There are some teams I really hate. The San Francisco 49ers, Boston Celtics, Auburn Tigers, LSU Tigers, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Mets, and New Orleans Saints. And this week, the Atlanta Falcons are coming to the Saints’ Superdome.
Why do I hate this team? Well, for starters, the rivalry between these two of the first southern NFL teams dates back almost fifty years. That’s one way to build a hated rivalry. Another thing is that this team (warning to the easily offended: stop here) represents probably the worst state of the union. Louisiana can match up with with any other ridiculed state’s reputation for bigotry, political corruption (Huey Long, Edwin Edwards, William Jefferson, David Vitter), organized crime (possibly the mafia’s lone significant foothold in the South), and being close to last in everything.
I just have to laugh when Saints fans, despite supporting the representatives of this sad state, have the gall to bitch about what a dump Atlanta, if not the state of Georgia as a whole, supposedly is.
Now that I’m through with that rant, I can move on to this game. While the Falcons have historically dominated the Saints, things have changed a lot since Drew Brees came to New Orleans. Last year was one of several in which they swept us. Now we go to the Superdome in what I assume will include a narration about the ten-year anniversary of the post-Katrina game, complete with replays of the infamous blocked punt.
Can we win this time? With Matt Ryan finally seeming to have adjusted to Kyle Shanahan’s scheme, Alex Mack at center and what appears to be a more complete receiving corps than last year, I’m not worried about our offense repeating last year’s turnovers that cost us the games against the Saints, along with a number of others. What does concern me is defensive bungles.
With two games in the books, our defense is the 4th worst in the NFL rankings, but it hasn’t been as consistently bad as some have thought. two or three Tampa Bay touchdowns and another couple Oakland touchdowns were enabled by oafish defensive penalties on third down that extended drives that were about to end. Otherwise, instead of 1-1 we’re 2-0 with a blowout of Oakland!
So here’s my main key to the game: get the defense to play more disciplined. Don’t give Drew Brees extra chances. He’ll make you pay. If we can just avoid that, I think we can impair New Orleans’ offense enough to come out on top. RISE UP!!!