Super Bowl XLI: Keys to Victory

It's Da Bears versus Peyton Manning and those others guys. We break down Sunday's big game with a little bit of your help.


Super Bowl XLI kicks off this Sunday, and in preparation for the game, we're bringing you three perspectives on the matchup between the Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts: Three predictions from GameSpot editors, a wrap-up of a simulated game played on Madden NFL 07, and, finally, comments from GameSpot readers asked to give their keys to victory for both teams in Sunday's game. So put down the bowl of chips, wipe all that ranch sauce off your fingers, and enjoy these predictions for how the big game just might go down.

What We Say

Aaron Thomas
Associate Editor
As a Bears fan, it would be easy for me to say that the Bears simply need to show up to Joe Robbie/Pro Player/Whatever It's Called Today Stadium to win Super Bowl XLI. But as any Buffalo Bills fan can attest, you have to do more than show up to win the Super Bowl. Certain things will need to happen for the Bears to raise the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday night, and luckily for Lovie Smith and company, I'm a team player, and I've put them all together in one handy list.

Tank Johnson loose in Miami? Sounds like a recipe for disaster. Somebody lock this guy in his hotel room until Sunday.
Tank Johnson loose in Miami? Sounds like a recipe for disaster. Somebody lock this guy in his hotel room until Sunday.

Make sure "Bad Rex" doesn't make it to the game: Tell him it's New Year's Eve and he's missing Diddy's party down in South Beach; stuff him in a locker until after the game; let him get into the victory champagne early; send him to Brett Favre's school of "I can squeeze this pass into that tiny opening" for the week; just don't let him make it to the game.

Find "Good Rex" and make sure he shows up: I don't understand how they keep losing this guy, but they need to figure out where his secret lair is and get his butt to the game. Maybe he hides someplace nobody would ever look for him, like the film room.

Don't leave Tank Johnson alone for a second: Tank has been arrested so many times in the last year that the Cincinnati Bengals think he's got character issues. Just thinking about how much trouble he could get himself into in a city that inspired GTA: Vice City is probably enough to give Lovie Smith the cold sweats. Since his current bodyguard is currently, uh, indisposed, it's going to be tough to keep Tank out of trouble, but he just needs to stay out of the clink for a few more days...

Trick Peyton into missing the game: Is there anything that the "6'5", 230-pound quarterback with a laser rocket arm" won't endorse? All the Bears need to do is get in touch with Manning's agent, offer him some cash to endorse some fake products, and then set up the commercial shoots for the same time as the Super Bowl. It might be a little difficult to think of any products that Peyton hasn't already endorsed, but other than that it's a foolproof plan.

Of course there are other keys to winning the game, like not turning the ball over, creating turnovers on defense, and pounding that soft Indianapolis run D with Jones and Benson, but I think I've laid out a pretty solid plan. I wonder how long it will take for them to send me my Super Bowl ring...

Bears: 31, Colts: 28

No Caption Provided

Brian Ekberg
Sports Editor

Like Aaron, I'm a diehard Bears fan. Hell, I'm such a superfan, I don't bleed blue and orange--I bleed Ditka's steak sauce. That said, I'm not above acknowledging the possibility--however remote--of a Colts win. If Indy wants to come out of Super Bowl XLI with the Lombardi trophy in tow, Peyton Manning is going to have to play one of the best games of his career. We're talking a mistake-free, 158.3-quarterback-rating, four-touchdown, zero-interception, 350-yards-in-the-air type of game. No mistakes. No fumbled snaps. A minimum of drops from his receivers.

The Bears don't need a Jim McMahon out of Rex to win Super Bowl XLI, but they'd certainly like to avoid a Kordell.
The Bears don't need a Jim McMahon out of Rex to win Super Bowl XLI, but they'd certainly like to avoid a Kordell.

The Bears thrive on points off of turnovers, and they don't just take advantage of misses, they make you miss--and then punch you in the face and stomp on your soft bits once you're on the ground. If Peyton wants to beat that, he's going to need to be two steps ahead of guys like Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, and a greedy secondary who collects errant passes like Tank Johnson collects high-powered rifles (allegedly).

