Cheese is one of the greatest inventions on earth! I love cheese! Do you?
Well, unless you are lactose intolerant, I know you do love it too. Think about it: what’s a pizza without cheese? A sad, sad pie. A burger without cheese? A miserable sandwich that would never appear as an option in my Postgame Recap poll. Without cheese there would be no Philly Cheese Steak, no cheesecake, no Poutine (O Canada), no Mac and Cheese, no nachos at the games, and I could go on. In short, without cheese the world would just be a terribly boring village.
With all these amazing qualities, why would I then, as the headline of this piece suggests, advise the New Orleans Saints not to eat the cheese? Well, cheese can be treacherous. Here are a few things that cheese can do to you, according to Wikipedia:
"Cheese consumption is the leading contributor of SF (saturated fat) in the U.S. diet...and consequently increase the risk of CVD (cardiovascular disease)."
In other words, as good as cheese is, it can also kill you.
Let’s apply this amazing and completely cheesy knowledge to the Saints: after starting the season 0-2 with two dreadful losses to the Minnesota Vikings and the New England Patriots, New Orleans has now gone 7-0 in their past seven games. In that span, they’ve looked like the most dominant team in the NFL, outscoring opponents 229-100 and grabbing the attention of every NFL pundit in the process. What comes with playing so well is two-fold: a) The confidence and swagger that can only be acquired from playing such awesome, winning football. b) The accolades from the media and the fans alike.
And the latter is the cheese, the bad one, the one that is probably keeping Saints head coach Sean Payton up at night, trying to find ways to keep his team from having a bad case of football food poisoning.
Oh, I can hear some of you from here: “Come on, they’re awesome, nothing can happen to them, Super Bowl, here we come.” Hey, I share (some of) your enthusiasm and I’m sorry to be the party pooper here but, we need not go very far in the past to find a Saints team that ate so much of the cheese it could never fully recover from it.
The year was 2013, ironically it was the last season that the Saints were above .500 after nine games, until this year. Oh, and look, another coincidence: their record was a beautiful 7-2 too, which they even stretched to 9-2 before a crucial Monday Night Football matchup with the Seattle Seahawks on the road. I remember thinking “The Seahawks may have a great defense, but they haven’t seen an offense like these 2013 Saints.” The Who Dat Nation was flying high, it was the “Sean Payton Revenge Tour” and the NFL was on notice: The Saints and their un-suspended brilliant head coach were coming.
Then in the first quarter, on the Saints’ second possession, Cliff Avril rushed like a devil, there was a shotgun snap to Drew Brees in the cold, merciless rain of Century Link Field. Brees was sacked, the ball popped out, the Seahawks recovered, the Saints never did.
A 34-7 loss later, the Saints went on to lose two of their remaining four games to finish the season 11-5, behind the division-winning and 12-4 Carolina Panthers. That 2-3 end to the year after a 9-2 start meant a return to Seattle in the divisional round of the playoffs, and another loss to the eventual 2013 Super Bowl champions. Personally, I’d have loved to see the Seahawks play that game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, in front of a well-oiled crowd of Who Dats going crazy. Suffice it to say that had that happened, New Orleans would have probably played in its third NFC Championship game four years ago.
So, the Saints are 7-2 right now and that’s awesome, I’m as excited as most of you. But they don’t give any NFC South crowns to 7-2 teams in the NFL. With a desperate Washington Redskins (4-5) coming to town this Sunday and a trip to the equally-hot Los Angeles Rams (7-2) in two weeks, there can be no relaxing on Airline Drive for the Black and Gold, because this is where the real season begins.
Now, now, let me make you feel a little bit better about all this seemingly bleak picture that I’m painting: I do believe that the Saints are one of the very best teams in the NFL at the moment, and what’s more encouraging, their success in 2017 has not exactly followed the blueprint of past successful Sean Payton teams. This time, not only are the Saints running the ball efficiently, they’re running more and passing less. You’ve heard the cliché: “the running game travels in the NFL,” believe me, that is the truth. Last Sunday in the cold and dreary nascent winter in Buffalo, nothing could’ve been more rewarding than to watch Drew Brees attempt only five (5) passes in the second half. FIVE! Brees was making sandwiches in the backfield, while Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara were running wild.
Can the Saints keep this pace and hold on to their NFC South lead? Yes, they can, they have all the tools to accomplish that. One thing that stands in their way however, if they let it, would be to eat the cheese, get fat and happy and watch the Carolina Panthers (who at 7-3 are only a half-game behind in the division race) pass them by, the same way they did back in 2013.
I know it looks delicious but: Hey Saints, Don’t eat the cheese!
Can "The Cheese" slow the 7-2 Saints down or are they Cheese-Proof?
This poll is closed
Cheese-proof at this point brah. The division is won!
Oh my God, please no cheese! Gotta stay focused
Could go either way, but I’m very confident
Could go either way, but I’m shaking in my boots
The Cheese? No. But cheeseburgers? Maybe