New Orleans won games in Minneapolis in 2011, 1993, and 1985. And then in the NFC championship game against the Washington Redskins, a game they coulda and shoulda won, Darren Nelson thought a late-game, end-zone pass intended for Anthony Carter was meant for him; he failed to catch it, and the Vikings failed to win. The reason the 2017 Saints are so much better than the Saints teams of the past few years (7-9 each of previous three years) is this club has a terrific running game behind Kamara and Mark Ingram and relies less on future Hall of Fame QB Drew Brees. "Offensively, they have found great balance". Carolina's defense is good.
"I don't think there's any curse", Zimmer said. "So hopefully we can continue to play some more games".
"We are a lot more confident", Saints linebacker Manti Te'o said.
If the Saints win this weekend and then the conference championship they head right back to Minnesota to play the AFC champion in February in the Super Bowl.
The main storyline on this side of the ball will be whether Case Keenum finally turns into a pumpkin after his Cinderella season.
-Andrus Peat's versatility has been a key factor in the Saints' offensive line's ability to play well amid a series of injuries. Now Peat is unavailable because of a broken fibula suffered against the Panthers.
The Saints will play in the division round of the playoffs for the first time since that season, against a Vikings team that hasn't gone this far since the season it lost to the Saints. Carolina ran 71 plays and New Orleans 56. The Saints' defense is now ranked 15th in the National Football League, allowing 326 yards per game, and Lattimore is a defensive rookie of the year candidate.
-The Saints have been trying to improve their third-down conversion rate all season, but struggled again Sunday. ". The difference is earlier in the year, I think, they were not confused but just working with new guys". And the fact that the saints a three and a half point underdogs.
"It's night and day", Saints quarterback Drew Brees said.
The Raiders went 90 yards the other way, getting a field goal and gutting the Vikings' momentum while cruising to a 32-14 victory. During a second-quarter touchdown drive, Brees threw a ideal pass to tight end Jeremy Hill for a 25-yard gain that caught Barr's eye. Alvin Kamara led the ground with 10 carries for 23 yards and a score and Michael Thomas was the star receiver with 8 receptions for 131 yards. (4-115, 80-yard touchdown). Both running backs made the NFC Pro Bowl roster. Now the Saints look to feed their two-headed rushing monster in Kamara and Ingram.
- Brees needs 38 passing yards and two touchdowns to move into ninth place on both the postseason career passing yards and passing touchdowns leaderboards.
An NFL team evolves over the course of a season - no fans know that better this year than those in New Orleans - and the important lessons to be learned about Minnesota come from November and December. The main consistency in Minnesota was the defense. That painful stumble at the end of the most important game the Vikings have played in nearly two decades doesn't mean much at all to the guys on the 2017 roster. Thomas Morstead averaged 43.0 yards on four punts, one of which was downed inside the 20.
Zimmer, the Cincinnati Bengals' defensive coordinator at the time, was at the game because his son, Adam, was linebackers coach for the Saints.