NFC Championship Game Preview: Minnesota at New Orleans


Over the last several weeks, Coach Boynton’s predictions have been ridiculously spot on. He’s 5 – 0 over this period and 15 – 3 for the season. Is he the great prognosticator ? Absolutely not ! But even a blind squirrel gets an occasional acorn.

But, weather it’s insight ( Doubtful ), foresight ( questionable ) or just Dumb luck ( Now your talking ! ): There has been one constant…..The Coach is Hot ! It seems that lately, every time I make a pick, the team I’ve been picking has won. As a matter of fact, the stronger I boast about it, the more impressive the team, especially the Vikings seems to play.

I’m stumped ! It’s like Curly getting a Rhodes Scholarship for his ability to use English as a foreign language. Please understand, I am not trying to brag or make myself the next Jimmy the Greek. Believe me, no one is more surprised then I am. But, us old Viking fans are a superstisious breed, so while I’m on a roll………here’s hoping there is at least 2 more predictions left in the bag.

According to the guru’s in Vegas, the Saints are a 4 1/2 point favorite. Well, if you read my article last week, you know that the spread is not determined by who is suppose to win, but by who is getting the most money placed on them. So, let’s throw that garbage out the window while the Coach explains his logic while he sticks his neck out yet again while the media big wigs sharpen their axes for yours truly.

The three best QB’s on the planet are still in play. First up, Drew Brees and the high-flying Saints. They are scary, but their high octane passing game is based on speed and precision. Their margin for error in this attack is razor thin. If they execute….they will be nearly impossible to stop.

Reggie Bush is lethal, but the Vikings are the best run stopping force the NFL has ever seen. No NFL team in history had been number 1 vs. the run for 3 years in a row before them. Yes, we came in # 2 this year, but our 4 year average in this category is beyond reproach.

Then there are the Saints receivers. Starting with the enigmatic TE Jeremy Shockey – 48 receptions / 11.9 avg. / 3 TDs.

Wideouts – Marques Colson – 70 receptions / 15.3 avg./ 9 Td’s
Devery Henderson – 51 receptions,/15.8 avg. / 2 td’s
Robert Meacham – 45 receptions / 16.0 avg. / 9 td’s.

An explosive and sure handed group –

However, if the front four can put enough pressure on Brees, and the corners can disrupt the routes by playing close and physical. While the safeties fill the gaps and stop the big plays ( All BIG ifs ! ) Then this is the type of offense that can become frustrated and be prone to breakdowns.

Yes, they are going to pass the ball early and often. This is what the Saints do and this is what the Saints are. What they are not, is a physical, smash-mouth power team that can just push you around however they want.

Use whatever superlatives you want…….If the Vikings play like they did last Sunday, NO ONE…..Not the Saints, Jets or Colts will beat this team !

I know that the 98 team had a feel of invincibility to it. But I remember having a gut feeling that the whole thing just didn’t feel right. That something Bad was going to happen……Enter Gary Anderson ( Let’s not go there ).

I don’t have that same negative feeling this year. I am not looking over my shoulder waiting for the other shoe to drop. It just feels like this year is “Special”. ( I am sure Saint fans feel the same). But if there is any team in the NFL that has been more frustrating and more prone to choking the big one…..it’s the Saints.

As I said last week-end, Call me crazy, but Coach B. just doesn’t think the season is going to end this weekend.

I must add that I am trying my best not to let the “Homer” ( Not Simpson ) factor enter by being as antiseptically clean as possible here. But the thing is, when I predict with my heart, I tend to be pessimistic from all the mishaps of season’s past. I am usually predicting doom and gloom and another inglorious end to a promising story.

So, bear with me as I try to give you my rationale in my own Irrational way.

Thus, while my heart ponders “What bad, unusual and unpredictable event can fall in our path to derail this season. My head is telling me one simple truth……..

This Viking team is better then the New Orleans Saints !

There, I said it ! I won’t apologize for it is my honest opinion. If Sunday proves me wrong, then I will admit my foolishness in next weeks column for all to read.

The difference in the two teams may be admittedly, miniscule. If this game was being played in Minnesota, I would have no doubt as to the outcome.. But the Vikings are 4-4 on the road and the Superdome is a tough place to hang the hopes of your entire season.

On the othe hand, the Vikings are 11 – 0 on turf, have the hottest and perhaps best big game QB in the game, arguably the worlds best RB, who is due to have a breakout game and the most physical defense with the best defensive coordinator on the planet. There is a lot to base my dissertation on..

In summation, I am once again willing to go against conventional thinking here. So strap yourself in for the whole wild ride on Sunday. As the Vikings attempt to make believers out of the media on their way to making history.

Watch out Drew Brees……..the Vikings are bringing their 3 ring Circus to the Big Easy. You guys are very good. You are having perhaps the finest season in your franchises existence….. But you boy’s haven’t seen anything resembling THIS team yet ! The Saints are going to have to play like World Champions to bring down this Monster !

– Coach B is betting you will fall just a tiny bit short. Here is how is WILL happen:

1. It will be close late.
2. Someone makes a season deciding play. My guess is Adrian Peterson, giving…
3. Ryan Longwell the opportunity to steal this one.
4. He WILL NOT miss !

Coaches Iron Clad Lock of the Year prediction is:

Vikings – 31 Saints – 28

Go ahead… Make your reservations for the “Big Dance” !!!


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One Response to “NFC Championship Game Preview: Minnesota at New Orleans”

  1. TheCoach says:

    The majority of people are taking the Colts to kill the Jets this
    week but you have to consider how well New York matches up against
    Indy. Indy has the worst running game in the league, and is ALL
    Peyton. The Jets have the #1 pass-defence and if they can put the
    clamps on Peyton early… it could very well be a Jets win. TheCoach
    isn’t calling a J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS win but they will cover the
    spread. I know Indy shut down Baltimore’s running game last week
    but the Jets strive on being quick and elusive.. something Ray Rice
    isn’t…

    Minnesota and New Orleans is going to be such a good game. I was
    hoping all season long these two would meet up in the NFC
    Championship and honestly.. either team could team this game. The
    Saints are -3.0 favourites and historically home team get given three
    points for the home-field advantage… so basically this game is a
    pick-em and there is ONE thing that I like about the Saints and its
    that home-field advantage. Last week Warner and Romo combined for 7
    sacks and 4 fumbles largely in part to not being able to communicate
    with their offence. The SuperDome is NUTS and I don’t care how much
    experience Favre has, the crowd can help a team and also hurt the
    other so much.

    Feel free to check out my picks with scores (and of course
    cheerleader pictures) @
    http://www.lionsdenu.com/category/sports/nfl-guide-2009-2010/

    Best of luck to all this week,
    Regards,
    TheCoach