Will the NHL build on the US interest in Olympic Hockey? No.

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NHLogo

A great salesman can sell ice to an Eskimo. A bad one couldn’t give 20 dollar bills away. Which one is the NHL–the second unfortunately.

The NHL has a perfect opportunity to build on the fan interest in hockey generated by the US vs. Canada gold metal game. It could but it won’t.

The league has the worst record for marketing of any major sport. The NHL marketing guys make those that work for MLB look bright and that isn’t easy. So what will these pinheads do to build on the Olympics? Probably nothing. They will go back to the Verses network and go back to sleep without one thought about what could be done. So what can they do?

First, focus promotion on the individual heroes of the Olympics. The league has some nice young stars but needs to take a lesson from the NBA on how to take advantage of them. They need their stars like Nash and Crosby to become the face of the league. The league needs to get these guys on TV talk shows and that would involve time off which the league did not plan into the schedule.

The coverage of the final game got huge numbers which were double or triple most NHL playoff games. The league should give the game of the week to one of the major broadcast TV networks at no charge. The numbers of most shows on network TV particularly NBC are lousy so the network would have nothing to lose and something to gain. The deal must include a deal for a contract for next season if the numbers reach an agreed upon level. That game should be between top teams and highlight the Olympic players.

The league should work with the agents of the players to develop spokesman deals for them. The more the stars of the league get face time on TV the more likely it is that the league will catch the attention of the US.

The league should spend money on ESPN and broadcast networks promoting their game. They don’t have much advertising now. They need to let non-hockey fans know when teams are playing and where they can see the games.

The individual teams that are not filling their areas need to get help promoting their local team. Having been a marketing consultant for 40 years I volunteered to help our local team and was told they are doing fine. Less than 3 months later the team was talking about moving because they are losing money and can’t sell all their tickets. The league needs to provide more marketing help and should get seasoned professionals to do it.

But as we know from experience, the NHL will do nothing and let the opportunity go to waste. That is what they do best.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday afternoons at 1 Eastern. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: US vs. Canada gold metal game,Olympic Hockey,Winter Oympics,NHL,marketing,NBC,Crosby,Miller,Nash

The Super Bowl preview from the Coach's box. The Colts need to hide their defense.

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Overall:

The Colts have had to outscore their opponents all year long. When the opponent is one dimensional, the Colt D has been able to slow them down. The Jets and the Ravens were both primarily a running team and the Colts slowed the run. Against the Jets the Colts D was hit hard by the passing of Sanchez. The Colts D made him look like anything but a rookie.

Offense:

The O is the strength of the team. The line is the smartest in the league. Manning is the best QB in the game now and one of the top 5 in the history of the league. Despite having lost 2 key receivers, the team can score in a handful of seconds from anywhere on the field. They rank 2nd in passing. But, the team can’t run a lick. They were dead last in rushing.

The Colts top 2 RBs Addai and Brown averaged 3.8 and 3.6 yards per carry respectively. In the playoffs it has been even worse. Addai is still averaging 3.8 but Brown has fallen to 2.3 per attempt. The Saints are one of the best red zone Ds in the league. Because the Colts can’t run the ball well, it makes the red zone even more dangerous. Because both teams have outstanding Os, there is a lot of pressure on both to score TDs rather than FGs when they get into the scoring zone. The Saints can run a little but the Colts will have to throw the ball to score.

Injuries have taken a toll on the passing game. The latest problem is lone vet WR Wayne has strained a knee in practice. Wayne had 100 catches and is the only vet not on IR. The next 2 WRs on the depth chart are 4th round pick in the 09 draft Collie and second year WR Garcon who had a total of 4 catches in his rookie year. With both being in their first SB, there are bound to be glitters. The TE is now the strength of the passing game. TE Clark also had 100 catches and is a match-up nightmare for any team. He is too fast and mobile for a LB and too big and strong for a S. Covering him will be easier if Wayne is not 100 percent. The Saints will probably single both Collie and Garcon and double Clark if Wayne is not on the field. I think that Wayne will be at least 80% and give the Saint D problems. Clark is the key to the passing game and the O of the Colts for the Super Bowl.

