Last night, I joined millions of Americans in watching the Monday night football game between the New England Patriots and the New Orleans Saints. I expected it to be a much closer game than it was. In fact, it wasn’t really a competitive game at all. The Pats just couldn’t hang with those guys. The 2009 Saints were looking like the Patriots of old- what a juggernaut! My goodness, they looked sharp! For me the most impressive thing about the Saints last night was their defense, led by former Redskins Defensive Coordinator, Greg Williams. They had the normally unflappable crew from New England looking confused and frustrated for four straight quarters, which took the pressure off their formidable offense, which then proceeded to slice up New England like a Christmas ham. Mmmm….ham. New England didn’t have an answer on defense for either their run or pass attack, and New Orleans’ defense didn’t let Brady et al get a word in edgewise on offense either. Since the game I have heard three separate sports analysts on three separate programs talk about the remainder of the Saints season and speculate as to whether they can remain undefeated, and all three analysts identified this Sunday’s matchup against the Redskins as a “classic trap game,” and the best opportunity to stop them. They all used that exact same expression, “classic trap game,” which I had never heard before, and which got me wondering if all of these guys get together somewhere and agree on their talking points. …But I digress… With the exception of a matchup verses Dallas, the Saints schedule does look pretty easy, and, barring any unforeseen acts of God like, oh…I don’t know, a hurricane or something, I think they will definitely run the table. But those analysts got me thinking about this Sunday when the Saints come marching in to Washington. Could it be? Could the lowly Redskins be the ones to knock the tracks off this tank? Anything’s possible. Isn’t that what keeps Washington's fans tuning in and buying tickets year after year. The big, fat, pregnant “maybe” that lives in the hearts of all die-hard fans. The theory is that the Redskins are better than their record lets on (Subjective) and they have one of the best defenses in the league (Objective). So their exists the possibility of an over-confident Saints team, coming off an emotional and exhilarating win against the Patriots, and blinded by pride, looking past the Skins to more challenging matchups, being surprised by their stiff defense, and if you sprinkle in a few lucky series from Washington’s offense, the skins might just squeak out a narrow and unexpected upset. (Pardon me all you English teachers for the preceding run-on sentence. No, I will not go back and fix it.)
Anything’s possible, but I remember similar talk in 2007 as the Patriots were marching towards an undefeated season. Do you remember that? Remember the score? I won’t get my hopes up this Sunday…but then again, maybe...just maybe.