"I would expect that they've kind of grown into their own identity now", Saints linebacker Manti Te'o said. Three of those opponents - Chicago, Cincinnati and Atlanta - managed to do it just once all game. Elflein will be back Sunday, but it remains to be seen what Minnesota's offensive line configuration will be. The Vikings have the advantage in both third down and redzone efficiency, ranking in the top ten in both categories. However, for the Vikes to win in the playoffs, it will take a complete game from all three phases.
Playoff pressure, though, can do some tricky things.
In other words, remember the NFC Championship Game after the 2009 season.
The Vikings have a fine team and are favored to at least reach the big game, now that our guy Carson Wentz of the Philadelphia Eagles is out for the year with a knee injury and backup Nick Foles is not exactly North Dakota Tough. Vikings are 13-3 at home in history against Saints, including the one playoff victory.
Late in the regular season, Sean Payton chose to insert Alvin Kamara as a kickoff returner. Brees was 27-of-37 for 291 yards and one touchdown. What helps is that this isn't Shurmur's first time being a candidate for coaching jobs. Kai Forbath started out red hot but has missed four kicks since mid-November.
Brees has thrown for over 300 yards in seven of his 12 postseason games, including last Sunday's 376-yard showing against the Panthers.
Many are saying the two best teams left in the National Football League face off against each other this weekend.
But with that said you're going on the road, you're going on the road in a very hard place to play in Superdome in terms of again the loudness of the stadium, the ferocity of the fans and oh by the way your stepping up in class in terms of a football team, the Minnesota Vikings are a very very good football team on both sides of the ball but exceptional on the defensive side of the ball. The veteran cornerback is listed as questionable due to a foot injury. And don't sleep on the Minnesota offense, either.
But if you look at Minnesota's schedule, there weren't a lot of great passing teams on it. Pittsburgh had success throwing it in week two, the Redskins put up 30 points while throwing for more than 300 yards and Detroit had some success throwing it on Thanksgiving Day. It would be the only full game that Bradford played all season. As a team, the Saints' 42 sacks were tied for seventh in the NFL.
This is a game where Rhodes might get the call to play as a shadow against another top-flight receiver.