Stampede Blue and I should have probably gotten together on this earlier, but both were probably too busy posting and being over nervous and excited to really thing about it, but here are some questions I threw together on short notice.
1) Manning's thumb, Harper's ankle, Sanders knee, how worried are you that so many key players are playing with nagging injuries?
Manning's thumb is fine. Sander's knee has been there all season, yet he is still playing. Sanders will always play. If his knee is an issue in game, they must cut it off and replace it with a peg leg, or something. Sanders. Must. Always. Play. No. Matter. What. Harper's ankle is the only real "if." He's played very, very well this year.
2) We all know the usual names. Give us Bears fans one player we might not be looking for who could be a major player in Sunday's game.
I'll give one for each area: Bryan Fletcher (TE) on offense; Gary Brackett (MLB) on defense; and Terrence Wilkins (KR) on special teams.
3) To say that Bears fans are expecting big things out of our special teams is an understatement. Lesser ST have run over the Colts. What do you think the Colts will do differently to make sure Hester isn't the game changer?
Colts special teams have been excellent in the playoffs. They stoned Dante Hall in the Wild Card round, and aside from a long return given up to the Patriots, the Colts have been lights out covering kicks. Hester is a special case because he is so good. Vinatieri will probably kick balls at angles to Hester, or not kick to him at all. Vinatieri is quite capable of booting the ball right out the back of the endzone, and he knows Miami's stadium well. Bears fans shoyld expect big things out of their special teams, because if they don't get great play from the special teams, the game could get ugly for them.
4) Harrison has a 'rep' for not putting up big numbers in the playoffs. Is it a case of better teams with better game planning?
Just like most "reps," it is totally bogus. Harrison has put up big numbers in the playoffs. People who say he hasn't are either 1) stupid or 2) know nothing about football. Seriously, for his playoff career, Harrison 55 catches for 776 yards and 2 TDs. Compare that with other receivers known for post-season numbers:
Terrell Owens: 50 catches for 702 yards and 4 TDs.
Hines Ward: 57 catches for 761 yards and 8 TDs.
Deon Branch: 49 catches for 725 yards and 2 TDs.
Torry Holt: 47 catches for 630 yards and 4 TDs.
The one that really stands out there is Ward with his 8 TDs, but you'll notice the yards, catches, and TDs are all pretty standard across the board. So, if Harrison has a "bad rep" for not putting up big numbers in the playoffs, that means all these guys suck as well, including Super Bowl MVP Deon Branch.
Harrison's rep is garbage, and people who claim it true are ignorant, stupid people.
5) Dallas Clark is the same Dallas Clark you've had all year. We know he is one of the best TEs in the game, but the media seems to think he became Superman overnight. Do you expect the Colts to do anything differently to get the ball more to him or will they be running their same offense they have all year?
Uh, how does the media think he's "Superman?" I don't see them comparing him to Antonio Gates or Tony Gonzalez? Sure, there's some articles about him because he was hurt, came back, and he has dominated these playoffs. I remember Terry over at Blogging the Boys claiming clark sucked earlier in the season and that Dallas' Jason Witten was better.
The Colts will run their same offense. No one has stopped it, not completely. With Brandon Stokley hurt, Clark has to play more in the passing game. Clark will most likely run routes in Brian Urlacher's zone, and Urlacher is one of the few LBers that can cover Clark. So, the one wrinkle they might do is line Reggie Wayne up in the slot and split Clark out wide. This killed New England in the championship game, and exposed their LBers. Wayne and Clark had field days. It should be interesting.