Archive for the ‘New Orleans Saints’ Category


Super Bowl XLIV MVP Drew Brees 32 completions were all things of beauty

Say it loud and say it proud the New Orleans Saints are Super Bowl champions.

The Aints tag is gone forever, after the Saints scored 25 second half points against the favoured Indianapolis Colts.

Yes this is Louisiana’s time, and for owner Tom Benson it is a dream that has come true.

I loved Drew Brees coolness after going 10 points down in the first period, and I loved Tracey Porter’s pick six, but Sean Payton’s decision to go for that onside kick showed bigger balls than a man with a broken leg doing the Pamplona Bull Run.

Now Drew Brees will get the headlines but to me there was one guy who the New Orleans Saints owe a game ball to, special teams dynamo Chris Reis #39.

Reis recovered an early Courtney Roby kick return fumble and then was at the bottom of the Super Bowl’s biggest ever pile to recover that third quarter onside kick. He also got at least one special teams tackle that I can remember.

Chris Reis take a bow my friend you are a Super Bowl champion and you will soon be fitted for a ring with a Saints logo and probably the phrase ‘ Who dat’.

For the Saints the ‘Who dat’ tag is now gone forever – they are champions.

Time for bed for me here in England as it has just gone 3.00am.

PS – I did predict a Saints win and Brees to be MVP !!!

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This is a pick from the heart not the head.

Super Bowl Sunday – no feeling like it.

It’s history, it’s drama, it’s the personification of the American dream, and above all it’s only hours away.

I had predicted a Ravens v Eagles Super Bowl, and an Eagles win. I did predict the Colts making the final four, but then again I also predicted the Falcons to be playing in the NFC Championship too.

Now we have the most offensive Super Bowl in history, completely smashing into tiny pieces the old adage that ‘offense wins games and defense wins championships’.

The Indianapolis Colts are back in the Super Bowl just three years after they beat Da Bearz, complete with the NFL MVP at quarterback, and around half of the current team boasting a giant ring with a big blue horseshoe on it.

The New Orleans Saints are at the big dance for the first time in their history, having suffered many years of futility, embarrassment and playoff heartache.

Despite the recent history and the post season experiences of both teams this is not a David v Goliath battle, it is a match-up of the two highest octane offenses in the NFL.

Just about the only thing that may slow down the Colts and the Saints from scoring 50 points on each other is the fact the game is being played outside in grass, and not on the speedy artificial surface that the two finalists are accustomed to.

Both teams are equally capable of falling behind by 14 points and then scoring two touchdowns in under three minutes to tie it back up, without even breaking into a sweat.

Both Drew Brees and Peyton Manning can win this game, and both can be ruthlessly efficient. Both have big arms, big hearts and their internal computers are faster than the ones in that room Matthew Broderick broke into in ‘War Games’.

Peyton has a ring and knows what it takes. I don’t think I can recall a Super Bowl with this many game breaking wideouts on both teams (deep breath) Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Lance Moore, Robert Meachem (Saints) and Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie, Pierre Garcon (Colts). We then move onto TEs, and this is where Dallas Clark does outdo Jeremy Shockey.

Joseph Addai was a rookie in 2007 and he was part of a two-headed rushing monster (with Dominic Rhodes) that won the Colts the Superbowl. Addai has not stepped up much further, but that is because he is not asked to do any more than be part of the offense, not the focus.

His support act is rookie Donald Brown, who could surprise today. The Saints have a troop of backs that are built for every situation. Reggie Bush has the hands and the speed, Mike Bell has the nose for a first down, Lynell Hamilton could be a fantasy td thief and we cannot forget Pierre Thomas, who when given bigger responsibility is nothing but business like.

Its gonna be a fun game for sure, and it comes down to two key factors – which defense will cause the most turnovers and who can get a running game to step up and keep the clock running on long drives.

My head says the Colts, but my heart says the Saints. I just have a feeling that the Saints defense will play the game of their lives, with Jonathan Vilma all over the field and Darren Sharper showing his true talent.

My Super Bowl prediction is Saints 33-28 Colts – MVP Drew Brees 3 td passes and 311 yards passing.

Pierre Garcon could shock the world with an MVP Super Bowl performance

It’s one of those inevitabilities that if a quarterback has a good game and is on the winning side, the likelihood is that they will get the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award at the Super Bowl.

Out of the 43 Super Bowl MVP awards given, 22 have been awarded to qbs. In many cases they have been deserved (Joe Montana, Tom Brady, Doug Williams).

