It's back! Acting Cordial is the easiest article we get to produce all week on this stupid blog, because someone else does half the work for us. In reality, it's a great opportunity to see what's going on with this week's Vikings opponent, dig inside their diseased minds, and find out just how badly we're going to get our butts stomped. This week, we team up with Bloguin brother "Saints Nation" to ask the tough questions heading in to this weekend. Read on as we discuss whether there's any way to really stop Drew Brees, how mischievous is Darren Sproles, and why Sean Payton always has a face that looks like an anus.
Be sure to head over to Saints Nation today as well, as I answered a slew of their questions, too. They asked, like, 10 of them. They really go gung-ho for this whole Q&A thing, but since they offered tons of flattery towards PJD over there, I'm not going to object. Great, lofty, INSIGHTFUL, interviews in both spots. Check them out on their blog, or on Twitter if you want to harass them during the game when we miraculously win.
On to the questions!
Purple Jesus Diaries: What the hell do you feed Drew Brees? Is there anyway to stop that guy defensively?
Saints Nation: I can tell you that his pregame meal ritual the night before a game is always Beefy Mac. I had to look it up. So give that to your kids non stop if you want them to be elite NFL quarterbacks. Or it may accelerate their path to heart disease and obesity. One of the two will happen for sure, but you can never be sure which. A worthwhile gamble if you ask me. As far as stopping him, Brees will throw 2-3 stupid passes a game. That's a function of just how much the Saints pass, it's usually every bit of a 2 to 1 ratio, if not more. So when you have a chance to pick it off, your DB has to make that catch. That's your chance to get off the field. If the INT is dropped, game over. Brees will come back on the very next play and make you regret it. The Titans had two shots last week and dropped both. Neither were easy catches, but if they're made, they win the game. So you have to make the most of the little opportunity you get.
PJD: I think Darren Sproles has been an awesome pick up for you. Your entire stable of running backs is pretty good, with lots of versatility. Has the team leaned on them during road games to grind things out?
SN: I was excited when we signed him as I considered it a lateral move from Reggie Bush with less Hollywood drama. Boy was I wrong. This kid can play! What I didn't expect was how patient he is with his block reads, and then when he sees a hole he hits it like a man possessed. It's the opposite of Bush, really, because Bush would panic, bounce outside and try to beat someone off the edge which resulted in countless huge losses. He's a real football player and incredibly smart. He also has better hands than Bush and he's just as explosive in the open field. I wish the Saints would lean on their backs more to grind out road games especially. But no, not really. This team passes, passes and passes more. It's definitely a set up the run with the pass philosophy, except they'll probably pass anyway once they've done that. I'd say that's Sean Payton's main vice, battling his desire to throw the ball constantly and remain balanced. Like you said they have 4 incredibly capable backs that represent different challenges to a defense, so you have talent and variety. It's a shame they don't do a better job of getting them involved. The lack of touches Pierre Thomas has had this year is shameful. Sidenote, Mark Ingram is struggling with turf toe this week so the main ballcarrier should be Chris Ivory, with Thomas/Sproles getting equal reps.
PJD: When does Payton get his leg cast off? And why does he look like he's sniffing a dogs butt all the time? Respectfully, of course.
SN: I can't remember if it's off or not yet, but he's been walking around without crutches lately. I think he's in an air cast now. The plan was for him to be able to fully move around by Christmas time. I believe he's ahead of schedule. Sean Payton definitely has a sense of humor, but he's incredibly selective in who he lets see it. Any member of the media does not qualify.
