New England Patriots will provide New Orleans Saints supreme test: Peter Finney
By Peter Finney, Times-Picayune
November 22, 2009, 9:30PM
Enjoy it for a moment.
OK. Time's up.
Now it gets serious.
Now all you Who Dats will be spending the week having to endure the taunts of the "Been There."
A few samples:
◦"Yeah, the Saints have a nice little 10-0 football team, but can they handle the prime-time pressure against the closest thing we've had to a dynasty since the Steelers and 49ers?"
"Can't wait to see Randy Moss running routes as he high-fives his way waltzing into the end zone."
◦"Here come the Patriots to the Superdome. Been there before holding the Lombardi Trophy. Remember?
◦"When you've got a quarterback with three Super Bowl rings, Monday nights are little more than a picnic."
◦"Tom Brady would like to welcome Drew Brees to the real NFL."
Despite three losses, the New England Patriots speak for themselves, a perennial contender whose coach speaks to no one.
Complete game coverage
Saints defeat Buccaneers 38-7, shift focus to Patriots
Jeff Duncan: Every game a home game
Duncan's postgame video log
Saints offense still spreading wealth
Saints defense gets best of rookie QB
Recapping the game
Grading the Saints
This week New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton will need no motivational hocus-pocus.
New Orleans could not have made it to 10-0 against the one-win Buccaneers more impressively than they did Sunday, winning 38-7, winning the turnover battle in plus-four fashion, winning as it rushed for 183 yards, as Drew Brees passed for 187 yards and three touchdowns.
In a way, the Saints were turning back the calendar to a time they were going through the enemy like some high-speed harvester.
Then suddenly the highest-scoring club in the league seemed to be going in reverse the last month, scoring 46, 35, 30 and 28 points, as Brees was throwing for more interceptions (seven) than touchdowns (six), as the quarterback was responsible for 10 of his team's 13 turnovers.
That's why, in the eyes of the Who Dats, Sunday's Brees was the Brees of old, 19-for-29 and three touchdowns -- two of them to Robert Meachem.
As for the defense, after allowing the Buccaneers to travel 95 yards for their only score, they forgot how the Saints' side of the field looked until this one was history.
Now until they meet again two days after Christmas at the Superdome, so are the Buccanners history.
The Patriots, on the other hand, are a clear and present danger.
You have the feeling unless New Orleans' defense can generate some points, Brees and company will have to come up with 30 to outscore New England.
The three Patriots losses have come on the road, by seven to the Jets, in overtime to the Broncos, by one to the Colts.
Perhaps the No. 1 story line will be how Payton and Brees go about attacking a Bill Belichick defense. It's a defense that did not allow more than 24 points until Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning came up with 35 when Belichick's fourth-and-2 gamble gave Manning a short field (28 yards) to come up with a last-minute drive.
It's a defense Payton will be testing his ground game against, finding out if Pierre Thomas, Mike Bell and Reggie Bush can give Brees a plus in his play-action calls by running the ball effectively, as Thomas and Bell did Sunday with Bush sitting it out back home.
For Brees, Sunday's most pleasant sight had to be watching Marques Colston come back to life, the kind of life Colston enjoys, with some big catches and runs as the Saints were putting the Buccanners away in the second half, a half in which the defense limited Tampa Bay to 37 yards rushing.
One statistic tells you the longer the game goes, the better the Saints' chances. New Orleans has outscored opponents 105-24 in the fourth quarter.
However, another statistic tells you the final quarter, at least the final minutes, usually belongs to the Patriots -- the long list of winning marches engineered by Brady.
Unless, of course, Belichick chooses to roll the dice. New England Patriots will provide New Orleans Saints supreme test: Peter Finney | New Orleans Saints Central - - NOLA.com