Welcome to part three of my segment, Better Know Your Enemy. This is my medium depth analysis of our quadrennial opponents, the NFC South. Following the order of our schedule, this segment will cover the New Whore'lins Taints.
Reasons to hate New Whore'lins are harder to come by than with our previous Confederate opponents. However some of my biggest reasons would include: Former French ownership, Black oil stained beaches, foolish engineering (a city below sea level, genius!), generally illiterate and uneducated population, retarded team chant nearly as obnoxious as Cincinnati's, attempted pirating of our team colors, rampant obesity, and Reggie Bush.
Lets examine our matchup with New Whore'lins.
This is likely to be a very interesting, and possibly frightening game. The previous two Super Bowl champions are squaring off in the hot box of the Superdome. New Whore'lins is coming off of an outstanding super bowl win against inbred Peyton Manning, which admittedly made me a very happy clam.
This is a team that started the season 13-0, and then just sorta went to sleep for three weeks, before returning to dominant form. Although they'd have a close call in the postseason against the Love Boaters, they mostly looked epic throughout the year.
This will in all likelyhood be our toughest test of the season. We are usually a good team against good teams however, so this could be quite the matchup.
This game falls on the 8th week of our season. 3 weeks after our bye, and two weeks prior to theirs. This could hopefully be an advantage that some may overlook. Not so much because it hurts New Whore'lins, but that it helps us quite a bit. With our Big Ben on the sideline for the first 4-6 games, we need to have time for him to adjust. We can only hope he is reinstated after 4 games, gets the bye week and games against Browns and Dolphins under his belt, and is ready to rock and roll in the bayou. Meanwhile, we can hope New Orleans is getting rather exhausted prior to their late bye.
Our opponents feature one of the most prolific offenses in the league. Drew Breesus and his supporting cast are all capable of making plays at any moment. None of them are people to sleep on. They had 5 receivers with 45 or more receptions. So good luck singling out Marques Colston, because you can still get burned. We are going to have our work cut out for us against their potent passing attack. Their run game is not one to be overlooked either, as players such as Reginald Bush and Pierre Thomas can make plays when needed.
To me there isnt much stopping of the New Whore'lins offense. Our goal in my opinion should be to limit it. Prevent the deep play. Hope they kick field goals. If we can limit them to threes, it shouldn't be as difficult a game as it may appear. The hugest component will be our secondary. Can they make plays? Hopefully we should know by the 8th week of the season if our secondary is laugh inspiring, or fear inspiring. A healthy Polamalu, a top notch Ike and McFadden will be the most pivotal key in this game.
And despite leading the league in passing, Breesus doesnt fall down much. 22 sacks last year proves that he knows how to get rid of the ball and still make plays. He has a quick release and defenses scheme to avoid long passes, and tend to rush less as a result. Although they just traded their pro bowl left tackle away, the backup started most of last season. So I dont look to that as a major impact on the game. However we can hope James Harrison can take him to the school of hard knocks on this black and gold Sunday.
Really though, much like the Child Molesting Cardinals we played in our Super Bowl, its going to come down to our offense versus their defense.
At a glance that looks like a good thing. Many assume New Whore'lins is a purely offensive team. And while this has been true, they are doing their best to change that. Remember how the Super Bowl ended, with a key pick-6. That has been the goal of New Whore'lins' defense, play relatively soft since you already have a 20 point lead, and then be opportunistic. They forced a large number of fumbles which is interesting playing in mostly nice weather. They've also added first round corner Patrick Robinson who has a legitimate chance to see a lot of playing time.
They did lose a key cog in Scott Fujita who, while old, was a key leader on this defense. They will have time to adjust of course, but it would be much akin to plucking Farrior out of our defense a couple of years ago in my opinion. He's always flown under the radar as his numbers dont scream amazing, but he was an important element to this defense's development.
I believe that while this defense can be good, its not overwhelmingly oppressive. And it can be defeated. We will have our beloved Big Ben back for this game. Of course its difficult to predict our offense at this point in the season. Hell it will be difficult to predict it on the bye week, but if Ben comes back and plays well, I can see us successfully scoring on this defense without a lot of resistance.
Again, I think a rushing attack would be pivotal here. Keeping that Saints offense off the field is huge. If we can do that, our D will stay fresh enough to keep up with their vicious passing game. To me this is a big key that has to happen for us to win.
I personally think the Taints play somewhat like the Stillers in that they tend to let teams hang around. They had games with the Rams, Falcons, Redskins, and Dolphins end with relatively small margins. I feel like we could exploit this, even if we fall behind, they seem like a team hesitant to put the nail in the coffin.
There are of course a lot of other variables. One is the Special Teams. This team had a pretty great ST unit in the KR game. Granted the numbers are slightly inflated due to their defense allowing a lot of points, and thus, kickoffs. But still it has to be respected. They took a KR 99 yards to the house which is something we havent done in forever.
Something else i'd like to add. I think in this game we need to control the tempo. So I think we should hope to get the ball first. Sounds odd from our team, but I think if we can go up from the get-go, we can take this one by the horns and ride it out. Dont let New Whore'lins control the tempo, because they will turn it up way too high for us.
Another thing I really look forward to, perhaps more than anything, is the coaching. Sean Payton showed us he has the worlds largest nut sack with a pair of brass cahones that would make Gene Simmons blush. He demonstrated it by whipping out his weighty pair on a surprise onside to catch the Colts offguard, in the SUPERBOWL. And we have our very own Mike Tomlin, who is really facing a serious test this year. How he responds to the in game situations, which are probably going to be new to him, will be interesting. He doesnt have much experience dealing with games that can get into the 80 point total territory, so I'd like to see his approach to this game.
I feel like this game is going to come down to two simple things, clock control, and coaching. There are going to be situations, likely with awkward scores, that Mike Tomlin has to handle. And I personally think Sean Payton too is going to see some defensive looks he hasnt seen in his life. So I cant wait to watch the coaches approaches to the game. And as far as our performance goes, a good running game, and adequate defense will be more than enough to win this game. Keep Breesus under 300 yards, and get 100 yards rushing on offense, and I think we can at least tie this game. However if we cant control the clock, and Payton outsmarts us with a few shenanigans, we can watch this one get out of hand early.
Failing to beat teams in the NFC South is basically endorsing slavery, illegal immigration, the gulf oil spill, teenage pregnancy, abstinence education, and obesity. Its not just football, its our duty. I hate the NFC South and it stanks!