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2010 Divisional Playoff: Five Keys to Saints Victory

  1. The Fast and the Furious - Remember when the Saints scoring on their opening possession was more of a sure thing than The Situation bringing home a babe to the beach house? The Saints need to get back to the way things were, get on the board early and set the tone for the game. It will keep the crowd lively also. Even better, if they're able to build a nice lead they can remain aggressive on defense, smothering the Cardinals like they did to their earlier opponents. 

  2. Blitzkrieg - We've talked about it all week and I think this one should be fairly obvious. The Saints need to put pressure on Kurt Warner. He is a very good quarterback, despite his age, and gets even better during the playoffs. Last week, he was en fuego. But history has shown that Warner is susceptible to being rattled when the pressure is just too much. I would love to see a dominating performance from Will Smith but at the very least the Saints will need guys like Anthony Hargrove, Jeff Charleston and Bobby "DWP" McCray to step up their game. They could be the X-factor.  

  3. Hold Me Tight - Every team that won last week during the Wildcard round also won the turnover battle in their respective game. That ought to show you how important ball control can be. The Saints need to hold on to the football and be smart when it's in their possession. That means Drew needs to be protected, running backs need to focus and receivers need to secure. No excuses. Given the high-powered offense of the Cardinals, giving them particularly good field position or any extra chance to score is a formula for disaster. 

  4. The Match Game - In many ways this Arizona team is a mirror image of our New Orleans Saints. That includes their offense and the vast array of weapons they have. Fitzgerald, Boldin, Breaston and now even Louisiana's own Early Doucet are all decent receiving options. With Kurt Warner spreading the ball around, that can be a matchup nightmare. Add to that a decent rookie running back in Beanie Wells and it's easy to see how the Cards hung half a century on the Packers. It will be important for the defense to make sure they've got the right packages on the field at the right time and that they are minimizing their risk of Arizona creating an undesirable mismatch. 

  5. Stand Up and Get Crunk - I'm talking to you Saints fans. If you're going to be in the Dome on Saturday afternoon make sure you're wearing black and make sure you're screaming you freakin' head off. You think I'm kidding? The Saints didn't win thirteen games this season to secure homefield advantage just so you could spend a relaxing afternoon with the kids. Save that crap for a pre-season game. The loser goes home for this one so any advantage the Saints can get from the crowd, like causing false starts or forcing the Cardinals to waste timeouts, they will take. Oh, and don't forget to have a few adult beverages before the game to help you loosen up.