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Super Bowl X-Factors

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The Super Bowl is only a few days away and while much attention has been on the stars – Peyton Manning, Drew Brees – it’s often the the lesser know players who step up and make a huge impact.  Players such as Deion Branch, Dexter Jackson, and Santonio Holmes have taken home Super Bowl MVP honors in recent years and one of these guys listed below might be the next guy in this list.

Robert Meachem

In his third year in the league, Meachem has finally broken out.  He finished third on the Saints in receiving and tied for the team lead in touchdowns.  He also led the team in yards per catch, averaging 16 yards per catch.  However, Meachem has been quiet in the playoffs and has only recorded two catches in two games.  The Saints will need to score at least 30 points if they want to win this game and a big play from Meachem would go a long way in making that happen.

Austin Collie

While Pierre Garcon got most of the media attention after his big game versus the Jets two weeks ago, Collie was not far behind.  He finished with seven catches for 126 yards and a score and his 46 yard catch at the end of the first half really got the Colts offense going.  The Saints have more corner depth than the Colts so I wouldn’t expect another huge game for Collie, but the slot receiver will be working the middle of the field and convert third downs extending drives for the Colts. 

Pierre Thomas

The Saints get called a pass orientated team, but they can actually run the ball fairly well and that’s because of Pierre Thomas.  The back was nicked up during the season and never received more than 20 carries in a game, but always delivered when he got the call averaging 5.4 yards per carry.  The Colts may have slowed down the Jets number one ranked running game, but they were keying in on the run and forcing them to pass.  When you play the Saints you can’t afford to do that as Drew Brees will make you pay.  The Colts ranked in the bottom third against the run during the regular season so there should be some space for Thomas to run.

Dwight Freeney

Now I know Dwight Freeney is a big name, but his ankle injury has put him in this category.  While the All Pro defensive end has not and will not practice this week, I believe he’ll suit up for the Super Bow,l even if he can’t play a full complement of snaps.  Now those limited number of snaps, no matter how many (15, 20, 30) will have a huge impact in the game.  His presence on the field alone will force the Saints to alter their blocking schemes and if he can be effective that’s a bonus. He doesn’t even need to sack Drew Brees.  If he can draw some double teams that will open things up for his teammate, Robert Mathis, on the other side and help the secondary by keeping a potential receiver in to block.

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