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Cardinals, Saints continue playoff push in the desert

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Cardinals, Saints continue playoff push in the desert Associated Press The Arizona Cardinals and the New Orleans Saints are both still alive in the NFC's playoff race, but injuries to key players might prevent these clubs from qualifying for the ...

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Old 12-16-2007, 12:43 PM   #1
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Cardinals, Saints continue playoff push in the desert

Cardinals, Saints continue playoff push in the desert

Associated Press
The Arizona Cardinals and the New Orleans Saints are both still alive in the NFC's playoff race, but injuries to key players might prevent these clubs from qualifying for the postseason.
New Orleans will likely be without Reggie Bush again, while Arizona hopes its receivers are healthy enough to make an impact when the teams meet at the Superdome for the first time in 10 years Sunday.
Both teams are 6-7 and one game behind Minnesota -- which hosts Chicago on Monday -- for the final wild-card spot in the NFC, and both enter this contest banged up.
Bush missed Monday's 34-14 win at Atlanta with a torn posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee suffered during a Dec. 2 loss to Tampa Bay. It hasn't been announced whether Bush -- the Saints' leading rusher with 581 yards and four touchdowns -- will miss the rest of the season, but the injury will likely require at least a month to heal enough for him to play again.
Arizona, meanwhile, is hoping to get wide receiver Anquan Boldin back after he sat out a 42-21 loss at Seattle last Sunday with a dislocated toe on his left foot. Boldin is the Cardinals' second leading receiver with 48 catches for 552 yards and six touchdowns.
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona's leader with 81 receptions, 1,139 yards and seven TDs, is also nursing a nagging groin injury and the Cardinals placed tight end Leonard Pope on injured reserve Wednesday with a dislocated right ankle. Pope caught 23 passes for 238 yards and five touchdowns this season.
With Bush sidelined Monday, Drew Brees completed 28 of 41 passes for 328 yards and three touchdowns and third-string running back Aaron Stecker rushed for a season-high 100 yards to help New Orleans pull within two games of first-place Tampa Bay in the NFC South.
"We have guys that stepped up and played real well last night," Saints coach Sean Payton said Tuesday after he reviewed game film. "You're going to lose some players. ... You know you're going to have to rely on some other players during their time off. That's just the reality of our game. Hopefully you can still have consistency within your attack, either on defense or offense and in your kicking game."
New Orleans improved to 11-0 -- including playoffs -- when it runs the ball at least 30 times since Payton took over as coach last season.
"Any time you play well, you want to build on that," Payton said. "You want to look at the things you feel that you did well."
Arizona didn't do well last week, allowing its most points since also surrendering 42 to the New York Giants in the 2005 season opener. The Cardinals committed a season high-tying five turnovers, seven penalties and gave up five sacks.
"We're still right in the thick of things," Fitzgerald said Monday. "That last wild-card spot is something we all feel that we can attain. We're confident about our chances. Obviously, yesterday was a major setback, getting beat like that. But we control our own destiny from here on out."
After this game, the Cardinals end the regular season with matchups at home against a pair of 3-10 teams in Atlanta and St. Louis.
"We have to win out to have a chance," Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt said.
The Saints, meanwhile, host Philadelphia before closing out the season at Chicago in a rematch of last season's NFC championship game.
"I'm disappointed, surprised, but we still have a chance, that's all that matters," Brees told New Orleans' official Web site.
These teams are meeting at New Orleans for the first time since the Saints posted a 27-10 victory on Dec. 14, 1997. New Orleans has dropped two of the three meetings since, including a 34-10 defeat on Oct. 3, 2004.
New Orleans has lost four of six at home this season, including two straight, while Arizona is 2-5 on the road.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
NFL Game Center: Preview - Arizona Cardinals at New Orleans Saints - 2007 15

Last meeting
On Oct. 3, 2004, Cardinals running back Emmitt Smith ran for 127 yards and threw his first career touchdown pass in a 34-10 drubbing of the Saints.
Streaks
Historically, these two teams have not had much success, and against each other, the results have been predictably even, with Arizona holding a 13-11 edge in the overall series. Get the full head-to-head matchup.

Last week
Arizona blew a golden opportunity to enhance its playoff position after getting blown out by division rival Seattle, 42-21. New Orleans, on the other hand, put itself in much better playoff position with a convincing 34-14 shellacking of Atlanta.
At stake
At 6-7, both teams are one game out of the NFC postseason chase. The Saints have a better conference record, though, so they are in better tiebreaking position than the Cardinals. Either way, the stakes are obvious: Both teams need a victory to remain alive in the playoff hunt and a loss would likely drop them from contention.
Key matchup
Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett vs. Saints interior linemen. Defensive tackle is usually a position that clogs up space, enabling others to make the big play. Dockett has become one of the rare players at the position to rise above that distinction. He is perhaps the best playmaker the Cardinals have on their 15th-ranked defense. He has eight sacks and 51 tackles this season and has made a living in opposing backfields. The task of slowing down Dockett falls to Saints center Jeff Faine and right guard Jahri Evans. So far, the duo has done a great job as part of a line that has surrendered an NFL-low 11 sacks. If Faine and Evans can neutralize Dockett, look for New Orleans QB Drew Brees to stay upright and continue his tear through the second half of the season.
Did you know?
Brees has thrown for at least two touchdowns in four consecutive games. His teams are 27-7 when he has a QB rating of at least 95.

"We may have lost the game, but you'll be hurting tomorrow." Doug Atkins
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Old 12-16-2007, 02:35 PM   #2
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Re: Cardinals, Saints continue playoff push in the desert

in the desert?
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Old 12-16-2007, 05:06 PM   #3
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Re: Cardinals, Saints continue playoff push in the desert

Maybe they meant in the dessert? That would be sweet. Anyways, bye Cardinals. Hello Saints and 500
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Old 12-16-2007, 06:53 PM   #4
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Re: Cardinals, Saints continue playoff push in the desert

Originally Posted by WillMacKenzie View Post
in the desert?
I was wondering the same thing. This just proves andyone can be a so called sports writer.
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