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Forecast: 3 steps to erase your Saints playoff fears

Don't worry friend, my 3 step plan for playoff happiness will have you believe the Saints are about to embark on a journey to a second Lombardi Trophy.

NEW ORLEANS — No NFL team has won more regular-season games in the last 3 years than the New Orleans Saints. Not Tom Brady's Patriots, not anyone. 

It's been a glorious ride with 37 wins in 3 years. To put that in perspective, the first 11 years of their franchise's existence from 1967-1977 the Saints won 39 games TOTAL. There isn't an NFL team that's had more fun in the regular season than the Saints since 2017.

We have now arrived at the part of our program we all desperately wanted but are incredibly frightened of due to past experiences: the playoffs. 

Since the Saints won the Super Bowl in 2009, their playoff exits has been a unique journey into the depths of sports sadness that unbelievably got progressively worse each time.

The playoff disasters of the last two seasons have left me so numb that Beast Quake doesn't even register with me emotionally. Marshawn Lynch in Seattle feels like a thousand years ago. Vernon Davis, something in Minnesota my memory blocks out, and the no-call in the NFC Championship, have happened since and amazingly have rendered a guy running through the entire Saints roster to clinch a playoff game as memorable as a week 6 game against Tampa. 

This is not a good place to be.

I could blather on about "Be positive! Preparing for the worst doesn't make seeing it happen hurt any less!" No. I'm here to help you. I have devised a 3 step plan to wash ALL YOUR NEGATIVE SAINTS PLAYOFF FEARS AWAY!

Do you wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat wishing ill on Vernon Davis and Gregg Williams? Have you cried at a family reunion because some random relative you've never met wore a Seahawks hat and Marshawn Lynch trucking Tracey Porter flashed before your eyes?

Did a waitress ask you if you wanted "No mayo" and you replied "The No call was @#%$, Roger Goodell ruined my life!!" because your heart is filled with trauma?

Don't worry friend, my 3 step plan for playoff happiness will have you believe the Saints are about to embark on a journey to a second Lombardi Trophy. 

Negative thoughts are all just illusions in your mind blocking out the Saints happiness already there!

So let's begin and get you in the right state of mind for the Saints' playoff voyage filled with sunshine and rainbows. 

Step 1: Research

Whatever team the Saints are playing is trash and all you need is a few selective statistics to prove it and thus take a hatchet to those dark thoughts in your head. 

Did you know Kirk Cousins is 0-9 on Monday Night Football and 0-2 in playoff games? Sure, the Saints aren't playing Minnesota on Monday night but The Mercedes-Benz Superdome has a roof so that's practically a night game.  

Did you know the Vikings beat exactly one team with a winning record? The 9-7 Philadelphia Eagles. That barely even counts. Their other good performance is almost beating the Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium. Oh, wait the Chiefs didn't have Patrick Mahomes, and the Vikings got beat by some quarterback named Matt Moore? 

Feeling better? Saints by at least 10.

Step 2: Slander

The second key to Saints' playoff happiness is to slander the opponent. Remind the opposition that they are worthless and they will continue to be against the Saints. 

Minnesota had that miracle or whatever against the Saints in 2017? How'd they do the following week after being gifted a football golden ticket? They got humiliated in Philadelphia. Nice job losing your FIFTH CONSECUTIVE NFC CHAMPIONSHIP VIKINGS!" 

If that kind of Vikings slander doesn't fill your brain with Saints sunshine just remind any Vikings fan “This is not Detroit".  Maybe even make Brett Favre's NFC Championship interception your ring tone. 

You've completed step 2. Congratulations. Feeling good and positive? Almost there. Saints by at least 20. 

Step 3: Scream the Positive

I'm not superstitious, but I do have this odd irrational belief that in huge moments during games that my teams would have won if I'd have just flushed the negative thoughts out of my head. 

If I'd have just believed a little more in 2011 maybe Roman Harper makes a play late against San Francisco. If I could have just pushed that dread out of my skull maybe Greg Zuerlein would have missed that overtime kick. 

In 2017, after the Saints went ahead of the Minnesota Vikings late, my wife was asking me if the Vikings could still win, and I blurted out, "It's unlikely but these are the Saints so catastrophe is always possible." 

As soon as the words left my mouth I wanted to shove them back in. Too late. 

Does Stefon Diggs catch that pass and score no matter what I yell the TV? Probably.

Playoff football is the best and the worst because it's final. I'm sure I'll panic tweet early Sunday if the Saints go sideways. But if the game is tight and the moment comes where a play decides if the Saints win or lose, I'm going to be sending deliriously positive messages to the Saints through my TV. 

I'm going to believe in the 13-3 team averaging 40 points in December. It's crazy but it'll be more fun that way.

So with my 3 step plan, you too can survive another season of Saints playoff football. Implement it today and see results immediately. 

Saints Fan Mood and Meditation Music:

Young and Unafraid – The Moth and the Flame

For huge Saints games, I always put way too much thought in what song to put here. Like I'm firing you up as you read this and need to get it just right. 

I think I used this song in a 2017 column but it fits perfectly. 

You probably have Saints fans in your life that are just 100% negative this week and if you are like me you find it incredibly annoying. “The Saints always lose in the playoffs, they were lucky this year and have some fatal flaw that miraculously didn't show itself during a 13 win season but it's going to Sunday!” they tell us.

I'm thinking about singing this song at them instead of arguing. 

We were just tuning you out

We were just tuning you out

We will keep tuning you out

We are young and unafraid

Young and unafraid. This time it's different. 

The Games


New Orleans (-8) vs Minnesota: 

I won't lie, the Vikings petrify me. 

When you combine the fact they are top 10 in both scoring offense and defense and the playoff record (3-1) they have against the Saints, it fills me with dread. I mostly wrote the column above to improve my own mental state. 

The thing with the 2019 Minnesota Vikings is all their stats say they should be a 12-4 or better team. But Kirk Cousins is wildly inconsistent and even though their offensive line only allowed 28 sacks it has failed them in every big moment this year. 

My head says this will be the Saints hardest playoff game of the 3 they need to win to reach the Super Bowl. The Vikings have all the exact ingredients to give them nightmares (great receivers and excellent pass rush). 

I'm not here for rational thought. 

The touchdown pass record in an NFC playoff game is 5, held by a bunch of players. Drew Brees is going to break it. Why? He's mad he's not on the Top 10 All-Time Quarterback list and someone has to pay for that slight. 

I want vengeance for 2017. I want the Minnesota Vikings destroyed and I want Teddy Bridgewater, the quarterback they gave up on,  playing in the fourth quarter to be the ultimate humiliation. 

All those self-help gurus tell us the only way to get what we desire is to put our 2020 dreams out into the universe so they can happen. I want the entire Minnesota Vikings organization shattered into a million tiny pieces. 

Saints 45-21

Tennessee (+5) at New England: 

The Patriots offense isn't good enough to win 1 playoff game, let alone 3. Ryan Tannehill winning in Foxboro is going to be delightful.

Titans 24-20

Houston (-3) vs Buffalo: 

The Texans looking fantastic and being a trendy upset pick next week in Kansas City and then getting flattened would sum up their season perfectly.

Texans 31-10

Philadelphia (+1) vs Seattle: 

I know Seattle winning potentially gives the Saints a better chance of hosting a second playoff game but I don't care. I'm still mad at Pete Carroll for the end of the 49ers game and costing the Saints a bye. Go Eagles.

Eagles 28-21

More Saints Forecast

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.

(Warning: The Saints Happy Hour Podcast may contain language that is not suitable for all audiences)