New Orleans

New Orleans Saints Must Exorcise the Ghosts of Playoffs Past

  • Drew Brees
  • new orleans saints
  • Sean Payton
By Tayyib Abu December 24, 2020 0 Comment
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There is no time for Christmas in New Orleans this week. After suffering consecutive defeats, New Orleans is wobbling. 2020 is an all or nothing year for New Orleans. There is salary cap chaos looming in the future, and the status of franchise legend Drew Brees is unclear. Brees inked a deal with NBC before this season began. It is year four of this particular championship window; New Orleans suffered significant playoff heartbreak in the previous three years.

This team should own a Super Bowl ring or two by now; instead, all they’ve got to show for the last three years is misery. New Orleans can not experience a fourth consecutive year of devastation. This season must end with the Saints hoisting the Lombardi trophy. Anything less is unacceptable.

After experiencing two damaging defeats, New Orleans needs to steady the ship on Christmas day. They welcome their arch-nemesis Minnesota Vikings on Friday. The Vikings are responsible for New Orleans’ playoff pain. The Minnesota Miracle happened in 2017, then last year, Captain Kirk and his crew beat the Saints in New Orleans.

The Vikings are the Saints’ kryptonite. Some might think it is the worst possible time for New Orleans to play Minnesota. That is precisely the wrong way to look at this game from the Saints’ perspective. Instead, they should view this game as an opportunity to exact revenge. The Vikings are on the brink of elimination; the Saints can land the knockout blow.

Clinch the Division.

A win over the Vikings will clinch the division for the Saints. That is objective number one for them. Win the division, host a playoff game. Furthermore, the benefit of winning the division with a week to go is they might be able to rest some players. The injuries are piling up for New Orleans. Michael Thomas, Andrus Peat, Trey Hendrickson and Tre’Quan Smith are all hurt. The Saints need them healthy for the playoffs. The game against the Vikings represents a superb chance to take care of business.

It will not be straightforward; it never is for the Saints. Drew Brees is still recovering from 11 broken ribs; the team is missing key players plus Sean Payton’s play-calling is not good right now. The Saints left points on the board against the Chiefs; they should’ve won that game. The football cognoscenti believe Payton is the best play-caller in the NFC. In the last two weeks, Coach Payton’s let his standards drop. The veteran head coach is renowned for his ability to create effective offensive game-plans without his best players. The Vikings possess a leaky defense against the run, Payton must call on Alvin Kamara. Kamara saw less action than what the world expected against Kansas City. It needs to change. Minnesota was gashed on the ground last week; this is no time for Payton to stroke his ego. He needs to win.

Don’t Let Cook Run Wild.

New Orleans’ run defense needs a bounceback game. They’ve faltered recently, specifically the game in Philadelphia. New Orleans is one of the best tackling teams in the NFL; it is a necessity that they tackle well in this game. Dalvin Cook is one of the best tackle breakers in the NFL. If he gets loose, New Orleans could be in trouble. Demario Davis will be desperate to stick the proverbial finger up at the Pro Bowl voters, while Cam Jordan will want to atone for his error in the Chiefs game.

One Last Push.

December football is notoriously tricky, and there is no easy game. The Saints know that better than most. After back to back defeats, New Orleans must win. It is not optional. For a team in a boom or bust year, Christmas day offers the first chance at retribution and the first step towards the ultimate goal. The game will test the Saints’ character; it will examine how desperate the Saints are. If the Saints come out with a victory this week, they are in a strong position for the playoffs.

A win for New Orleans can prove that they can banish the mental ghosts. That is what is holding back this team. The Christmas present New Orleans desire is only available in February; nevertheless, the small gift of winning the division can set them on their way. In an all or nothing year, the losing must stop immediately. The Saints are the sleeping supernova in the NFC; everything is there for them to explode on the competition. They must prove they are the best.

One final push begins this Christmas; if they can vanquish the Ghosts of Playoffs Past, the Saints are on the right track. One last push is all New Orleans needs to give themselves a shot at championship immortality. Just like the Chicago Bulls’ Last Dance, the Saints final push begins now. After three years of pain, it can only end one way, with a trophy parade on Bourbon Street.

 

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I cover, write and report on the NFL. Every player and team has their own story; I'm determined to bring it to life.

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