But you know what? I don't think he can. The Bears already soundly defeated the number one offense in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints, a team led by an outstanding quarterback. So it stands to reason they can take on another high-powered offense led by Manning, and whip them in similar fashion. That's all assuming, however, that Rex Grossman decides to come out and play. Bears fans don't need Rex to play like Joe Montana or John Elway in order to win Super Bowl XLI. They'll be perfectly happy for him to pull off a Trent Dilfer--do just enough to not screw up, and take the trophy back to Chi-town. Then, Super Bowl XLI in the bag, the Bears can go ahead and trade the guy and really make my 2007 a happy one.

Bears: 31, Colts: 28

No Caption Provided

Alex Navarro
Associate Editor

It's admittedly difficult for a Patriots fan such as myself to accept a Super Bowl not featuring the greatest team of this decade. Last year I survived because my girlfriend is a Seahawks fan, and I could at least console her while they were beaten to death by the Steelers and referees. This year, it's like watching Satan mud wrestle Hitler. Seriously, who do you root for in that? Spend an hour or so trying to comprehend the answer to that, and you'll figure out where my head's been at for the last week or so.

Forget the quarterbacks, this game will be won at the line.
Forget the quarterbacks, this game will be won at the line.

Now that that's out of my system, let me say something else controversial. Quarterbacks in this Super Bowl are going to be irrelevant. All anyone wants to talk about is which Rex Grossman will show up--good Rex Grossman, who can actually get a ball into a receiver's hands from time to time, or evil, mustachioed, eye-patched Rex Grossman, who couldn't throw a Frisbee in a park without getting it intercepted. And in between bouts of that, someone asks if Peyton Manning can win "the big one"...again! Seriously, does anyone even care anymore? Truthfully, you could put a donkey in a Manning jersey behind Jeff Saturday for this game (some would say that the Colts already do this every single week) and replace Rex Grossman with a motorized cardboard cutout, and it wouldn't even matter.

Why? Because it's going to depend largely on who gets a running game going, and sticks with it. Everyone already knows that the Bears' defense is a wall made of the stuff they coated Wolverine's bones with, and that the once-soft Colts defense has stepped it up in recent weeks. So the question is, which unit will crack? Which unit will let the other team's running back tandem through a few too many times, and thus open up the floodgates? Neither defense is invulnerable in this game. With all the distractions surrounding Tank Johnson's smorgasbord of weapons charges and Tommie Harris watching the game from the sideline, the Bears might not be as strong up front as they were earlier in the year. Likewise, the Colts have transformed themselves in recent weeks, but is this a transformation that can stick? Is the energy of Bob Sanders enough to sustain them to a Super Bowl win? If so, give that man a raise.

Coming up with a nonbiased score prediction is proving difficult, so I'll just do two of them.

Patriots fan score prediction:
Bears: 7,321, Colts: -5
Realistic score prediction:
Bears: 29, Colts: 23

Who do YOU think will win Super Bowl XLI, and how will they go about doing it? Let us know by adding your comment below!

What Madden NFL 07 Says

It's impossible to say how many questions Colts quarterback Peyton Manning has fielded about his thumb during the two-week break before Super Bowl XLI. He banged it up during the AFC Championship game against the Patriots, and even went so far as to tell his backup, Jim Sorgi, to "get ready" to take the field against the Pats. Colts fans breathed a sigh of relief, though, when number 18 took the field to lead the Colts past New England and into the big game.

If our simulation of the big game is any prediction, Colts fans won't be seeing much of this guy on Sunday.
If our simulation of the big game is any prediction, Colts fans won't be seeing much of this guy on Sunday.

In the simulated Super Bowl we ran on the Xbox version of Madden NFL 07, the worst nightmares of Colts fans were realized, as Manning injured his chest early in the game and was replaced by Sorgi for most of the game's remainder. In fact, Manning made a brave attempt to return to the field in the third quarter, only to reaggravate the injury and bring in the backup for good. While it would have been nice to write about the Sorgi Miracle, it just didn't happen on the virtual field. The Bears' swarming secondary gobbled up pass after pass from Sorgi, leaving Charles Tillman with a total of three interceptions, accounting for nearly half of the Colts' seven turnovers.

