Just look at the numbers.
"There are some similarities in regards to scheme, but I think when you go through a course of an National Football League season and you look at the attrition that takes place, there are eight or nine of our starters that are playing in that game that aren't playing in this game, and I'm sure the same exists for Minnesota", New Orleans coach Sean Payton told reporters this week, according to the team's website.
The 52-year-old Shurmur is in his first year as Minnesota's offensive coordinator after serving as the interim the season prior. New Orleans looked completely outclassed on the road against a team that figured to be one of the top contenders in the National Football Conference.
That list goes on and on.
Linval Joseph is one of the single most important players in this game. The Saints have been my pick for a while now, so I am going to stick with them. I'm leaning toward the latter.
The Vikings were 11-3 in the regular season with Keenum as a starter. Gary Anderson's miss notwithstanding, the Falcons admirably slowed the Vikings' record-setting offense in 1998.
Playoff pressure, though, can do some tricky things.
The Saints returned home six days later and got a similar stiff arm from the New England Patriots in a 36-20 loss. Saints won 2009 NFC championship game at home. However, this year, there is plenty of confidence in the special teams unit to get it done.
The Saints rank 10th in scoring defence this season and have one of the brightest young stars in the game in rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore.
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. He might be able to steal a touchdown. Minnesota has good, athletic linebackers, as well as a ball-hawking secondary led by All-Pro safety Harrison Smith, who will make a big play Sunday. But he did point to Bradford having thrown for 346 yards in a 29-19 win over New Orleans in the September 11 opener and te quarterback at least having played more this season than Bridgewater.
The Vikings have been a pleasant surprise on offense, with career backup Case Keenum thriving at quarterback, but Minnesota's real success story is its top-rated defense that will be hard for the Saints to break down. Now they travel to the tundra of Minnesota where the team plays.in a dome. Saints FB Zach Line, who spent four seasons with Vikings, had TD run last week. He outplayed Brees, and it was not even close as far as quarterback play went. The fact that he was targeted 149 times in the season shows how important he is to the offense. Tight end Kyle Carter was waived Saturday to make room for Bradford. If that's not enough motivation, what are we doing here?
At first glance, that may not be a good subject line for the Saints considering how poorly New Orleans has performed over the years in the land of Bud Grant. With 8 Super Bowl appearances and thirty playoff appearances throughout the team's history, this is another team to watch.