Cha-ching! That’s one more for the Bad Guys. Gold pants, bitches!Yo Roddy, how you like us now? Perhaps you’d do a little better than 3 receptions for 43 yards against some of those Play-60 kids on the bus. Guess we’ll find out shortly, since that’s pretty much who you’re gonna be playing this weekend. Meantime, that tickly sensation on your chin is just the hair on Drew’s scrotum. Go ahead and get yourself a good long whiff of that greatness. Then go fuck yourself. How’s that work for ya, champ?
You know what’s gonna happen now, don’t you?
Oh sure, don’t get your hopes up. I know, I know. Don’t even give it passing consideration because there’s no way in hell it’s gonna happen, right?
But it is gonna happen. Atlanta is gonna shit the bed Sunday against the Pants, who are gonna SHOCK THE WORLD! And then the Falcons are gonna go to St. Louis and complete the soul-crushing, epic collapse. And we will laugh and laugh and laugh. As was the case last year with the Saints beating three consecutive Hall of Fame quarterbacks on the way to the World Championship (high five!) it’s just too good a script for it not to happen. The cosmos demands it. It’s gonna happen precisely because nobody’s giving it a chance in hell of happening.
Of course, that scenario carries its own downside. For one, it would bone us out of a 20th Saints game this year. For another, it would bone us out of the opportunity to witness the Saints strut back into the Georgia Dome and do the honors of crushing the Falcons’ hopes and dreams their own selves.
I don’t know about you though, but I’m perfectly willing to make those particular sacrifices. Small price to pay for the Falcons suffering the kind of legendary crash-and-burn that’s sure to sting for the next half-decade… in no small part because we’ll refuse to let it be forgotten. High five!
Meantime, the last-minute shakeup in the playoff seeding is gonna be absolutely huge. It’s gonna turn the whole damn system upside down! We’ve been bracing for the Saints having to do it the hard way for months now, and all of a sudden it could turn out to be a far easier road than last year. No 3-straight Hall of Fame QBs this time. No franchise-history-long monkey on their backs. A bye week, no need to travel to a cold-weather venue, no need to go back to Atlanta and face The Great Matty Ice Who Is Unbeatable At Home a third time.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I fear for the Saints having to do any of that, or all of it. I’m just telling you what you already know is all, that it’d be a lot easier if they didn’t have to.
But I know that you’re rolling your eyes at me right now for giving that scenario a chance in hell of playing out. Yeah yeah yeah, there’s just no chance that Atlanta won’t kick Carolina’s asses Sunday, the Saints are gonna be the 5th seed, they’re not gonna get a bye, and they’re gonna have to go on the road for a wildcard game, then they’re probably going back to Atlanta. Alright, fine. You win this round, asshole.
The good news? Hey, that’ll be just fine too. Because the Saints are the best fuckin’ team in the NFC. Believe it. And regardless of the path they’ve gotta take to get there, they are going back to the Super Bowl.
As it stands right now, the Packers are the only other team in the NFC playoff field who, like the Saints, have a top-10 offense and a top-10 defense. The Packers are 8th in total offense and 9th in total defense. The Saints are 6th and 5th. The Packers are 9-6 while the Saints are 11-4. The Saints wouldn’t have to play the Packers until the NFCCG, and if they do, it’ll be at the Superdome.
The Eagles have the league’s #1-ranked offense and are #12 in total defense. The Saints wouldn’t have to play them until the NFCCG either. And if that were to happen, they’d have already taken out the Packers and Bears for us.
The Rams, of course, are chumps. They’re 7-8, for crying out loud. They’re 25th in total offense, 18th in total defense, they play in a dome, and the Saints have already kicked their asses 31-13. The Rams are likely going to be the Saints’ opponent in the wildcard round. And if by some chance the Seahawks beat the Rams Sunday to win the NFC West with a fuckin’ 7-9 record, well, they’re still 28th in total offense and 30th in total defense. The Saints have already beaten the Seahawks too, 34-19. Either way, sue me for my overconfidence, but the Saints making it to the divisional round is pretty much fait accompli. Only slightly more of a pain in the ass than a bye week for the Saints themselves, an extra Saints win for us. Nice.
