Deuce & Hebert size up Saints-Vikings Part II

This time an NFC Championship trip is on the line

Deke Bellavia
January 12, 2018 - 9:29 am




They’ve been there…done that. WWL Saints Radio resident pros Bobby Hebert and Deuce McAllister know how hard it is and what it takes to get to post season. Now as we approach the NFL divisional playoffs, games only get bigger and more difficult.

“This is what you lift all those weights for,” said Saints all-time leading rusher and color analyst Deuce McAllister. “All the extra time spent on the field after practice… the days you don’t feel good, but you suck it up and put in that extra time…it’s all in hopes that you make it this far,” attested Deuce. Like Hebert, McAllister knows any team that advances this far in the post season has a chance to win it all.

“It’s all about doing whatever it takes to win, and I think the Saints have a good shot at winning,” said Bobby Hebert. The Vikings are a 4-point favorite according to Las Vegas, and the Cajun Cannon agrees a Saints win at Minnesota would be an upset. But, Hebert argues FOR a Black & Gold win, because the Saints have  something the Vikings don’t - Drew Brees. “Drew is the big difference in this match-up,” according to Hebert, the first quarterback to lead the Saints to the playoffs.

The Saints head to Minnesota to take on the Vikings Sunday in the final divisional game in round two of the playoffs. This is familiar turf for the Black &  Gold. The Saints have faced the Vikings more times than any other team in post season play. Sunday’s NFC match-up marks the fourth time the Saints will take on the Vikings in the playoffs.

Minnesota owns a 2-1 edge over the Saints beating New Orleans in the 1987 and 2000 playoffs. The Saints beat Minnesota in the 2010 NFC Title Game 31-28 to advance to the club’s first ever Super Bowl.

Deuce says that the Saints and Vikings game will come down to a few important factors. “Third down offense and red zone offense are two areas where the Saints have to excel,” McAllister said.

Another key according to McAllister, when the Saints are in the Red Zone they must score TD’s not field goals. Deuce also stresses the Saints will have to pick up third downs against a team that does not allow their opponents to convert often.

The Saints average 37% converting on 3 rd down this season. The bad news - the Vikings allow their offensive foes only 25% on third down, which is tops in the National Football League. “In big games like this all the small, little things add up. You don’t want to give up anything cheap. Make them earn what they get. You want to limit any big plays, and the Saints have to be able to withstand the first few moments of the game,” says McAllister. Deuce stresses big difference makers for the Saints - remaining centered &  focused when the Vikings get hot, counter striking hard, and the Black &  Gold have to be able to handle a hostile environment and settle in and play sound football.

Bobby Hebert agrees with all points McAllister makes, and he threw in a few keys of his own while breaking down the Saints/Vikings match-up. “I think field position is going to be very important. And the hidden yardage can’t be one sided.” The Cajun Cannon insists the Black & Gold can’t afford to allow the Vikings to get a big advantage in return yardage and extra yards or what many refer to as YAC (Yards after catch).

“If a Vikings wide receiver makes a nice catch, we have to tackle him right there. We can’t allow a lot of yards after catches and yards after contact,” insists Hebert. And, of course, what breakdown from the Cajun Cannon would be complete without a mention of turnovers?

The number one stat in football will be key and the team that comes out on top in the turnover margin has the best chance to win. “I know if the Saints don’t turn the ball over they have a great chance of winning. And if the Saints are plus one in the turnover margin the Saints should win,” concluded Hebert.

Bobby believes this matchup is the Saints biggest hurdle this post season. “I feel like if the Saints beat the Vikings, they are going to the Super Bowl. Regardless of whether the Saints have to play at Philadelphia or if they play the Falcons at home in the Superdome, if the Saints beat Minnesota they are going to the Super Bowl,” said the Cannon.

Can we get a WHO DAT?

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