Sometimes the QBs winning the MVP award have not been deserved, and won instead as the result of being ‘the most popular’ or ‘as a reward for their outstanding season’ (Eli Manning, Mark Rypien, Bart Starr’s 2nd Super Bowl).

The QB MVP monopoly has been broken up over the past six seasons by one other position only – wide receiver.

Deion Branch (Patriots), Hines Ward and Santonio Homes (both Steelers) have shown that another position outside QB can be a game breaker. Unsurprisingly the last defensive player to win the MVP award in the big game was Dexter Jackson the Buccaneers safety (2003).

So this lead me neatly to my MVP prediction. As a betting man I have hedged my bets (literally) and put a small amount of cash on the following four Super Bowl XLIV participants to scoop  MVP award;

  • Reggie Bush – Saints running back/returner (Odds I got at Bet Fred 16-1)

Why Reggie? Well he is without doubt the most exciting player to take the field in Miami on Sunday. He can run, catch and return punts. He has raised his game intensity level in the playoffs to an unprecedented level, and has the speed, hips and vision to score from anywhere. If he gets to touch the ball over 20 times he should score twice and the rest could be history.

  • Darren Sharper – Saints safety (Odds I got from Bet Fred 40-1)

Why Darren? Sharper has had one of those once in a career seasons, kind of like Ed Reed has done in the past, by being in the right place at the right time pretty much every game. Sharper is the defensive leader of the Saints, along with Jonathan Vilma, and remarkably this will be his second Super Bowl, having been to the big dance with the Packers (as a rookie).  Sharper gets two game changing interceptions before the 4th quarter and he could be da man in Florida.

  • Pierre Garcon – Colts wide receiver (Odds I got from Bet Fred 22-1)
  • Austin Collie – Colts wide receiver (odds I got from Bet Fred 28-1)

Why Pierre or Austin? With three out of the last five MVP awards going to wide receivers there seems to be a movement to rewarding the speed demons. The growing trend of teams using a ‘running back by committee’ approach has removed running backs from MVP consideration, with the last RB MVP being Terrell Davis (Broncos) in 1998. Under this philosophy Reggie Wayne looks to be the ideal MVP candidate, as he is the #1 WR. Thing is Wayne has had a relatively quiet post-season, and in his place both Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon have stepped up and Peyton Manning has the pair looking like All-Pro starters. Both or one out of Collie and Garcon could easily go over 100 yards and 2 touchdowns before the Super Bowl is over. 9 or 10 catches by either (depending on the coverage they get) could make them MVP winners. With NFL MVP Peyton Manning tossing the pigskin anything is possible.

If I had to go for just one player I’d pick Pierre Garcon. With his Haitian roots and worldwide support, this could be the biggest and best fairytale ending ever (better than Elway and Jerome Bettis’s fabled stories put together).

Cant wait for the game, likelihood is that I wont win a bean, but hey you have to be in it to win it!

Odds on this will be a high scoring Superbowl

I do have to admit that I love a little flutter during Superbowl week.

Betting on who will win the Superbowl or what the winning margin will be is not much fun as the odds are so short.

Instead I like to spend some of my hard-earned cash on two different bets – ‘First touchdown scorer’ and ‘Most Valuable Player’.

The obvious MVP bet is always the quarterbacks, and Manning and Brees will likely be around 3-1 or even 2-1 once the odds get pushed out by UK bookmakers.

I tend to go for wide receivers for MVP as you can normally get 10-1 up to 30-1 depending if you pick a Pro Bowl wideout or a slot man who might just blow up in Miami. I last won big  a few years ago when I predicted WR Deion Branch to be the MVP for the Patriots. I won over £100 and sensibly spent the winnings on a pair of bedside clothes cabinets.

Regarding the first TD scorer, the last time I got it right and won some money was when L.J. Smith the Eagles TE opened the scoring against the Patriots connecting on the end of a Donovan McNabb pass.

So…what are my predictions for fist touchdown scorer for the 2010 Superbowl? Well I always hedge my bets and pick four different potential paydirt magnets. For Superbowl XLIV (44) I bet at Ladbrokes and went for the following:

  • Drew Brees Saints QB (rushing td) – Odds 50-1 – Big odds but he could always go for a surprise 1 yard plunge
  • Lynell Hamilton Saints RB (rushing or receiving td) – Odds 25-1 – The guy is used as a goal-line back go figure!
  • Jeremy Shockey Saints TE (receiving td) Odds 16-1 – Shockey would like nothing more than setting the tone.
  • Donald Brown Colts RB (rushing or receiving td) – Odds 25-1 – Its a toss-up with the Indy running game, I like this rookie however and see him doing something great in this game, so why not the first 6 point score!

I know only one can possibly payout, and there is no science to it at all, but it sure makes the opening few possessions a whole load of fun.

The MVP odds have not been worked out by some UK bookies so I will have to wait until the weekend to place a small wager.

If any of you do decide to match my betting and you win I want 10%! If you lose then I have no idea what on earth you are talking about – what blog post?

Well it’s that time of year, when we get two stunning contests between the cream of the NFL. God I love the conference championship games, and this season we have two intriguing contest between four very different teams.

AP has been quiet in January but next will be his crowning glory against the Saints

The Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints have shone throughout the season and are the #1 seeds respectively, with the Minnesota Vikings looking good all round and the New York Jets acting out a Disney sports movie script.

I have done a TO and got the popcorn ready, as well as some alcoholic ginger beer (lovely) and some chips and dips. Ok I’ll look like death warmed up in the morning but lets hope its gonna be worth it.

My predicting skills have been pretty average in the playoffs as I have got 5 out of 8 correct so far.

Here goes with my conference championships predictions;

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP – Vikings @ Saints

This game is not exactly your traditional NFC championship, where defense dominates and the score finishes 13-10.

Minnesota and New Orleans are explosive high-powered offensive led teams with lots of talent across the field.

Both play in a Dome, both rely on young studs with speed, agility and soft hands, and both have quarterbacks that are grizzled veterans who both deserve to be playing in the Superbowl for what they have done this season.

This game has all the makings of a wild west shootout, with Brett Favre looking to take the Vikings to a place they haven’t been since Fran Tarkenen and the Purple People Eaters reached four Superbowls in the 1970s (losing all four).

Favre has shown that he can both play disciplined football and also air it our when he needs to, and he has turned Sidney Rice into a megastar, in a way that I suspect Sage Rosenfels or Tavaris Jackson would not have been able to in 2009.

Adrian Peterson has been strangely quiet in the second half of the season and has quite remarkably gone a little under the radar. This I think will all change in the NFC Championship as Peterson will show some of those jaw dropping skills that made him the most exciting rookie since Barry Sanders.

The Saints will simply be unable to bottle up Peterson for 60 minutes, and that my friends will be the difference in the game.

Defensively the Vikings are a remarkable unit up front, with Jared Allen, Kevin Williams and Pat Williams in the middle and the on-fire Ray Edwards at the other end.  This is a front four that should have helped a team to reach a Superbowl by now, and they will have to be tackling for their lives against the eel like Reggie Bush, and the the powerful and speedy Pierre Thomas.

The Saints D is led by veteran safety Darren Sharper, who has had an Ed Reed type season, picking off passes and being in the right place at the right time far too many times for it just to be luck or coincidence. Former Jet LB Jonathan Vilma is playing the best football of his life, and underrated pro’s such as Will Allen and linebackers Scott Fujita and Scott Shanle deserve to win today for their consistent effort on a team that has not always been this good.

X-Factors = The obvious x-factors in this game are Reggie Bush for the Saints and Percy Harvin the electric rookie WR for the Vikings.

Thing is I don’t like obvious, and I will instead look at some lesser known players that could be the difference between a trip home and a trip to Miami….

Saints TE David Thomas – With Jeremy Shockey not 100% Martin could be asked to catch 5 or more passes, and this could include in the redzone

Vikings RB Chester Taylor – Taylor has been a passenger in the Viking sailboat that has plundered and pillaged the NFL this season, leaving him fresh for this game. He is the best pass catching back on the team and could break a catch in the backfield and turn it into six huge points.

Prediction – Vikings 33-30 Saints – MVP Adrian Peterson 131 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP – Jets @ Colts

Everyone loves an underdog and the New York Jets , who snuck into the playoffs on the back of the Colts decision to rest their starters in Week 17, are going to have a lot of neutral fans rooting for them. Only problem is Rex Ryan and the Jets don’t consider themselves underdogs, and that positive mentality has willed the Big Apple warriors to the AFC Championship game.

The Colts on the other hand are doing what they always do, winning 12 or more regular season games with relative ease, and without a mind-blowing running game. The last time the Colts won a Superbowl they did it with a precision passing game and a combination of Joesph Addai and Dominic Rhodes in the backfield (sometimes both on the field at the same time). Not much has changed, Addai still has a partner, but this time he is the veteran and Donald Brown is the rookie who knows no better.

Peyton Manning does not need much of a description here, just look in a dictionary for the definition of an All Pro QB and Manning’s face will be there.

Marvin Harrison is gone at WR, but in his place are Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon, who have both stepped up when needed and have helped catapult the Colts to a championship game.

The Jets have won games the way they used to be won, with a big nasty offensive line and a running game that gives opposition DCs nightmares. The combination of ‘the most underrated RB in NFL history’ Thomas Jones, and rookie rocket pack Shonn Greene, is pretty much perfect, and FB Tony Richardson is one of the best in his position in the past 30 years.

New York will go into this game with a rookie under center, and unfortunately this will be the game that brings Mark Sanchez crashing down to earth. It’s not that Sanchez can’t move the ball or pass accurately, its just that Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney will be more pumped up than the world’d biggest hot air balloon.

We all know that Darelle Revis the Jets CB should have been voted NFL Defensive MVP this season, and we also know that he will do an outstanding job tracking whoever will dare to matchup with him. It’s the rest of the Jets corners that I have bigger issues with.

X-Factors =This comes down to the Jets offense being able to move the ball and the Colts defense showing that their game last week was no fluke.

Colts – Defensive tackles Antonio Johnson and Daniel Muir are pretty much unknown outside of Indy, but they hold the key to this game. If they can hold the Jets running game it could be a long night for Sanchez.

Jets – WR Braylon Edwards. Yes Edwards has had a lot of stick recently for dropping passes, but he has the talent, the speed and the desire to show why he was an early first round pick by the Cleveland Browns. Edwards, if he is given the opportunity by the play calling, could surprise all NFL fans with a monster game.

Prediction – Colts 26-16 Jets – MVP Peyton Manning 289 yards and 2 touchdowns.

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My god is that Leo Sayer in a Pitt uniform or is it the guy who passed for 5084 yards in 1984? (Pic from SI)

It’s the NFL equivalent of the Holy Grail, it’s a record that has not been touched until last season, and it’s a record owned by a guy who never won a Superbowl.

Yes the annual pilgrimage by 32 NFL quarterbacks to eclipse former Miami Dolphins qb Dan Marino’s single season passing yards record of 5084 (in 1984) has begun in earnest.

The 2009 NFL season has seen passers come out of the blocks faster than Usaine Bolt realising he needs the toilet after some dodgy jerk chicken.

So who are the contenders to Sayers…oops…Marino’s title?

1) Matt Schaub – Houston Texans (9 games played so far, 2653 yards)

Schaub is on pace for 4716 yards, so he is 369 yards of pace to break the record. This means he needs to improve production per game by 52 yards a game.

2) Peyton Manning – Indianapolis Colts (8 games played so far, 2545 yards)

Manning is on pace for 5090 yards, so he is on pace to beat the record by 6 yards.

3) Tom Brady – New England Patriots (8 games played so far, 2364 yards)

Brady is on pace for 4728 yards, so he is 357 yards of pace to break the record. This means he needs to improve production per game by 45 yards a game.

4) Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints (8 games played so far, 2336 yards)

Brees is on pace for 4672 yards, so he is 412 yards of pace to break the record. This means he needs to improve production by 52 yards a game.

Elsewhere Jay Cutler, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers, Tony Romo and Kurt Warner are on pace for over 4000 yards but I think they are not going to be able to drastically improve production to get over the 5000 hump.

So coming into Week 10 the only person who is on pace is Colts Superbowl winning qb Peyton Manning. Miracle Manning has thrown for over 300 yards in 7 out of his 8 contests so far, and to top it off he has won every single encounter.

The Colts have a mega tough second half schedule, with games against the Patriots, Baltimore, Denver and the Jets.

Can Manning do it? Ill say yes. I said Brees could get the record last year, and whilst Brees had the bra off and the skirt hitched up, I see Manning breaking the seal on his pack of extra-large Trojans.

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The Iggles WRs Jackson and Macklin will be geared up for a huge Week 9 output

It has been a while I admit but it’s time to get back to the crystal ball gazing lark and give some NFL predictions.

Plenty of juicy matchups for week 9 in the 2009 NFL season, but my personal favourite is the Philadelphia Eagles against the Dallas Cowboys.
 
Everyone loves a bruising NFL East battle, and this one looks set to be a humdinger.
 
My prediction for the top performers in Week 9 goes to the Iggles WR pairing of Jeremy Macklin and DeSean Jackson.
 
I am going for Macklin and Jackson combining for 200 yards and two touchdowns in a monster win.
 
Not so long ago the Eagles had strength pretty much everywhere apart from WR. They went and got TO and got all the way to the Superbowl.
 
Now they have invested big in two remarkably similar types of players on the outside, but ones that could dominate for many years and become the new Fitzgerald and Boldin or Stallworth or Swann (providing they pick up some Vince Lombardi trophies in the next five years).
 
After three weeks of predicting I was 28-20. Now for the business of the day…. 
 
Redskins @ Falcons – The Redskins officially suck. Yes this is a technical sporting term for teams who cannot reach 3 touchdowns against the Chiefs or Lions. Matt Ryan looks to have a big day, along with Michael Turner the Falcons low gravity work mule. I will be shocked if the Skins get 2 touchdowns, even though I expect Fred Davis the TE to have over 70 yards receiving – Falcons to win 37-13
 
Cardinals @ Bears – “They are who we thought they were.” The immortal words from former Cardinals head coach Dennis Green after a meltdown against Da Bearz a few years ago. This time I see the Cardinals stepping up and Kurt Warner atoning for his debacle last week. Look for both teams failing to establish the run, and the game becoming a shootout. Arizona to hang on with some Fitzgerald heroics – Cardinals to win 27-24
 
Ravens @ Bengals – Gotta love this game. The Ravens want revenge from the upset earlier in the season. Ray Lewis will be all over Bengals RB Cedric Benson so look for Carson Palmer to find seams in the passing game, as long has he throws to the polar opposite end of the field as Ravens All-Pro safety Ed Reed. I’ll take a bit of magic from Cincy WR Chris Henry – Bengals with the upset 24-20
 
Texans @ Colts – This is the opportunity for Houston to show that they are finally ‘for real’. If they can win this game they become contenders for the AFC. Peyton Manning will be aware that the Texans will be playing like men possessed and will try to exploit the aggression of the Houston D. Monster game from Reggie Wayne AGAIN I suspect – Colts win a close one 33-27
 
Chiefs @ Jaguars – This is not exactly the game you would show if you wanted to introduce someone to the joys of the NFL. KC are pretty awful, but they may get a spark from recently promoted running back Jamal Charles. The Jags rb Maurice Jones-Drew simply HAS to get more carries. The man had under 10 carries last week but he got two rushing tds of over 75 yards a pop. Wat has he got to do to get the rock? – Jaguars to win 29-17
 
Dolphins @ Patriots – Wow – this is gonna be a barn burner. Wildcat v The Emperor. Sounds like a trendy DJ battle. I love me some AFC East action and whilst I would love to see the Dolphins get the second win against the Pats I just can’t see past Chad Henne, and his lack of explosiveness. Ricky Williams can have another big game if he comes in to keep Ronnie Brown fresh. It wont matter as the Pats will have too much class – Pats to win 31-24
 
Packers @ Buccaneers – Ouch, ouch, ouch, the words that will come out of the mouth of Josh Freeman after he picks himself up off the floor for the tenth time. This is gonna be a car wreck. Pack to win 34-9
 
Panthers @ Saints – Saints will be tested more than a lot of people think. Don’t be fooled by Jake Delhomme’s errant arm, he has a supporting cast that can run all over teams. Ok I’ll do it here and now, sound the alarm this is my UPSET SPECIAL. Panthers can run and keep Drew Brees off the field – Panthers to eek by 23-21  
 
Lions @ Seahawks – Two words – Matt Hasslebeck – ‘Hawks win 27-10
 
Chargers @ Giants – The Giants grasp on the 2009 playoffs is currently slippier than the plastic sheets covering the carpet in a pornographic cinema in Soho. The Chargers, like a 4 x 400m relay team, seem to put their worst performances first, and then just get better. If the Giants fail to get the W here their season could fall apart. I would love to predict a Giants loss, but I just can’t – Giants to win 19-17
 
Titans @ 49ers – One team has one win, and one team has faded after a false dawn. This again is not gonna be a beauty contest in terms of class, but I do like to see Frank Gore and Chris Johnson battling to see who is the better back on the day. Alex Smith – yuk! – Titans to keep rolling 23-20
 
Cowboys @ Eagles – My game of the week by a country mile. Romo v McNabb is worthy of being an NFC Championship matchup. I think the Vikings will have something to say about that, but it is possible. As you can see above I think the Eagles WRs are a classy young bunch that can do damage against the unfamiliar Cowboys secondary. Ill expect some turnovers and some hard hits, but the edge goes to the home team and the Eagles fans – Eagles to win 33-24
 
Steelers @ Broncos – Big fat balls – we don’t get to see MNF here in England so why should I waste my time predicting this game. I wont even see tv highlights until the Friday. This will be a great game. Josh McDaniels started the season looking like the men in white coats needed to cart him away. Now he is wearing a white coat, but it is as a scientist, who has found a formula for success. Steelers will bring the Broncos back to earth though – Steelers to win 31-21
 
Any thoughts ??