This NFC title game is going to be tremendous.
The atmosphere in the Super Dome should be among the best -- if not THE best -- we have ever seen for a meaningful NFL game.
That's because it IS one of the most meaningful NFL games, and certainly the most meaningful game in the history of the Saints franchise -- even more than the first Super Dome game after Katrina.
A Saints win represents the best of the NFL -- the most historically hapless franchise, breaking through to the Super Bowl, led by a completely revamped D and a QB who, by all scouts' "analysis," has no business destroying the league, as he does most every week.
(That a Saints win would also mean a Favre loss would only be a bonus -- I'm trying to be positive here!)
I am thrilled for Saints fans, and I am rooting for a Saints win. Mostly, I am excited to watch the game and try to capture some of the vibe from inside the dome.
As far as superlatives go, beyond this being the best atmosphere for an NFL game ever, I would say that the Saints going to the Super Bowl is hard to top among all-time Super Bowl participants.
In today's SN column, I pick the Saints to win by 3.
I also pick the Jets to upset the Colts by 3 (in overtime, no less). I think the Jets' D is playing that well -- my overarching estimation is that if the Jets can stifle the Chargers, they can contain the Colts. All of the pressure is on the Colts. And even though Peyton doesn't need much time to score points, the Jets running game will presumably keep him off the field. I buy into Rex Ryan's mad genius. And, as I've said for a few weeks, I would like to see the Colts get a karmic payback for throwing the game against the Jets (and then again in Week 17).
More in today's column:
*Kobe vs. LeBron: I really don't care that the Cavs swept the season series. In a 7-game Finals -- even with Cleveland having home-court advantage -- I'm taking the Lakers until convinced otherwise.
*Love that AI is in the starting lineup for the NBA All-Star Game. It's everything that's good and wacky about having the fans vote. And AI deserves the stage, if it is his swan song.
*College Hoops Game of the Weekend: Ohio State at West Virginia. Evan Turner vs. Devin Ebanks.
*Yes, that Prince song about the Vikings is pretty lame, but it's Prince -- show some respect.
A lot more in today's column. Check out the whole thing here. More later, and all weekend.