With snow pelting the east coast, the New Orleans Saints hosted the Dallas Cowboys in their temperate dome in a key match-up of two talented NFC teams. The difference between both teams is the Saints were openly talking about winning 16 regular season games while the Cowboys were smack dab in the the middle of another December swoon. Well, when the game was over, snow continued to bash the east coast, but the Saints are no longer undefeated after getting dominated by the Cowboys most of the game.
This means the Colts, our Colts, are the lone unbeaten team left in the NFL.
While the Colts were able to overcome a very pesky and inspired Jaguars team Thursday night, the Saints were unable to do the same against a Cowboys team that, quite frankly, beat the Saints up. Did the Saints look ahead a bit? Did they talk a bit to much about 16-0, possibly overlooking a team like the Cowboys? Maybe. Talking about 16-0, and just talking but openly talking about it, was probably not the best thing to do. The press loved it. Big media loved it.
In the end, all the talk was meaningless.
The loss, and the way the Saints lost, all but hands the 2009 MVP award to Peyton Manning. In a primetime game against a tough opponent at home, Manning's only real competition for the award, Drew Brees, was 29-45 for 298 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, and a QB rating of 81.5. Brees also lost two fumbles. That's 1 TD and 3 turnovers for Brees in a primetime game against a top tier NFC opponent. The Saints were unable to score a touchdown until the fourth quarter, and on the final drive to potentially tie the game, Brees fumbled with 6 seconds left on the Cowboys 42 yard line.
This is not the play of an MVP.
In a vital game at home to keep homefield advantage in the NFC playoffs secure for the Saints, Drew Brees laid an egg. On the road in a game that was "meaningless" because the Colts had locked up homefield the week before, Peyton Manning was brilliant. Manning has the award. Anyone who says otherwise is a schmuck who either 1) does not watch games, or 2) is shifting the goal posts because they just don't want to give it AGAIN to Manning even though he clearly has earned it.
Now the Saints are in real danger of losing homefield advantage to the Vikings. They pretty much have to play it out, with little time to rest starters. Their secondary (like ours) is very beat up, and was made even worse after the pounding the Cowboys gave them.
For me, it's disappointing. While I did not agree with how Sean Payton, Drew Brees, and the Saints in general handled all the 16-0 crap, I was still rooting for them. Most people were, including big media (a practice which is, you know, kind of unethical to do, but that's big media). Now, all the vultures and parasites will circle and latch onto the Colts, pushing and pressuring them to "go for glory!" The Colts must do the opposite of the Saints and block out all the distractions and "undefeated" talk. One game at a time. Rest players who are hurt.
Let things play out.