Defense

All the media coverage of the D has been on DE Freeney’s ankle. The latest news is that he will try to go but is not expected to be able to contribute much. I doubt he will be able to go. DE Brock will be an adequate replacement for Freeney. He can rush the QB but is not nearly as fast as Freeney.

The key to the Colt D is speed. They are on the whole undersized. Despite this, they were able to contain if not control the running games of both the Ravens and the Jets. The key is for the D line to keep the O line off the LBs. That allows the backers to get to the ball and keep the run to under 4 yards. That is the key to the Colts stopping the run and making the Saints one dimensional.

The other key is the Colts D backfield. Rookie DB Powers has started 12 games and has played well. The question is can he overcome rookie butterflies and perform like it is any regular season game? The Colts’ DBs will struggle with the Saints WRs. WRs Colston and Henderson are both wily vets that eat things tougher than rookie CBs for breakfast. Whichever receiver Powers is on will be Brees’ favorite target. TE Shockey has not been as much of a factor as the team had hoped for but could be in this game. OB Wheeler will be the one most likely to cover Shockey. OB Session will be needed to blitz Brees unless the front 4 can generate enough pressure. Look for 3rd WR Meachem to have a big game as well. He is hard for a starting CB to cover let alone a nickel back.

The Bottom Line:

The game plan for the Colts will be to control the clock with short and medium passes so that Brees and Co. are off the field. The one factor that gives the Colts the edge is Manning. I look for a close game to be won at the end by a drive by Manning for the winning score.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday morning at 11. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL Football,Super Bowl game plan,Super Bowl,Saints,Colts,Manning,Brees,Super Bowl game prediction
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  • Published: Feb 6th, 2010
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on The Super Bowl preview from the Coach's box. The Saints have their work cut out for them.

The Super Bowl preview from the Coach's box. The Saints have their work cut out for them.

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Overall

This is the game everyone except the fans of the other teams in the playoffs wanted to see–The top team in the AFC vs. the top team in the NFC. The game matches 2 of the top QBs and offenses in the last several years. But that is not going to determine the game. The key to the final score is most likely to be which defense makes the big plays.

Offense

The Saints’ O ranks 4th in passing and 6th in rushing. They are 1st in total yards and total points. While the passing game of Brees is the mainstay of the O, the running game will be just as critical in the Super Bowl. The Saints O balance should help them move the chains and keep the Colts’ O off the field.

While RB Thomas is the workhorse, RB Bush is the wild card. The 2 problems with Bush are inconsistency and fumbling. While he dominates some games, he disappears in others. Then there is the fumbling. In the post season he was as likely to generate a big play for the opponents by dropping the ball as he was for the Saints. He can not do that against the Colts if the Saints are going to win the game. The Vikes converted turnovers into field goals. The Colts will score TDs from Saint errors.

The O line has been banged up but has played well. They lost their outstanding LT Brown who is on IR early in the season. But the unknown third year T Jermon Bushrod stepped in and has done an amazing job. He had never started a game prior to this season and had been active only 3 times in his previous 2 years on the roster. The Colts D will try to put pressure on Brees by attacking the left side of the Saints line.

Defense

As much as the media has focuses on the offenses of both teams, game is more likely to be determined on the D side of the ball. The Saint D has been pushed around a lot this year. It is ranked 26 against the pass and 21st against the run. But it has come up with key turnovers all year. The team ranks 2nd in in the NFC in interceptions with 26 and 1st in TDs from those picks. They rank 10th in the NFC in recovered fumbles. A couple of turnovers would be very helpful in the Super Bowl.

The Saints have suffered some key injuries on the D line including former All Pro DE Grant and vet NT Clancy. Grant’s replacement McCray, DT Ellis and DE Smith are going to have to be able to put pressure on Manning so that the team doesn’t have to blitz as often. Manning picks blitzing teams apart. Smith is an outstanding pass rusher.

