Seattle Demons Obviously Exorcised. Next Demon: The Rams at Their Place.
So, I take it everyone is happy with the beatdown the Saints put on the Panthers? I know I am. Couldn’t have been any sweeter. The Junior Galette sack dance busting open the Superman on his chest, ripping it off, throwing it on the ground and stomping on it said it all. The Panthers had no business pretending to be contenders Sunday night. None. Their players and head coach interviewed after the game exemplified why. If you haven’t heard the interviews or don’t care to, let me sum it up for you: “Yeah, they’re pretty good, but we should have beaten them and will when they come to Carolina.” Good job, guys. Good job. As if extra motivation was needed to whip your ass a second time, acting like a bunch of petulant six year olds right after an embarrassing loss on national teevee. Instead of just saying you got beat, you chose to give Payton and company the extra ammunition needed leading up to that game in Charlotte. (A game which, by the way, could end up being meaningless if the Saints beat the Rams and the Bucs.)
Me, I’m just happy that we’re playing a noon game this week. Prime time is great and all, but suffering through an entire day of other games while waiting for the Saints or having to pretend to care about work for the whole workday three weeks in a row has become a chore. Don’t get me wrong, I love football and like watching the other games but solely because of my fantasy and pick ‘em leagues. It’s not the same as waking up at 7 on a Sunday morning knowing that kickoff is a mere hours away. Drink coffee, walk the dogs, read the paper, drop a deuce and then it’s pregame. That hour of 11-12 where you’re half-paying attention to the blabbering of whatever channel’s analysts you’ve got on out of necessity while really playing out the entire game’s different possibilities and scenarios in your head and thinking about the hidden meaning of the Friday injury report compared to the pregame Sunday report while your stomach starts to turn because of the excitement of the Saints game kicking off is what Sunday is all about. (Of course, this is a completely different routine when you’re going to a home game, but you catch my drift.) Back on track after the Seattle debacle by demoralizing Cam Newton’s band of phonies and now a three week stretch of noon game normalcy? Thank God.
The only problem is that we’re going to St. Louis. For some reason, the Saints have struggled against some really bad Rams teams in the Edward Jones Dome, and this Rams team isn’t as bad as the ones that have beaten the Saints in the recent past. I’m certain that Coach Payton has his guys focused and has reminded them of getting beat in St. Louis by Steve Spagnuolo’s Rams, and while not even coaching in St. Louis anymore, the fact that he beat them should piss off the defensive players considerably, knowing how much they seem to have genuinely hated him while he was here last year. Kellen Clemens better be prepared to be pecked in the face by the little birds nesting in Junior Galette’s beard, because they are going to be getting up close and personal all day long. Killing Cam Newton with our two edge rushers leads me to believe that the same can be done against someone as immobile as Clemens. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least, though, to see Ryan go with more A-gap pressure sending Hawthorne/Vaccaro/Harper/whoever as an extra pass rusher considering the lack of receivers at St. Louis’ disposal. Tavon Austin has finally realized how to play football in the NFL and has made a few great plays in space in recent weeks, but he still isn’t someone to gameplan around. Brutalize Kellen Clemens and nothing else will matter. Period.
With the NFC West having become what it has in recent years, I typically root for the Rams and Cardinals. I mean, are there two more unlikeable coaches than Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll? Didn’t think so. But, of course, I wish them the worst when playing the Saints and predict the Saints offense will be able to fire on all cylinders if they can keep Drew Brees upright. I know this isn’t some genius analysis and is pretty much the deciding factor in winning or losing any game, but Chris Long and Robert Quinn are the real deal, so I’d say that a healthy dose of Pierre Thomas should be in the cards to slow those two down. Doesn’t have to be Thomas, honestly, Sproles or Ingram will suffice as well, but the running and screen game will be important to keeping those two monsters from snot-bubbling Drew. A snot-bubbled Drew becomes an antsy Drew and an antsy Drew makes wild backwards left-handed shovel passes while being dragged to the ground, and that scares the shit out of any Saints fan watching every time it happens.
To cut to the chase, the Rams suck. (Although they did when they handed us our asses a few years ago.) We should beat this team into oblivion without having to do anything particularly spectacular in the process. They’re mathematically eliminated from the playoffs (or so I think) and will bring it if they have any pride in their team. We could be their “Superbowl” as we’ve been for many teams in recent years, and will not overlook them. We will take care of bidness and leave that god-awful city with a W.
Hell yeah. Who dat, yall!