As the numbers on Chicago's Soldier Field clock fell towards zero, Saints fans got pumped.
They prepared, with whatever tools the experience would require, for #FalconsHateWeek
Actual players got in on the action. Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis fired the opening salvo
, which was surprising, because Keenan Lewis doesn't seem to be much of a trash-talker; but it was only surprising for the few seconds it took to recall Keenan Lewis is always introduced as being from the West Bank.
"We're definitely gonna give them their funeral," a predicted Sunday afternoon outcome which would end Atlanta's playoff hopes.
Two days later, Lewis added fuel to the proverbial fire.
"This is definitely a war," Lewis added Wednesday. "What, you think this is a game? I've got my war paint on."
The Falcons responded to Lewis's offer to provide them free burial services with an eye-rollingly shallow version of the being a bigger man schtick. Atlanta receiver Roddy White, infamous for deploying a particular brand of dialogue
that combines lack of self-awareness and offensiveness with apparent stupidity, was almost clever: "May we rest in peace," he said
Except the Falcons were unable to sustain their game of smarm. Atlanta linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, whom few people have ever actually seen playing for the Falcons, started typing things on the internet.
"They won't let me talk to the media," Weatherspoon said
, "but they don't know my Twitter password!"
To which Saints fans, of course, chose to reply.
As always, the real action will happen on the Superdome playing surface. The stakes couldn't be much higher
, and there's about as much unknown as there can be for a pair of teams playing their fifteenth games.
Is the Saints' new secondary, the Legion of Whom
, for real? Can it repeat its performance in Chicago
, except against a quarterback-and-receiver combination that is good rather than a soap opera? Is Atlanta's run defense, which was terrible for most of the year, suddenly great
When the last second leaves the Superdome clock, will the Saints be NFC South champions? Will the Falcons have made themselves overwhelming favorites? Will we have to extend this chase for the worst division championship ever for another week? Will Carolina
win it after all?
Stay tuned, because who knows.
This is the good part.