NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans Saints fans want our Super Bowl appearance the referees stole from us with their incompetence at the end of regulation during the 2018 NFC Championship Game, but that's a result that is five months away. What should Saints fans want from the 2019 NFL regular season? How do we enjoy the next 16 weeks of Saints football? 

What we really want is to get back to that moment Tommylee Lewis got launched what felt like 10 rows deep into the crowd and have the referees throw the flag instead of looking at their Instagram feed or whatever they were doing instead of officiating a football game, except according to the court system, that's not possible. The 2019 Saints season is here and it's back to the beginning all over again.

What can make the long hard journey back up the mountain enjoyable? Winning? That's fun ,but after the pain of the ending of last year, I for one need more.

I need the 2019 Saints to be John Wick angry. Instead of Keanu Reeves and his dreamy eyes shattering Russian body parts as payback for the murder of his dog, I need the New Orleans Saints doing the same on the football field. I know my analogy falls apart when you think of a missed pass interference call as a adorable puppy, but John Wick is awesome so just go with it, and the 2019 Saints laying waste to the entire NFL is the only thing that will ease our pain.  

What we need, what I want, is vengeance.

I want the Saints to humiliate opponents. I want scores run up. I crave touchdown celebrations that make old sportswriters write 900 words on “How Saints aren't playing the game the right way”. I want Michael Thomas to have a dance club with lights, smoke and a DJ in the Mercedes Benz Superdome end zone.  Michael, let's make the Joe Horn cellphone performance look like Barry Sanders flipping the ball to the referee after a 75-yard touchdown run. You can do it, I believe in your inventiveness.

Maybe the Boonk Gang can create Broadway quality choreography following defensive turnovers? Second lining around the Dome following a fumble recovery sounds ridiculous and decadent but can we be certain unless we actually experience it? 

The rest of the NFL fans and media hate the Saints anyway. Sean Payton's arrogance, Roger Goodell's half baked Bounty Gate investigation, our Super Bowl boycott, and Saints getting pass interference reviewable have the Whodat Nation right up there with the Patriots as most disliked teams and fan bases.

The media is going to complain about Saints fans not getting over the 2018 NFC Championship while continuing to mention it every game the Saints play. We aren't over it, we might never get over it, and the only therapy that helps us will be the Saints pile driving foes and mocking the entire NFL as they do it.

Why did the Saints need those two extra touchdowns against the Texans during a 45-14 destruction Monday night Sean Payton?

“We just wanted to make sure the game wasn't close. Don't want to let officiating decide games. We've had disappointing outcomes when that happens.”

Then Sean could wink at the camera. Media over the age of 50 would need one of those 19th century fainting couches.

The 2019 Saints in the immortal words of John Wick should say, “Yeah I’m thinking I’m back.”

John Wick doesn’t care what you like or don’t like. He’s just here even things out, if that takes destroying an entire criminal enterprise by himself, so be it.

The 2019 Saints season can't just be about getting back to the moment where our Super Bowl dreams were smashed and swiped away and changing the outcome to a Saints win. We need jubilance and revelry along the way. We need winning with style, fun, and the rest of the football world hating us because the Saints are mad as hell they got a Super Bowl snatched away by ineptitude and every week someone has to pay for our pain. And the price is the Saints opponent ruination.

There's no redemption from the ending of 2018 for the Saints or the fans. How does one get redemption from larceny of our hopes and dreams? It's not possible. The only fulfillment left is to set the NFL on fire and dance around the flames as it burns. Or in John Wick’s case, call someone to clean up the annihilation he just left behind in his wake. 

Saints Fan Mood and Meditation Music: Let the Bodies Hit the Floor – Deadpool

The last seven months I'll just randomly think about the NFC Championship Game and get mad, sad, and want to punch a wall. Someone needs to suffer for it every Sunday, Monday, or Thursday this fall. Let Deadpool inject the perfect amount of football rage into your veins to get ready for 2019.  Hey Saints, go create some football carnage and carve out a path of destruction that by December the rest of America both loathes and dreads seeing the Saints on their TV.  Go turn other football teams fan bases hopes and dreams to dust.

The Games

New Orleans (-7) vs. Houston: The Houston Texans took a sledgehammer to their roster this week and traded away two future first round picks to acquire a top flight offensive tackle to replace the one they traded away a couple seasons ago. They also shipped a Pro Bowl pass rusher, Jadeveon Clowney, to Seattle for a giant bag of nothing. 

Good luck incorporating a new left tackle and new wide receiver (Kenny Stills) into the game plan in a week. Did I mention the Texans also lost their #1 running back to an injured knee this preseason?

While Houston had a chaotic summer, the Saints had a gloriously boring training camp and preseason. No major injuries and nothing really interesting and exciting happened until the Saints traded for Miami linebacker Kiko Alonso on Sunday morning. I'm not sure if Kiko will be any good on the field but he is frighteningly good looking.

The Saints acquired a starting caliber linebacker for a guy who probably wasn't even making their 53-man roster. General Manager Mickey Loomis really is a wizard. He conjured a starting linebacker from nothing. Harry Potter would be jealous of that type of sorcery.

Deshaun Watson is a great young quarterback, when he's not running for his life. Watson got sacked 62 times in 2018. To put that in perspective, Drew Brees has been sacked 67 times THE LAST 3 YEARS COMBINED. If Saints defense is able to get to Watson and contain DeAndre Hopkins, Houston will have hard time scoring.

This game is sneaky must win for the Saints because they are facing trips to Los Angeles and Seattle the next two weeks. It's as must a win season opener as a 13-3 team can face. I'll be in attendance Monday Night and expect the Saints to open the season with a win for first time since 2013.

Saints 31-10  

Minnesota (-4) vs Atlanta: The 2019 Falcons are either going 12-4 and winning the division or 6-10 and Dan Quinn is getting fired. I know what I'm hoping for...

Vikings 31-24

Carolina (-3) vs Los Angeles Rams: Carolina's offense will be scary good if Cam Newton is healthy. I hate both these teams so much. Can I just root for both to lose?

Panthers 28-24

Tampa Bay (-1) vs San Francisco: Can Bruce Arians stop Jameis Winston from throwing horrific interceptions?  I have doubts about that, but the 49ers look terrifyingly terrible.  

Bucs 35-21

Buffalo (+3) at New York Jets: The Bills are my choice as random team to go 10-6 for no particular reason.

Bills 23-17

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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 NSFW Saints Happy Hour Podcast.

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

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