Dec 27, 2008

Saints vs. Panthers

The Saints finish the regular season this week against the Carolina Panthers, and the game is all about Drew Brees and his attempt at breaking Dan Marino's passing yardage record. For the Panthers, the game means a bit more, as a win will give them the division title and a first round bye.

The Saints have been out of the playoff hunt for a couple of weeks now, but a winning record is still in their sights as well. A 9-7 finish will feel a whole lot better than 8-8, especially with how good the NFC South has been this year.

Injuries have killed the Saints this year and fans can't help but wonder how the year would have been different if everyone had stayed healthy. But that's the life of a football team, so you can't blame injuries. The good teams overcome them.

Saints 34
Panthers 32

Dec 21, 2008

Saints at Lions

The Saints were officially eliminated from the playoffs last week. Reggie Bush became the 17th player to be put on IR. Owner Tom Benson had surgery to remove a cancerous growth. In other words, it hasn't been a great week for the Saints. With two games left in the season, there's not much left to play for, except for maybe pride. But many Saints fans might say that the team hasn't played for pride so far, so why should they start now?

Well, the main pride factor is that they are playing the 0-14 Lions and don't want to be the first team to lose to them this year. In the 70s, the Saints bailed out the Tampa Bay Bucs to end their losing streak. The Saints don't want to be generous twice.

There also the incentive to finish the season with a winning record and 9-7 looks a whole lot better than 7-9. The Saints may also try to help Drew Brees to reach Dan Marino's passing record, but he needs to average more than 370 yards in the last two games to get that so it will be difficult.

Mainly, the Saints are playing out the stretch and young guys want to show that they belong in the lineup next year. Some players are playing for a contract next year or a free agent deal on the open market. It will be interesting to see how they approach the last two games and how the season ends. If they finish 9-7, they can feel good about the year and know that injuries and close games cost them the playoffs. A 7-9 or 8-8 would be more disappointing and would leave fans with another long offseason.

Saints 30
Lions 22

Dec 17, 2008

Joe Horn Visits the Giants

Former Saints fan favorite Joe Horn may soon be back in the NFL. He reportedly visited the NY Giants and could sign there for a playoff run.

When Plaxico Burress was suspended for his actions with a handgun, I wondered if Horn would get a call from the Giants. After their two-game losing streak, New York realizes that they need a veteran receiver for the playoffs.

I wish Horn nothing but the best with the Giants and hope that he completes his career by winning a ring with the team. Horn, while sometimes controversial, seemed to always have the fans in mind when he played. He entertained on the field and spoke his mind off it.

I know he'll be in the Saints Hall of Fame one day, as pretty much any player who had a decent Saints career gets in, but right now I'll be rooting for him and the Giants in the playoffs.

Upadte: Horn isn't signing with the Giants.

Dec 15, 2008

Clearing up the Saints, Giants/Jets Trades

This past offseason, the Saints made trades with both the Giants and Jets for Jeremy Shockey and Jonathan Vilma. Those deals could have involved some of the same draft picks, forcing New Orleans to give up their first round pick this year. Luckily, it looks like the Saints will be smart with this one and not force themselves to give up their number one pick.

If the Saints had resigned Vilma during the season, they would have to give their second round pick to the Jets. But they previously traded their second, along with a fifth rounder, to the Giants for Shockey. If the Jets got the second, then the Saints would ship their first to the G-Men. How dumb would the Saints have to be to trigger that to happen? They can easily talk to Vilma's agent and resign him the first day of free agency in March.

Now the Saints will be without second and third round picks in April, but they get back a fourth from the Jets in the deal, giving them two fourth round picks. Confused yet?

Dec 12, 2008

Heisman Trophy Race

This weekend, the Heisman Trophy will be given to one of three players: Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, Florida quarterback Tim Tebow and Texas quarterback Colt McCoy. Many experts expect this to be one of the closest Heisman races in a long time.

If I had a vote, this is how my ballot would have looked:

1. Tim Tebow
2. Colt McCoy
3. Sam Bradford

While Bradford has the most "wow" stats at first glance, his numbers got inflated by Bob Stoops trying to run up the score each week. Also, his stats are comparable to Graham Herrell of Texas Tech, also from the Big 12. I like McCoy and feel he may get some "sympathy" votes due to the way Texas was left out of the Big 12 title game, but in the end, I have to go with Tebow.

Last week on a local radio station, they conducted a poll of callers asking if you could start a college football program with one current player, who would it be? I don't think anyone answered with someone other than Tebow. He's is one of, if not the best, college football players I'll ever get to watch.