The loss of a NT for a 4-3 is not as critical as it is for a 3-4 but the Saints are down to their 3 string DT Ayodele. The 26 year old DT was picked up last year after he was cut by the Cowboys for the second time. He has filled in well but doesn’t collapse the pocket like Clancy can.

The second level has suffered injuries as well. LB Simoneau had been the starter for 2 years but was not able to even start the 09 season. OB Fujita has been in and out of the lineup with injuries but seems to be OK. OB Shanle AND Fujita are good against the run and can cover but are not strong at blitzing the QB.

The last line of defense will be tested often Sunday. The key to the DB crew is S Sharper. He is a vet and is the leader of the group. He needs to make some big plays to give the Saints a chance. CBs Greer and Porter and 5th DB Gay are going to have to be disciplined in their coverage. A broken zone against most NFL teams is a problem. Against Manning, it is a crisis. It will result in TDs more often than not.

The Bottom Line: The Saints are solid. They are the most balanced team in the NFC outside of perhaps the Vikes. The D is a concern but the Colts’ D is not any better.

The Saint offensive game plan should be to take advantage of the rookie corner of the Colts and run the ball to move the sticks so they can keep Manning and Co. off the field. They must be able to run the ball to win. They should also use RB Bush to challenge the LBs ability to cover the pass.

Their D game plan should be to change up their rush and pass coverages often and challenge the O line. They need to get good hits on the receivers early. The Colt receivers are young and may get SB jitters.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday morning at 11. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL Football,Super Bowl,Saints,Colts,Brees,Manning,Super Bowl game plan

Who stood out at the East West Shrine game?

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For this article I ignored the potential draft position of the players and rated their performance on the field on game day. Let me say up front that I do not agree with the “experts” that watch the practices and leave on game day. In my years of coaching, I have seen a lot of guys that looked like Tarzan in practice but when the pressure was on in a game they played like Jane.

Blair White WR Michigan State 14 points (4th round)

Blair gets open, has very good hands, and can adjust to bad balls (because he has had so much experience with bad QBs). He was a 4th or 5th projection before the EW game but with a very solid game he has moved into the 4th. The one question about him is speed. He is projected to run a 4.52. At 6-1 200 lbs, that is just OK. If he gets under 4.5 he could get into the 3rd.

Rahim Alem DE Louisiana State 13 pts (3rd)

Alem is 6-3 and 262. That is too light for a starting DE in the pros. He doesn’t really look like he can put on another 30 pounds and keep his speed. He is expected to run a 4.7 40 and depends on that speed to be effective. He could be a pass rush specialist at the next level. He had 2 hurries and caused an interception in the game. He needs work to develop something other than a one move outside rush.

Freddie Barnes WR Bowling Green State 13 pts (5th)

Barnes is one of my favorite value picks. He is only 6′ and 206 and runs a slow 4.58. But he is the prototype slot receiver. Ask Tom Brady how valuable WR Welker is to his offense! Barnes is a high motor guy that will block for the run, get open on short routes, catch the ball in a crowd and will be a pain to any D trying to cover him. He was one of the few weapons at BG and still drove Ds nuts.

James Ruffin DE Northern Iowa 13 pts (5th)

Ruffin is another too light DE. But at 6-4 he has the ability to add bulk and be a starting DE. He played really well and got a hurry and a sack. He also caused a penalty and got a couple of other pass rushes. He is not good at anchoring against the run but more bulk will help. He could be a value pick in the 5th and could go higher if he puts on some good weight and still runs a 4.75-4.8 40.

O’Brien Schofield OB Wisconsin 10 pts (3rd prior to injury)

Schofield reportedly tore his ACL which is a real shame. He had never played LB until the EW game but picked up the position very quickly. He got an interception, had the speed to get wide to stretch out the run, and covered receivers well. Given the injury, he will fall to the 7th round or may not be drafted. He will be an outstanding value for someone but not until 2011.

