The Designed Rush, Week 7: The Dream 2009 Season Super Bowl We Probably Won't Get

Drew Brees and Peyton Manning are the most dominating high-profile players so far this season. With apologies to any number of other superstars having career years, any glance at the MVP race contains only permutations of Brees and Manning at first and second place. With the Colts and Saints as two of the four remaining unbeaten teams, it's easy to envision this matchup coming to pass come February.
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↵But recent history suggests one of these two isn't going to make it. ↵

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↵No Super Bowl has featured two No. 1 seeds against each another since the 1993 season. The last four title games, of course, have featured one team that didn't even get a first-round bye. Obviously, neither the Colts nor the Saints are locks for home-field advantage or even a bye, but of the teams in their conference, they look best positioned to get it, and frankly, are playing the best ball. ↵

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↵It's also worrisome that Colts-Saints happens to be the most appealing potential game of those likely to happen, which almost never works out for whatever reason. For starters, the run-up to the game would have markedly fewer sickening storylines than would a Super Bowl that paired Peyton against either Brett Favre or brother Eli. And it's two of the best quarterbacks in seasons where they're playing out of their minds. Sure, the Saints would get the predictable and painfully simplistic "team that saved New Orleans" treatment, but it still wouldn't be half as repugnant as the extreme adulation that Favre or an all-Manning Super Bowl would generate. ↵

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↵The sad fact is that neutral fans rarely, if ever, get the Super Bowl they want. Remember the more thrilling Vikings teams that fell in 1998 and 2000 in conference title games to opponents that only went on fizzle out in the Super Bowl. Super Bowl 29 would have showcased the No. 1 offense against a top defense until Pittsburgh was upset by San Diego in the AFC Championship. ↵

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↵So, as always, let's hope for the best and plan for the worst. Even if the worst forces us to watch Kyle Orton play for a championship. ↵

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↵Five games to watch even if you don't have a rooting interest or fantasy players involved ↵

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↵Minnesota at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m., Sunday ↵

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↵The Vikings were running roughshod over the Ravens on Sunday until Antoine Winfield went down, allowing the Ravens offense to storm back into the game. Brad Childress isn't ruling the corner out yet for the game in Pittsburgh, but should he not be able to play, the onus will fall on Jared Allen and the Vikings pass rush to disrupt the Steelers passing game, which currently features the leader in passing yards and two wideouts in the top 10 in receiving. ↵

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↵San Francisco at Houston, 1 p.m., Sunday ↵

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↵The Niners and Dre Bly have had a week to think about their letdown performance against the Falcons. Meanwhile the Texans would probably like to swing that predictable loss-win-loss-win pattern they've set for themselves, preferably more toward the win column. ↵

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↵Atlanta at Dallas, 4:15 p.m., Sunday ↵

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↵The Cowboys are decidedly not a top tier team, probably not even what most would term a good one, but they're not entirely horrible either. Their losses are to the Broncos and the Giants, two teams expected (at least now, in the case of Denver) to vie for their conference while their wins, albeit mostly unspectacular, are over teams they should have beaten. Now they get another quality opponent, though one that's considered a slight step down from the Giants in the NFC. How well they do could go a way in helping the NFL calibrate just how mediocre Dallas is this year. Which is helpful. ↵

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↵Chicago at Cincinnati, 4:15 p.m., Sunday ↵

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↵The Bears and Bengals stumbled this past Sunday and considering the quality of the teams in their division, can nary afford to drop two in a row. Cincy lost early season phenom Antwan Odom for the year, even though his production has slipped from seven sacks in his first two games to one in the roughly three more he played before going down. ↵

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↵Arizona at New York, 8:20 p.m., Sunday ↵

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↵Kurt Warner played for each of these teams at some point. Somehow that's not a played-up storyline when the Cardinals play the Rams twice per season. How's about a faceoff between the two previous NFC champs who are either in first or tied for first in their respective division? Surely there's a sliver of appeal to be found there. ↵

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↵NFL Player Tweet of the Week ↵

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↵"Thanks @richeisen for having us at the tail end of the show for the 40th str8 week. You are part of the motivation! You are the best!" -- Houston Texans right tackle Eric Winston, Monday. ↵

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↵The disrespect card is a many splendored thing for NFL players, though offensive linemen are usually the last ones to employ it as passive-aggressively as Winston does here. That's receiver-level cattiness! Besides, unless he happens to recover a fumble, Winston isn't getting on any NFL Network highlight package, no matter what part of the show the Texans game is featured. Also, the Texans are a .500 team that has never made the playoffs. Ah, perspective. ↵Truth About Advertising ↵

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↵Geico's marketing relies heavily on anthropomorphism. You've got talking geckos, googily-eyed piles of money that stalk women in public and now talking potholes. Hardly a revolutionary concept, but the producers of the pothole ad are to be commended for nailing the vapid, airheaded twangy voice for the pothole. It actually makes me want to go out and strangle someone. For the pothole, I suppose I would have to break out the jackhammer to get full catharsis. But then that would only make the pothole bigger and more hazardous. Oh, you're a tough one, pothole. ↵

↵Dispatches from Madden Nation ↵

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↵The next few weeks will be a struggle for Madden to get significant PT in my household, what with sequels to BioShock and Call of Duty getting ready to hit stores, as well as the latest Grand Theft Auto DLC. That's typically how it goes for me and Madden. A stormy love affair early in its run, a dormancy period to explore other options, then a rekindling of passion as the actual NFL playoffs loom ever closer. No worries, baby. We'll pick it back up. Don't you worry none. ↵

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↵A Delicious Bundle of Gripes ↵

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↵- According to the New York Daily News, after the loss to the Saints, Eli Manning "was met outside the locker room on his way to the team bus by his father Archie and mother Olivia. His mom hooked her arm through his and they walked off together." And marched they did to the nearest antique market. Much catharsis was had. ↵

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↵- Solomon Wilcots did his best Emmitt Smith in the booth Sunday during the Steelers-Browns broadcast, only referring to Rashard Mendenhall as "Mendinghall" and Ben Roethlisberger as "Rottlisberger". I hope he saranated the experience. ↵

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↵- The Pats, as usual, have no qualms about running it up on teams that quit on them in Foxboro in the snow. And there's nothing wrong with that. Last year, it was Arizona that received a 47-7 pasting by the Pats in inclement weather. This year, the Titans get axed 59-0. Doubtful, however, that the Titans will rebound as the Cards did and turn the loss into a Super Bowl run. ↵

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↵- Another Monday Night Football broadcast, another pronouncement that a player "leads the league in grit." First it was Jake Delhomme, now it's Philip Rivers. By now, it has to be an in-joke between Mike Tirico, Jaws and Jon Gruden. I'm guessing whichever of the three gets the phrase in first is owed dinner by the other two. So expect the kicker of the team defending first next week to be a league-leading gritster. ↵

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↵- The mayor of Green Bay is seeking suggestions on how the town will tastefully welcome back Brett Favre in two weeks when he returns to play in Lambeau. The most fitting would be to conceal his decision and reveal it after next year's training camp is over. If anyone complains, just shrilly remind them how it's really the greatest welcome of all-time and they're just haters.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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