Know who to pull for: week 9 (1 Viewer)

st dude

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Yo, top of a fine cool autumn Thursday morn to all. Its week nine for know who to pull for and the playoff possibilities are as muddled as ever.

The Saints loss to the Ravens, while disheartening, was not a costly loss if you have to lose a game. Your big games are first of all your southern division games and after that your NFC conference games. Later this season the Saints go to Dallas and to New York(Giants). Those are going to be huge games as it is very possible the saints could find themselves tied with one or both of these teams needed the tiebreaker win to get a wild card berth. The Ravens loss hurts mostly in the sense that we cant afford to lose home games against beatable teams when we have to travel to the likes of Atlanta, Dallas and New York.

You have two theories in know who to pull for. If you think the saints will win their division you can pull for teams leading their division, like the bears, to lose to wild card potential teams so you can get home field advantage. If you are more worried about just making the playoffs its usually better to have teams run away with their divisions and hang losses on wild card hopefuls. I am in the latter mode this week, that is, I am pulling for those teams to win that give us the best chance to get a wild card.

Hopefully experts and fans alike who make quick judgments have learned their lessons this year. Many wrote the Giants off after their 1-2 start which included a miracle win at Philly. Some had buried the falcons after their two losses and had Vick going to the NFL Europe. Most people had Dallas falling to 3-4 with a loss to Carolina. You can count on more twists and turns as the season progresses.

No team is mathematically eliminated right now. Chicago is the only team that appears to be a likely shoe in. Detroit, Tampa, Arizona, Washington, and San Francisco are all long shots with 5 or more losses. Green Bay has clawed their way back to at least be on the radar. The playoff standings look like this:

Chicago- 7-0
New York 5-2
Saints 5-2
Falcons 5-2
Seahawks 4-3
Cowboys 4-3
Seattle 4-3
Rams 4-3
Vikings 4-3
Carolina 4-4
Philly 4-4
Green Bay 3-4

The hot teams in that group are probably the Giants and the Falcons. If Romo can play like he did in Carolina, the Cowboys will be a hard team to beat. Its such a jumble at this point. If this was a power poll, I would actually rank the Giants at the top. The Saints worry me a good bit and even though they are at 5-2, they would likely be underdogs to most of the teams on the board here on a neutral field, save for maybe Green bay.

5-2 Atlanta at 1-6 Detroit - Well you dont need me to tell you who to pull for. And I wouldnt be shocked a bit if Detroit won. Okay, I lied. I would be shocked a little, but not much. The Falcons are good but inconsistent. Detroit is not as bad as their record might indicate. I will be flipping to this game and pulling for a Lions upset.

4-3 Dallas at 2-5 Washington - Of the 2-5 teams, the redskins are the team with the best chance to get back in the hunt if they could put together a 3 game win streak. Romo is a rookie qb playing in a tough stadium against a huge rival. There was little pressure on Romo last week, everyone expected the Cowboys to lose. This is a pressure cooker for a rookie qb. We want the Cowboys to lose and I think they will. This is a hard ticket to get in DC and the redskins will be sky high for cowboys. Lets hope its a little big horn for Dallas.

3-4 Green Bay at 2-5 Buffalo - This game is a great example of how important early season games against NFC foes can be. We hold the uber-valuable tiebreaker over Green Bay. Unells we get in a three way tie break with GB, they would have to win a game more than us to get in so effectively we have a 3 game lead over the Packers. We want the improved Packers to lose, but our win over Green Bay makes them not a big threat at this time to the saints.

2-5 Houston at 5-2 N.Y. Giants - We obviously want Houston to pull the upset and Mario Williams to have 5 sacks. It probably will not happen. With their schedule and road wins over Philly and Dallas the Giants are big favorites to win the East.

4-3 Kansas City at 4-3 St. Louis - This interconference match up of two geographically connected foes, both flying under the radar a bit, is one of the best games for Sunday. The Rams are a quiet 4-3 and Bulger has been nearly perfect this season. KC is playing well. We need the chiefs to win this and keep us ahead of the rams, a team who might well win the NFC west. If they do not they will likely be a wild card contender.

