Playoff breakdown: Cards-Saints
The beneficiaries will be their wide receivers, specifically Arizona's
Given how much both of these teams want to pass the ball, there will be plenty of opportunities to create turnovers. Last season, even though the Cardinals were vulnerable on defense, they were fast and incredibly opportunistic. This season, the Saints have been the same. Because the two offenses will be under intense pressure to score every time they touch the ball, each turnover and red-zone stop will be magnified. No one is expecting the Cardinals to hold the Saints to 17 points or vice versa. But if one team can even keep the other under 30, it will probably be enough.
Arizona, a team made for the fast track, should be comfortable on the artificial surface. They should be confident having won at Carolina on this week a year ago. And they should be plenty motivated having convinced themselves that the nation has dismissed them. They get an opportunity in the Superdome to prove once and for all that they remain a championship threat. The New Orleans fans will help the Saints more than they know. But they may not hurt the Cardinals as much as they hope.
"Anybody that wants to compare me to Kurt Warner, I consider that a big honor because I think that Kurt will go down in history as one of the best players to ever play his position....I always enjoy watching him and Cardinals offensive film whenever we play a similar opponent. I'm always going to turn them on just to see what they did and how they attacked them and how Kurt played just because I have that much respect for that guy."
These teams look like identical twins, from their elite quarterbacks to their untouchable receivers to their suspect defenses. In such an even matchup, more subtle factors come into play: While the Cardinals sweated out an overtime thriller last week, the Saints enjoyed a bye. In fact, the Cardinals played the final game of the first round and they get the first game of the second, an unfair scheduling quirk. The Saints may have been exposed somewhat in the past month, but they still have the best offense in the NFL, better even than the Cardinals, and they have accomplished too much this season to head home after one game.