If Green Bay beats Philly, they go to Atlanta and the Saints go to Chicago. Again, sue me, but the Bears don’t worry me a bit either. Even in Chicago. I’m sorry, but they’re still frauds. They have been all year and they still are. They’re 30th in the league in total offense, for crying out loud. 27th in passing offense and 24th in rushing offense. They’re 10th in total defense, which isn’t as good as the Saints’ defense, and they’re 18th in pass defense. 7 of their 11 wins have come against Detroit, Dallas, Carolina, Buffalo and Minnesota. They lost to Seattle and Washington at home in consecutive weeks, for crying out loud.
This just in: it ain’t 2006 anymore. The Saints are a stronger team than they were then, and the Bears are a weaker team than they were then, 11-4 record notwithstanding. The Saints are great on the road (6-2 this year and 7-1 last year with the only loss coming in a week 17 de facto forfeit at Carolina) and they’ve shown that they’re capable now of winning on the road in cold conditions. The only relevance 2006 has to a potential 2010 Saints-Bears playoff game is the chip the Saints are surely still carrying on their shoulder over 2006. And that’s a good thing.
If Philly beats Green Bay, the Saints go back to Atlanta for what’s likely to be a second straight dome game and 4th straight dome game overall. And if Monday night’s game taught us nothing else, it did teach us that Atlanta isn’t yet quite ready for primetime. And the Saints are. Again.
Oh sure, I know that after almost 9 quarters of regular season play, the Saints and Falcons are in a dead-heat tie. And I know that you’re tired of me continuing to go all “coulda-shoulda-woulda” on you with the way the first game played out. Sorry, but I’m going to my grave with that one. The winning field goal was in the air from 29 yards out. The Saints had the Falcons beat. And in Monday night’s game, sure, the Falcons fumbled on the Saints’ 1-yard line and gave the Saints a short field on another fluke turnover. But Drew Brees giftwrapped them a pick-six too, and returned the short-field favor with another interception. So we’ll call it a wash, even though if anything the Saints gifted the Falcons to a greater degree than the Falcons gifted the Saints.
Anyway, it’s Thursday and I know you’ve read a hundred recaps of Monday night’s game already, so let’s not waste a bunch of time rehashing. Both games were knock-down-drag-out brawls that could have gone either way, surely we can all agree on that. And I’m sure we’ll also agree that a potential round 3 will be no different. All I’m saying is that my money’s on the Saints, regardless of venue. Because the Saints are the better team. They’re also the more seasoned, experienced team. Especially in the playoffs, where Sean Payton and Drew Brees are 4-1 and Mike Smith and Matty Ice are 0-1.
The “nightmare scenario” (such as it were) would be the Saints having to go to Chicago in the divisional round, and then to Philly in the NFCCG. I’m already on record as wanting no part of Michael Vick in the playoffs. He’s playing out of his mind right now, and I’m not ashamed to admit that he scares the shit out of me. If I’m wrong and the Saints aren’t actually the best team in the NFC this year, then surely it’s the Eagles.
On the other hand, the Eagles have been “the best team in the NFC” a number of times under Andy Reid. Maybe as recently as Tuesday night, right before they lost by 10 at home to the Vikings. Reid’s playoff record currently stands at 10-8, and he’s 1-4 in NFC Championship games. Vick is 2-2 in the playoffs and 0-1 in NFC Championship games. Ralph couldn’t have been more right a few weeks ago when he said that if it comes down to Andy Reid and Michael Vick vs. Sean Payton and Drew Brees late in a playoff game, sink your life’s savings into the dudes wearing black & gold. Because between Reid and Vick, they’ll figure out a way to blow it one way or the other.
Hell, at this point, I’ve just about talked myself into thinking that maybe the real nightmare scenario is an NFCCG against Matt Flynn, who has never lost at the Superdome. Oh shit!
Meantime, the bottom line is that the Saints are still the best team in the NFC. Maybe not by much, maybe not by as much as they were last year. But they are. At home, on the road, doesn’t matter. The final scores may not be reflecting it lately, but the Saints are playing their best football right now. Arguably even better than at this time last year.
And just wait until Ironbutt and Pierre are both healthy at the same time, for the first time ever. You still think Sean Payton “refuses” to run the ball? Just wait, because it’s coming. Soon. And with a fuckin’ vengeance. And just in the nick of time. It’s gonna be Tracy Porter and Jabari Greer being back for the playoffs all over again, 2010 style. Opponents aren’t gonna know what hit ’em.
Wait for it… wait for it…
It’s all part of Sean Payton’s Evil Plan. #wegotthis