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QBREES9 01-13-2010 01:21 PM

Saints hope NFC Title Game berth is in the Cards
 
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Saints hope NFC Title Game berth is in the Cards

Mark Chifici Reporting

On Saturday in the Superdome, along with trying to achieve winning the third playoff game in franchise history, the New Orleans Saints will also be attempting to secure their second NFC Championship Game appearance. To get that accomplished they will have to defeat the defending NFC Champion Arizona Cardinals.

Looking ahead to this divisional playoff contest, these two teams appear to be mirror images of each other. New Orleans and Arizona each have potent offenses, with each also having suspect defenses. The Saints finished 25th in the final NFL defensive rankings for 2009 and Cardinals placed 20th.

On heading into the post season on a 3 game losing streak -and with some fans and media questioning their playoff readiness - New Orleans head coach Sean Payton says his team is not lacking confidence or motivation. "I'm pretty confident and I think our players will be. Really everyone starts off 0-0 right here. I think our players will be ready. I think the motivation for this team is a lot deeper and comes from guys wanting to do well after all the hard work in the offseason and having high goals. This isn't the first time; they've been doubted before in a number of big spots this year already. I don't think they pay much attention to that."

Ask Saints signal caller Drew Brees what he expects on Saturday after noon, and #9 will tell you the best "Black & Gold" football of the season.

"I know what we're capable of. I know if you look at our track record and consistently you don't have one of the top three or four offenses... Three of the last four years we've had the number one offense in the league. That's a body of work. That's not just a stretch of games here, a stretch of games there. That's a body of work," Brees told reporters. "We know how to play at a high level offensively. We did some things this year that were unbelievable as far as taking the ball away, making huge plays in critical situations. Those guys are going to be ready, just like we'll be ready offensively and the opportunity to get guys healthy. That was huge, just because we've been banged up the past few seasons. Like I said, it's a confidence thing."

Brees says the Saints have shown rest can reenergize them.

"I can compare it if you want to go back earlier this season when we came out the first two games of the season winning 45-27 and 48-22, hard fought game up in Buffalo, 27-7, not our best performance, hard-fought win against the Jets at home, 24-10, not our best performance, then we go into a bye week. Draw the parallel here with this bye week, come out and play a huge game at the time. We're 4-0, they're 5-0, the Giants and have one of our best performances of the season. We've proven we can do that before."

Breaking down the quarterback match-up between Drew Brees and Arizona QB Kurt Warner, Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt says both share a lot of the same qualities. "They're both very intelligent quarterbacks and it's very hard to fool them. They see the field extremely well. They do a great job of getting the ball out, knowing where to go with it. Those are things these guys are probably as good as anybody I've ever seen in doing those things."

Cardinal quarterback Kurt Warner knows what his job will be at the dome and that is to make plays against the Saints defense. "I see a Gregg Williams defense. I see a defense that gives a lot of different looks that tries to keep you off balance. You don't just line up and get what you're going to get. He's going to change it up and I see some good veteran guys, some good athletes, guys that understand how to play the game and I think that's what has always made coach Williams' defenses so good over when they have been good, it's because he has those right pieces of smart players that understand what he's trying to do, that understand the weaknesses of things when they do certain things and that's what I see from this defense. I see a smart group of guys, playmakers that fly around, are able to change things up, to game plan differently and execute those game plans really, really well. I think that's why, feeding off of that offense, why they've had so much success this year."

What will it take for the Saints to knock down the door that they beat on in Chicago in their first conference championship contest appearance?

Payton says take care of the little things. "So I think it comes down the details and the execution. It comes down to not turning the football over and winning that battle. That was another statistic this weekend that was glaring. In each of the games, the winner was the one that protected the ball better and won that battle."

Can this New Orleans Saints team get hot again in the playoffs, causing turnovers on defense and scoring points in bunches? Those questions will get answered starting at 3:30pm on Saturday inside the Louisiana Superdome.

Remember WWL AM and FM is your radio home for the Saints. Be with us on Saturday when the Saints begin their road to the Super Bowl. Pre-game coverage starts at 7am, kick-off between New Orleans and Arizona is set for 3:30pm and the Point After with Bobby Hebert and Deke Bellavia rolls until 2am LIVE from Deanie's Seafood in the French Quarter.

WWL - AM870 | FM105.3 | News | Talk | Sports - Chifici: Saints hope NFC Title Game berth is in the Cards

iceshack149 01-13-2010 02:06 PM

Re: Saints hope NFC Title Game berth is in the Cards
 
Quote:

"I know what we're capable of. I know if you look at our track record and consistently you don't have one of the top three or four offenses... Three of the last four years we've had the number one offense in the league. That's a body of work. That's not just a stretch of games here, a stretch of games there. That's a body of work," Brees told reporters.
I enjoyed this. While I want to see the Saints defense hold the Cards O to under 20 points (is under 10 points too much to ask?), I want to see the Saints offense firing on all cylinders and reaching blowout status by the middle of the third quarter.

Rugby Saint II 01-13-2010 02:35 PM

Re: Saints hope NFC Title Game berth is in the Cards
 
If we take care of the little things and GW can squeeze out one turnover then we should be able to win this game. Let's just hope a turnover comes early in the game so the Offense can get their rhythm early. GW should feel good about being able to open his playbook against Kurt Warner.

homerj07 01-15-2010 11:36 AM

Re: Saints hope NFC Title Game berth is in the Cards
 
Force them to make mistakes & minimize our mistakes (both sides of the ball)

Everyone talks about their (Ar) receivers BUT we need a hard press against thier running game with Hightower & Wells!!


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