Andrew Quarless TE Penn State 9pts (6th)

This is a very deep TE draft. As a result, Quarless may drop to the 6th. He is a decent blocker but a good receiver. He gets open, and had 3 nice catches in the game including a TD. He is 6-5 248 and should be able to run a 4.7 40. He will be a nice 2nd TE and does well on special teams.

Doug Worthington DT Ohio State 9pts (7th)

Worthington was a mainstay of the Buckeye D. He had a solid EW game as well. He was doubled a number of times, got half a sack in my grading, and was solid in rushing the passer. He is decent against the run but at 275 could add some weight to get better.

Lindsey Witten DE Connecticut 8pts (4th)

Witten was one of the higher rated players at the EW game. But he is another of the underweight DEs in college. At 264 he needs weight to be a potential starter. But he uses his speed (4.7) to get to the QB. He may not be able to add the weight and keep the speed. At 6-4 he could be a LB conversion as well.

Jamar Wall CB Texas Tech 8pts (5th)

Wall will give you a great play then screw up badly. He scored 14 points with 3 excellent pass breakups but lost points with bad coverage and a penalty. At 5-10 with 4.5 speed, he is going to have to improve his coverage skills to make a team. He will contribute on special teams but will be a risk to draft even in the 5th round.

Reggie Carter IB UCLA 8pts (5th/6th)

Carter is a high motor guy with good instincts and the ability to stop the run. At 243 he will likely end up outside and should be OK there if he runs the 4.7 that he is expected to do at the Combine. He covers receivers fairly well and can contribute on special teams.

Alric Arnett WR West Virginia 8pts (6th)

Drafting a WR from a running team is always a little risky. But Arnett may be the exception. He has decent speed (4.49) good hands and can catch the bad pass. The question is can he get open regularly? He looked good in the game.

Greg Hardy DE Mississippi 8pts (1st or 2nd)

Hardy led the SEC in sacks and came into the game with a low 1st early 2nd round evaluation. I was not that impressed in this game. He played a lot better against Florida and Georgia. He got a sack, and had 2 other nice plays but allowed himself to get caught up in the wash too often against the run. He is an outstanding athlete but didn’t make enough plays in the game. He is going to have to add some weight to be a regular. But that could hurt his speed. At an expected 4.58 in the 40, he need his speed. He too may be a LB conversion prospect but taking a conversion that high is a huge risk.

Stevenson Sylvester OB Utah 8pts (FA)

Sylvester really popped early then disappeared. He attacks the run with great instincts, but he is too small and too slow but showed a great motor early. I have not yet decided how I feel about him but I will let you know when I get deeper into player evaluation.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday morning at 11. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: nfl draft,projected draft choices,East West Shrine Game,All star game,College Football,Michigan State,Louisiana State,Bowling Green,Northern Iowa,Wisconsin,Penn State,Ohio State,UConn,Texas Tech,UCLA,West Virginia,Mississippi,Utah

What Did We Learn from the Championship games?

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nfl

NFC GAME Saints 31 Vikings 28 Overtime

Vikings

The turnovers killed the Vikes. They lost 3 of 6 fumbles and 2 picks. They totally outplayed the Saints on offense but gave Brees and Co. too many short fields. Even so, QB Favre brought them back to tie the Saints. The game was determined by the turnovers, the lack of protection for Favre, and the toss of the overtime coin flip.

Favre can not be blamed for what happens to the Vikes. The team never would have been in the game with Jackson or any other QB on the roster. Favre got the team there by pulling out so many wins during the season and giving the team the belief that the QB could win a game not just lose one. Now the question is what will Favre decide about coming back?

He had a great season with the fewest picks of his career. He looked like anything but a 40 year old QB and I think he really enjoyed playing with this team. I would guess that he will take his time in making up his mind about coming back. It will probably take until the 3rd game of preseason for him to decide. That way he avoids 2 a day practices and training camp.

