This is not another attempt to bash the credibility of Cris Collinsworth.
Cardinals fans took the belt to the NBC announcer so many times last year that the poor guy can barely go on talk radio in Phoenix without a mandatory upfront apology.
With his the-Cardinals-are-the-worst-team-to-make-the-playoffs speech, Collinsworth (who is actually one of my favorite game callers in the NFL) became the poster child for the no respect crowd. The guy probably couldn’t get a decent meal in Phoenix for fear of reprisal by the waiter, chef, or anyone in general handling his food.
But I digress.
When I listened to his interview the other morning with Doug & Wolf, something he said plunged me into research mode. He said that the Cardinals had a good chance to win against the Saints but, in the interest of full disclosure, he was picking all four home teams this weekend.
Well why would you want to do that? Last year, the four home teams – in this round of the playoffs – went 1-3. The year before: 2-2. Year before that: 2-2. In fact, in the last four playoffs, the home team is 7-9 in the divisional round (go back to the 2004 season to find the last time the home teams went 4-0 in the divisional round).
In other words……someone’s going down this weekend that ain’t supposed to. And I think of the four teams that earned the bye (Colts, Chargers, Vikings, Saints), New Orleans is the most vulnerable.
It’s been forever since they played a meaningful football game. Forever and a day since they played well in a meaningful football game (Patriots at home – and in retrospect, given the Patriots struggles on the road this year that wasn’t a super great year). Their defense, at least statistically, is inferior to the one the Cards just torched for 51 points. I’m smelling a 100-yard game out of Beanie. Yes, the Saints have tons of weapons and the Cards defense right now is getting, basically laughed at. But keep this in mind:
The Cards have already played the #2 and #3 scoring offenses in the NFL this year (Vikings are #2, Packers are #3). They held the Vikings to only 17 points and for the first half against the Packers (doesn’t anyone want to give them any love for how they played in the first half?) they held Green Bay to 10 points. They’re more than capable and I suspect a return to fundamentals (tackling anyone?) will be in order in this game Saturday.
It’s highly doubtful I’ll pick the Cardinals to win another game after this week (think they’d lose for sure in Dallas and probably lose in Minnesota). But going into the holidays I think every Cardinals fan, to a man, would have chosen a matchup with the Saints. They’re the most beatable of the bye teams.
Well a belated Merry Christmas baby. Cards win 35-31.