Sure, its hard to root for someone playing for the rival Gators, but the way he leads his team to victory and won't settle for anything less than 100% from everyone is commendable. Off the field, much has been written about his beliefs and lifestyle and from what I can tell, it's all genuine. Most of the season, he wasn't putting up the buzz-worthy numbers that he did last year, but he still ended up with great stats: 2,515 yards passing, 28 TDs, 2 Ints wit 564 rushing yards and 12 TDs. And to think that he could be a two-time Heisman Trophy winner as a junior is unheard of.

No matter who wins this year, it will be hard to argue. Each finalist is deserving and all the quarterbacks led their teams to one-loss seasons. It will be an interesting night this Saturday.

Chick-fil-A Bowl: LSU vs. Georgia Tech

After a disappointing 7-5 season, LSU has accepted a bid to the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta. The bowl matchups were announced on Sunday, but Chick-fil-A bowl representatives made a trip to Baton Rouge yesterday to officially welcome the Tigers to play #14 Georgia Tech on Dec. 31.

LSU will have their hands full with Georgia Tech's rushing attack. Under Les Miles, the Tigers haven't lost a bowl game and an already agitated fan base would become unruly if LSU picks up their 5th loss of the season. LSU has a history of playing in the Atlanta game (formerly the Peach Bowl), where they recently defeated Miami in 2005.

Here's a look at the SEC Bowl games this year:

Independence Bowl (Dec. 28 on ESPN): Northern Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech* Bowl (Dec. 29 on ESPN): NC State vs. Rutgers*

Music City Bowl
(Dec. 31 on ESPN): Vanderbilt vs. Boston College

Chick-fil-A Bowl (Dec. 31 on ESPN): LSU vs. Georgia Tech

Outback Bowl (Jan. 1 on ESPN): South Carolina vs. Iowa

Capital One Bowl (Jan. 1 on ABC): Georgia vs. Michigan State

Cotton Bowl
(Jan. 2 on Fox): Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech

Liberty Bowl (Jan. 2 on ESPN): Kentucky vs. East Carolina

Sugar Bowl (Jan. 2 on Fox): Alabama vs. Utah

BCS National Championship (Jan. 8 on Fox): Florida vs. Oklahoma

*Not enough SEC teams bowl eligible

Dec 11, 2008

Saints at Bears

The Saints last two trips to Soldier Field in Chicago haven't been memorable for them the past two year. Both times, the Saints didn't play well and came home with a loss. If they lose tonight to the Bears, despite having two games left, there season will basically be over.

The weather is expected to be a major factor in the game. It will be the coldest game the Saints have played in since the NFC Championship two years ago. The Saints got back to basics last week and established a running game against the Falcons. They'll need more of that against the Bears, as the winds are expected to be in the 20 mph range, not ideal conditions for Sean Payton/Drew Brees' aerial attack.

The Saints defense has been playing better the past few weeks and they'll have their hands full stopping rookie RB Matt Forte. The Bears passing game shouldn't be great facing the same wind conditions as the Saints, so they'll try to get Forte going against New Orleans. Special teams could become a factor as the Bears specialists are used to kicking in the cold and the Saints specialist are mid-season pickup rookies.

Saints 20
Bears 17

Dec 10, 2008

A Look at the 2009 NFL Draft

The Saints are in the midst of the Wild Card chase after getting their record back over .500 with a victory over the Atlanta Falcons. They now have to travel to a windy and cold Soldier Field to take on the Chicago Bears on Thursday night. With all that said, this season is far from over ... but that doesn't mean its too early to look toward the 2009 NFL Draft.

The NFL Draft is one of my favorite sports weekends. It brings together college and pro football and fans get 18+ hours of football in the spring. What's not to love about "upside," "reaches," trades, and Mel Kiper's hair? Anyway, here's an early look at who a few draft sites have the Saints grabbing in the first round:

NFL Draft Countdown:
14th Pick: Aaron Curry, OLB, Wake Forest

Walter Football:
15th Pick: Aaron Curry, OLB, Wake Forest

NE Patriots Draft:
14th Pick: James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State

NFL Draft Site:
14th Pick: Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi

New NFL Draft:
16th Pick: William Moore, S, Missouri

NFL Draft Dog:
14th Pick: Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech
15th Pick: Aaron Curry, OLB, Wake Forest

Football's Future:
16th Pick: Brian Cushing, LB, USC

NFL Draft Source:
14th Pick: Brandon Spikes, LB, Florida

Huddle Geeks:
11th Pick: Taylor Mays, FS, USC

Obsessed with Sports:
13th Pick: Taylor Mays, FS, USC

The NFL-Draft-Site:
10th Pick:
Aaron Curry, OLB, Wake Forest

Dec 8, 2008

The Oceanic Six Hoax

Get ready for Season 5 of Lost. Could this play a part in next season or is it just to get fans excited about the upcoming premiere?

