By Jason Keidel
Within the NFL, when a 6-2 workforce visits a 5-three group, that’s typically a Sunday dish heaped in hype. Golf equipment properly above .500 are sometimes celebrated and scrutinized, wrapped in playoff projections.
But Sunday’s recreation between the New Orleans Saints (6-2) and the Buffalo Payments (5-three) just isn’t getting the eye you’d anticipate. Neither membership has grabbed an excellent measure of respect, as if everybody is sort of doubtful of each, ready for them to plunge again right down to actuality.
There’s just one Tremendous Bowl Trophy between them over one hundred mixed years in professional soccer. And neither membership made the playoffs final season. And Buffalo carries the odious distinction of struggling by way of the longest playoff drought, not having performed a recreation in January on this century.
Even nonetheless, the NFL is famend for the outhouse-to-penthouse tableau, with parity reigning supreme over the game. It might really feel just like the Patriots, Packers, Steelers, and Seahawks play within the Tremendous Bowl each different season, however many a forlorn franchise has performed for or bagged a Lombardi Trophy during the last 25 years, just like the Buccaneers, Rams, Cardinals, Panthers, and Saints, who gained their solely league title in 2009.
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Everyone knows the Payments model of ignominy. Not solely are they mired in an epic postseason drought — their final playoff recreation was in 1999 — they’re additionally the one group to succeed in 4 straight Tremendous Bowls, and lose all of them.
However each groups have purpose to smile, for hope. Every has a respectable shot on the playoffs this season.
The Saints have stunned the soccer world this autumn, dropping their first two video games, then ripping off six straight wins. In NFL historical past, solely two groups completed a 6-2 report in that method, and each groups — the 1993 Dallas Cowboys and 2007 New York Giants — gained the Tremendous Bowl.
Recognized for his or her nuclear passing recreation, led by iconic quarterback Drew Brees, the Saints are lastly enjoying protection, with an infusion of younger expertise from their final draft, like stalwart CB Marshon Lattimore, who’s develop into the uncommon rookie to step in as a shutdown nook. Lattimore is joined by one other younger stud within the secondary, security Marcus Williams. The workforce that usually has to outscore their opponents forty one-38 each Sunday can now win video games with out blowing previous the over/beneath set by Vegas.
If the Payments have an edge, it’s Buffalo. Heat climate, dome groups, just like the Saints, by no means take pleasure in journeys as much as the Canadian border to play in…