Final Word: Cardinals at Saints

Three nuggets of knowledge about Saturday's playoff game between the Arizona Cardinals (11-6) and New Orleans Saints (13-3):

1. I'm tired of hearing people tearing apart the Saints. Sure, the Saints weren’t good in their last three games. But the people who are forecasting doom for the Saints aren't taking a closer look. First, the Carolina game meant nothing because the Saints didn't play their starters. Yes, the losses to Tampa Bay and Dallas were ugly, but they came when the Saints had a lot of injuries. They’re healthy now and they look a lot more like the team that won 13 games. In the end, I’m thinking those 13 wins are going to carry more weight in how the Saints play than the three losses.

2. I recognized cornerback Jabari Greer in our X factor report this week because he’s back at full health and should have a big impact on the defense. But I’m going to throw another X factor out there for the offense and special teams. That’s Reggie Bush. Yeah, I know he gets bashed for not being the prototypical running back. But the fact is, he’s probably the best athlete on the field. When you throw a bunch of good athletes on a field, the best one is going to be able to do things the others can’t. That’s why I’m thinking Bush will be good for two huge plays.

3. We’re all talking about defense as if there won’t be any played in this game. It could end up looking like one of those 148-145 NBA All-Star games. But defense is going to play a role, and it could be a decisive one. Neither defense is capable of shutting down the opposing offense. But the defense that comes up with a turnover or two could decide the game.