In a league that’s gaga for the shotgun spread — the Colts went shotgun spread in 2005 and haven’t changed a thing since — New Orleans remains impulsive. Sometimes Brees is under center. Sometimes he’s in the shotgun. Sometimes the Saints have multiple wideouts. Sometimes they have two tight ends and a sixth offensive lineman. When the Patriots set the scoring record in 2007, they constantly changed formations and personnel groups. Sean Payton has taken that lesson to heart, and the result is the highest-scoring team of this season.
New Orleans loves to bootleg, and the bootleg never worked against Minnesota in the NFC title game. Whether it will work in the Super Bowl is an important barometer. While New Orleans’ passing gets the attention, the run is integral to the Saints’ scoring. New Orleans is not always pass wacky — the Boy Scouts were sixth in the league in rushing. Sometimes, the Saints will shift to a power formation and simply run three or four times in a row, a variation the Colts never use. In the NFC championship, the Vikings got the New Orleans offense off-kilter by holding the Saints to 68 yards rushing. Don’t be surprised if Indianapolis tries to take away the New Orleans rushing attack, frustrating the Saints in the same way Minnesota did. Three years ago, when the Colts won the Super Bowl, their defense, porous against the run in the regular season, played very well against the run in the postseason. This year? During the regular season, the Colts’ defense was 24th against the run — then in the postseason has held the run-oriented Ravens to 87 yards rushing and the run-oriented Jets to 86 yards rushing.
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