The Saints benefitted at times from opportunistic and aggressive defense – INTs by CB Tracy Porter in the final minutes of both the NFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl – during the 2009 season en route to capturing their 1st Super Bowl win in franchise history.
But make no mistake, it was a high-powered and lethal offense that paced New Orleans throughout the season. The Saints ranked 1st in total offense and points per game during the 2009 season and in 2010 QB Drew Brees and Co. return an offense mostly intact from a year ago.
All of this means the Vikings defense will face a stiff test right out of the gates in 2010.
In last year’s NFC Championship Game, the Vikings defense was up to the challenge as they held New Orleans to just 257 total yards – 146 yards below the Saints season average. If the Vikings defense can come up with a similar effort on Thursday evening, odds are the Saints won’t be able to overcome it this time.
If the preseason is any indication, the Vikings defense looks to be in similar form to last year’s NFC title game effort. The Vikings finished the preseason ranked 4th among all NFL teams in points allowed per game (14.8) and sacks (13); the Vikings allowed just 59 points in the 4 exhibition games, which is the 4th lowest total in franchise history. The Vikings defense also ranked 5th in first downs allowed (62) and 7th in yards per game allowed (286.0).
In fairness we must point out that these are preseason numbers, and preseason results are not always an indication of how a team will perform in the regular season. At the same time, if the Vikings had struggled in the statistical areas mentioned above, many would be forecasting trouble for the defense as they prepare to face a loaded and explosive Saints offense.
What say you, Vikings fans? Keeping in mind how well the Vikings defense played in last year’s NFC Championship Game and also how well the defense played this preseason, will they be up to the task of containing New Orleans’ offense on Thursday night?
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