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Saints vs. Cardinals: Five brave predictions

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Sep 13, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians talk after the game at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 13, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians talk after the game at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports /
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Dec 11, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Nick Fairley (90) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the New Orleans Saints 16-11. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 11, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Nick Fairley (90) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the New Orleans Saints 16-11. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Nick Fairley gets a pair of sacks but otherwise fails to contain David Johnson, further confusing this front office.

Nick Fairley is the great offseason question for 2017. I can’t remember the Saints having such a tough decision for quite some time.

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So, of course, Fairley does whatever he can to make that decision more difficult. A pair of sacks would put him atop the DT sack list for 2016. That sort of player breaks the bank. It’s also the sort of player this team needs.

Conversely, Fairley can be a somewhat inconsistent presence on the defensive front. We predict that shows up in a big way on Sunday, as David Johnson goes nuts running through gaps left by Fairley.

Is there really any credible reason to believe Fairley will break gap discipline and let DJ break free? No. There’s not. Don’t let my predictions sour you to the breakout DT. For the record, I believe the Saints should do what they can to keep him, provided he doesn’t want upwards of $13 mill. (Which he may very want.)

I just think it’s a classic twist of fate that Fairley does everything he can to make the decision more difficult for the Saints front office. A pair of sacks would balloon his 2017 contract, and a bad performance against the run would raise red flags. Classic.

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