Picture it: January 8th, 2011. The New Orleans Saints travel to Seattle for what should be a walk in the park playoff game. But as one quarter rolls into the next, Saints fans find themselves transitioning slowly from a nervous fidget, to an anxious pacing, to an all out, cuss-filled, throwing the remote control against the room temper tantrum that ends with projectile vomiting. It was indeed a night to forget.
So here we are again, Saints fans. We’re up against a much more formidable opponent but we’re still heavy favorites going into our Wildcard Weekend match-up against the Lions. Unlike last season, we’re playing at home but much like last season, we’re playing opponents with a chip on their shoulders. The Lions want revenge. They want to prove that the first game against the Saints was a fluke. They want to show the world that they have arrived. Against any other team, I’d fully believe they were poised to pull it off, perhaps even against last year’s Saints team. But not THESE Saints.
If you paid attention this season, you’ll realize that the Saints got caught drinking the same “we’re all that” Kool-aid that got them trampled by Marshawn Lynch last January. This time around, it was against the Rams. They had just come off that Sunday night assault against the Colts and they were feeling all kinds of awesome. Then, they took their act on the road to St. Louis and stunk it up like no one knew they could. This team has been on a tear ever since…and I don’t see them looking back anytime soon.
The Saints know they have a tough road ahead of them but something tells me they like it that way. The thought of having to defeat a fired up Lions team at home, followed by taking it on the road to battle it out against a pumped up 49ers defense, with a rematch against Green Bay at the end of the rainbow, well…it’s got more than a few nipples hard in that locker room.
I don’t think this team is built to take anything for granted anymore. They know what’s at stake and they know just what it was like to spend an entire offseason coping with the agony of a squandered opportunity. I mean c’mon, there is not enough Vodka in the world to ease the pain of two Wildcard Weekends run amok.
“But what about the return of Ndamukong Suh?! He didn’t play the first game and that’s one of the main reasons why the Saints won!”
Screw Suh! Sure he’s a great player but we have one of the best offensive lines in the league. I’m certain they’re up for the challenge. Sure Suh might make a few plays but he was in the game against the Packers last week and I surely didn’t see him doing much to stop Matt Flynn from scoring 6 touchdowns.
“But what about Calvin Johnson?! You can’t expect the Saints’ defense to keep him in check TWICE!!”
Like hell I can’t! And even if Johnson has a better game, that just means the stage is set for a shootout and in a shootout, I’ll take Drew Brees and his umpteen weapons over Matt Stafford and his one weapon any day! Plus, if the Saints can get under their skin, we know the Lions aren’t above shooting themselves in the foot early and often!
I’ve been counting down to this game for nearly a year, people. My Saints have an opportunity to redeem themselves and I’m fully confident that’s exactly what they’ll do. I don’t care if it’s close. I don’t care if it’s ugly. All I care about is the win and the win I shall have!
Nola Chick’s Prediction: