NFL Best Bets for Wildcard Weekend
January 5th 2012- Old Man Winner
NO-10.5 vs. Det
Come playoff time teams begin to pull out all the stops - the special team
fakes, the bootlegs, the exotic blitzes, etc. This is the time of year when
games can get very lopsided as nothing is held back. It is also the time of year
when the teams that are peaking and healthy tend to dominate their opposition. I
also believe it is when coaching has a bigger impact on the outcome of games.
At first, I thought this was too big of a spread. It's hard to swallow over 10
points in a playoff game. However, if there is a team that can run up a score
and is not afraid to totally bury a team it is the New Orleans Saints. They are
on an eight game win streak, are undefeated at home this season, and have put up
at least 42 points in each of their last three games, and 45 in each of their
last two games - both at home.
Let's give this both a quantitative and qualitative look see . . .
First, the numbers:
- The Saints are #1 in total offense (467 yds/game), nearly 40 yards/game better
than the next best team (NE).
- The Saints are #2 in total points scored, behind only GB
- The Saints are #1 in passing yards with 5,347 for the year. That is an
all-time NFL record. And, to put it into perspective, that total is only 17
yards shy of the combined passing yards of the San Francisco 49ers and Denver
Broncos combined - both playoff teams!
- The Saints are #6 in yards rushing. Yes, I was surprised to see that they are
averaging 133 yds./game
- Drew Brees threw for 5,476 yds (all-time record), completed 71.2% of his
passes (all-time record - topping his own), threw for 46 TD's (3rd most
all-time), and ended the season with a 110 QB rating (behind only Aaron Rodgers
all-time record). Exactly - he doesn't suck!- Drew Brees may be the most
accurate passer of all time (if you've never watched his sports science segment
you gotta check it out)
- Yes, the Lions are good offensively, but these Saints stats are legendary
- Defensively the Lions and Saints are 23rd and 24th respectively
- GB's second string QB, Matt Flynn, carved up the Lions defense last week to
the tune of 480 yards and 6 passing TD's - and this was in a game that meant
supposedly meant nothing to the Packers and something to the Lions.
Clear Advantage: Saints
Now the softer stuff:
Sean Payton is an offensive genius! He has collected studs at every offensive
position and knows exactly how to create mismatches. You wanna go big, we'll go
quick. You wanna go quick, we'll go big. You wanna blitz, we'll screen and draw
you. You wanna drop 8, we'll dink and dunk you. As MC Hammer would say, "Can't
The Saints could have very easily been going to their third consecutive Super
Bowl this year if not for the defensive egg that they laid in last year's wild
card round of the playoffs where they lost to the Seahawks 41-36 in Seattle.
They will remember that game this week and won't let it happen again, especially
not at home in the Superdome on prime time!
Saints 44 Lions 27