Dec 24, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints fans celebrate after a win against the Atlanta Falcons to clinch a playoff birth at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Falcons 23-13.

Derek E. Hingle, USA Today Sports

Deke: Saints prove again they can win despite all the setbacks

Deke Bellavia
December 26, 2017 - 6:07 pm

Hey this is big boy football.   No one on this level has ever, will ever and has never felt sorry for another team for all of their injuries that team may have.  With that said when it comes to the New Orleans Saints the Black and Gold have been hit hard, but they have been hit hard at perhaps more challenging times that any other team in the NFL.

“It was a good team win,” Saints Coach Sean Payton.  The Saints won for the 10th time this season with a dominant defensive effort in a 23-13 win over rival Atlanta.  The Saints record is now 11-4 with their final regular season game at Tampa Bay next Sunday.

Now if there is one area in which that island out in the desert sometimes and throughout history has not hit on nearly as much as they do in other games, and that is factoring in the value and how important non-QB players are and can be in games.

What am I saying?  Well according to Sin City, Las Vegas, quarterbacks are the highest valued players that factor into lines on games.  And elite, I repeat elite QBs can count for as many as seven points in a game.

No other player, not even the best running back nor best Wide Receivers can count for more than two points.  But what Vegas has consistently not factored in is the importance of those QB like positions of key players.

What I mean is that those type of players that are considered team leaders, team captains and those players that make calls on the field can mean more value than Vegas has failed to realize.  Follow me, I’m getting close. 

This week alone the Saints lost not one, but two of their QB like players on the defensive side of the football.  Losing defensive players like AJ Klien and Kenny Vaccaro were more than significant as those players are the play callers for the Saints defense and not having them is, well significant.

Imagine going to work without the employee who tells everyone where to be on the job?  Imagine a surgery being performed without the surgeon that makes the final decision on key moments?  Well that is what the Saints were facing. 

“That is without question a valid point.  But we also have to realize that this Saints defense has played without those players before and having been in those difficult situations several times already this season shows that this Saints defense just has the next man up mentality and that’s what it takes in the National Football League,” said Saints Color analyst Deuce McAllister. 

In other words the Saints won another game in which they were short-handed, not at full strength.  That is what the NFL is all about.  That is survival of the fittest. And take a bow WDN (Who Dat Nation) because you showed up and came with you’re A+ game today. 

“I thought the crowd made a significance difference in the game,” Payton said.  At least a dozen plays can be considered fan impact plays in which fans in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.  If the Saints are going to be a factor in the NFC Postseason then the WDN will have to be loud and proud moving forward.

So now the NFL got what they wanted when the league moved to divisional games the last two weeks of the NFL regular season - meaningful games.  And what that means is that New Orleans has one guarantee and that is a win over Tampa Bay and the Saints win the NFC South and host a playoff game.

So for the first time in four seasons the Saints are playoff bound.  And that means January Football for the Black and Gold.  And the only way a team can get to the land of February Football is if a team is alive are in January Football.  And the Saints are.  Who Dat! 


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