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New Orleans Saints: from road worriers to road warriors

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; No warm-weather team has ever reached the Super Bowl with a long run on the road in the playoffs. For the Saints to become the first, four favorable results this Sunday could help their cause. We’re assuming Atlanta will take ...

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Old 12-18-2010, 01:08 PM   #1
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New Orleans Saints: from road worriers to road warriors

No warm-weather team has ever reached the Super Bowl with a long run on the road in the playoffs.

For the Saints to become the first, four favorable results this Sunday could help their cause. We’re assuming Atlanta will take care of Seattle – no lock, but very likely – effectively clinching the NFC South. The Falcons won’t lose to woeful Carolina at home in their season finale.

The path to Dallas will become much more manageable if these things happen:

1) The Giants beat the Philadelphia Eagles at home.

Philadelphia is the team the Saints would have the least chance of beating on the road. Michael Vick is playing too well and has too many speedy weapons on his side.

But if the Eagles lose to the Giants, the Saints would not have to worry about traveling to Philadelphia. The Giants would take a one-game lead in the NFC East and, even with a loss at Green Bay the following week, could clinch the division by beating Washington in their season finale. They would edge an 11-5 Eagles team on the conference-record tiebreaker.

New York is no picnic in January, either, but the Giants are much less explosive than the Eagles. Eli Manning is the only quarterback in the NFL with more interceptions (19) than Drew Brees (18), and he has been far less effective than the record-setting Brees on the rest of the throws.

2) Green Bay loses at New England

This is a virtual certainty with former LSU quarterback Matt Flynn likely subbing for the concussed Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay, with a healthy Rodgers, is incredibly dangerous at home. The Packers have shored up the secondary woes that plagued them last year, allowing fewer points than any other NFL team (189), and Rodgers leads a terrific pass offense.

A loss in New England would make Green Bay 8-6 and eliminate the Packers from NFC North contention if …

3) Chicago wins at Minnesota

A Chicago victory coupled with a Green Bay defeat would clinch the NFC North for the Bears. That would be perfect for the Saints.

The Bears just lost at home in a snowstorm, 36-7, to New England. They have a shaky quarterback in Jay Cutler, have outscored their opponents by only 25 despite boasting a 9-4 record and have scored 16 or fewer points four times. Never mind the 2006 NFC Championship Game. The Saints probably would be favored over the Bears in Chicago.

A Chicago loss would give Green Bay life. If the Packers beat the Bears at home in their season finale, Green Bay would win a tiebreaker based on conference record.

The best scenario for the Saints would be Chicago as the No. 2 seed, New York as the No. 3 seed and Green Bay or Philadelphia as the last wildcard. If the dangerous Packers or Eagles advanced to the championship game, the Saints, provided they were still alive, would get them at the Superdome.

4) Tampa Bay loses at home to Detroit

The Bucs are 8-0 against teams under. 500, but they have lost five defensive starters to season-ending injuries in recent weeks. Detroit, coming off a win over Green Bay, could kill Tampa Bay’s playoff hopes.

Why does this matter to the Saints? Because the Bucs at 9-5 could catch them even if the Saints beat Baltimore to improve to 11-3. If Tampa Bay beat Seattle at home the following week and New Orleans lost at Atlanta, the Saints-Bucs season finale in the Superdome would decide second place in the NFC South.

Tampa Bay would edge New Orleans on common games if the Saints dropped their last two to finish 11-5. New Orleans also would lose tiebreakers to 11-5 Philadelphia (common games) or 11-5 New York (conference record).

Although the Bucs are 0-5 against teams above. 500, the Saints do not need the pressure of a win-or-go-home game the week before the playoffs start.

New Orleans Saints: from road worriers to road warriors - New Orleans Sports | Examiner.com



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