TVA: How legit are the Saints as Super Bowl contenders? Can they take down the Packers in the playoffs? Please say yes.
WDD: Well, to answer your question I would have to say yes — they can beat the Packers — and are a legitimate Superbowl contender. Let’s face it, the Saints have a better all-around offense than the Packers. Defensively you would also have to give the nod to the Saints as I feel that they would be able to apply more pressure and stop the pass more effectively down the road. Now last time these two teams met it came down to the very last play in regulation, and if not for two blown plays by New Orleans and an early fumbnle (Cobb’s kick return touchdown and receiving touchdown, Colston coughing it up) then the Saints would be sitting at 11-2 as the number one seed in the NFC not the Packers.
TVA: We all watched the Saints defense get torched in the playoffs last year by Seattle and this year they’ve had their struggles too. Is this D good enough to get it done?
WDD: This answer is a continuation of what I started above, yes they are good enough. Lately though their play hasn’t been the best, but at the same time they have made key stops when needed, stiffened up against the run, and haven’t given up very many points. Also affecting them negatively stat wise is they have decided to go into a prevent defense late in games as they have been up by such large margins. That of course means they have been surrendering a ton of yards in the fourth quarter. However Gregg Williams needs to start being more creative with his defensive scheme as more and more teams are employing quick pass attack and screens with success to counter the Saints heavy, frequent blitzing.
TVA: Jimmy Graham is having a ridiculous season. Rave about him a little if you will.
WDD: What can you say as Graham is a physical freak and a matchup nightmare for any defense in the NFL. He’s big, he is physical, and he can flat out catch the ball. When the Saints drafted him in the third round last year head coach Sean Payton made what now seems to be a prophetic statement when he called him the streal of the draft. Moving forward if he continues to play at such a high level then I have no doubt that he will one day be inducted into the hall of fame. It’s almost unfair that a quarterback of Drew Brees caliber has such a phenomenal athlete at his disposal — the two are simply unstoppable on the field.
TVA: While we’re raving about people…Drew Brees. Does this guy have any flaws either as a player or a human being? He’s so much more likable than Aaron Rodgers. He’d never do a commercial as lame as discount double-check.
WDD: I agree, Brees is likeable, approachable, and a model human being given his tireless charitable work. As good as he is though he does have flaws, his most glaring being that he is incredibly competitive and that can lead to defiant throws into coverage or Favre-like one handed pitches while going to the ground. Luckily for us Saints fans he does enough great things consistently that we can live with these moments of “What the f!#k!”.
TVA: Is there any chance of you conveying a message to Sean Payton to please take it easy on the Vikings? We’ve suffered enough this year. Ask him to please keep the margin of victory under 6 touchdowns. Thanks.
WDD: Dan, very funny. I can tell you this, if I had a hot line to Sean Payton I would do more than ask him to go easy as actually I would go the opposite way and tell him to go harder. So many times this season Payton has been aggressive with his play calling early, resulting in big leads. Later on in the contest he will revert to teddy bear mode, take his foot off the gas, and seems to be content to call a vanilla offense which lets the other guys back in the game. If not for this little flaw the Saints could likely have had 90% of the teams they faced this year (close games) put away in the third quarter. Instead we get to enjoy nail biting and very narrow fourth quarter wins — great! Lastly I’d have to say that at least you have AP, and Christian Ponder seems like the real deal early on.