As every NFl team knows, injuries will kill you. In the age of free agency teams struggle for quality depth. Keeping good players around that haven’t quite reached starting potential is a tough deal. That’s why on most NFL teams there’s a razors edge when it comes to injuries. Lose one key guy and things can go to hell quick.
Both Super Bowl teams are experiencing that right now. For the Indianapolis Colts the blow comes where they might least be able to afford it. Dwight Freeney is down with an ankle injury and from all indicatiuons it’s pretty serious. Freeney is a major factor in the Colts’ pass rush scheme. Getting pressure on Drew Brees is a going to be a big part of the Indianapolis defensive plan. Losing Freeney is a big stick in the spokes. Even if he plays Freeney won’t be 100%. That’s a big help to New Orleans, whose quarterback Drew Brees, will kill you if he’s given time.
For the Saints the bad news comes on the offensive side of the ball as Tight End Jeremy Shockey is nursing an injury to his knee. Shockey is a dangerous receiving threat and forces opponents into covering him well. His absence or presence affects the way teams play New Orleans.
Put these two factors on a scale and I think they tip in favor of the Saints. New Orleans can throw in Dave Thomas who, while not explosive as Shockey when he’s healthy, has nevertheless made some good plays in 2009. The Colts really have noone to replace Freeney. Advantage New Orleans Saints.