Monday, January 11, 2010
NFL PLAYOFFS- Divisional Round Previews
Arizona Cardinals at New Orleans Saints
The Cardinals (11-6) toppled the Green Bay Packers, 51-45 in OT last week and now travel to the Big Easy in New Orleans to face the Saints (13-3), a team that has lost three straight games after starting 13-0 in the 2009 season.
Both of these teams can light up the scoreboard as evidenced by the Saints leading the NFL in scoring for the second consecutive season.
Both teams feature awesome passing attacks and fairly solid running games. Not great running games but enough to keep opposing defenses honest as far as pass defense is concerned.
So will this be a high scoring game?
The odds are good that it will be, especially since it is being played in the Super Dome, where the Saints can really get it going with the crowd noise and all of that hoopla.
The crowd noise and all the hype surrounding this game will NOT intimidate Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner.
Warner is a cagey veteran who has seen it all, including three Super Bowl appearances and a Super Bowl MVP trophy when his St. Louis Rams won it all a decade ago.
The Saints are led by QB Drew Brees, who had another stellar season and has great targets in wide receivers Lance Moore, Devery Henderson, Marques Colston and Robert Meacham as well as tight end Jeremy Shockey and a backfield tandem of Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush.
Arizona counters with Warner's favorite targets Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, along with Steve Breaston and Early Doucet. In the backfield, Arizona has Tim Hightower and Chris "Beanie" Wells grinding it out to keep the defenses honest.
No one is expecting much from either of these teams' defenses in this contest, so that may well mean they can step it up for one game and keep the scoring down somewhat.
It's doubtful that will happen, but you never know in the NFL playoffs.
The Saints scored eight touchdowns on defense this season while Arizona won the wild card game over the Packers with a defensive score in the extra session. That is something to think about when analyzing these opportunistic defenses.
In all likelihood, expect a high scoring game that may go down to the wire if the Cardinals do not fall behind by more than one score early in the game.