Monday, 28 November 2011 10:42
Popsicles Will Fall Before NY Giants Beat New Orleans Saints
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drew_brees_jvlastnews_thumbWith a bye and an extra day to prepare for the Giants, the 7-3 Saints will do their best to keep pace with the 49ers for the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs when they face off against struggling New York on ESPN's Monday Night Football Game at 7:30 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The 49ers slipped to 9-2 with a loss in Baltimore on Thursday night.

It looks depressingly glum for the limping Giants (6-4) because it is. There signs are everywhere that they are in the early stages of another late-season meltdown. The Giants will not be favored in any of their next three games, and logic dictates they will have a tough time winning in New Orleans, and anyone paying attention knows that knocking off the unbeaten Packers is going to be a monumental upset by someone.  Odds-makers have the Saints ranked as the team most likely to hand the Packers their first loss (playoffs).

What hope the Giants have is that Eli Manning is usually hot in domes, and the passing game could thrive against the Saints. The Giants running game is ranked 31st in the NFL ,averaging 83.2 yards per game -- lowest figure for the franchise since 1945.

But look at the bright side of it Eli, his parents only have a 10-minute drive to see you  play.  But I don't trust the Giants to be able to stop Drew Brees, Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles. Good luck with that.

Graham, only in his second season, is one of the most prolific tight ends in the league. Through 10 games,  he has already broken the Saints' single-season franchise records and leads all NFL tight ends in receptions (62) and yards (873) and leads the high-scoring Saints with six touchdown catches. The only other player in the league who has hauled in more catches is Wes Welker, who has 74 catches for the Patriots.

Graham leads a parade of offensive weapons, as Brees has at his disposal six players with at least 29 receptions, led by the towering 6-foot-6 Graham and the tiny 5-foot-6 scatback Sproles, who has 60 receptions coming out of the backfield.

"What I like about the Saints is we don't have any selfish players," said Sproles, who leads the NFL with 1,6704 all-purpose yards. "We all got our roles and we like our roles."

This record-breaking season, Brees has completed 299-of-422 passes (70.9 per cent) for a league-best of 3,326 yards. He's  first in attempts, completions and yardage, and second in third-down passer rating (128.6) and completion percentage.

Saints coach Sean Payton, a former Giants assistant, said he is concerned with the pass-rushing ability of the Giants' defensive linemen, which give the Giants the luxury of not having to resort to blitzing.

"They're No. 1 in the league in sacks, and they can rush the passer," said Payton. "Those one-on-one battles will be a challenge."

The Giants desperately need a win and are getting seven points from the oddsmakers. But popsicles will fall from the skies before the Giants will cover the seven points.

Prediction: Take the Saints and lay the seven points. Final: Saints 34, Giants 23.

Patrick Peterson took a punt 80 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter to give the Cardinals a 20-10 lead over the Rams on Sunday. The former LSU cornerback's touchdown was his fourth of the season on a punt return, tying him for the NFL single-season record. Devin Hester, Rich Upchurch and Jack Christianson have also returned the trick, but Peterson is the only one of the four to go 80 or more yards on each of the returns. "When I get past the one-third, I know I'm going all the way," said Peterson after his last touchdown. He was the fifth over-all player picked in the  last draft...Dumb Sports Quote: " I feel like I'm the best, but you're not going to get me to say that." -- Jerry Rice (Something tells me you say it often, Jerry.)From Bob Kravitz, indy star.com: "If you saw Cam Newton on Sunday,  you know why Peyton Manning has played his last down as a  Colt because the extraordinary quarterback is a rookie this year, just as Andrew Luck will be a Colts rookie next year, and rookie quarterbacks of their caliber must play right away."...

by Ed Staton

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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography.  

 

Website: www.louisianasportstalk.com
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