Friday, 03 December 2010 12:35
Cincinnati Ochocinco Twitters And New Orleans Saints Hope For Win Tweet
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Chad Ochocinco expects an explosive game between the Saints and his 2-9 Bengals on Sunday at Cincinnati and he's playing the game in honor of slain New Orleans comedian Messey Myra, whose YouTube videos were widely known.

"It's going to be a fun game," predicted Ochocinco, who started a light-hearted trash-talking exchange on Twitter with Saints safety Darren Sharper, who engaged in some trash talking with the Vikings last summer.

"Who Dey vs. Who Dat this Sunday, who are you going with in this game?" Ochocinco wrote. "Thinking of fighting Darren Sharper in pre-game just because I can win."

The Bengals receiver later posted that he will "use the fine money after our fight to donate it to the United Way Fund" and later, in the same post, "It's on now."

Sharper responded by urging Ochocinco not to embarrass himself, then offered some tough talk of his own when reporters asked if he and the Bengals receiver were just joking around.

"You'll see when his helmet comes off on the first time I hit him whether it's fun - see how much smiling there's going to be happening then. I don't play games on the field."{sidebar id=4}

Ochocinco has made a reputation during his 10 years in the NFL as one of the league's top self-promoters and leading receivers. His good-natured ribbing of opponents is a weekly routine for him.

During the back-and-forth with Ochocinco, Shaper posted a photo of the Super Bowl ring. Ochocinco then posted that the sight of the photo left him in an "unstable emotional state."

The Bengals have lost eight straight, but are 11-3-1 at home under Marvin Lewis against NFC teams. However, none of those games have been against defending Super Bowl champs.

It's a bit of a homecoming for coach Sean Payton, who was an assistant at Miami (Ohio) for two seasons (1994-95). Bengals tackle Andrew Whitworth and guard Nate Livings both played at LSU and cornerback Jonathan Wade is from Shreveport. Bengals receivers  coach Mike Sheppard was Saints offensive coordinator in 2005.

Drew Brees and the Saints have hit their stride after some early-season struggles. Since a loss to Cleveland at home that dropped them to 4-3, the Saints have won four straight games.

"I feel like we're playing some of our best football and this is the time of year when you separate yourself from the rest of the bunch," said Brees. "We've faced adversity early with injuries, but we stuck together and are getting healthy at the right time, and this is when you need to make a run at it."

Brees has thrown for 300 yards or more in four of his past five games, with 11 touchdowns and 9 interceptions over the same span. He leads the NFC in pass attempts (456), completions (313) and yards (3,321) and is fifth in quarterback rating at 92.7.

Against the Bengals on Sunday (the game isn't a sellout and will be blacked out), Brees is hoping the Saints have a better result than they did in their previous meeting. In 2006 at the Superdome, Brees passed for 510 yards, but four turnovers -- including three interceptions -- helped the Bengals to a 31-16 victory.

"We turned the ball over and that will get you beat," said Brees.

He expects to see a different look from the Bengals defense on Sunday under coordinator Mike Zimmer.

"The scheme Coach Zimmer brought in is a little more exotic than they had," said Brees.

The Bengals will face a Saints offense that is the league leader in third-down conversions, has scored on its first drive in four games and has converted 44 of 72 third downs when the distance has been 5 yards or less.

"They have their staple plays they want to run," said Zimmer. "They've got a lot of weapons. Lots of tight ends, lots of receivers, lots of running backs."

Zimmer also has to match wits against Payton. The two were on the Cowboys staff for three seasons as coordinators and are close friends. Zimmer's son, Adam, was a defensive assistant with the Saints for four seasons before joining the Chiefs before the season.

Zimmer said Payton has an an assertive style of coaching.

"He's indisriminate," said Zimmer. "He calls what he wants to and is very aggressive. He likes to run a reverse on thrid-and-one, he likes to run a reverse on the goalline, in the red sone, stuff like that.

Prediction: The Saints are getting healthy and know they have to win out to make the playoffs. They'll cover the 6 1/2.

Other fearless NFL weekend picks: Bills +3 over Vikings; Dolphins-6 over Browns; Jaguars +1 1/2 over Titans; Chiefs -8 1/1 over Broncos; Giants -7 over Redskins; Bears -4 over Lions (lock); Packers -9 1/2 over 49ers; Falcons -3 over Bucs (best bet); Seahawks -5 1/2 over Panthers; Colts -5 1/2 over Cowboys; Rams -3 1/2 over Cardinals; Ravens -3 over Steelers; and Patriots -3 1/2 over Jets.

College picks: Cincinnati -1 over Pittsburgh; West Virginia -21 over Rutgers; Louisiana Tech +14 over Nevada; UCLA +7 over USC;  Washington -7 over Washington State; Oregon State +21 over Oregon; SMU +10 over Central Florida; Auburn -7 over South Carolina;  Virginia Tech -7 over Florida State; and Nebraska +4 over Oklahoma.

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.  


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