The New Orleans Saints clinched their 4th straight NFC South division title emphatically on Christmas day eve, defeating the Minnesota Vikings 52-33 at the Mercedes Benz Superdome.
Here are 5 takeaways from yesterday's festively fun matchup:
#1 Alvin Kamara makes his case for MVP
Not since Ernie Nevers did it with the Chicago Cardinals 91 years ago has a player scored 6 touchdowns in a game of football! Last night Alvin Kamara equaled that record when he put on a Christmas feast for the "Who Dat!?" nation. The Vikings couldn’t find an answer to the unstoppable saints’ back who put them to the sword from the first to the last quarter of the game, racking up 172-yards from scrimmage, and of course, 6 touchdowns.
Those of you who have him in your fantasy teams are probably guaranteed a win - he ended up with 56 points!
Kamara has now found the endzone an incredible 21times on the year and after this record-equalling performance, he must now be a lead contender for the league MVP award.
#2 Drew Brees is still injured
Drew Brees didn’t have a terrible game by any stretch, but he was unable to find a TD pass and seemed unwilling to sustain hits up top due to those injured ribs (Brees is recovering from 11 broken ribs and a punctured lung sustained against the 49ers).
With the NFC South wrapped up, Sean Payton could well opt to rest up his franchise QB for next week’s final contest versus the Buccanneers. Fantasy managers take note.
#3 Hendrickson needs more respect
Saints' hard-hitting defensive end, Trey Hendrickson is healing up from an ankle injury sustained in the defeat against the Chiefs last Sunday and missed last night's win. Without him, the Saints struggled to hit Vikings’, QB Kirk Cousins. The defense notched up just 2 sacks without him on the turf. To put that into context, Hendrickson beat a far superior Chiefs' offensive line to sack Mahomes twice last week.
There are still some who believe Hendrickson has been fortunate to totally up so many QB sacks (12.5), choosing to shift praise to the likes of Cam Jordan and Demario Davis. Don't get me wrong, both of those excellent defensive players require a ton of attention, too, but this game proved that Trey is the real deal on pash rush (Cousins better count his lucky stars), and the Saints need him back ASAP if they are going to make a charge at the Super Bowl this year.
#4 This might not be their year, but Vikings fans can feel cautiously optimistic about the future of their team...
There won't be any Mineappolis Miracles in the playoffs this year, but the Vikings have shown promise in certain aspects of the game: head coach, Mike Zimmer has one of the NFL's elite receiving corps in Adam Thielen and rookie sensation, Justin Jefferson; Dalvin Cook is arguably the top running back in the league, and Kirk Cousins has been a tier one quarterback for much of the second half of the season. The offense is strong.
It's the defense that's the problem in Minnesota, and, make no mistake about it, the entire unit was poor last night, but they were down to their bare bones. Once they get the likes of Eric Kendricks back fit and firing (and with a few astute signings during the draft/ off-season) they could well be a team to watch out for in 2021-22.
#5 The Saints can win the Super Bowl
There are question marks hanging over the Saints with regards to their injury record this year. But, if they can get QB Drew Brees back to full fitness; if they can keep that offensive line together; if WR1, Michael Thomas hits the ground running when he returns from injury during the playoffs; if DE, Trey Hendrickson returns to bring the pain to opposition QBs, Sean Payton's team is a truly scary proposition for any team in the playoffs.
You heard it here first: a fully fit New Orleans has every chance of winning the Super Bowl this year.Published 27 Dec 2020, 10:57 IST