For the Bears, Rex Grossman rarely got in the way of his team's success, tossing just one interception and no touchdowns, and it was the running back tandem of Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson that shouldered the lion's share of the yardage, with kicker Robbie Gould going 6/6 and scoring all but seven of the Bears' points. Late in the game, Sorgi came to life, bringing the Colts within two points on a couple of touchdown passes, but it wouldn't be enough to bring Indy the victory.

Bears: 25, Colts: 17

Indianapolis Colts







Chicago Bears







What You Say

The Colts' keys to victory on offense:
  • Avoid Running up the middle
  • Take Urlacher out of the game (make him ineffective)
  • Manning should not stand in the pocket for more than two seconds
  • Throw short, quick passes as the Bears feed off of deep passes
  • Mix up the game

Splitting the ball between Jones and Benson will help keep the Bears' running game going strong.
Splitting the ball between Jones and Benson will help keep the Bears' running game going strong.

The Bears' keys to victory on offense:

  • Play mistake-free football (see Saints game)
  • Grossman should bring his A-game
  • Split time with Benson and Jones
  • Don't focus on burning the speedy Colts' DBs, focus on short routes
  • Focus on the first down market, not the TD
  • Spread the Colts' D-Line

The Colts' keys to victory on defense:

  • Shut down the run
  • Pressure Grossman
  • Look to cover a lot of short routes
  • Play 4-3 defense
  • Plug up the middle

The Bears' keys to victory on defense:

  • Force turnovers
  • Capitalize on offensive scoring to keep the Colts down
  • Be physical, be vigilant
  • Linebacking corps are vital to reaching Manning
  • Urlacher must get to the QB

"My prediction, Da Chicago Bears win by 6."

The Colts' keys to victory:

  • An effective running game is needed to keep pressure off of Peyton
  • The defense needs to keep doing what it's been doing and pressure Rex
  • Don't let Grossman build confidence early on
  • Don't gamble too much; take what the Bears give them

The Bears' keys to victory:

  • Don't let Manning sit back and pass without pressure
  • Stop the running game
  • The defense needs to come up with big plays and give Grossman room for mistakes (God knows he needs it)
  • Pound the Colts' defense and force them to put more men in the box
  • Adrian Peterson needs to start at running back...jk

"Outcome: Colts win by 9."

Big plays from guys like Reggie Wayne could mean a big victory for Indianapolis.
Big plays from guys like Reggie Wayne could mean a big victory for Indianapolis.

"Colts: Big plays to Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison. Their TE flat routes won't be as effective because of Urlacher's speed. Big play from the offensive line. Aggressive play by the secondary and by Bob Sanders, as was mentioned above.

Bears: Get in Peyton's head early and often. Wear down Colts' defense with Benson, then put in Jones for finesse running late in the game for big gains. Rex decides to study for the game, rather than get caught up in the massive media hype machine of the Super Bowl (not bloody likely)."

"I pick the Colts. Now that their defense is playing well they have now apparent weakness. Although, Devin Hester could completely turn this around with his returning skills and speed. It should be a good game."

Who do YOU think will win Super Bowl XLI, and how will they go about doing it? Let us know by adding your comment below!

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Avatar image for comthitnuong

i just wish the packers were back in the super bowl :cry: anyways i think the colts are gonna win

Avatar image for SpudmonkeyInc

Ahahaha! OK, when Sorgi walks on the field tomorrow, I will bow down to all of you editors, kow-tow-style. However, considering Peyton's been out for like... what, three snaps?... in his entire NFL career - I seriously doubt this is going to happen. I just ran my own simulation on Madden, and hell didn't freeze over in it, so Manning played the whole game. The final score was Colts 38, Bears 27. Ouch! "Da Bears" are 'bout to get mauled.

