Posted by Barrie on Monday, 14 December 2009

Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints Remain Perfect

The Indianapolis Colts made it 13-0 for the season after seeing off a resilient Denver Broncos at the Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday; 28-16.

The game saw a number of landmarks broken, most notably becoming the first team in NFL history to win 22 straight regular seasons; 1 more than their biggest rivals of this millennium, the New England Patriots. This record was started last season under head coach Tony Dungy who has been the cornerstone of the franchises success over the past half-dozen years or so. Last season was the only season the Indianapolis Colts have not won the AFC South since the league spilt into 8 divisions following the arrival of the Houston Texans in 2002. This season the Colts reclaimed the division as early as week 12.

Sunday's victory was the Indianapolis Colts' 114th win this decade; the most by any one franchise in a decade, eclipsing the San Francisco 49ers team of the 1990's that were 113-47. The 49ers won 2 Superbowl's during that decade, the Colts have one during this decade.

The success of the Indianapolis Colts can be put on the shoulders of Peyton Manning who has arguably been the best quarterback this decade, but there's a lot more to it than that. Starting with Tony Dungy and Tom Moore, there has been some top coaches working on the sidelines and scouting crew bringing in top rookies. Look at their cornerbacks who were low draft picks but capable of playing with the best receivers in the league. That wasn't the case yesterday however, as Brandon Marshall set an NFL record 21 catches in 1 game (200 yards, 2 touchdowns); 1 more than the previous record set by Terrell Owens, set as a 49er back in December 2000 against the Chicago Bears. While the New England Patriots are the team of the decade, and the Pittsburgh Steelers have added another 2 Superbowl reigns during it, the Indianapolis Colts have been a model franchise amongst a number of elite teams this millennium.

Before yesterday, only 5 teams in the history of the NFL had started the season 13-0. While the Colts looked comfortable in victory, the New Orleans Saints made hard work of theirs over the Atlanta Falcons to maintain their unbeaten record. Closing in on homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, the Saints are the team to beat in the NFC despite others ranking the Minnesota Vikings as the number 1 team in the NFC and even NFL.

The Saints secondary has been beat up in recent weeks which even allowed Chris Redman over 300 yards on Sunday. But as has been the case in many games recently, they just do enough to win. And winning the close games is key. Losing them was why they finished bottom of the NFC South last season. If you want a shootout with the Saints, you're going against one of the best offences in the league. Built around Drew Brees, who completed 31 of 40 passes for 296 yards and 3 touchdowns. He has a number of great receivers he has trust in, including Reggie Bush who caught a personal best 2 touchdowns in their 13th victory of the season.

While there is some excitement about the thought of the Indianapolis Colts facing the San Diego Chargers in the AFC Championship game, much more excitement has been built around the New Orleans Saints facing the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship. It's been a mouth-watering thought for some time now, but there's a long way to go and the Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals are still to have their say as they top their respective divisions.

Be sure to check out our regular NFL Tipster for the remainder of the regular season and post season after another impressive performance this week.

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