Found December 22, 2012 on
The Saints Nation:
New Orleans Saints
After drubbing the Bucs 41-0, I'm anxious to see the Saints play another team fighting for their playoff lives, this time on the road. Was the Bucs game an abberation of the 2012 season or have the Saints truly turned a corner? The Saints need to win out and need a massive amount of help for the postseason to work out, and well, it ain't happening. But you have to feel better going into 2013 if the Saints close this thing out strong. Here's five things I'll be looking for in this game.
1. Defensive confirmation.
Shutting out the Bucs based on what we saw all season was incredible, a shock to all of us. But can the Saints build off that performance? The degree of difficulty goes up a bit in this one because Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Jason Witten and Tony Romo represent better weapons than anything Tampa has offensively. If this defense can go on the road and give us another good showing I'll start to think Spagnuolo has turned a corner. We know what the offense can give us when it's firing on all cylinders, but if we can feel even close to half that confident about the defense it's a game changer for 2013.
2. How do the youngsters in the defensive backfield play?
Expanding on #1 with players specifically, I'm incredibly impressed with what Elbert Mack, Rafael Bush and Isa Abdul-Quddus have shown. This is yet another opportunity for these three to show they not only belong on the 2013 roster, but that they deserve prominent roles. As I mentioned, though, the degree of difficulty goes up this week. There is a good chance these youngsters could get embarrassed a bit. On the flipside, if they confirm the Tampa game with another performance like that, it really puts Roman Harper, Malcolm Jenkins and the backup corners on notice that the Saints have some rising young players that may deserve a starting spot. At this point we're all about talent evaluation with these final two games being "glorified preseason", so the performance of guys we know less means more to me than performance of the vets. I'd love to see Akiem Hicks and Tyrunn Walker play a good bit too.
3. Does Thomas Morstead maintain his record advantage in net yards punting?
Thomas Morstead is shooting for a single season NFL record in average net yards punting. The record is 43.99 net yards per punt, and Morstead currently averages far better at 44.7 with two games to go. So he's got a little breathing room to spare, but he'll need at least two average games to close out the season to officially get the record.
4. Can the defense avoid being the worst in NFL history?
Another record in play that is not a good one is most yards given up by a team in a single season. The Saints are currently on pace to be the worst defense in NFL history, but it's not impossible they could avoid that feat. They need to give up less than 363 yards per contest over their last two. So if they could give up 350 yards or less in this one that would really go a long way.
5. How this game affects the Sean Payton situation?
The Sean Payton contract situation is at the forefront right now anyway, but the fact that the Saints play the Cowboys in Dallas seems to heighten the awareness of the topic even more. I'm assuming the broadcast will reference this quite a bit. Payton is a guy that Jerry Jones will almost without question make a very convincing run at if Dallas is looking for a new coach. The odds of them looking for a new coach diminish if they beat the Saints and make the playoffs. If the Saints win, ironically, it increased the odds the Cowboys would fire Jason Garrett and make a run at Payton. I'll stop short of saying we should root for the Saints to lose, but if it happens, between the improved draft pick and the Payton scenario I mentioned I wouldn't exactly be broken hearted.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
The Saints travel to Dallas and will put up some points on the Cowboys.
The season is coming to a close and I'm sitting at 142-82. That's over .600 but I can do better.
Here's a look at week 16
Atlanta at Detroit - The Falcons destroyed the Giants last week and silenced a few critics that say they can't win the big game. I still want to see...
Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune writes that Saints DE Will Smith and LB Jonathan Vilma are the “most likely veterans to be released” as the team will have to begin shedding some salary during the upcoming offseason.
Triplett adds that both players could end up renegotiating their salaries to remain with the team.
As of now, New Orleans projects to be $16 million...
Happy Holiday from the Smiths T…
New Orleans Saints star Will Smith and his wife, Racquel, held their annual holiday event as part of the Where There’s A Will There’s A Way Foundation’s efforts in partnership with Kingsley House. Twenty families pre-selected from the Kingsley House program attended the evening’s festivities, which included a catered dinner, a tour of the...
According to Dan Parr of ProFootballWeekly.com, the New Orleans may end taking some time this coming offseason to sit down with tight end Jimmy Graham to try to work out a contract extension.
The Saints have not always made it an urgent priority to get extensions done with players before they enter their contract year (see Drew Brees), but our sources expect the team to at least...
(Eds: Updates. With AP Photos.) Saints punter and kickoff specialist Thomas Morstead prepared for the 2012 season as if it would be his audition for a new contract.
When he unexpectedly received a lucrative extension as training camp began, the pressure was off in some respects. That, however, didn't change Morstead's approach, and he now finds himself poised to set NFL...
Brian McIntyre of Yahoo! Sports writes that the Saints could look to restructuring the contracts of QB Drew Brees and G Jahri Evans in order to free up some much needed cap space.
We wrote earlier in the week that the Saints could be forced to part ways with LB Jonathan Vilma and DE Will Smith because of the salaries and the that they’re projected to be $16 million...
It’s another must win game for the Dallas Cowboys this Sunday, as they face off against the New Orleans Saints. As always, the name of the game when playing the Saints is shutting down Drew Brees. Brees has thrown for over 4,300 yards and 36 touchdowns so far on the season, but his completion percentage [...]
Week 9 Preview: Dallas Cowboys visit the Atlanta Falcons...
Last week: 16 (-1)
Net points per drive: 0.14 (12th)
DVOA: -1.3% (15th)
Weighted DVOA: 1.5% (14th)
The Saints still remain mathematically alive for a playoff spot at 6-8 off a huge blowout home win and now they head to Dallas, where the Cowboys really struggle as home favorites and really struggle in December under Tony Romo (generally). With a home game week 17 against...
New Orleans Saints (6-8) at Dallas Cowboys (8-6)
The Cowboys entered December at 6-6 after a rough month of November, traditionally a strong month for them, and it looked unlikely that they would be unable to choke again this December, mostly because there would be nothing to choke away. However, after two straight wins, they are at 8-6 and in control of their own destiny, which...
This week's game between the New Orleans Saints (6-8) and the Dallas Cowboys (8-6) could take many twists and turns with both teams playing some of their best football of the season.The Saints are coming off of a Week 15 41-0 dismantling of NFC South division rival Buccaneers, while the Cowboys pulled off a 27-24 dramatic overtime win against the Steelers.The past five games...
Garrett Hartley kicked a 20-yard field in overtime, and the New
Orleans Saints damaged Dallas' playoff hopes with a 34-31 victory
against the Cowboys on Sunday.
A victory with mixed emotions for the second consecutive week as the Saints won 34-31 in Dallas. On this same day they were eliminated from any chance at the playoffs due to a Vikings win, and we're left wondering why they couldn't play like this more consistently this season. It was a game full of ups and downs, but there is no question in my mind that the better team won...