Beignets and Café au lait: Saints Divisional Playoffs Edition

Good morning Y’all

As always, for our novice readers or non-New Orleanians, welcome!

Let’s start with some definitions:

Beignets (English: /bɛnˈjeɪ/; French: [bɛɲɛ], ben-YAY literally bump) are distinctly New Orleans, a delicacy intimately connected to the city’s rich French heritage. Best enjoyed heavily powdered with sugar.

Café au lait (/ˌkæfeɪ oʊ ˈleɪ, kæˌfeɪ, kə-/; French: [kafe olɛ]; French for “coffee with milk”) is a delicious New Orleans way to start your day.

This is your “After-Saints-Game” breakfast, where we talk about the state of the Black and Gold, we debate the goings-on in the NFC South, and paint the playoff picture in the NFC up to this point of the season. So, sit back, take a bite and a sip while your brain slowly wakes up, and let’s catch up on some football.

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What Just Happened?

  • The Champs are dead, long live the Champs! There will be a new Super Bowl champion in the 2018-19 NFL season, as the New Orleans Saints cast a spell on Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles yesterday in a hard-fought, come-from-behind 20-14 win in the NFC divisional playoffs.
  • It looked bleak early, as the Eagles jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Little did they know that they wouldn’t score again for the rest of the game, while the Saints would put up 20 points on the board and that would be enough.
  • Philadelphia’s loss means that there still won’t be a repeat Super Bowl winner since the New England Patriots won the Lombardi trophy in 2003 and 2004. It is hard to win in the NFL playoffs, so let’s bask in this victory for a while, because the Saints are now in the NFL’s Final Four and that elusive Two Dat is getting tantalizingly close.
  • It is at this stage of the playoffs last year that the Saints lost in crushing fashion in Minnesota. The loss was the third in a row for New Orleans in the divisional round (2011 in San Francisco, 2013 in Seattle, 2017 in Minneapolis). With about 2:01 remaining in the game yesterday, it looked as though the Saints were headed for another heartbreaking playoff loss. But when Marshon Lattimore picked off Nick Foles at the Saints’ 19-yard line with 1:52 left in the game, it felt as if the Saints, the city of New Orleans and Saints fans everywhere all exhaled: The rust is gone, the three-game losing streak in the divisional round of the playoffs is gone, the Super Bowl beckons. Let’s geaux!

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Five Numbers…That Don’t Lie

  • 171: The number of receiving yards by wide receiver Michael Thomas yesterday against the Eagles. Thomas had 12 receptions on 16 targets (a 75% catch rate), a long of 42 yards and one crucial touchdown that gave the Saints their first lead of the afternoon. The 171 receiving yards were a Saints’ single-game franchise record in the playoffs. B-A-L-L-E-R!
  • 11. Minutes and 29 seconds. With the Saints trailing 14-10 and 13:09 left in the third quarter, New Orleans took the ball at its own 8-yard line. 18 plays, 11:29 minutes and 112 yards later (by virtue of overcoming penalties), the Saints led 17-14 and would not look back. In the game, New Orleans held the ball for 37:50 minutes, a preposterous advantage in time of possession of more than 15 minutes over the Eagles (22:10 minutes).
  • 6: And O! Bet against Drew Brees and Sean Payton at home in the playoffs at your own risks: Since 2006, the Saints are 6-0 in the Superdome in the playoffs. On the road? Just 1-5. In other words, if I were the Los Angeles Rams, I would not feel too confident right now.
  • 3: There have been ups and downs for the Saints in the Payton/Brees era, but next Sunday will mark their third appearance in the NFC Championship Game. What we have been witnessing from the Black and Gold for the last 13 years is awesome, let’s enjoy the heck out of it, Saints fans.
  • 0: The number of points allowed by the Saints to the Eagles after they scored their second touchdown with 4:37 left in the first quarter. Philadelphia had 199 net yards at halftime. They finished the game with 250 net yards. In other words, the Eagles gained only 51 net yards in the entire second half. Whoever sleeps on the Saints’ defense isn’t paying attention.

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Beignets and Café au Lait Awards

  • Fresh Beignets with Hot Coffee: Saints fans in the Superdome. I was incredibly proud of Saints fans, as they affected the Eagles several times in the game. Once crucial instance occurred with 14:11 to go in the third quarter: The Eagles had a 2nd-and-7 at their own 28-yard line but had to burn a precious timeout because of confusion in their huddle. That’s Dome Field Advantage right there.
  • Stale Beignets with Day-old Coffee: The Achilles-tearing Turf. Injuries are part of the game, but when they happen and are severe, it is always a bummer. Saints’ defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins reportedly tore his Achilles tendon with 7:13 left in the first quarter of yesterday’s game. If confirmed, the injury means that Rankins will miss the rest of the postseason. Typical post-surgery recovery time for Achilles tendon injuries varies from 4 to 6 months, so Rankins should be ready to go for the start of the 2019-20 NFL season. We wish him a speedy recovery and hopefully his Black and Gold buddies win it all for him. In a sad coincidence, Eagles’ guard Brandon Brooks also tore his Achilles tendon during the game.

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According to fivethirthyeight.com, the Saints have the best odds of reaching the Super Bowl at 64%, followed by the Chiefs (61%), Patriots (39%) and Rams (36%). New Orleans also has the best odds to win Super Bowl LIII at 33%, in second place are the Chiefs (31%) followed by the Patriots (19%) and finally the Rams (17%). It seems as though despite the fact that the Saints aren’t blowing teams out anymore, the oddsmakers still believe that they are the top of the four teams still alive. I completely agree with them.


Super Bowl odds courtesy of fivethirtyeight.com

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What’s Next?

  • The Saints will play the Los Angeles Rams Sunday at 2:05 PM CT in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for the right to play in Super Bowl LIII on Sunday February 3, 2019 in Atlanta. Back on November 4, 2018, the Saints defeated the Rams 45-35 in a barn burner that saw New Orleans blow a 35-14 lead, but pull away late to secure the win.
  • The Rams stamped their ticket to the NFC title game by defeating the Dallas Cowboys 30-22 in a game that was not as close as the final score indicates. Los Angeles, like Philadelphia yesterday, has revenge on its mind and now boasts a two-headed monster in the backfield, with the unexpected strong play of running back C.J. Anderson to complement Todd Gurley. The Saints, who have an excellent run defense, will probably elect to put the game in Jared Goff’s hand and take their chances in coverage. It certainly worked yesterday against Philly. Getcha popcorn ready, this one’s gonna be a doozy!

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Hey, get some work done! Unless you’re still drunk from celebrating yesterday, then keep reading!

Poll

How do you feel about the Saints post-Eagles victory?

  • 11%

    All of your Super Bowl trophies are belong to us! Championshiiiiiip!

    (6 votes)

  • 51%

    The road will be hard, but I think they can do it.

    (27 votes)

  • 13%

    Still shaking in my boots, they didn’t inspire much confidence

    (7 votes)

  • 23%

    I believe in that defense, even without Rankins!

    (12 votes)

  • 0%

    I feel bloated after wolfing down 34 burgers during the game

    (0 votes)



52 votes total

Vote Now

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