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Week 15 GDT: Saints (11-2) @ Panthers (6-7)

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Rolling into this weeks game as #1 seed in the NFC and NFC South champs (back-to-back). Still no rest for the wicked as the Rams are still trying for the top seed, so we realistically need to win out.

 

Tale of the Tape:

For the Saints, the defense has shown itself to be top 10 worthy. Don't believe me, look at this article: https://www.theringer.com/nfl/2018/12/12/18137141/new-orleans-saints-defense-nfc-playoffs

Highlights:

Over the past five weeks, the Saints D has given up an average of just 13.0 points per game (first), surrendered an 80.3 opponent passer rating (sixth) and eight opponent touchdowns (second), and racked up an astounding 24 sacks (first) and 12 takeaways (tied for second). After struggling to defend on third downs early in the year, New Orleans has turned up the pressure and made great strides in that crucial area. Since Week 10, the Saints have allowed first downs on 35.6 percent of third-down plays—tied for 10th-best—and neutralized opposing quarterbacks with a league-high 13 sacks and four forced fumbles in those situations (All figures from the Ringer article linked above).

What that means is this team could feature both a top 5 offense and top 10 Defense going into the playoffs. Oh and have home field advantage in one of the hardest places to play for opponents.

The offense on the other hand has been pretty flat the past two weeks. Bucs tried to incorporate Dallas' D tendencies, but we adjusted in the second half and pushed through. We really need one of Smith, Kirkwood, Watson or Hill to step up. If Brees has a solid 2nd option to throw to, I think it would fix a lot of woes for us.

 

Injury Report:

https://www.neworleanssaints.com/team/injury-report/

For us, Armstead misses another game, but if it means he's 100% for the playoffs, I'm ok with it. Everyone is a go. Keep an eye on Ginn, I don't think he plays monday, but he could debut against the Steelers.

For the Cats, Kawaan Short is questionable. That's a big blow as he's their best interior linemen. With them struggling to generate pressure in general, this could go from bad to worse for these cats.

 

Underrated Saint:

He's got big Nutz. I'm talking about Will Lutz. Thus far in his young Saints career, he's got 3 of the top 15 seasons for FGs. If he continues his kicking, he'll break John Carney's 92% accuracy from 2006 (he's currently at 96.2%). From early in the Payton-era, kickin has been tumultuous to say the least. Even when we had Hartley. Thank god for Harbaugh and Lutz to solidify this for us. Hope he's a Saint for 10 years.

 

Coaches corner:

For us, I think we need to pound the run game and short passes. If Short is truly out, take advantage of that and see if you can set up some bombs. For the Cats, basically the opposite. Contain CMC (for as much as possible) and make Cam read the D and make throws. I've seen reports that his shoulder isn't 100%, and his arm strength hasn't been bueno the past few weeks. If so, it could lead him to make some errant throws.

31-14 Saints. Bit of a battle until the half, we adjust and cruise through to another win.

 

Who Dat!

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We win tonight we get the #1 seed. Cause I don't see us going 0-2 at the Dome. We'd probably even win next week and be able to rest starters week 17. 

Though also I'm still not scared of LA as a home field advantage. So I'm still not worried about playing in LA. I'd be more worried that if we lose out on HFA now it means we collapsed. 

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Two wins locks up home field now. I think this is #1. Our offense rebounds a little here and our defense keeps doing what it has been doing. 3-4 point win feels right so let’s go with 24-20. I felt like the kitties would beat us once this year but I think that comes week 17 in the dome when we are resting people. 

The Rams gave us a gift, boys. Let’s be gentlemen and accept it. :D 

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The Saints are playing for HFA, and the Rams helped out in that quest. Chicago can't be snoozed on.
The Panthers are playing for their playoff lives. With the Vikings, Eagles, and Skins all winning, the Panthers are in a MUST win situation that may continue until the last game of the season.

Of course, I'd love it if the Saints were the team that got to open the final exit door for the Kats this season, and that all needs to start tonight.

With our schedule (Panthers x2 and the Steelers in the Dome) nothing is certain. We could still fall to #3 seed. I doubt it, but could. This game is huge, and it's going to be nasty!

If we blow out the Panthers tonight, Riverboat Ron will be fired tomorrow morning. This team is far better than their record shows.

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I'm already lubing up my ear plugs so I don't have to listen to Cam Newton's annoying "Readyyyyyyyyyy" 46 times tonight.

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3 hours ago, Spartica4Real said:

I'd be more worried that if we lose out on HFA now it means we collapsed. 

Win

Win

Win

Win

Win

Win

Win

Win

Win

Win

Win

Win

Win

Loss

Loss

Loss

Super Bowl Champions

 

tbqfh, I'm not really scared of a "collapse" either, worked out well last time. If both units show up to every game, we win every game. It's that simple IMO. 

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2 minutes ago, Mid Iowa said:

If we blow out the Panthers tonight, Riverboat Ron will be fired tomorrow morning. This team is far better than their record shows.

Dude if this happens I'm getting so drunk I won't be back until Thursday

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The kitties are pretty banged up too. I can’t imagine them firing Rivera. They just changed ownership so some turmoil is expected his year for them. 

Youre right though. They are better than their record shows. And they’re monsters at home. 5-1 and the one loss is to Seattle by 3. But you know. Division games. We beat them at home last year and I feel like we are gonna beat them again tonight. The line is +6 us and there’s rumors that Cam isn’t 100%. Lots of talk of a lower score since we haven’t been playing well on offense either. 

But really. It’d be rude not to accept the home field gift we are being offered. So win by 1,2,3, whatever. One step closer. 2 wins is all we need. 

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