go to Disneyland or something. Oh well, I am sure the NFL marketing genisus would disagree with me and talk about how it’s family friendly, nice, cute and attractive for the millions of fans who will be watching the game. Blah, blah, blah. At least MLB hasn’t gone down the super cheezy marketing route yet, even if they have come close.
Despite the pathetic logo, this is about two teams. The 15-4 Indianapolis Colts against the 15-3 Chicago Bears. We still have a week and a half of betting, talking trash and planning super bowl parties to go before the warriors get it on in Miami. In the meantime, here is my analysis of these two team.
Scoring the positions
QB – Manning vs Grossman
Is there any doubt about who is the better QB? Manning has a 65% completion ratio vs Grossman’s 54.6. Manning has thrown for 4397 yards and 31 TD’s to Grossman’s 3193 yards and 23 TD’s. More importantly, Manning has only 9 INT’s vs Grossman’s 20. Advantage
RB – Addai/Rhodes vs Jones/Benson
This is a tough one, both teams featured two backs using one primary and one secondary. For the Colts, Addai averaged 4.8 yards on 226 carries for 1081 yards and 7 TD’s. Jones for the Bears averaged 4.1 yards on 296 carries and 1210 yards and 6 TD’s. Pretty even numbers, so then you look at those number two guys and you see a slight ege going to the Bears with Benson who has 6 more yards rushing than Rhodes despite 30 few carries. Slight Advantage
WR – Harrison, Wayne, Clark vs Muhammad, Berrian, Clark
The strange reality here is the two primary receivers and TE’s for both teams are remarkably in similar situations with the exception of their QB’s and the facts the Colts WR’s have proven themselves over a longer period of time. Both teams have players who can catch the ball and do something with it. Except, the Colts production blows the Bears out of the water. Harrison leades both teams with 95 receptions, 1366 yards and 12 TD’s. Wayne closely follows with 86 receptions, 1310 yards and 9 TDs. The Bears top WR is Muhammad with only 60 receptions, 863 yards and 5 TD’s. There is simply no comparison. Huge Advantage
DEF LINE AND LB’s
Defense is a strange story indeed. For example the Colts average def rank is 26th overal while the Bears rank is just under 5. The Colts D has only 19 takeaways vs the Bears impressive 36. Much of this is due to the front 7 for both teams. In rushing def the Colts average 29th in the rankings and pretty much are dead last in yards per game, yards given up and rushing 1st downs. The Bears meanwhile, are not supermen but ranked 6th in yards per game and amazingly 2nd in rushing TD’s given up. Huge Advantage
This is where things get tricky. The Colts were minus Bob Sanders and Bethea for good parts of the season. Part of the playoff success was due to these two players coming back and performing again. Looking at the numbers the Colts ranked 2nd yards given up to the Bears 11th place. The Colts only have given up 16 TD’s to the Bears 18. Simply put a healthy Colts pass D is capable of crushing a healty Bears passing game. Whereas the Bears might struggle a bit. Advantage
This isn’t even a topic for discussion. In every category the Bears out perform the Colts. In the kicking game Gould has had a tremendous year, even if the Colts were not that far behind. But, Gould was 12 for 14 in kicks over 40 yards. Not bad. In the return game the Bears ranked number 1 in kick returns for TD’s, Punt return yards and 4th in punt returns. The Colts were 17th, 32nd and 32nd respectively. In the punting game the Bears ranked 14th on average compared to the Colt’s 31st. Advantage
Tough question. You could not have two very different teams competiting against each other. One is a flashy high flying team while the other is a blue collar working class. What it comes down to, is which team can eliminate the mistakes more than the other. When I look at both teams there are two essential questions. 1. Can the Colts D stop the Bears running game and 2. Can the Bears D stop the Colts passing game? The Bears run D isn’t overly impressive, blow you away kind of game. The problem they have is the ability to keep up if the Colts get ahead. Grossman will have to have a great game against a strong passing defense of the Colts for the Bears to win. The Colts on the other hand can’t afford to make mistakes, allowing the Bears to stay in the game like New Orleans did last week. In the end, Grossman is the weak link of both teams and for that my 2007 Super Bowl Prediction is:
Indianapolis Colts 23
Chicago Bears 6
Time for a little change of pace as the winter season has slowed down some. Recently, I purchased a new CD from the Viking Death Metal group Amon Amarth who hail from Stockholm. Formed in 1992, the group has remained true to themselves and continue to reign using Viking history as their guide. Prior to With Oden On Our Side, Amon Amarth has released Burning Creation (1994), Sorrow Throughout The Nine Worlds (1995), Once Sent From The Golden Hall (1997), The Avenger (1999), The Crusher (2000), Versus The World (2003), Fate of Norns (2004) and With Oden On Our Side (2006).
The CD actually includes a bonus disc which is always a nice bonus given the immense cost of CD’s today. The songs include
Valhall Awaits me grabs you immediately, pounding you with intense drumming to then be blessed with a very catchy guitar riff. Something, I notice Amon Amorth is very strong at and in my opinion, establishes them outside the general Death Metal scene. I immediately like this song and believe my purchase was well worth it.
grown on me. Now, this is the point in a CD were we teeter on either having a nice little gem for your listening pleasure or something you forget about rather quickly. The question was how Hermod’s Ride To Hel – Lokes Treachery Part I, will spell the picture out. As the song starts, the melodic guitar riff kicks in and I knew immediately this song was going to kick some serious ***.
Gods of War Arise takes you on a Viking trip to a village about to be conqured. The musical procession takes you for an amazing ride carrying you along for an epic adventure. The name sake of the album paints a bloody picture of the aftermath of the Viking conquest, the lyrics, brutal drums and scorching guitars drive the picture home.
Cry of The Black Birds and Under The Northern Star clearly demonstrate the growth Amon Amarth has seen over the years by putting together a very strong album from beginning to end. Under The Northern Star is amazing to say the least and is a very good lead into the final song on the album. The pace slows a tad on this song as it is about as close to a soft song as your going to get. What really sets this group apart from other Death Metal bands is the obivious musical talent involved.
Of course this leads up to the final song title Prediction of Warfare and with the blow of a Viking sword, it planted quite a shot. It is one of the best songs I have heard in a long time and I enjoyed it immediately. Similar to Susperia’s Chemistry or Immortal Soul’s Man of Sorrow, Amon Amarth outdo themselves here. The song is addictive like no other and the soothing pounding of wave generating melody really sets this song above the others.
Death Metal isn’t for everybody and Viking Death Metal is even for a smaller group. But, there are some very talented bands out there who display amazing skills. Guitarists Johan Soderberg, Olavi Mekkonen, drummer Fredrik Andersson, bassist Ted Lundstrom and vocalist Johan Hegg have put together an amazing work of art on With Oden On Our Side. Even if your not into the gutteral vocals, the musical journey is still worth a listen too. Here the music is about more than just speed and pounding pain into your ears, it is about real talent, catchy tunes with a solid dose of melody while still containing its hard edge.
Amon Amarth – With Oden On Our Side earns $$$$$ out of $$$$$ a definate must for any musical collection.