1-6 Miami at 7-0 Chicago - Wait a second. Did I just write that the Bears are 7-0 and that the Dolphins are 1-6? No way, we must be in some parallel universe. we want the bears to lose even though Nick Saban's weekly melt downs are becoming more and more entertaining.

4-3 Minnesota at 2-5 San Francisco - Did New England deconstruct the Vikings or what? A SF upset here would be delightful for Saints fans, the Vikings are playing for a wild card spot now.

5-2 New Orleans at 2-5 Tampa Bay - This is a big game for the saints. Its not a huge game, but its a big one. Here is the big question to be answered. Are the saints really a good team? Its that simple. If they are, they win. And I think they make the playoffs. If they lose you have to wonder if they are really good enough to make the play offs this year.

2-5 Oakland at 4-3 Seattle - Okay, a month ago the Seahawks would have been 78 point favorites in this game. Now at least we can have a discussion. Seattle is a west team headed south. I would love to see the raiders beat them even though its unlikely.


7-0 Indianapolis at 6-1 New England - Yes I know, this game has no impact on the saints. But how can you not talk about this game. These two teams are better than any NFC team, probably by a long shot. Sure an NFC team could beat them, but in a ten game match these teams would beat most NFC teams 8 out of 10. I want Indy to win and go undefeated through the season. The media goes into a frenzy over the whole Payton Manning cant win the big game. Can you imagine the pressure building if Indy goes into the playoffs undefeated? It would be a great story. Manning needs a super bowl win to define his career or his career will always be defined by his not winning the super bowl. Or getting to it for that matter.
 
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Aracos

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As always, dotless one, a good read.
 

BullDawg

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A wise old man once said to me; "The real season is the 2nd half."

We need to win this division game in a bad way. Atlanta will likely win. A loss would be very damaging, not only to our record but possibly to the psyche of the team and the fans (Same Ole Saints Syndrome).

And st dude...Indy will drop a game before Chicago does. :)
 

SaintJ

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If the Falcons had managed to lose that game, the Ravens loss would have been an absolute mulligan; everything else played out perfectly.

A few thoughts, although I share most of your sentiments:

1. I am going all-in for the division title and a bye. In the 20-something years of our 40-year existence that there's been a bye week in the playoffs, we have NEVER had it. To my knowledge, we are the only team to have 12 wins TWICE and not have the bye either time.

And at least a division title gets us a home game. For the life of me, I think we can beat either the Falcons at home; even if not, they still have to beat the Panthers again to avoid going 4-2 in the division like us, and they have yet to play the Ravens, Eagles and Cowboys, so their closing schedule isn't exactly a walkover. And with the Panthers two back in the loss column and on the road against us and the Falcons, with the Eagles and Giants still on the schedule and three NFC losses already, I'm cognizant of their reputation but not at all shaken by what they've shown on the field so far this year.

And as far as the bye, the NFC West will have a 9-7 or so winner, so if things go like we'd like, the Saints/Giants game in week 16 might well be for who gets a week off in the playoffs.

2. I want the Packers to win and stay motivated against teams like the Vikings and Seahawks. We have the tie-breaker and a two-game lead in the loss column, so if we lose the wild card to them, I'm not saying I wouldn't want it anyway, but....as above, I am all in.

3. The Rams are really not that good. Bulger is playing well, but the Haslett/Venturi defense is actually a classic Haslett/Venturi defense: lots of turnovers created, lots of big plays given up, gets gashed by the run. They're a lot closer to 2-5 than they are to 6-1. Two teams fumbled away a winning and a tying FG inside the Rams' 25 in their wins against Arizona and GB, and they got spanked by the 49ers. This is not a good team.

4. The Patriots are again the best team in football and are going to beat the living hell out of the Colts, in the word of Forrest Gump, UH-ghin. It's not Manning's fault. Both teams have great offenses, but the Colts again do not have the D to stop the Pats, and Manning goes into the game with great pressure knowing he has to score against the best defensive mind in football just to keep his team in the game. The Pats, Colts and Broncos have an interesting scissors/paper/rock matchup issue going on right now.

Great post, dude, lots of substantial material in there to work with. Please do one again next week.
 
