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...
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"No warm-weather team has ever reached the Super Bowl with a long run on the road in the playoffs." How about "no team has ever lost their last 3 regular season games and went on to win the Super Bowl." We all know which team accomplished this one. How do we know the same team can not win on the road in the playoffs. Besides division winners may end up with only one home game unless they are the #1 seed. I know being the
5th seed may not give us an opportunity to host a playoff game. But what happens if the #3 & #4 seeds lose in the first round? The 5th & 6th seeds play the 2nd & 1st seeds. If the 1st & 2nd seeds lose then the
5th & 6th seeds play in the NFC championship game to be hosted by the
5th seed..US. It's a long shot but it establishes a reason for us to win out.
The Saints win all of their playoff games and advance to the Super Bowl.
See how simple this is?
I think Danno said it best several weeks ago. If we bring our "A" game we can beat anyone anywhere. Hell, our "B" game is probably good enough too.
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