NEW ORLEANS -- Good morning everyone.
IT'S GAME DAY.
OK, got that one out of the way.
In about nine hours or so, the Superdome will be rocking as the New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions play for the opportunity to move to the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. By all accounts, the French Quarter is hopping in anticipation of both this game and the BCS Championship Game, and I'll be wading into the craziness soon. For now, here are some last-minute links to get you through the rest of the morning:
Here is a one-stop link for all of our "Lions-Saints" coverage this week.
Seth Wickersham of ESPN the Magazine was the only ESPN expert to pick the Lions in this game. (Alas, I am neither an expert nor have a vote on that one.)
So you're saying there is a chance, Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News? Wojnowski: "To many, this looks like a mismatch, because what the Lions are trying to do, the Saints have done for years. But if ever there was an opportunity to accelerate timetables and shatter perceptions, this is it. The Lions have the quarterback, Matthew Stafford, and dynamic offense to match the prolific Drew Brees. They have a pugnacious attitude that can rile opponents, and rattle them."
Lions coach Jim Schwartz showed his team a highlight tape of big playoff moments Friday, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, and told them that the postseason is where memories are made.
Drew Sharp of the Free Press: "A victory tonight at the Superdome against New Orleans doesn't fully eradicate 54 years of failed promise, but it becomes a modest reward for those who endured the long litany of game-day missteps and draft-day miscalculations. There isn't anything else in this town that distorts our rational perspectives more than the Lions."
Jeff Duncan of the (New Orleans) Times-Picayune writes that "the day of reckoning is here for the Saints' defense."
The cities of New Orleans and Detroit are kindred spirits, writes Bob Marshall of the Times-Picayune: "It's everything that's been thrown at your hometown for the past decade. It's what the rest of the nation has been thinking and saying about you and your town. The way 'Detroit' has become a slur, an insult, the lowest place you could accuse someone of being from. The 'Why would you live there?' look. The sneer. It's the callous dismissal of your home, your family, your great contributions to the nation's culture and history. It's the 'I wouldn't want to visit there!' from people who have never been, from people who live in anonymous, cookie-cutter towns in the drive-thru culture replicated along interstate exits with numbing, forgettable sameness. We've been there, Detroit."