PJD: Tell us ... What's it LIKE to win a Super Bowl? What was that moment like for you? *cries*
SN: Haha. Sorry man. I'm 31 now, and I started getting really into the Saints at about 5 or 6... so I've been diehard my whole life. When I was growing up I was fully aware of the negativity that surrounded the fanbase and the history of losing. Fortunately for me when I was growing up and started paying close attention in the mid 80's, early 90's, the team started winning a little bit. Granted they weren't getting deep into the playoffs, but they were at least competing for a spot in the playoffs most years. So I was fortunate in that I at least had that blind hope/faith for a while, but the "same old Saints" refrain was constantly put in my ear from family and the older fanbase I'd talk to at games, around town or whatever. My point in telling you this is I feel your pain. The Saints have been disrespected for DECADES by their own fanbase and pretty much the entire league. No one has ever taken the franchise I love seriously. I will tell you this: when the Saints won it was more rewarding than I ever imagined it being. I never really expected to see that in my lifetime, to be honest, so it was really special. I think when you root for something for so long and it comes to fruition, there's added meaning. Fans of the Yankees, Lakers, Celtics, Cowboys, Steelers, Patriots etc... are spoiled. I think when their teams wins, it's great, but it doesn't compare to a small market team fan getting that experience when they've been shit on for so long the meaning of success is multiplied. So I'm sympathetic to you guys man, I really am, but if/when that title comes you just have to trust me, you're going to be able to enjoy it and cherish more than a fan of some big market team that expects to win every year. I'm also less angry as a fan now because I feel less pressure to see that in my liftetime now, if that makes sense? I just enjoy the games more because I always have that memory to fall back on, worst case.
PJD: I know this is the NFL, pro sports, etc, etc, but are you REALLY at all worried about any aspect of this Vikings team at this point in the season?
SN: I would say "absolutely not", but I know better. The Saints lost to the Browns with Colt McCoy at quarterback in New Orleans last year, and to the Cards with Max Hall. They also lost to the Rams with A.J. Feeley this year. If those examples don't epitomized "any given Sunday", then clearly I haven't learned my lesson. What those games prove is that no matter how good your team is, and no matter how bad your opponent, if you get sloppy and turn the ball over repeatedly anything can happen. Stuffing Chris Johnson last week aside, the Saints run defense isn't very good, so Adrian Peterson kind of terrifies me. The pass defense is offensively bad too (see what I did there?), so they kind of let other teams hang around a bit even if Brees is on fire. Fortunately for the Saints, the Vikings can't stop the pass, Adrian Peterson is hurt, and they don't pass the ball well... so I will say I feel pretty good about this matchup. I felt pretty good about the Rams matchup too, though. Bottom line: if the Saints play their best the Vikings have zero chance.
PJD: Tell us how you see the game playing out, and offer your score prediction.
SN: The Saints will drop at least 5 interceptions in this game. I don't know if they track this or what the NFL record is for dropped INTs in a season, but the Saints own it this year. I guarantee it. I also predict Jared Allen will look uglier than the corpse of Al Davis. I see the Saints passing 52 times and rushing 16 times. Brees is due for an INT because he hasn't thrown one in like 5 weeks. I think the Saints keep the Vikings around with stupid mistakes on the road, but they learned their lesson from the Rams and won't take them as lightly.
Saints 34 Vikings 20
Thanks Saints Nation! If the Saints only score 34 points this weekend, I will exercise my bowels straight into my Cheeto-stained sweat pants and call the entire weekend a moral victory. Stew on that.
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Oh, and at least we aren't Wisconsin: http://thesaintsnation.com/2011-articles/december/saints-nation-jared-allen-becomes-public-enemy-to-nola.html
Cover the spread, and lose! WTF kind of prediction is that Saints guy? Boooo you! But yeah, I fully expect us to get demolished, even though the Saints kinda/sorta "suck" on the road. But not like us, as we suck everywhere. And this is also in a Dome, so maybe the Saints will think they are at home and beat us by 80.
Whatever. We will lose that's all I know.
Is 29 too late to start eating Beefy Mac in pursuit of becoming an elite NFL quarterback?
I really like his Super Bowl answer despite the circumstances surrounding it. To be honest, celebrating my first Vikings Super Bowl win with Favre and his followers would have tainted it for me.
If the Saints rush at all on Sunday I'll assume it's because they didn't watch any game film on the Vikings secondary.