I'm sure that no one in New Orleans has forgotten the NFC Championship game in January of 2010. My husband has a Tracy Porter jersey because of that game (and the Super Bowl...of course). The Saints defense beat Brett Favre into his last retirement and Garrett Hartley put the nail in the coffin of the Vikings' quest for a trip to Miami in February. We were in the Super Dome for that glorious moment. We all screamed and laughed and cried and nearly blew our hearts out of our bodies and the Saints advanced to the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history....everyone knows what happened two weeks later!!
I'm sure that the Vikings and all Viking faithful haven't forgotten that game either. I have no doubt that they are looking for some payback and a way to find a silver lining on an otherwise dreadfully cloudy season. This could be the game that turns that team around and gives them belief that carries into the off-season. No doubt they know about the Rams' ramshackling of the Saints earlier in the year and they're thinking that this Sunday will be their shot to do the same. However, it is exactly because the the Rams debacle that The Vikings have no chance.
Does anyone remember how many times the Vikings fumbled the ball in the NFC Championship game in 2010? Is Peterson ready to play again against a hard-hitting Greg Williams defense? I will go out on a limb and say that the Vikings are held to 75 rush yards and less than 300 total offensive yards on Sunday. The Saints run defense has improved greatly as the year enters week 15 and forced 12 turnovers this season. The Vikings will, undoubtedly, put the ball in Christian Ponder's hands to win this game with an injured (although he's listed as probable) Adrienne Peterson. I dont think that Ponder is ready for a Greg Williams defense. Maning(s), Favre, Warner, Brady and a host of other more veteran quarterbacks have failed to outwit Williams.
Conversely, Drew Brees is on a roll...as is our core of running backs and receivers. Jimmy Graham cannot be guarded even with his sore back. Marques Colston has been on fire and Lance Moore has been seeing the goal line passes. Henderson and Meachem have been stretching the field north and south and Darren Sproles, Chris Ivory, Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas are frothing at the mouth to get the ball. Even the offensive line has been having a blast opening holes and setting up screens. I'm not sure if Jared Allen can cover all those people?
All of this being said, I get very nervous going against a struggling 2-11 team. They have nothing to lose. They run reverses on 3rd and 25. They run flea-flickers and wildcats. Anything can happen! The Saints better not look past this team! This is where the Rams game comes back into play. THAT is the team we looked past. Drew Brees and Sean Payton wont let that happen again! The Saints are in the hunt for a January bye week and a number 2 seed in the tournament. This is the time of year that separates the post-season favorites from the rest of the field. I don't think that the Saints will drop a beat in Minneapolis on Sunday. If the Vikings are looking to right their ship against the Saints this week, they better not be surprised when all of their plans spring a leak. Drew Brees and The Saints hunt Vikings for brunch on Sunday!