I was down in New Orleans last weekend for the big game between the Saints and the Eagles. By this point, you know the Saints won the game 20-14 and are advancing to this weekend’s NFC Championship game against the Los Angeles Rams.
In that game, last weekend, 4 of our FQ10 family members were playing and competing against one another. On the Saints side, 16-year FQ10 family member Drew Brees was leading the Saints. On the Eagles team, Darren Sproles, Zach Ertz, and Golden Tate all played extremely well.
As happy as I was to see Drew and the Saints advance, I was sad for the Eagles and my guys. WHY? Frankly, after 14-years in the League, we’re not sure whether the 35-year old Darren Sproles will be returning for another season. He’s had one-heckuva career and has a lot to consider this off-season.
If you’re a regular at FQ10, there is a pretty good chance you have seen both Brees & Sprolesy training together in the off-season. They have been training together for 11-years and have had some epic sessions. And I just can’t imagine them NOT training together. Hopefully, we will be blessed with ONE more year of working together.
As you watch the games this weekend (whether you are a Saints fan or not), I hope you pull for our very own Drew Brees. He is having yet another record-setting season and is on the shortlist for MVP honors. Most importantly, he is seeking his 2nd Super Bowl appearance this weekend, if the Saints take care of business in New Orleans on Sunday.
What’s it going to take for a Saints win this weekend? Here is my game analysis and 7 Ways the Saints can WIN this game:
1. Relentless Preparation. No ONE prepares more than Drew. Training, film-work, visualization, and attention to every single detail. He will play a major factor in the outcome of the game.
2. Fast-Start. The Saints have been coming out of the gate slow. They need to come out swinging on Sunday and can’t get behind 2 or more touchdowns.
3. Saints Offensive Line. The OL is banged-up right now and had a ton of penalties against the Eagles. They are going to need to clean that stuff up against a formidable pass-rush tandem of Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh. The Saints will need to establish a run game for Kamara and Ingram and they must protect #9 if they are to win this game.
4. Saints Defense. The Saints will not win this game if they don’t slow down the Rams high-octane offense. The Rams running game is powerful with Gurley and Anderson and their passing game is clicking with Jared Goff and Brandin Cooks.
The Saints defense has a tough task this week and needs to establish a massive pass-rush with Cam Jordan and the DL and blanket coverage with Marshon Lattimore and Eli Apple if they are going to hold the Rams 31 points or less (that’s what I believe it will take to win the game!). It’s going to be a great test of wills on both sides of the ball.
5. ALL-IN Mentality. At this point in the season, all 53-players and every coach must be on the same page. Coaches must create the right game-plan and be able to adapt it on the run during the game. It will play a factor. Players must overcome momentum shifts and adversity throughout the game. And it’s going to take an “ALL-IN” mentality to win the ball-game!
6. Dome Field Advantage. It is NOT easy to play in the New Orleans Superdome. It’s a clear advantage for the Saints. I was there this past weekend and it was down right deafening when the opponents have the ball. And quiet as a church-mouse when the Saints have the ball. It WILL play a factor in the game!
7. The X-factor. Who or what is it going to be? Is it Sean Payton and his experienced QB in Drew Brees? Is it the young QB Goff and the stud running back tandem of Gurley and Anderson? Is it playing in the Superdome? My prediction is the “X-factor” will be Saints do-everything offensive weapon Taysom Hill. Watch out for #7 Taysom Hill. He can run, pass, punt, catch, and even tackle. He does everything but sell hot-dogs at half-time. He may very well be the difference in this ball-game
7 factors. 6 points for a TD + an extra point. Kickers always make the difference. And it could come down to the right foot of Saints kicker Will Lutz.
Bottom line is this…playoff football in January comes down to turnovers, and 3-5 BIG plays in the game. The team that executes the game-plan best and capitalizes on momentum (“Uncle Mo”) is going to be in the best position to win this game and advance to Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta.
Enjoy this weekend and know this… as you watch the Saints vs. Rams game this weekend, regardless of who you want to win, you can bet your bottom dollar that #9 will represent well and do ALL he can to put the Saints into the Super Bowl.
My prediction… Saints 33 Rams 31. Who Dats going to the Super Bowl! What do you think?
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