Prediction No. 1: New Orleans Saints Win Over Washington Redskins by 17 Points
The last meeting of these two teams was December 6, 2009, Week 13 of the New Orleans Saints' Super Bowl-winning season.
The Saints won 33-30 over the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field to go 12-0 at that point of the season.
But it was more than the 12th straight win that made this particular game so memorable.
In fact, this event still stands as one of the most hallowed plays in franchise history.
At the end of the first half, New Orleans was losing 17-10.
With less than two minutes left in the half, Brees stiff-armed an oncoming defender - just about face-planting him into the turf - and attempted a long pass. Redskins’ defensive back Kareem Moore intercepted the pass and began running up the field.
Suddenly, Saints wide receiver Robert Meachem chose not to tackle the oncoming defender, but rather stripped the ball and ran it into the end zone for a 44-yard touchdown.
He received a career-high 142 yards that game, which, coupled with Brees’ season-high 419 yards thrown, made for a breathtaking offensive performance for New Orleans.
Since, the Saints have only deepened the talent of their running backs, receivers, and tight ends, creating a predictably unmanageable situation for Washington’s less-than-remarkable backfield.
Now, it is true that the first games of regular season are very rarely a blowout, as players on either side are generally not as refined and cohesive as they will be later in the year.
Plus, a score of 17 over the Redskins puts the Saints at more than double the amount the Vegas handicappers are predicting (Saints -7).
That aside, Drew Brees’ towering offense and Saints defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s well-padded defense is going to take this one home to the Dome in a big, big way. They went 13-3 last year, losing painfully in the NFC Championship, which still more than doubles the wins of last year’s Redskins, who went 5-11.
The Saints have a chip on their shoulder as massive as the Superdome itself, and they’re out to prove this season - from start to finish - that nothing can keep the New Orleans Saints down, or out of the playoffs.
Prediction No. 2: Saints Quarterback Drew Brees Throws for 350+ Yards
Brees’ last meeting with the Redskins was his season-high 400-yard game that Super Bowl-winning season, and he played with the quiet drive, efficiency, and composure we’ve all come to know and love.
In the two seasons since, he’s never wavered from his stance as an All-Pro, elite quarterback - including breaking Dan Marino’s record for most yards thrown in a season last year.
But can he repeat such a throttling performance?
When the Redskins’ weak defensive backfield meets Brees’ arm and armory of versatile backs and receivers, expect another premier performance with at least 350 yards thrown. Who knows, with the first home gome game of the hottest, maddest season the Saints have ever faced, he may even shoot for another 400.
Prediction No. 3: Saints’ Staff Will Out-Coach the Redskins
Much hoopla has been made about the merry-go-round of Saints coaches throughout this past summer and preseason to the present, due to suspensions of varying length handed down by commissioner Roger Goodell and his bounty allegations.
As it stands, Steve Spagnuolo is the Saints’ defensive coordinator, Pete Carmichael the offensive coordinator, and Aaron Kromer, offensive line coach, is the interim head coach for the first six games of the season.
Spagnuolo served as New York Giants’ defensive coordinator when the Giants won the 2008 Super Bowl. Kromer coached the offensive line the year the Saints won the Super Bowl.
Carmichael called the offensive plays for 10 games last season while Sean Payton was out with a broken leg. The Saints won nine of those 10 games.
Clearly, the Saints are in no trouble in terms of successful, experienced coaches.
As for the Redskins, head coach Mike Shanahan has had a stellar coaching career. As an offensive coordinator, he helped take the San Francisco 49ers to a Super Bowl victory in 1994, and led the Denver Broncos to two back-to-back Super Bowl victories in the late 90s.
But in light of the Redskins’ 4-12 season record in 2010 and 5-11 last year, head coach Mike Shanahan has struggled to organize this team as of late.
The play-calling of this game should be interesting, but despite changes in personnel, the Saints will out-coach the Redskins in the regular season opener.