Good morning, Saints fans. Do you feel that? The gnawing in your belly that feels like you haven't eaten in weeks?
It's the 2011 bye week, so that's the emptiness of another "No Saints Game" Sunday. Since we have no Saints game to put our energy into, that leaves us with some excess "chi" to deal with.
Now, you could choose to take this time to focus on household chores, or spending family time with your loving family, but who wants to do that?
We've got the playoff stretch run coming up and we could use help from some of our NFL brethren to better our postseason positioning and to work out some grudge paybacks and stuff, so we need to watch some other games and focus on making some things happen!
Make the jump to read what YOU need to re-focus your Saints Fever on in this "No Saints Game Sunday" (which will actually be the first of two consecutive, as the next game is MNF vs. the New York Football Giants).
Be sure to check back here to join in the Early Games and Late Games Open Threads to see what's up, see who's around, and to put your two cents into the mix...
Those Ahead of the Saints Must Fall
Above I mentioned playoff positioning, so let's look at the games involving those in front of the Saints in the NFC race.
At 1:00 EST, Tampa Bay lines up to challenge current defending Super Bowl Champ and NFC #1 Seed Green Bay at Lambeau Field. Set aside your divisional hatred for Tampa Bay, for at least this day.
The Bucs seem to be Team Disarray right now, and the Packers are a team hitting on all cylinders, so our only hope here is for a "Saints in St. Louis on Halloween Weekend"-type WTF?! kind of upset game. It could happen! Give this game your gris-gris intensity to make it so.
Then, in the late game-slot, we have the shockingly successful 8-1 San Francisco 49ers (at least they're not in our division this year!) hosting NFC West rival Arizona Cardinals.
This game looks like another total mismatch "no-chance" game on paper, so what we need to do is send local boy Patrick Peterson (LSU! LSU! LSU!) some mental hoodoo voodoo so he can make Alex Smith look like Ryan Leaf. Pat needs to sang a couple of INTs, and run back a punt for a TD in a low-scoring surprise Cardinals victory.
NFC South Rivals Can Suck It!
We are the only NFC South team on a bye, so that means both Atlanta and Carolina will see action today.
Carolina is playing in Detroit early, and since the Saints play Detroit in a couple of weeks, it sure would be good for Carolina to absorb a loss and take the Lions excellent "bounce-back" game following their embarrassing 37-13 absolute meltdown loss to the Bears. That way, Detroit can go ahead and stink on ice when they visit the NOLA. Yeah, that's the ticket.
Atlanta hosts Tennessee late, and lots of Saints fans love to see the Falcons lose, so there's that. Does there need to be anything else?
And Then There's The Rest Of Them
At this point, you need to just let your personal preferences rule the day. Do you like a team? Then send them your juju to win. Do you hate a team? Fart in their general direction so that they lose.
And just relax in the thought that with the Saints NOT playing, you won't have a heart attack-inducing, stomach-churning game to fret over today that could ruin or brighten the coming week. That's at least kind of nice, isn't it?
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Use the comment area to let us know if you have another grudge match to focus on in today's game lineup, or some other Saints-related or any "just plain old" factor to consider in any of the games (favorite/hated player or coach, perhaps?). You can also let us all know how you'll be spending the day!