New Orleans Sports Scuttlebutt


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Opening day in the Super Dome was a circus, and although coach Sean Payton did his best rendition of master of ceremonies, it was Drew Brees who stole the show as the Lion tamer. It was no surprise that New Orleans beat Detroit in about as competitive a 45-27 game as you're likely to see. In fact, if not for some untimely turnovers and special teams blunders, it could have been much worse. Give the Lions some credit though. They never quit, despite Brees' six touchdown foray into the 2009 season.


As predicted, the Saints' offense was good, and Detroit's' defense was, to put it mercifully, not so good. After all, last years' 42-7 prequel had nearly an identical story arc, with the Saints' leading man airing it out for over 350 yards in both contests. But although the Saints can once again boast the league's top rated offense, even the most fervid of Saints' zealots will tell you that," we've only played the Lions"-a team whose current losing streak dates back to 2007.


Now, the Saints are taking their high-wire act on the road to Philadelphia to face the leagues current number one defense. But the Eagles will likely be without their All-Pro signal caller, Donivan McNabb, who suffered a cracked rib in an impressive 38-10 blowout against the Panthers. McNabb is listed as doubtful, but the Eagles have not officially ruled him out for Sunday's game.


But whether or not McNabb is able to play, the Eagles realize that the show must go on. Third string quarterback Michael Vick is still ineligible to play. McNabb's understudy,  Kevin Kolb, will probably get the start, but 39-year-old Jeff Garcia, who the Eagles signed shortly after McNcabb's injury is also a viable option. Garcia knows the system. He helped lead the Eagles to the playoffs in '06 when McNabb was injured. If Kolb struggles early, expect Eagles coach Andy Reid to put Garcia in before the game gets out of hand.


Regardless of who lines up behind center for the Eagles, Sunday's match-up has the feel of a playoff game, with both teams projected to make postseason appearances. However, this is a golden opportunity for the Saints to take advantage of a Philadelphia team hobbled by the loss of their leader, and prove that they are a  legitimate Super Bowl contender-not just a high scoring novelty.


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