This video is apparently an extra on the Season 4 DVDs, released tomorrow. Here are a few more videos from the DVDs.

UPDATE: The video has been taken down, but you can still find it on youtube.

Morten Andersen hangs 'em up

One of the all-time great Saints, Morten Andersen, has announced his retirement after 25 years in the NFL. Andersen played for five teams during his career: New Orleans, Atlanta, Kansas City, New York Giants and Minnesota.

I remember when the Saints let Morten go in 1994. It was a sad day for many and became even sadder when he signed with the Saints hated rival, Atlanta. Coach Jim Mora thought he didn't have anything left in the tank and 14 years later, Andersen finally agrees with Mora.

There were rumors earlier this year that Andersen wanted to sign a contract with the Saints to come in and kick one extra point and officially finish as a Saint. With his knee problems and the Saints now reliable kicking game with rookie Garrett Harley, that unfortunately won't happen.

Andersen should go to the NFL Hall of Fame in a few years and having spent the most time with the Saints, Andersen can be considered a New Orleans Saint when he is inducted. Congratulations to the "Great Dane" on a great NFL career. The league and kicking won't be the same without you. Thank you for all the memories.

Dec 6, 2008

Saints vs. Falcons

The Saints post-season hopes are practically through, but they still have an outside shot if they run the table and get some help. To run the table, they must first get past the red-hot Falcons on Sunday.

Atlanta beat New Orleans 34-20 earlier this year, but the game wasn't as close as the score since the Saints got a "Hail Mary" TD at the end of the game. This week, the Saints look to get revenge for that loss and build on the positives from last week in Tampa when the defense played well.

The Saints received some good news this week when Deuce McAllister and Will Smith were allowed to play this weekend. Their suspensions are still likely to be upheld, along with Charles Grant, but at least fans get to see Deuce in the dome one more time.

Saints 24
Falcons 21

Dec 1, 2008

LSU Bowl Projections

Another week and another head scratching loss for the Tigers. LSU has finished the regular season with a disappointing 7-5 record. My how the mighty have fallen.

Many fans will place the blame for the poor season on the quarterback, or lack of a true starting QB, but that wouldn't be fair. Despite sometimes erratic play from the QB position, LSU's offense wasn't the reason they lost five games. The main problem was the defense and every LSU fan will be looking to Les Miles to see what he does about it in the offseason.

Already rumors are flying that LSU has hired Tennessee defensive coordinator John Chavis or that Ed Ogeron is bolting the Black and Gold for the Purple and Gold. Both of these moves would be an upgrade over the two-headed monster of co-coordinators that LSU employed this year.

But before LSU can make changes and evaluate the season, they must truely finish the season. So where will the Tigers end up bowling? Lucky for LSU, this is a down year in the SEC, with the conference not having enought six-win teams to fill out their bowl tie-ins. Also helping the Tigers' case is that both SEC Championship participants, Florida and Alabama, are likely to get BCS berths, leaving the rest of the top bowl scrambling to fill their spots with Georgia, Ole Miss and the 7-5/6-6 average teams like LSU.

Looking at LSU's likely bowl chances, the Tigers will probably be facing a familiar oppenent with teams like Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Iowa (all teams that LSU has faced recenlty in bowl or the regular season) in the bowl.

Here's where the experts project LSU to go bowling:

ESPN's Mark Schlabach:
Chick-fil-A:: LSU vs. Virginia Tech

ESPN's Bruce Feldman:
Outback: LSU vs. Iowa

CBS Sportsline:
Chick-fil-A:: LSU vs. Georgia Tech

NBC Sports:
Chick-fil-A: LSU vs. Georgia Tech
Outback: LSU vs. Iowa

Sporting News:
Chick-fil-A: LSU vs. Georgia Tech

Stewart Mandel (
LSU vs. Georgia Tech

Also, for the record, I think Texas got hosed in the Big 12 championship. Sure there was a three-way tie and based on their tie-breaker, Oklahoma rightfully goes to the game. But you have to look at head-to-head between the two teams. Having Texas Tech involved was a joke. Sure they beat Texas, but Texas dropped a game clinching interception at the end and loss on a last second play and the Red Raiders should have lost to Baylor, ending the entire three-way problem.

If the Big 12 had a rule similar to the SEC tie breaker, Texas would go to the championship game. The Harris Poll voters tried to do the right thing but with the stupid BCS system, the computers liked Oklahoma more. How dumb is that? It's not what you do on the playing field anymore that matters. The main thing is if the computers like you.