Sports

Saints' keys to victory, unsung hero

1. DO UNTO PEYTON AS YOU DID UNTO BRETT

Hit Colts quarterback Peyton Manning a bunch, make his ankle and hamstring all purple-looking, like the ones in those photos Brett Favre's agent bizarrely released in the wake of the Vikings' loss to New Orleans. You have to think the officiating crew is going to be all over that, though, especially after Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams chirped about "remember me" hits last week. But if New Orleans weathers a hanky-fest early, will the zebras still be penalizing every hit as the game goes on? Hanky fatigue seemed to set in during the Saints-Vikings game.

2. GET ANOTHER VISIT FROM THE TURNOVER FAIRY

The Vikings hadn't given the ball away more than two times in a game all season before they handed it to the Saints five times in the NFC Championship Game. If the Colts turn it over five times, the Saints will win.

3. MAKE MANNING TV'S FAVORITE SIDELINE SHOT

He can't score if you won't give him the ball. New Orleans' offense is almost as much better than the Colts' defense as Manning's unit is better than the Saints' D. And the Saints are much more balanced. Eat up lots of clock and keep scoring touchdowns, not kicking field goals. Even the best offense can get out of rhythm just sitting around, and the Super Bowl, with all the commercials, provides plenty of opportunities for that anyway.

SAINTS' UNSUNG HERO

Pierre Thomas. ... Reggie Bush is the Heisman guy but Thomas is the guy who gets the tough yards - 793 of them this season, on just 147 carries, 5.4 yards per. An effective running game is one thing the Saints have that the Colts don't, and Thomas is the man who moves the chains.

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