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Formidable Competition for Top NFC Spot.

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Old 11-11-2009, 05:56 AM   #1
 
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Formidable Competition for Top NFC Spot.

The New Orleans Saints have formidable competition also vying for the top playoff spot in NFC | New Orleans Saints Central - - NOLA.com

Can the Vikes keep pace?
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Old 11-11-2009, 07:46 AM   #2
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Re: Formidable Competition for Top NFC Spot.

i still think their schedule is easier than ours.
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Old 11-11-2009, 07:48 AM   #3
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Re: Formidable Competition for Top NFC Spot.

It's gonna come down to whether we can put together a 2 game winning streak at the end of the season. We can win 16 in a row during the regular season, it doesn't matter that much...but I'd rather have a 2...no, make that 3 game winning streak after the regular season.
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Old 11-11-2009, 08:31 AM   #4
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Re: Formidable Competition for Top NFC Spot.

The New Orleans Saints have formidable competition also vying for the top playoff spot in NFC
By Peter Finney, Times-Picayune
November 11, 2009, 1:15AM
How many lives does a Saint have?

By the Who Dat count, at least three -- as in the past three games.

First you spot Miami a 21-point lead, your Saintly quarterback throws three interceptions, he's sacked five times, but you win by 12 by winning the fourth quarter 22-0.

A week later against Atlanta, you fall behind early, and you stay behind, until all kinds of miracles take place around the two-minute warning of the first half, including one by Saint Jabari Greer, halo in place, running 48 yards for a touchdown with an intercepted pass en route to an eight-point victory.

The following week, a moment after you stand for the national anthem, Carolina's up by 14, you're committing all kinds of un-Saintly turnovers when, suddenly, the sun rises and says "bless you boys," bless the defense for holding the Panthers to six points in the final three quarters, bless the offense for scoring 30.

Finally, you're in an 8-0 heaven, a place your Saints have never been before. Well, folks, keep those prayers coming.

I have a funny feeling the biggest villain is still alive.

He's 40 years of age, and he's posing as a Viking in jersey No. 4.

If you're a loyal Who Dat, say no prayers for Brett Favre.

Yes, it's nice to see the Saints take a three-game division lead in the race to the playoffs, but the more important race is the race to the No. 1 seed, a race the 8-0 Saints are now winning in the NFC, but by one game only over the 7-1 Vikings.

By the halfway point of this season, more than a few pundits felt Favre already would have made his exit, perhaps by injury, perhaps by completing too many passes to the other team.

Well, surrounded by the best group of players since those vintage years in Green Bay, Favre, in eight games, is not only still with us, he's posted one of the highest QB ratings (106.0) in the league. He has completed 68 percent of his passes, thrown for 16 touchdowns and only three interceptions.

"It sure is nice," Favre is saying, "completing a handoff to Adrian Peterson and watching him run."

Favre will be playing five of the eight remaining regular-season games at home. He has already beaten the Packers twice, throwing for four touchdowns and no picks at Lambeau Field. Toughest tests awaiting Favre: road games against the Arizona Cardinals and bitter rival Chicago Bears, home games against the Cincinnati Bengals and New York Giants.

So what do the experts' (read Vegas') current power ratings say? With a healthy Favre, here they are:

-- Detroit, Vikings by 16

-- Seattle, Vikings by 11

-- Chicago, Vikings by 7

-- at Arizona, Cardinals by 1

-- Cincinnati, Vikings by 3

-- at Carolina, Vikings by 2

-- at Chicago, Vikings by 2

-- New York Giants, Vikings by 5

Before all you Who Dats ask -- What about the 6-2 Cowboys? -- I'm sure you've already circled Dec. 19, the Saturday the Cowboys show up for a 7:20 p.m. kickoff at the Superdome.

This one has B-I-G written all over it. Tony Romo and the Cowboys are on a roll. Coach Wade Phillips is trying to keep his job. Jerry Jones wants that No. 1 seed for his billion-dollar ballpark with those wall-to-wall high-def screens.

So what's ahead for the Cowboys? Once again, let's go to the current power ratings:

-- at Green Bay, Cowboys by 2

-- Washington, Cowboys by 17

-- Oakland, Cowboys by 21

-- at New York Giants, even

-- San Diego, Cowboys by 5

-- at New Orleans, Saints by 8

-- at Washington, Cowboys by 11

-- Philadelphia, Cowboys by 4

If you're wondering about your 8-0 heroes, the current power ratings tell us the Saints remain No. 1 in the NFL. On a neutral field, they're one point better than the Patriots and the Colts. They are now among six teams whose home-field advantage has jumped from three points to four.

If the games were played this week, they'd be a five-point favorite over the Patriots at the Superdome, a three-point favorite over the Falcons at the Georgia Dome.

The fact the Morning Line folks have been impressed by the Saints means only one thing: During the first half of a 16-game regular season, the Saints have not only displayed a knack for putting the enemy away, but also a resiliency for finishing off the enemy.

"They've done it in different ways, some with offense, some with defense," said one oddsmaker. "That 91-18 edge in fourth-quarter points is better than any pep talk you can give a team that has made winning a habit in a game where momentum can change from second to second."

Which is what happened against Carolina. One of the more interesting points Sean Payton addressed this week was having to deal with mind-sets affected by instant shock.

He talked about how the Saints went into the game with the idea of not allowing defensive end Julius Peppers to dominate as he did a week earlier when, said Payton, "he almost single-handedly took over the Arizona game."

Peppers had a sack, an interception and helped force quarterback Kurt Warner into five turnovers. "We knew we didn't want to do that," said Payton. He wanted the Panthers to "play on a long field."

And then, he said, "we have a sack and fumble and a couple of series later, you have an interception. All the acetates and power-point presentations, everything you do to get ready, we didn't do a good enough job."

You go into a game wanting to play an opponent a certain way, also knowing "the plan can vary." So you dig deep and you beat Carolina in the old-fashioned way, stopping the run in the final three quarters, winning the turnover battle, protecting the quarterback, winning the field position battle in special teams.

"It took us a full game to achieve some of that," said Payton, "but not all of it."

Proving no matter what, you never achieve all you set out to do

The New Orleans Saints have formidable competition also vying for the top playoff spot in NFC | New Orleans Saints Central - - NOLA.com

"We may have lost the game, but you'll be hurting tomorrow." Doug Atkins
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Old 11-11-2009, 08:39 AM   #5
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Re: Formidable Competition for Top NFC Spot.

Ask Saints players what the coaches have preached to them all year...?

FINISH STRONG.
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Old 11-11-2009, 09:53 AM   #6
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Re: Formidable Competition for Top NFC Spot.

Fourth quarter 91-18 says it all.
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Old 11-11-2009, 11:02 AM   #7
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Re: Formidable Competition for Top NFC Spot.

I won't worry until I see Favre actually healthy in week 12-13....
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Old 11-11-2009, 01:39 PM   #8
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Re: Formidable Competition for Top NFC Spot.

ff makes a good point we know how to close out the fourth quarter. 91-18 That's substantial.
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