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.

685 Comments

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...

FINAL SCORE
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.

FINAL SCORE
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.

FINAL SCORE:
Bears: 25, Colts: 17

Indianapolis Colts

Passing

TDINTCOMPATTYDS
Sorgi231950277
Manning03103274

Rushing

YardsAttemptsAverageTD
Addai74233.40

Receiving

ReceptionsYardsAverageTD
Wayne1214011.60
Rhodes56412.80
Harrison3217.01

Chicago Bears

Passing

TDINTCOMPATTYDS
Grossman011641232

Rushing

YardsAttemptsAverageTD
Jones124482.50
Benson37113.30

Receiving

ReceptionsYardsAverageTD
Bradley48320.70
Clark4307.50
Muhammad35518.30

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."
--A_zombie

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."
--GamerForca

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)."
--zymase

"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."
--dallas_cowboys3

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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Ibitmyeyeoff

I'm with ya on that except for the part about Vinateri...with all the rain, they're gunna try to use him the least amount possible. And also...I doubt the score is gunna rack up that high. My official score will be: 29-28 Colts or 28-26 Bears, I hope the Colts pull it off. I also predict that there will be a record number of turnovers before this game is over. Maybe not an overall game kind, but just a Superbowl turnover record.

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BonziBoce

LOLZ bears?

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ShadowtheDark

Colts got this one. Manning is gonna loosen up the Bears defense by throwin in some HB draws and dives. The linebackers are gonna start cheating and getting up close to the line lookin for the run. Manning will run a play action and hit them deep. Since the bears dont have mike brown there physical secondary wont be much of a factor. What the colts will do is keep going at the bears defensive line, its for sure that the colts will be lookin for good field goal position and look for vinateri to rack up alot field goals this game. The bears on the other hand have a huuuuge advantage with the colts DB's. All of the colts DBs are below 5"11 and two are 5'8. People think that the bears will keep the ball out of Grossmans hands...WRONG. Lovie Smith will build Grossmans confidence by giving him chances to throw deep and make some great third down Conversions.The bears secondary will try to rough up the colts recievers and make them work real hard for there catches. Im thinkin they will play a 2 deep tampa zone. Score: 37-29 Colts

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Ibitmyeyeoff

For now the Colts fans will anyways, some die hard fans will more than likely make some of the Bears actually die hard...sad but it might just happen.

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thesand212

THE BEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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ShadowFlame6

Um, as of right now it seems many colts fans will stare in silence

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Ibitmyeyeoff

Bears are used to playing in crap weather. Colts are used to playing in...better enviorments.

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JackRipper6

DA bears rule wooo!

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Funkdaddy13

Go Bears!!! :D I would've preferred the Patriots or Eagles to make the Super Bowl but whatever... :P

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lil50cent

yea that kick off was crazy

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kajtrooper

This game is setting a lot of records, lmao.

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KEITH1437

A first in history. A Touchdown off the kick off

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kajtrooper

These guys are good. Remember. It's the SUPERbowl.

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kajtrooper

Holy sheet! 14 - 6 already!? Too bad Colts dropped the ball during their extra point.

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Ibitmyeyeoff

Who are you fastvipa14, and what third-world country did you come from?

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fastvipa14

Bears have better offense

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Ibitmyeyeoff

At this point, whatever happens, whoever can keep the ball in their hands afetr getting hit hard will win.

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Ibitmyeyeoff

Colts win by 2 or lose by 1. That extra point will now decide the game.

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TrueElements

my god devon just ran 92 yards off the first kick screw that! GO BEARS!!!!!!!

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g-stuart

the super bowl starts with a touchdown

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juanfraino

bears will win by 7 :P

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BR0M

The Bears by 6

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TrueElements

WOOOOOO GO COLTZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

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gameshark5

Da bears

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Shingo

Way to make it a bias free roundtable with two diehard Bears fans and a Colts hater/Pats lover guys. Colts by 17. The score difference probably won't be that big, but I feel bold.

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PspSquad

C01TZ!

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Headcsse

I'm just here for the commercials.

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archer006

bears have a great defense colts have a great offense that will cancle out the colts defense sucks and the bears offense is somewhat good so i say bears win by a touchdown

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rap_gurl

COLTS

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Battlehead90

Bears

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SonicUSMC

DA BEARS

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SEr_803

DAA colts expect a blow out ither bears kill or colts but no close game

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PyleA

Bears.....Ditka.....Bears

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JIMK1209

"they way "ncaa4life go back to college,to learn how to spell.

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xboxdudeman800

its bear time

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cosmothehound

i just want to watch the halftime show and see some nipples lol.

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ncaa4life

Bears Bears all they way PEYTON is very overated

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Palmer2Johnson

I think it's the colt's time. The Bears D is great but we've seen the ways how teams can pick them apart and Manning has been watching those tapes and picking out what he should be doing. BTW i don't think Peyton is overrated or crappy when he's probably going to have every passing record there is in history by the end of his career and winning this game will hopefully shut you people up.

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icym

Bears all the way.. the D knows how to get it done!

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CtEagan

Da Bears...

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JackRipper6

go bears! they will beat the crappy payton manning any way i hate the colts they suck PS go bears!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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EAfan90

"btw madden nfl is not good anymore.just thought id let everyone know that." As much as I enjoy Madden, I have to admit that I found the 2k series far more realistic.

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bjallen

Very unrealistic, the colts had a total of 105 offensive plays and the bears had 100 plays. There is no way in hell that would ever happen unless the they played with 25 minute quarters.

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cosmothehound

btw madden nfl is not good anymore.just thought id let everyone know that.

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cosmothehound

how does a thumb injury lead to a chest injury. an unrealistic simulation. im guessing 42-7 colts. rex is a complete idiot quarterback. but honestly how does thumb injury=chest injury.

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Da_Meter

Peyton is overrated sometimes and the Bears have a better defense as well so I think the score will be 35-28 at least somewhere around there

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ThundraX

I think the Bears will take this one. Bears-30 Colts-21

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julian_jr

Bears will win 31-28. The Bears have the team to do it and will probably win.

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anarchicgoth

the bears are prolly gonna win- the simulation usually works lol