My Fearless Football Forecast for the New Orleans Saints might be a tad too optimistic, but I’ve got a good feeling:
The lads in black and gold open the season with a bang, downing the Falcons in Atlanta.
Another road game, in Cleveland, has the Saints doing to Johnny Football what LSU did to him when he was an Aggie at Texas A&M — bringing the star down to earth.
Three nice wins
Finally in the friendly confines of the Expensive German Car Superdome, the home team whips up on the Minnesota Vikings.
Then it’s on the road again, and a decisive victory over the Dallas Cowboys in a Sunday night affair, a debacle that has Jerry Jones fuming.
Back in the Dome, the Saints win another NFC South game, against Tampa Bay, entering the bye week a sparkling 5-0.
But, alas, the Saints drop a close road game to the surging Detroit Lions.
Home sweet Dome
The Saints’ home crowd on a Sunday night makes the difference, as the Green Bay Packers go down to defeat.
Another road game results in another loss, in a dreaded Thursday night game on the NFL Network (aka The “Where’s That Channel Again?” Network), to NFC South foe Carolina Panthers.
Drew the man!
The Saints find their mojo again, just in time to pull out an exciting game at home against the San Francisco 49ers. Drew Brees is at his best, which is good enough to beat anybody.
Making it three
The San Fran win starts a three-game home stand, as the Saints vanquish two AFC foes — the Bengals on a Sunday and the Ravens on a Monday night — gaining national attention.
Fans going crazy
Losing a road game against the Pittsburgh Steelers doesn’t do much to dampen enthusiasm in New Orleans, and the crazed fans are out in force the next Sunday to watch their heroes gain revenge over the Carolina Panthers.
Down, then up
Road woes continue as the black and gold boys drop a Monday nighter to the improved Chicago Bears.
But they return home and wow their fans by completing a sweep over the Falcons to clinch the NFC South, as Jimmy Graham runs wild against the Dirty Birds’ defenders.
The 12th win
The final regular-season game, against the Bucs in Tampa, isn’t one the Saints need. But they still win, to wind up with a 12-4 record and a bye and home-field advantage in the playoffs.
The Saints take advantage of its fans’ enthusiasm with a win over the Seattle Seahawks. The Hawks are put at a disadvantage by the insanely loud crowd — and officials who don’t allow its defensive backs to mug Saints receivers.
The win over the Seahawks is sweet after last year’s debacle, and the Saints get revenge this year as the Lions come to town for the NFC championship game. Mark Ingram leads a pounding ground game and Rob Ryan’s defenders earn their pay with takeaways.
Then it’s off to Arizona for the Super Bowl, facing the Denver Broncos and New Orleans’ own Peyton Manning.
Peyton makes up for his last Super Bowl failure, outdueling Brees and leading his team to victory. As he accepts the MVP trophy, he shocks everyone by announcing his retirement.
Still the ones
The Saints return to New Orleans as heroes despite the loss, and fans hold a party that lasts until Mardi Gras.
Special People Dept.
- The Rev. Sam Johnson celebrated his 102nd birthday on Aug. 1. He is the retired pastor of Afton Villa Baptist Church and St. Peter Baptist Church, both in West Feliciana Parish.
Rae Montecino Romeo celebrated her 99th birthday on Monday .
Lelia McManus Fontenot, of Eunice, celebrated her 98th birthday on Saturday .
John E. Coxe Sr. celebrates his 93rd birthday on Tuesday . He was an Army captain in World War II.
Vernon Dixon Sr. celebrated his 91st birthday on Saturday . He is a World War II veteran.
Flo Smith celebrated her 91st birthday on Sunday .
On Monday , Woody and Nell Evans, of Zachary, celebrated their 69th anniversary.
Fellman and Agnes Bercegeay, of Gonzales, celebrate 64 years of marriage on Tuesday .
Richard and Sue Conran celebrate their 53rd anniversary on Tuesday .
Algie Petrere on the difference between “complete” and “finished”:
“When you marry the right woman, you are COMPLETE. But when you marry the wrong woman, you are FINISHED.
“And when the right one catches you with the wrong one, you are COMPLETELY FINISHED!”
Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.