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st dude

st dude

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And st dude...Indy will drop a game before Chicago does. :)

Well with Chicago hosting a 1-6 Miami and Indy going to New England this week, you are not going too far out on a limb here. That kind of avoids the question of who has the better team. I think Indy is at least a 3 point favorite over the bears on a neutral field.

Now if Indy wins this week we can revisit the question of who loses first with the Bears headed to play the Giants and Patriots on the road.

Put maybe another way, who would you rather play if you were the saints? The Bears or the Colts? I would take my chances that we might pull an Arizona and score some on the tough bears defense. I have little doubt Manning would slice and dice the Saints like a sushi chef cutting bait.
 

BullDawg

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Well with Chicago hosting a 1-6 Miami and Indy going to New England this week, you are not going too far out on a limb here. That kind of avoids the question of who has the better team. I think Indy is at least a 3 point favorite over the bears on a neutral field.

Now if Indy wins this week we can revisit the question of who loses first with the Bears headed to play the Giants and Patriots on the road.

Put maybe another way, who would you rather play if you were the saints? The Bears or the Colts? I would take my chances that we might pull an Arizona and score some on the tough bears defense. I have little doubt Manning would slice and dice the Saints like a sushi chef cutting bait.
It all depends on which Bears team shows up. If the Bears team that played the 1st 3 quarters of football against the Cardinals show up, that's who I'd feel better going up against.

I've said this before. All teams can and do have an "off game". IMHO, the Bears overlooked the Cardinals and Rex Grossman sent his evil twin to play in his stead.

Another wise old man once told me; "Defense wins championships."

That being said...who would you rather go up against? Brian Urlacher and Co.? Or the Colts' version of Swiss cheese (7 places behind the Saints' D in ranking)? BTW...Rex Grossman is just behind Brees in the QB rating category...even with his 6 turnover solo performance in Arizona.

There's little doubt that Payton Manning is the best QB playing today. But he can only carry his team so far on his own.
 
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st dude

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It all depends on which Bears team shows up. If the Bears team that played the 1st 3 quarters of football against the Cardinals show up, that's who I'd feel better going up against.


That being said...who would you rather go up against? Brian Urlacher and Co.? Or the Colts' version of Swiss cheese (7 places behind the Saints' D in ranking)? BTW...Rex Grossman is just behind Brees in the QB rating category...even with his 6 turnover solo performance in Arizona.

There's little doubt that Payton Manning is the best QB playing today. But he can only carry his team so far on his own.
I would rather play the bears than the colts any day of the week. I think if you surveryed 31 nfl coaches they would most all say the same. Yes, on any given day most any nfl team might beat you. I think the colts would beat the saints(and most other teams) more often than the bears might.

And I would way rather take my chances against Urlacher than Manning. Not even close for me. Just my opinion.
 

blackngold4877

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I have to disagree with rather playing the Bears. The Saints could score at will on the Colts, grind out the clock with Deuce and Reggie, and try to win the TOP battle to the point where Peyton doesn't get into a rhythm. Note this is exactly what Brady and the Pats did in the 04 playoffs, Dillon had equal rushing yards to Bradys Passing yards. Now, if the Saints played the Bears I think the Grossman could score on our D, but their D would have a much better chance at stopping our offense than the Colts, we would score at will on the Colts.
 

blackngold4877

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Also, if by some crazy twist of fate the Saints did play the Colts in the Superbowl I wonder if Payton would use the two weeks to try and put the defense in the dreaded 3-4 of doom that Manning can't seem to beat in the playoffs.
 

SaintJ

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:hihi: Let's, ummm, just get to 6-2, shall we?
 

Madmarsha

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I like this thread cos someone else has done the thinking for me. One problem, I always think of the "Here's What To Look For" segment from Cheap Seats and in my head I sing "Here's who to pull for/here's who to pull for" (yeah, the lyrics aren't so much but I can't get the stupid little tune out of my head).
 

deepowdersaint

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Another spot on analysis. Hope the team continues to take care of biz most Sundays. None of our direct competitors have an easy road. At this point, we got as gooda shot any of them.
 

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