The one thing that will help him make his decision is better protection. Favre stood in against a Saint pass rush that the Vike line was unprepared to handle. But despite the punishment, Favre was effective.

The Vikes’ running game was more effective than normal. It averaged 4.6 per carry. The O converted 58% of their 3rd downs and out gained the passing yards of the Saints 310 to 189.

The Viking D line did a nice job given the great field position the O gave up. They held the Saints to 68 yards rushing. They also caused 3 fumbles. They did miss a couple of picks that might have turned the game around.

Saints

Paul Brown once said “I’d rather be lucky than good. Good teams lose.” The Saints got lucky winning the flip of the overtime coin. But it took a good kick return and great drive to get into position to kick the game winning field goal. QB Brees’ numbers are not impressive but he did what he had to do. He was able to take advantage of the gifts the Vikes gave him.

The O line did a very good job. It allowed only 1 sack by a top D. They were not able to get the running game working however. The ground game only averaged 3 yards a carry.

The Saints D played well and created some of the turnovers that determined the outcome of the game. The one thing that the D was able to do was put pressure on Favre all game long. They beat him and therefore the O of the Vikes into submission.

The Bottom line: The Saints got VERY lucky. They won’t have the luck or the crowd when they play the Colts in Miami.

AFC GAME Colts 30 Jets 17

Jets

I have to admit I was wrong about QB Sanchez. He played as well as possibly could have been expected of any young QB let alone a rookie. He was 17-30 for 257 and 2 TDs but one pick. With the Colt safeties playing up to stop the run, Sanchez used a pump fake to help WR Edwards get open and threw a perfect pass for the first TD of the game. For once in the last couple of years, Edwards actually caught the ball and scored. Sanchez led the Jets to a 17-6 lead with less than 2 minutes left in the first half. That is when the wheels fell off the Jet and it crashed on the runway.

The running game of the Jets was nonexistent. It averaged only 3 yards per carry. The speed of the Colts D was too much for the O and they were not able to get the big runs that had helped get the team to the AFC Championship game. The team was also not able to make the 2nd half adjustments to move the ball.

The Jets D gave up a score with less than a minute left in the 1st half. That was a killer. The D couldn’t figure out how to stop Manning in that drive or the entire second half. When they played zone, Manning would look the safety off and hit the open receivers. When the Jets played man, Manning used double moves to get his guys open. The other problem was the lack of pressure on Manning. They were so focused on stopping the pass, they gave up 101 yards rushing and 4.2 per carry.

Colts

The Manning passing game is a thing of beauty. Manning cut up the pass D of the Jets like it was a rare steak. He was sacked twice but had the pass D totally confused. The O line did fairly well holding off the Jet pass rush. Manning showed why he is the best QB in the game right now. He has had his best season this year given the fact that he was working with a lot of rookie receivers.

The Colts D did the one thing they needed to do–shut down the Jet running game. The Jets ran the ball 29 times for only 86 yards. The Jet O line could not get to the LBs to open up the running lanes. The Colts D line played much better than they have in previous games. They bottled up the O line and the LBs cut off the outside run.

The bottom line: The Colts with Manning at QB will be a really tough Super Bowl competitor.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday morning at 11. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NFL FOOTBALL,Super Bowl,Conference Championship game,Colts,Saints,Jets,Manning,Favre,Vikings,analysis

What to look for in the NFC Championship game.

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nfl

Vikings @ Saints

Vikes

QB Farve has brought the passing game that has been missing from the team for years. Prior to this season, the team had the D, the O line, and the running game of an NFL Champion. The one thing they didn’t have was a championship quality passing game. Farve has not only provided the passing, he has helped the receivers develop. WR Rice has gone from “great potential” to one of the best receivers in the league in 1 year. In 08 Rice caught 15 balls. In 09 he caught 83 with a 15.8 yard average for 8 TDs. The rookie that the Vikes drafted Harvin who didn’t have an NFL position. Not only did he become a WR, he caught 80 balls for a 13.2 average and 6 TDs. That didn’t happen by accident. Farve didn’t help them develop out of a desire to be a good team leader. He did it to win a championship. The Vikes have a key injury on O. WR Harvin is questionable for the game. I think he will play.