Avatar image for Rhycar

Sorry to all you Chicago fans, but I just can't (no matter how hard I try) put my faith in Sexy Rexy. You know at some point in the game, Grossman is going to have to take the reins, and while he delivered against New Orleans in the NFC Championship game, he's just been way too inconsistent this year. Meanwhile, Indy's D is peaking at the right time, Manning, well, he's Peyton Manning, and I think that Joseph Addai will have a monster game. Prediction: Indianapolis 35, Chicago 17 Super Bowl MVP: Joseph Addai

Avatar image for nuttabutta

my severe dislike for the colts uniforms, colors, players, helmets, logo, and overall franchise in general tells me to SAY GO BEARS!!!!!!!!! TACKLE THAT UGLY REDNECK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Avatar image for sweetbryancito

23 Colts - 16 Bears

Avatar image for jakob_187

Well, in the past Super Bowls, we have to realize that the underdogs have statistically won 2 out of 5 Super Bowls. This doesn't include Pats and Cowboys, as they are mafias in their own rights. Nonetheless, when you look at the Bears and the Colts, Alex was pretty much dead on with what he had to say. Passing game isn't going to be worth too much here, as both teams will expect it. If Grossman is on, and we know Manning will be on...then you have to watch for the running game, and in that department, I've gotta give it to the Bears. They've got a killer running team and the D to keep the Colts from getting a couple extra yards. Then again, if Manning keeps his laser arm up-to-date with the newest drivers....then Jesus...we better hope that he's working on a bugged-out version of Windows Vista. My prediction: Bears - 24; Colts - 20 Personally...I'm a Bucs fan...wish they'd get their s*** together one of these days!

Avatar image for frank_123

Coooollllttttsss! yeah... kick those bear asses! God... there's no chance for the bears believe me. I agree Reggie Wayne's gonna be one of the best players in the game... All Right people prepare yourself for fun... GO COLTS!

Avatar image for Outlawlaw

21 Colts - 14 Bears Bears are a great team but are completely set up for the 'choke' after a lackluster close to the season and a near miss to the Seahawks. (In contrast the Saints where humiliated by them). Alex's Patriot fan prediction isn't funny. Not even the 5th time you hear it :P

Avatar image for darklord239


Avatar image for fortune99999

Colts are gonna win

Avatar image for lalakool_16

I honestly think the Colts will win, but i don't get to watch the game: I HAVE TO BLEEPING WORK!!

Avatar image for youngxman

people who think the bears will win they are crazy

Avatar image for Jared_Vegeta

Man, if only Alex's Pats fan score prediction would come true. I still think the Colts are going to run over the Bears.

Avatar image for halofreak3487

XD gunna be awesome

Avatar image for Bg7fan


Avatar image for smiley17O

cant wait till tomorrow to see the game

Avatar image for Agent32

DA BEARS!!!!!! i say Bears 62 the Colts 10... what if ditka was mini.. oooo then i would say Bears 54 the Colts 6 =)

Avatar image for Kreestas

Trick Peyton into missing the game - lolololol, thats funny.

Avatar image for thegordoloco

My GB Packers fan prediction: Bears: -49, Colts: 49 My Realistic prediction: Bears: 13, Colts: 17

Avatar image for Tucker1-2

go bears

Avatar image for lafigueroa

Zombie, I agree completely Bears will win by 6

Avatar image for brandontek

What the dude below me said.. "Bears" MEGA BIG TEXT" BEARS"!

Avatar image for samurai210


Avatar image for carstairs

Colts. The Bears are good, but inconsistent.

Avatar image for CANDT519

The Colts will do it! Just like the Cardinals getting the World Series last year, have some great seasons and come up short of the prize, then have a season that would be considered off or down and get the PRIZE!

Avatar image for Foppe

Vikings will suddenly appear in the match and win.

Avatar image for Sim_genius

Ummm. Don´t really care which team wins :P

Avatar image for XGxAxMxExRX

I think the colts are gonna win

Avatar image for adi0sk8t3r

I'm a Bears fan! Two more days till the big game!

Avatar image for ocdog45

ESPN did this for the conferance games and the divisional games. of all the games they only accuratly got right down to the score. this is gonna be a good game to see a if deffense really wins games or not.

Avatar image for Tking1293

Where's all the love for Indy? It ain't cool getting their opponents fans, and certainly not a Patriots fan, to write a report on the superbowl. It will, however, be close though.

Avatar image for juanfraino

I really don't mind who wins :P

Avatar image for ants_man

The Colts are going to win

Avatar image for Koralan

I think the Colts will pull through on this one

Avatar image for N00bl3t15

I'm also hoping the Bears will win.