this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Wednesday, December 2, 2009 Will the Saints go unbeaten? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- By Pat Yasinskas ESPN.com The headline suggests a question worthy of debate. Maybe my answer doesnít fit that mode, but Iím sticking with it. Itís real simple and Iím not ...
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|12-02-2009, 02:22 PM||#1|
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Pat Yasinskas, Don't Jinx It
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Will the Saints go unbeaten?
By Pat Yasinskas
The headline suggests a question worthy of debate.
Maybe my answer doesnít fit that mode, but Iím sticking with it. Itís real simple and Iím not leaving the door open to wiggle out of what Iím about to say.
The New Orleans Saints should go undefeated.
ē Will the Saints go unbeaten?
ē Will the Colts go unbeaten?
ē MVP Watch: Brees in top spot
ē Podcast: Pasquarelli | Williamson
ē Poll: Will the Saints, Colts go 16-0?
As ridiculous as it may sound to say, a 15-1 or 14-2 season would be a disappointment. Now that the Saints have gotten through the supposedly mighty Patriots in such convincing fashion, thereís really no reason they shouldnít go undefeated the rest of the regular season.
New Orleans has the second-easiest schedule in the league for the last five games. Its remaining opponents have a combined .400 winning percentage. Let's break it down:
Sunday at Washington: This is one of three road games and weather could be a bit of an issue for a team thatís used to playing in a dome and passes the ball so much. The temperature is supposed to be in the mid-40s and thereís a 20 percent chance of precipitation. But, come on, itís the Redskins. Theyíve got almost as many problems as Tiger Woods. If the Saints are half as good as they were Monday night, they should cruise.
Drew Brees' 112.6 passer rating is tops among all quarterbacks.
Dec. 13 at Atlanta: When the Falcons played the Saints nose to nose in the Superdome on Nov. 2, I thought the trip to the Georgia Dome would be a heck of a rematch and a huge obstacle to an undefeated season. I donít think so anymore. We donít know how long Matt Ryan and Michael Turner and all of those other banged-up Falcons are going to be out. But the Falcons arenít the same team they were back in early November. They struggled to beat the Buccaneers in Week 12 at home. The Saints are a little bit better than the Bucs.
Dec. 19 at home against Dallas: The Cowboys are easily the best team on New Orleansí schedule. But I have two questions for you:
1. Whenís the last time Dallas won a game that really meant anything?
2. You really think a Saturday night crowd in the Superdome is going to allow the Saints to lose?
Dec. 27 at home with Tampa Bay: Itís the Buccaneers and it's at home. Enough said.
Jan. 3 at Carolina: Even if the Saints are 15-0 and have home-field advantage locked up for the playoffs, I canít see any way Sean Payton would sit his starters. Going 16-0 and carrying incredible momentum into the playoffs would be too much incentive. Besides, I strongly suspect the Carolina tents could be folded by then and John Fox could be coaching his last game with the Panthers. The Saints will be playing for a spot in the history books.
Saints' Remaining Schedule
Sun., Dec 6 @ Washington
Sun., Dec 13 @ Atlanta
Sat., Dec 19 Dallas
Sun., Dec 27 Tampa Bay
Sun., Jan 3 @ Carolina
Hereís how ESPN.com national writers John Clayton and Len Pasquarelli see it.
Clayton: Having the Minnesota Vikings on their heels may allow the Saints to have the perfect regular season. Sundayís game between the Cardinals and Vikings could determine how that might work out.
If the Vikings beat the Cardinals, there is a good chance Minnesota could go 14-2 or 15-1. If that happens, the Saints might need a 16-0 season to have home field in the playoffs. Thatís why I give the Saints the best chance to go undefeated. They have the second-easiest closing schedule in football, playing teams with a combined record of 22-33. The Falcons (in Atlanta on Dec. 13) and Dallas Cowboys (in New Orleans on Dec. 19) are New Orleansí remaining opponents with winning records.
As long as the Vikings keep winning, the Saints need to keep winning. That means Drew Brees keeps playing and Sean Payton keeps calling plays. The Saintsí final two games are against the 1-10 Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a Carolina Panthers team that might be in the last days of coach John Foxís tenure.
I think the Saints can go unbeaten. They might need to do that to get two home games in the playoffs.
Pasquarelli: Given their offensive display against the New England Patriots on Monday night, and a December schedule that is difficult but not daunting, itís hard to fathom the New Orleans Saints dropping a game to anyone this regular season.
But more than their high-octane performance, and the worthiness of their five remaining opponents, it is the Minnesota Vikings that will motivate New Orleans. Unlike the Colts, who can virtually breeze to the AFC home-field advantage, the Saints own just a one-game edge over the Vikings.
The Saints are 6-0 at home, but they are averaging more points on the road (37.4) than at the Superdome (36.7). But there is something about playing in front of their raucous loyalists that, combined with the one-game proximity of the Vikings, will keep the Saints motivated throughout December.
As is the case with the Colts, the Saints have been forced recently to play with an undermanned secondary, but ultra-aggressive coordinator Gregg Williams continues to dial up blitzes to camouflage any deficiencies. Couple that with an offense that is averaging 37 points per game, and which has scored 30 or more points on eight occasions (four times with 40-plus points), and New Orleans has every reason to believe it will stay undefeated.
11-0 Starts in NFL History
Year Team Start Finish First Loss Season Result
2009 Saints 11-0 ? ? ?
2009 Colts 11-0 ? ? ?
2007 Patriots 16-0 16-0 None Lost Super Bowl XLII
2005 Colts 13-0 14-2 Chargers Lost Divisional Playoffs
1998 Broncos 13-0 14-2 Giants Won Super Bowl XXXIII
1991 Redskins 11-0 14-2 Cowboys Won Super Bowl XXVI
1985 Bears 12-0 15-1 Dolphins Won Super Bowl XX
1984 Dolphins 11-0 14-2 Chargers Lost Super Bowl XIX
1972 Dolphins 14-0 14-0 None Won Super Bowl VII
1969 Rams 11-0 11-3 Vikings Lost Divisional playoffs
1961 Chargers 11-0 12-2 Oilers Lost AFL Championship
1953 Browns 11-0 11-1 Eagles Lost NFL Championship
1942 Bears 11-0 11-0 None Lost NFL Championship
1934 Bears 13-0 13-0 None Lost NFL Championship
ďYour best?!? Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home (with) the prom queen.Ē - Sean Connery in The Rock
|12-02-2009, 05:57 PM||#2|
Join Date: Dec 2004
Re: Pat Yasinskas, Don't Jinx It
It can't be stopped now.
The last NFC team to go 11-0, it happened 18 years ago and they won the SB.
After the Saints beat the Skins this Monday, it will be 24 years since an NFC team went 12-0, and they won the SB.
|12-02-2009, 09:56 PM||#4|
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Abingdon, Virginia
Re: Pat Yasinskas, Don't Jinx It
Every Saints fan should hope for a undefeated season and a super bowl... key word hope