News out of Gotham is that this edition of the New York Giants is eerily similar to the one that made a wild-card run through the 2008 playoffs and downed the unbeatable New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. Keep telling yourselves that, people. Not going to happen. We like the front four in that defense and linebacker Michael Boley but nothing after that. If you are looking for the team playing this week that can make the most noise going deep into the postseason, it’s the New Orleans Saints. OK, we are now taking emails saying, “Duh, way to go out on a limb.” Colorful adjectives are also accepted, but the reasons for such a selection may be surprising.
The two best teams appear to be in the NFC, Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints. Both teams have been near flawless this season and despite the odd hiccup, have steam-rolled the opposition. They sport the two best players in the league this season, in Quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees.
An illustrated look at how Drew Brees and the 13-3 New Orleans Saints’ top five offensive playmakers have performed through Game 16 of the regular season and during their 45-17 victory over the Carolina Panthers last Sunday. Players are ranked by total yards (rushing and receiving) so far this season. Does not include yardage or touchdowns on special teams.
In short, they’re a blitzkrieg waiting to happen, and if Detroit couldn’t stop Matt Flynn and Green Bay’s backups, how is it going to shut down Brees … especially here? Answer: They’re not. I can see them making this competitive for, oh, say, two to three quarters, then the avalanche of New Orleans points becomes too much, and opponents cave in. Yeah, I know, Matt Stafford is one of three quarterbacks to throw for 5,000 yards this season. I also know he uncorked a franchise-record 41 touchdown passes. But this is his first playoff appearance, and it’s the Lions’ first since 1999. That could mean nerves, and nerves mean mistakes. But nerves aren’t the issue here. It’s Brees. He has playoff experience, and he threw for 5,000 yards, too. In fact, he set the NFL’s single-season record. It’s not that I don’t like Stafford in a shootout. It’s just that I like Brees more.
In the opening segment, the crew gives an overview of the Lions-Saints matchup, with all four analysts picking New Orleans to come out on top. Billick, the former coach in the group, puts an emphasis on the Saints’ balanced offense, not just run vs. pass, but in the number of players involved in the scheme.