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Drew Brees Will Lead New Orleans Saints to Another Super Bowl

Drew Laing@@drewrlaingAnalyst IDecember 27, 2011

Drew Brees has the New Orleans Saints playing their best football at the best time.
Drew Brees has the New Orleans Saints playing their best football at the best time.Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints are the hottest team in football right now, winning seven straight games behind the play of quarterback Drew Brees.

Brees has had a spectacular season so far, breaking Dan Marino's record for passing yards in a season with 5,087 yards as well as leading his team to a NFC South division title. With a playoff spot locked up for the Saints, Brees will complete his record-setting season by winning his second Super Bowl in three seasons.

Currently, the Saints are slotted as the No. 3 seed in the NFC and will host a playoff game in New Orleans in the first round. Brees has been impeccable at home this season, throwing for 24 touchdowns and only five interceptions. The Saints are undefeated at home this season.

The Saints are projected to play the Atlanta Falcons in the first round. In their two regular season matchups this season, the Saints have outscored the Falcons 71-39. The Falcons kept it close in the Georgia Dome, only losing to the Saints by three points in overtime, but the Saints are a different team at home, and that was evident in last night's game as they dismantled the Falcons, 45-16.

The biggest road block for the Saints in getting to the Super Bowl will be potential road games at both Green Bay and San Francisco. The Packers have been the league's best team this season because of an MVP-like season from Aaron Rodgers, and the 49ers have found success through their new energetic head coach and a strong defense.

These will be tough matchups for the Saints, but Brees has the skill and leadership ability to win both of those games.

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San Francisco has been the most surprising team in 2011 and will force the Saints to face one of the best defenses they will see this season. Players like Patrick Willis, Justin Smith and Carlos Rogers can make life tough for Brees, but the playoff experience of the Saints will overcome the upstart 49ers in their first playoff game since 2002.   

In the first week of the season, the Saints lost 42-34 on the road against Green Bay in a tightly contested game between two outstanding quarterbacks. Even though they lost, Brees' stat line against the Packers should give fans hope about his chances of defeating the Packers in a rematch. He was nearly perfect, throwing for more than 400 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Brees poses for pictures with his offensive line after breaking Dan Marino's single-season passing yardage record.
Brees poses for pictures with his offensive line after breaking Dan Marino's single-season passing yardage record.Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Brees is the perfect weapon to expose the Packers defense. Green Bay is ranked 31st in pass defense, giving up 286 yards per game. The multiple options New Orleans has on offense, along with the hot streak that Brees is on right now, will be tough for Green Bay to defend.

Plus, the Saints' defense has been performing well lately. Since their bye in Week 11, the Saints' defense has given up an average of 18 points, and the team has kept quarterbacks like Matthew Stafford, Eli Manning and Matt Ryan to a combined total of five touchdowns.

On the road, the Saints haven't performed as well as at home. All three of their losses have come on the road, and two of them were to below-average teams in Tampa Bay and St. Louis.

But recent history shows that going on the road in the playoffs has been a favorable situation for Super Bowl champions. Since 2000, the Super Bowl champion has won at least two games on the road during the playoffs. Three of those times, the teams (2010 Packers, 2007 Giants and 2005 Steelers) won three road games in order to get to the Super Bowl.

The other similarity between those three teams was that each of them had a big-time quarterback to lead them through the playoffs, which is exactly what the Saints have with Brees.

Simply put, Brees is having the best season of his career. He has set career highs in quarterback rating (108.4), passing yards (5,087), touchdowns (41) and completion percentage (70.7). Not to mention, the weapons he has around him are more dangerous and versatile than ever, even more so than in his Super Bowl run back in 2009.

Tight end Jimmy Graham as emerged as one of the league's best tight ends with 1,213 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. The addition of Darren Sproles in the offseason has been huge for Brees. Sproles has gained more than 1,200 total yards and has eight total touchdowns. In 2009, only two players had more than five receiving touchdowns. This season the Saints have had five players with at least five touchdowns, including two who have eight or more.

The Saints' offense just has too many weapons for teams to contain them for an entire game. The combination of Brees and his receivers like Sproles, Graham, Marques Colston, Lance Moore and Robert Meachem will be dangerous on every play.

However, the NFL playoffs are unforgiving. Many great teams never make it to the Super Bowl and anything can happen. Plus, the Saints won't even be the top seed in the playoffs, and teams like Green Bay and San Francisco will give New Orleans as much as they can handle.

But Brees is cool, calm and collected. He has proved to be a true leader on the football field and he, along with the rest of the team, seems to be playing their best football at the right time. When the Saints won the Super Bowl in 2009, they lost their final three regular season games. So it is a scary thought that they are coming to the playoffs with an eight-game win streak, barring a loss against Carolina next week.

The Saints have the best quarterback and the best leader in the NFL. So it will be a polarizing scene when New Orleans brings home its second Super Bowl trophy in three seasons. 

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