Saints-Texans provides fodder for pre-season football (ahem) discussion
In the continuing back-and-forth, Dan and Chip provide a point/counterpoint on Sunday’s pre-season game between the Texans and Saints.
Saints and Texas play Sunday. Here are Chip’s and Dan’s predictions, along with a quick series of lightning round questions. Look for more as a followup on Monday after the game.
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- Dan: It does not matter at all. But the Texans win 30-27.
- Chip: Oh, it matters. Saints 40-23.
Lightning round questions
What will the teams’ record be this season?
- Texans – 11-5 (they are playing the really tough NFC west this season)
- Saints – 10-6 – 3 games better than last year.
- Texans – 11-5. Agreed on this record, but it won’t matter come playoff time.
- Saints – 12-4. Brees re-establishes his presence to set the team up for a deep run in the playoffs.
What will the playoffs look like this season?
- NFC – Division winners – Redskins, Packers, Falcons, 49ers – wild cards – Eagles, Saints
- AFC – Division winners – Texans, Broncos. Dolphins, Bengals – wild cards – Pats, Ravens
- NFC – Division winners: Washington, Green Bay, New Orleans, San Francisco. Wild cards – Seattle, Atlanta.
- AFC – Division winners: New England, Cincinnati, Houston, Denver. Wild cards – Indianapolis, Baltimore.
Super Bowl: Dan–49ers over the Broncos. Chip–Denver over Seattle.
What are the best and worst scenarios for both teams this season?
- Saints best – They ride their excellent QB Drew Brees, an improved running game, Rob Ryan’s inspired defensive coordination and use that chip on their shoulder to recapture their division. They then march thru the playoffs all the way to the Super Bowl championship.
- Saints worst – The only real difference for the offense is that Brees is a year older. They still can’t run and they could have a better defense, except Rob Ryan is installing a 3-4 defense without the required personnel. They limp back in at 7-9 again.
- Texans best – Having Brian Cushing for the whole season, a fully healed Johnathan Joseph, a one year older Whitney Mercilus, a Patriots killer in Ed Reed – the defense rolls. Matt Schaub gets the monkey off his back thanks to having a much better 2nd target in DeAndre Hopkins and Ben Tate returning to his 2011 excellence. They sweep through the division, the playoffs and the Super Bowl.
- Texans worst – Ed Reed and Arian Foster and Whitney Mercilus spend more time in the whirlpool than on the field. Schaub starts doubting himself in the regular season like he has in the playoffs and the o-line suffers a couple of injuries. They limp through a very tough schedule and finish 8-8.
- Saints best – Super Bowl. Brees and company return to championship form and Rob Ryan does his magic with a dominating defense. Couple that with a killer special teams and New Orleans fans are dancing on Bourbon Street…again.
- Saints worst – Injuries. And aging veterans. Coach Sean Payton and Brees can’t recapture the magic of 2009 after a lost 2012 and bounty gate.
- Texans best – At this point, getting to the playoffs isn’t enough. Winning a game isn’t enough. Fans want more, so anything short of a league championship game will be considered a failure. Considering a road to a Super Bowl must go through Denver, New England or perhaps even Indianapolis again, the AFC title is about the best to hope for.
- Texans worst – As mentioned above, anything other than a deep playoff run will be considered a failure. So even with a 11-5 or 12-4 regular season mark, jobs could be on the line. If the team sputters out of the gate — say 1-4 or 2-3 — it could set the team up for a rambling season.