After the Saints ended up getting bounced from the NFC Divisional round of the 2017-18 playoffs, Sean Payton still took the time to gameplan as if he was leading his team into action against Philadelphia. What would have been an intense game between the Saints and Eagles ended being a 38-7 humiliation of the Minnesota Vikings. Sean Payton, when asked by Mike Florio during the NFL Scouting Combine said,
“On Wednesday and Thursday, we had the Philly cut-ups. I game-planned Philly like we were going to play them. Because I wasn’t ready to stop game-planning. So, like an imaginary ‘let’s pretend that didn’t happen.’ It was just my way of dealing with it, I guess.”
Coach Payton prepared to take on the eventual Super Bowl champs and tomorrow, will get the opportunity to finally put his preparation to use.
Obviously, Payton’s gameplan will have changed. Carson Wentz is back, Golden Tate is now an Eagle, and the Philly pass defense is suffering due to injuries in the secondary. Not to mention that the Saints defense is struggling to defend the pass, something they improved in throughout last season, and they have new weapons on offense. The addition of Tre’Quan Smith and the integration of ATH Taysom Hill are both sure to be factors. These are two entirely different teams now, but to think that Payton hasn’t been evolving his gameplan is just foolish.
The Saints are ready to play this game as if they were playing for the Super Bowl, because they are. The Eagles are playing for their lives, though all hope isn’t lost if they take an L to the Saints with key divisional matchups ahead. But as this game is sure to be no walk in the park for either team, they must be ready. The good news: Sean Payton has been for nearly a year.
Follow Ross on Twitter @RossJacksonASC