*Ralph Malbrough's picks for the second week of the NFL season.
Life is weird in that with most things we can’t figure out where the ending was until it’s long behind. We look back and say, “It was kind of the end of that relationship when we fought about a vacation, which we had never done before. I didn’t know it then, but it was the beginning of the end.” We are at the end for Sean Payton and Drew Brees’ time in New Orleans. That’s why Monday hit us like a ton of bricks. It felt different for a host of reasons. Maybe it was fact Saints only had 10 players on the field to start the game on defense or maybe it was Sean Payton’s utter disbelief after the game. “Lot to clean up.”
He sounded like me talking about my 21-month-old when I realize at the end of the day Max has destroyed the entire house. How did this happen? I was here all day and yet the house looks like Armageddon arrived. Where do I even start this clean up? Why is the IPad in the bathtub covered in mustard? Payton seemed overwhelmed after, like even he knows 2017 is a hopeless 7-9 redux at best. Your instinct, if this season is a repeat of what we have been watching or maybe even worse, is going to be to run away and ignore the car crash the Drew Brees/Sean Payton Saints turn into. Don’t do it. Don’t walk away.
The end is near for the Drew Brees Era. You know it. We can feel it, we can sense it. The end of this magical ride is closing in fast. Much like a favorite dying relative your instinct might be to stay away as the 2017 Saints slip into the abyss of awful because you’d rather not see Sean Payton and Drew Brees’ time in New Orleans end this way, but don’t let the ending ruin the good bye.
I was there at the beginning when Steve Gleason ushered in the Golden Age of Saints football, and I’m going to try to be there at the end when everything is over. I’m going to try to go to as many games as I can. The worse it gets, the more I’m going to need to see every moment of this long good bye in person.
Drew Brees is still going to have three or four magical games in him and if the Saints are mediocre or worse he’s not sticking around in 2018. At this point who can blame him, but that’s a discussion for another day. Drew Brees on fire is the best Saints experience I’ve ever had. I need to have course through my body a few more times before it’s gone. I need ‘Crunk’ playing in the Dome as the Saints just scored to tie a game at 34 with 35 seconds left.
The wins and losses won’t matter. 2017 is all about drinking up the joy of Drew Brees and Sean Payton creating point scoring magic. If the Saints are a hot mess and 3-12 when the finish the home schedule on December 24, I’m gonna move heaven and earth to be in the Superdome. I won’t be doing this for Drew Brees or Sean Payton because they deserve our appreciation for the best decade of Saints football we are likely ever to experience.
I’m doing it for me. Call me nostalgic or sappy, but if I ignore the end of this story, my experience will be incomplete. Besides, if Drew does something unbelievable, in 20 years when ESPN flashes a graphic up of great passing games and ‘Brees 475 2017’ pops up I don’t want my son asking me if I was there and my response being, “No Max, the Saints were 2-12 and I didn’t want to fly in and watch so I sold tickets on Stubhub.”
I want to say I caught every moment; the highest highs, the lowest lows, and everything in between. Drew Brees magic is still magic even if the Saints aren’t winning. It seem like it’s only pain now, but you’ll want the memories. In the words of Hunter S. Thompson, “You bought the ticket, ride the ride.” All the way until the end. At this point it’s all about memories. Just be fun on Sunday Saints.
The Games Last Week: 1-4 Season: 1-4
New England (-4.5) at New Orleans: Since 2003 the Patriots are 36-4 following a loss. If that’s not scary enough, hidden in the Saints 29-19 game was how well Drew Brees played. Did you notice those big throws he made to Coby Fleener were all into incredible coverage, while Sam Bradford was throwing to wide open guys? On a bunch of throws against the Vikings, if Brees is just 6 inches off, the Vikings would have had multiple interceptions. New England might have stunk against Kansas City, but their secondary can still cover and a beat up Saints offensive line is probably the perfect cure for their struggling pass rush. The over/under on Brandin Cooks receiving yards Sunday is whatever the current national debt is. Trillions. Trillions. If the Saints can manage to have 11 guys on the field against Tom Brady for the first play of the game they will already have done something they couldn’t do against Minnesota. Progress must begin with the smallest step or something.
How confident am I in a New England win? If the Saints manage to win this game it would be the biggest upset in team history since the Saints defeated the defending Super Bowl Champion St. Louis Rams in Aaron Brooks first NFL start. It’s going to take a miracle.
I’m going to this game because it’s probably the last time as a Saints fan I’ll get to go to the Superdome and be able to watch two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks. After Monday night I’ve decided I’m going to attend as many Saints homes games as I can, which might sound strange since the Saints look fairly likely to be bad or at best 7-9. The end is near for the Drew Brees Era. You know it. We can feel it, we can sense it. The end of this magical ride is closing in fast. Much like a favorite dying relative your instinct might be to stay away as the 2017 Saints slip into the abyss of awful because you’d rather not see Sean Payton and Drew Brees’ time in New Orleans end this way, but don’t let the ending ruin the good bye.
I was there at the beginning when Steve Gleason ushered in the Golden Age of Saints football, and I’m going to try to be there at the end when everything is over.
My excitement about a home opener couldn’t possibly be lower. I see no scenario where the Saints win, I’m just hoping Drew Brees is amazing and the game is entertaining. It will be for about three quarters. Patriots 37-24
Tampa Bay (-6.5) vs. Chicago: Get used to the basement of the NFC South kids; the Saints are going to be there a while.
Indianapolis (+7.5) vs Arizona: These two teams rivaled the Saints for ‘Worst Week 1’ honors. Bruce Arians had the same look of Sean Payton; the ‘I don’t have any answers to these problems’ look of sadness. The Colts not signing a competent backup quarterback while knowing Andrew Luck was hurt is a football felony. I’m still picking them. Colts 20-16 San Francisco (+13) at Seattle: The Seahawks offensive line is like the Saints cornerbacks; so horrible you want to look away but can’t.
Cleveland (+7.5) at Baltimore: The only difference between the Browns and the Saints is Drew Brees. Don’t believe me? Look at the rosters. The Browns are playing just as many young guys as the Saints. Results are gonna be about the same.
Ralph Malbrough is a Saints fan living in Houston. Email him at Saintshappyhour@gmail.com, find him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SaintsForecast or download his podcast at iTunes