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Saints vs. Cardinals Preview: Blogger’s Edition Part 2

We continue our interview with Scott from This time Scott asks me the tough questions and a predicition. .

Raisingzona: The Saints starters haven’t played in almost three weeks now and they haven’t won a game or played well in a month.  Do you think that has any bearing on how the Saints will play on Saturday?

SaintsGab: I think the Saints did a good job getting their swagger back in the bye week. They spent a couple of practices last week working on fundamentals and creating a fun, competitive pre-season like atmosphere. The team is recharged, refocused and eager to strap on that helmet and play.

Yes, the Saints haven’t been playing well lately, partly due to injury, partly execution. Having Jeremy Shockey back on offense will help pass protection. Jabari Greer’s return will most definitely help the secondary and allow Darren Sharper to take more risks in coverage. If anything, the Saints may show some rust the first couple of series of the game, with some new wrinkles, but they will turn it up when they need to.

RZ: Do you think having New Orleans at home is a huge advantage?  The Cardinals had the second best NFC road record at 6-2.  Will the noise inside the Superdome be a factor?

SG: Huge factor..anytime you can play at home this late in the playoffs it’s to your advantage. I think the short week and the emotional Packers game will be more of a factor. I think it’s going to be interesting to see if the Cards, particularly on defense, can play with the same intensity late into the 4th quarter.

Noise is another thing the Cardinals have to be ready for. The Superdome is perhaps the loudest stadium in the NFL. If the crowd is in the game, it is very hard to hear on the playing field. The Dallas Cowboys came in last month and talked post game about the crowd noise late in the game and how they could not communicate and that pretty much shut down their offense for a stretch.

RZ: Do you think this game will be a shootout like everyone is predicting, or do you a surprise defensive battle?

SG: No doubt it’s gonna be a shootout. Both offenses are too good to be held down. I think the Saints are going to have some trouble with the WR crossing patterns the Cards like to run. The Cards are simply just quicker than the Saints in that matchup. Beanie Wells will get some yards because of the threat of the pass.

The Saints are too good and have too many weapons on offense to be held down either. With a bye week and game film of last week, the Saints should be well prepared to face this Cardinal defense.

RZ: Given the regular season success, would a loss to the Cards make this season considered a failure by the Saints and its fans?

SG: Yeah, it would be a disappointment, considering all the hype we had at 13-0. At that point, the whole city was talking about being perfect and  booking flights to Miami. So a loss would only magnify that disappointment. Of course, Coach Payton would get his fair share of boo birds calling of the way he’s handled the last month of the season.

But I think Payton has handled the last couple of weeks well. Payton knows his team well and knows the high level this team can play when healthy. The veteran leadership has done a good job as well for this team. After the Tampa loss, Drew Brees got the team together and reminded them that this season was a journey, not a sprint and to go back to enjoying the ride, something that had been lost on the team the last couple of weeks. The Saints have responded with some of their best practices since the preseason.

Disappointment..yes. This team has accomplished a lot this season and all the awards and accolades are deserved. Building  a championship team is a step by step process and sometimes losing to a team that been there serves as a stepping stone to future success.

RZ: What is you prediction for this game?

SG: I think it  will be a see-saw back and forth game that’s going to be tense for three quarters. The Saints pull away late for a 48-38 win.

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