Jim Henderson / Sports Director
Experience is a heartless and invaluable teacher.
Next Saturday night the Detroit Lions will learn from their first playoff game in 12 years. The Saints will try to show what they’ve learned in their third straight year in the playoffs that included a Super Bowl run two years ago and a shocking first round exit a year later.
Last season the Saints had a first round matchup against a Seattle Seahawk team that they had defeated in the Superdome in Game 10, 34-19. This season the Saints will have a first round matchup against a Detroit team they defeated about a month ago in the Mercedes Benz Superdome in Game 12, 31-17.
There is much to suggest the combination of a season-ending eight-game winning streak, a healthier team, playing at home and the recent experience gained through both a successful and unsuccessful postseason performance will be too great a challenge for the playoff neophytes from Detroit to overcome.
But, we shall see, as a national television audience will as well Saturday.
Prime time, where the Saints have excelled since their season-opening loss in Green Bay, prime time where the ratings reflect the nation’s interest in watching this multi-record breaking offense of the Saints in one of the NFL’s most colorful settings.
“The Greatest Show on Turf,” the 2000 Rams, have had their records blown up like disco night in Cleveland. Blown up by the “Flying Paytonskis” high wire act of the Saints under the big top on Poydras Street.
In 2009, it became apparent that the sexiest Super Bowl matchup would be between Peyton Manning and the Colts and Drew Brees and the Saints. It almost seemed preordained that it would occur, and it did.
This season, if you remove the Green Bay Packers from the equation – and someone, perhaps the Saints, will have to – the sexiest Super Bowl matchup would be the Saints and the New England Patriots.
Two 13-3 football teams, two teams on eight-game winning streaks, the most prolific single season passers in NFL history throwing to the two most prolific pass-catching tight ends in NFL history.
Who Dat? Why not Dat?
But, we get ahead of ourselves, and the most important thing for that to occur is Dat the Saints do not.