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WhoDat 09-27-2004 08:09 AM

Opportunity Knocks
The Saints have a great opportunity here to make a push for the division right now. It's crucial that they win the games they should over the next few weeks. A look at the division schedules shows how nice things look for us. First, here are the standings

Atlanta 3-0
New Orleans 2-1
Carolina 1-1
Tampa Bay 0-3

Our Saints are at Arizona, home against Tampa, home against Minnesota, at Oakland, bye, at San Diego

Some of these games make me nervous. Tampa is a division rival and a bad team and we all know what happens when the Saints play bad teams. Oakland makes me nervous too, but really, the only team we have in our next 5 that's good is Minnesota. The Saints COULD go 5-0 and SHOULD go 4-1. Anything worse than 3-2 would be a big let down to me. That would put our Saints at 5-3 worst or 7-1 best case. That's amazing, but also very important given our second half schedule.

Atlanta looks to be much improved (how 'bout that for all those guys who said just getting Vick back wouldn't make a difference. Still, I'm not convinced they are this good just yet. They are 3-0 against SF, St. Louis, and Arizona. Hardly powerhouse teams. Their next 5 look like this:

at Carolina, Detroit, San Diego, at Kansas City, at Denver.

I'm going to be rooting for Carolina this week b/c right now I think Atlanta is a better team and I want their momentum stopped. With Detroit and San Diego following this week, a win at Carolina could catapult them to 6-0. I don't want the Falcons developing the swagger that comes with that. Realistically though, Atlanta CAN beat every team they have on that schedule. Of course, the COULD lose to Carolina, Detroit, KC and Denver too. I say the go 3-2 making them a very scary 6-2.

Carolina is unknown to me right now but they look to be poised for the fall many of us predicted. at 1-1, their next six look like this:

Atlanta, at Denver, at Philly, San Diego, at Seattle, Oakland.

I hope they beat ATL this week, which would then make their record hopefully look like W, L, L, W, L, W. 3-3 over their next 6 is fine with me. 4-4 at the break with the Saints and Falcons potentially being as far out in front as both teams should be finishes Carolina's season IMO.

Tampa is effectively done already, and I like it! At 0-3 they need to really rip off some wins and I don't see it. They play:

Denver, at NO, at St. Louis (MNF), Chicago, bye, KC.

I love to be able to say that TB COULD be 0-8 if that Saints do their job. All of those games are winable for TB, but most are more losable. My guess is they pick up one or maybe two of those. I just hope that one isn't against us. TB 1-7 at the break! :)

So, the Saints are definitely in a great position to make a push for this division early. They will need to keep pace with the Falcons, who should keep roaring out in front and who unfortunately have the Saints number more often than not. With Vick playing well, Dunn running very well, our poor defense, and their improved defense, I don't like ATL at all unless they start getting beat back down into submission over the next few. Likewise, the Saints HAVE to play up and win. Geaux Saints.

Danno 09-27-2004 09:19 AM

Opportunity Knocks
The game that actually worries me the most is Arizona. The Saints have a habit of playing down to the level of their competition. We should absolutely crush this team but just when you\'re absolutely sure we\'ve turned the corner WHAM a loss to a team like Zona pops up.

The \"Same old Saints\" would probably lose this game. Good enough to beat anybody, bad enough to lose to anybody.

Chuck 09-27-2004 09:35 AM

Opportunity Knocks
I\'m not sure that the Cardinals are the same old push overs. They have given every team they have played fits including the Patriots. It was 17 - 12 in the fourth when the Patiots finally put it away with a late touchdown. They may be making mistakes but Denny Green has them boys playing scrappy.

SaintsFan1967 09-27-2004 09:57 AM

Opportunity Knocks
I agree Chuck. But Green can only do so much with that team. He has them playing inspired ball but the lack of talent and depth will prevent him and his team from really doing anything this year. However Danno is correct about the Saints always playing down to there competition. This is just the sort of team that killed us in the 02 season. We must find a way to beat the teams we\'re suppose too.

spkb25 09-27-2004 12:09 PM

Opportunity Knocks
i would say 6-2 and porbally 5-3 r not at all out of the question. we can beat all of those teams but i think we could loose to the vikings and the raiders. they r 2 pretty good football clubs. i think the vikings will beat us. a far as arizona they r not the same push overs at all. they r competitive against everyone they play. it will be a hard fought win. thier d is pretty good. thank god for us their offense isnt. we should beat them but it wont be easy. tampa we should beat but when ur talking about inter divisional match ups u never know. anything can happen there. its like u have to throw out records and personel and just realize it will be a tough game no matter what. but still should be a win. the vikings in my opinion is almost a guarenteed loss. they just have to many weapons for our d. if we win some how great but ill already chalk it up as a loss. oakland is the wild card that could go either way. if we r good we get the win. but ill say loss for now to keep me realalistic. the chargers r better then expected but still not very good. shouldnt be much of a test because we have to just put 8 guys in the box against l.t. should get the win. ill take 5-3 after 8 games. at that point we should have a fresh hungry mccalister back ready to go down the stretch. anything less then 5-3 is a disappointment. assuming we stay healthy we should beat kc. 6-3. then we have denver and that could go either way. we should be able to besat the cowboys who dont have much as far as a running game. 7wins. then we have atlanta twice the bucs and carolina. if we can beat atlanta once and carolina once or maybe twice and the bucs the second time around. we should go 10-6 or 11-5.

all this depends on our health first and for most n then a very close second whether we play the same way we did against the rams the whole season. ill tell u i was ready to thro the towel in afetr the first 2 contest. but they renewed my hope with their game sunday. i hope it catches fever with the players!

WhoDat 09-27-2004 02:21 PM

Opportunity Knocks
Arizona scares you? All these games scare me! ;) Not one we cannot overcome victory to lose in that group. Tomlinson could run for 225 yards and 3 scores and we could lose to SD. Point is, we SHOULD be sitting pretty. If we can\'t come out of the first half of the season in serious division/playoff contention, we may just be done. On the flip side, if we can get a good start, we may develop a swagger and make a run at the playoffs.

spkb25 09-27-2004 02:35 PM

Opportunity Knocks
i agree 100%. feel exactly the same way

blackroses 09-27-2004 04:27 PM

Opportunity Knocks
Let me go ou on a limb with this one. Saints win 21-0 over cards.
Saints pose there first shutout since 1995 when they beat the jets 12-0.
As far as the rest of the games I have no comment. I do think we sweep Tampa again this year. This rivalry is always great though seems we get there best effort. I must say i can\'t get too excited this year about this team till where in the playoffs. I lose a peice of my heart everytime i do. If there was a such thing as heart stones I think I would have them. Thinks I already have kidney stones lmao.

Saintsfan4ever 09-27-2004 06:40 PM

Opportunity Knocks
Predictions are tuff to make in this league.. especially this early in the season when some teams are just now finding themselves with new staff and new players ect....

But... I`ll say this ;
If our defense can find a way to hold teams to low 20`s, and we can keep the secondary honest with a solid running game, we should be in the play-off hunt come early December...... however..... even playing at our best right now, I can`t really see us beating the likes of Philly,Pats or Indy... (I know they`re not on our schedule, I`m just comparing) we`re just not at that level. We`re a first round play-off team at best..... but hey... anything can happen.

CheramieIII 09-27-2004 07:27 PM

Opportunity Knocks
All the Cardinals have to do is start McCown against the Saints. I dont care if a QB is getting sacked on every play, you don\'t fumble the ball three times in the red zone.

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