The Saints won their first playoff game since 2013 yesterday besting the Panthers 31 – 26 in the Wild card game. The Superdome was rocking and it took every ounce of fandom to pull out the win. Next up the Minnesota Vikings, the modern day Purple People Eaters. Minnesota gave up a league low of only 15.8 points a game, thats better than the 2015 Denver Broncos defense. Both of these squads will be different than the ones who met in game one of the regular season. Sam Bradford was replaced by Case Keenum and Dalvin Cook was lost for the year and supplanted by Murray and McKinnon. The leading rusher and receiver, Petersen and Fleener for the Saints were traded or injured. Dalvin Cook, who was spectacular the first game, is perhaps the most glaring deficiency for Minnesota this time around . Both teams through the NFL grind have morphed into slightly different versions of the early units.
Minnesota is number one in NFL defensively in points and yards per game. New Orleans is number two in yards offensively and fourth in points per game. One advantage is with the quarterback, Brees is a Super Bowl MVP, Case Keenum is making his first playoff start. The hope is that the Vikings have ball security issues like the 5 turnovers they had in the 2010 NFC Championship, wouldn’t that be nice? Some of the match-ups I’m looking forward to, Xavier Rhodes versus Michael Thomas, Lattimore and Crawley against Thielen and Diggs and the chess match of Brees and Harrison Smith a premier safety. In my opinion the winner of this game will represent the NFC in Super Bowl L11. The guys in the desert have instilled Minnesota a 3 1/2 to 4 point favorite, basically the home field advantage and that feels about right. My head says Vikings 24 -20, my heart screams 27 – 24 Saints in overtime just like the NFC Championship in 2010. Feeling Minnesota? Not really.