The problem was that as the passing game developed, the running game withered. RB Peterson is one of the most skilled backs in the league. After his season of 1760 yards, a 4.8 yard average and 10 TDs, he fell to 1383 yards, a 4.4 yard average and has not had a 100+ yard game in the last half of the season. So what is the problem? There are actually a couple of problems. First, there is not nearly enough push by the O line up the gut. The guards are not able to slide off double teams and get to the second level. The line is too often pushed back into the backfield allowing the backs to be hit before they get to the line of scrimmage. The second problem is leakage around the edge. The TEs are receivers more than blockers. In the Dallas game the OLB got to the runner off the edge by pushing past the TE. Those problems are not the kind of thing you can solve in a week.

The D has been solid all year ranking 6th in yards and 10th in scoring D. After holding the Bengals to 10 points in week 14, the D had a pair of bad games allowing 26 and 36 in consecutive weeks in losses to the Panthers and Bears. But they turned it on again and have allowed just 10 total points to the Giants in week 17 and to the Cowboys last week in the Divisional round. The Cowboys were one of the best offenses in the league. The Boys scored just a field goal against the Vikes D. The key to the D is the line. The Williams boys at DT are the best pair in the league. They crush the run and push the O line back into the QB. The DEs Edwards and Allen are as good as any pair in the league. The D has 48 sacks, 23 fumbles forced and 11 picks this year. The D does have injuries as well. Pat Williams and Edwards are both questionable with injuries. The Vikes need both to slow down a great Saint O. CB Sapp is also questionable.

The key to this game may be if the Vike LB can drop off enough to clog the seams and prevent the quick seam pass. The Saints live off of quick passes to the short seam and run after the catch. No catch no RAC.

Saints

The Saints have the top O in the league. They are 1st in yards and points, 4th in passing yards and 6th in rushing. QB Brees is as good a QB as there is in the league. He is under the radar because this is the first time in a while that the team has made it this far. The Saints have 3 WRs, a TE and a RB that each have more than 40 catches. Brees’ favorite receiver is whoever is open. WRs Colston (70 catches) Henderson (51) and Meacham (45) are all dangerous. TE Shockey (48) stretches the D down the middle and RB Bush (47). Bush is perhaps more dangerous as a receiver than a runner. He can take a 1 yard pass out of the backfield and take it to the house. Shockey is questionable as is pro bowl C Goodwin. If Goodwin can’t go it would be a problem for the O. His replacement Leckey struggles to handle big active DTs.

The team has 3 RBs with more than 300 yards. Bush (390, 5.6 average) is Mr. Outside and RB Thomas (793, 5.4) is Mr. Inside. RB Bell (654) can do both. The O line has done a good job blocking the run and the pass. Every lineman can get outside to block the sweep and screen.

The D has been as good as necessary but that is all. They rank 20th in points allowed, 25th in yards, 26th in passing yards and 21st in rushing yards. The D depends on the O to score more points. The loss of DE Grant early in the year hurt the pass rush. DE Smith gets double teamed often. The one weapon the Saints have in the DB is S Sharper. He is a ball magnet and played with Favre in Green Bay. Farve must know where Sharper is. MLB Vilma heads up the second line of defense. If the Vikes can take advantage of a below average Saint D, they can win.

The Bottom line: The Saints are the 3.5 point favorites with an over/under of 52. The Vikes have and outstanding D and an O the equal of the Saints. Despite their D, I think the Saints win but I am not willing to put my money on that. If the game was in Minnesota, I would probably pick the Vikes. I would bet the over as the only pick here.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday morning at 11. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL Football,nfl draft,NFL Playoffs,NFC,Championship game,Vikings,Saints,Bengals,Brees,Favre,Colston,Bush,Grant,injury report,odds,over/under

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