NEW ORLEANS — If not now, when? If not this team, who? In 4 years Ed Orgeron has assembled a team that's equal to the football Death Star Nick Saban has built in Tuscaloosa. For the first time in 8 years as an LSU fan I don't need to convince myself the Tiger quarterback can pull some once in a lifetime magical performance out of a hat, all I ask is for is Joe Burrow to be Joe Burrow.

Can we take a minute to celebrate Ed Orgeron? The guy who was a unique hire four years ago has built the LSU team we wanted him to the day he was made full time coach. He changed the offense and recruited brilliantly. LSU football being led by a Cajun in his dream job will never not be fantastic to me. So I salute you Coach O, you are doing it.

LSU finally has an offense more than capable of going blow for blow with the Crimson Tide. The biggest question in every LSU-Bama game is always, "Can LSU's offensive line block Alabama?" More than offensive play calling or even quarterback, that's been the main reason LSU has mostly been awful vs. Nick Saban since 2012. The Tigers can't block the Tide and then are either quickly or slowly smothered to death.

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LSU faced two top 15 defenses in Florida and Auburn and the offensive line held up. Those games were at home but in the last 50 years the Tigers are better against the Tide in Alabama anyway.

Maybe I'm Charlie Brown and my belief in LSU against Alabama is Lucy with the football, but life is more fun if we close our eyes and dream the dream we want and not the nightmare we fear. Once more into the breech, believing the impossible dream.

LSU 31-27

New Orleans (-12.5) vs Atlanta

The Falcons in an attempt to save their dying season are having the wide receiver coach coach defensive backs. Maybe that will help their defense allow less than 31.5 points? If the Titanic had only rearranged those deck chairs y'all.

Matt Ryan is likely to start ,and if he's not completely healthy, the Saints may sack him 76 times. Saints-Falcons games can get weird but that seems much more likely when Saints travel to Atlanta for a Thanksgiving Day clash. This Sunday feels like the Saints do awful awful things to Atlanta the way Uncle Billy Sherman did way back in the 1860a. Sean Payton conjuring up a certain score might blow the roof off the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Saints 28-3

Buffalo (+2.5) at Cleveland

Vegas thinks so highly of the 6-2 Bills they are a 2.5 point underdog against the 2-6 Cleveland. How bad is Baker Mayfield? Even Odell Beckham Jr could make end stage Eli Manning look average most weeks.

Bills 20-17  

Green Bay (-5.5) vs Carolina

It doesn't matter who loses because either result is a winner for the Saints. 

Packers 24-13

San Francisco (-6) vs Seattle

The 49ers are good. It pains me to type that because I hate them.

49ers 28-21

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Ralph Malbrough is a contributing writer and Saints fan living in Houston. Email him at saintshappyhour@gmail.com, find him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter at @SaintsForecast or download the Saints Happy Hour Podcast.

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