Can I be honest for a minute? Thanks.
I don't see what the big deal is about this game. Actually, let me clarify that; I understand why everyone's making such a fuss, I just don't necessarily agree with them. Most important football game in Saints history? I think not.
This is a statement game, sure. The Saints are undefeated and they're playing a perennially talented team who have tasted perfection before and been where the Saints want to go. Many of us hope this will be a sort of passing of the torch. Bonus for being a prime time game on Monday night. But other than that, is it really that important in the grand scheme of things?
Let's put our pride and fandemonium aside for a moment and truly examine the situation. This is not a divisional matchup. The playoff implications are purely minor given that the Patriots are an AFC team. Only the Saints' battle with the Vikings for the first seed and home-field advantage is really in jeopardy and a Saints loss would merely tie the two teams. There is only one game against an AFC opponent that is truly important this season and you know exactly what I'm talking about.
On a personal level as a fan, I would feel a lot better watching the Saints drop a game to a team that's been part of a dynasty - led by a future Hall of Fame quarterback and coached by a football genius - than to a team like, say, the Rams, who have only won six games in the past three seasons. Or our hated rival, the Falcons. Both of which almost happened. I think you could probably agree with that. .
Besides, the heat is on now for the Saints to go undefeated and I'm not so sure I'm comfortable with that fact. Too much pressure on the team. Eighteen percent of you guys voted and would like to see the Saints lose just one game to ease some of that unnecessary burden. After all, it's a Super Bowl win that really matters, right? So if the Saints are going to lose, it might as well be to the only AFC opponent left on their schedule. The damage would be minimal. Plus, with all the talk and media hype, a loss in front of the entire country during a nationally televised game would certainly quiet all of that nonsense to a dull roar and might allow the team to get back to focusing on what's really important: Football in February.
So if the Saints are going to lose a game, this is the one to do it. Don't get me wrong, I'm looking forward to this game just as much as the next guy and will be screaming my curly-headed ass off from my second row seat in the Superdome. After all, a Saints win would be sweet just for the simple fact that they'll advance to an 11-0 record and have beaten the Pats in front of the entire nation. It would also allow the Saints to rightfully take back that number one power ranking from the Colts, who stole it last week when they barely beat New England themselves. But I'm not going to cry in my milk the next morning if the boys lose this one. Just as long as they put up a good fight.
So go nuts this week and soak it in, ladies. As fans, we all deserve to bask in the warm glow of perfection. But the Saints don't need to win this game. The 2009 season will be far from lost without it.