Saints/Rams Preview: Will This Be the Week?

Wow. Hoo boy. That. Was. Amazing. The Bengals game was yet another thrill ride – but not the fun kind. The worst kind. You know when you’re a kid and the roller coaster has a sign that says “You must be this tall to ride”? Somehow, you get on it even though you’re not quite big enough. But once the ride starts, you suddenly realize you really aren’t ready for this, but it’s too late, you’re strapped in. Damn, this thing is climbing really high. AAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!! It’s too fast, too big, I don’t want to be on this ride at all! Oh, no. Is that a loop? It’s three loops! Help! Please let it end! Kill me now! This is going to end badly, I just know it! I really shouldn’t have eaten that chilli dog brreaaggadghhhhhhhhllllrrrrrgh!! Or those cheese friessggggbrrrrraaaaaagggghhh! And then, you’re back on the platform, eyes watering, covered in your own sick, and you solemnly pledge to never, ever, never, neverever, go on that roller coaster again. But since I’m a Saints fan, I’m already back in line, trying to keep the cotton candy down.

Will Smith of the New Orleans Saints outside the House of Blues New Orleans Monday, December 6

Will Smith outside the House of Blues Monday.

Why did Cincy get back in the game? Well, let’s give them some credit. The Bengals are really good when they get hot. They could have quit. There were a few moments when they totally could have quit but instead they kept marching right down the field to score after score. And let’s give the Saints some credit/blame for keeping the Bengals in the game. A 12th man penalty? Seriously? Is that karma for the Viking’s 12th man penalty in the NFC championship game? If so, I guess we got off easy. The Saints could have put the stake in right there, and at other points too, but didn’t. With 30 seconds left, was anyone looking forward to another last second so-called “gimme” field goal attempt? Or overtime, for that matter? But Brees, ah, Brees. With the No-Brainer Freeze? Unfu#$ingbelieveable. I had my crying towel out and ready to go, but quietly put it away. I kept muttering after the game, “at least we’ve got Brees. We’ve always got Brees.”

Right now the Saints seem like a freight train that’s just barely staying on the rails. They can’t put together a three phase game and they aren’t finishing off teams early when the have the opportunity. Strangely, in week 14, we still haven’t seen a complete game from these 2010 Saints. Yet they’re 9 and 3, which is kind of amazing. It might not end up mattering, since Atlanta seems like 2009’s Saints: in the playoff-seeding drivers seat, on a mission, and getting all the breaks. Furthermore, NOLA has four games left against playoff contenders, while ATL only has two. Last week I thought that Tampa was the best team left that they had to face outside of the Saints, and they couldn’t get it done. I’ve (almost) resigned myself to the fact that the Falcons are going to force the Saints to win three on the road instead of two at home (Sigh) to get to the Super Bowl. The good news is, Saints are better on the road than home, and of course, “at least we’ve got Brees. We’ve always got Brees.”

The Rams game scares me. Last year’s Rams game went down to the last play. And this year’s team is much, much better. I like this kid Bradford, he’s the new Matt Ryan. Poised, and in possession of a good running game and (pretty) good defense. I sound like a broken record because I keep saying the same thing every week. So, I’m just going to spout a bunch of clichés. This is the kind of team you can’t let hang around. Gotta put them away. Foot on the gas. Foot on the throat. Kill shot. De lamentations of de women. All that. But will they listen? Here’s what Madden had to say:

St. Louis fumbles the kick off return and Prioleau scores! A little redemption for last week’s atrocious special teams effort. Rams go three and out, then Ivory scores after an eight-play, 57 yd drive. Defenses trade several three and outs, then Ivory scores again on an eight-yard TD run up the bum. Saints up 21-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Harper sack/fumble! But the Saints can’t fall on it (sound familiar?). The Rams’ Brandon Gibson scores on a long catch, and in the two-minute offense, Brees is intercepted in the end zone to go into the half up 21-7.

Side note: Now when I have a two score lead or more, I bring the GD blitz! Pay attention Gregg. Watch and learn, buster. (I am totally kidding here, please don’t kill me, Mr. Williams, sir.) How about his pelvic thrust after the turnover on downs? So fu#$in’ classic! That’s the guy I wanna hang out with at Hooters.

Saints opening drive ends with a 41-yd field goal, followed by another long Gibson TD (who the hell is this guy?). Another New Orleans pick (sorry, Drew), but the defense forces another three and out. Then Bush breaks their backs with a big, 63-yard, off-tackle TD. Hartley adds another FG for a final score of Saints 34, Rams 14.

Pierson Prioleau (!) is the Player of the Game with 1 FF, 1FR, 1TD, and three tackles, Brees is 10-19, 0 TD, 2 INT, while Ivory, 18-79, 2 TD, and Bush, 3 runs for 70 yds, TD,

2 catches for another 28 yds, carry the ground game. Five sacks from Dunbar, Torrence, Shanle, Robinson, and Ellis, on top of four forced fumbles, with two recovered (Ayodele, Prioleau), keep St. Louis’ offense bottled up.

Looking forward to: Rex Ryan’s mouth closed for at least one week. Wait, never mind.

Not looking forward to: “Brady for MVP” chants.

Media Prediction: Number of times the term “Matty Ice” comes up in the next few weeks: 54,400.

Madden Tip: I am so bummed I couldn’t attend the Madden event at HOB this week where you got to play actual Saints in Madden. Did anybody go? Tell me about it in the comments.