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Playoff Matchups

 
Wild Card · Divisional Playoffs · Conference Championships
 
ARI-NO · BAL-IND · DAL-MIN · NYJ-SD
 
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Scoreboard
Arizona11-4-0
San Francisco7-8-0
Game Leaders
 Arizona Cardinals New Orleans Saints
Pass: Kurt Warner (17-26, 205) Drew Brees (23-32, 247)
Rush: Tim Hightower (6-87) Reggie Bush (5-84)
Rec: Larry Fitzgerald (6-77) Marques Colston (6-83)
Grades
NFL
F
Complete Report Card NFL
A+

The Arizona defense was terrible again. Aside from the 73-yard run by Tim Hightower to open the game, there was little happening on offense. The Saints were dominant in all three phases, but it was the defense that was the key. They shut down the Cardinals, forcing two big first-half turnovers.
 
Judgements
Since we agree that New Orleans did the right thing by resting its starters the last game of the season, how come it didn't rest Drew Brees in the fourth quarter of Saturday's blowout? I mean, one mistake ... one twisted ankle ... one cheap shot ... and you're looking at Mark Brunell in the conference championship game.
Top Performers
Cardinals
Cardinals QB Kurt Warner Kurt Warner displayed plenty of guts by continuing to play after suffering a chest injury in the second quarter. He finished with 205 passing yards.

Cardinals RB Tim Hightower Tim Hightower got the Cardinals off to their only lead of the game with a 70-yard touchdown run on Arizona's first offensive play.
Saints
Saints QB Drew Brees Drew Brees passed for three touchdowns in the first half, and totaled 247 passing yards and zero interceptions on the day.

Saints RB Reggie Bush Reggie Bush was productive rushing, receiving and on special teams. He finished the game with 84 rushing yards and two touchdowns, one of which came on an 83-yard punt return.
 
 
Photo Gallery
Reggie Bush and Lance Moore of the Saints celebrate after Bush ran for a 46-yard touchdown in the first quarter. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Expert Picks (against the spread)
ExpertPickReason
Harmon: The Saints faltered a little late in the season, but a rested Drew Brees could be trouble for the Cardinals.
Prisco: I think this will be a shootout and I like Arizona's defense a little better.
Judge: Saints are vulnerable where Cards are best -- the pass.
Madden: Warner and the Cards are hot while the Saints limped into the postseason.
Richard: I know it's a sucker bet to take the 'dog in the Divisional Playoff round, but I can't buy the Saints as a dominating offense OR defense at this point.
Urbano: I worry that Darnell Dockett will dominate the game and keep the Saints at bay, but a week of rest and preparation for Drew Brees will pay off.
Complete Expert Picks
Recap
Video Recap (AP) Reggie Bush scored on an 83-yard punt return and a 46-yard run, and Drew Brees threw three touchdown passes to lead the New Orleans Saints to a 45-14 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs.
 
Next up, New Orleans will host an NFC title game for the first time in franchise history.
Community Take
ChrisVillain: The Cardinals gave the Saints a cakewalk in this game. Unless you're a Saints fan, this game was the furthest thing from entertaining. The Saints offensive line mopped the floor with the Cards defensive front, giving Brees a year to throw and the running backs a valley to run through.
dawgsnfalcs: Complete blowout by New Orleans. The Saints, once again, showed how they are when they play their A game. They also protected Brees, which allowed him to carve up Arizona's secondary, and got back to running the ball, which gave balance to the offense. However, I'm still not going to say that it's a done deal that they will be in the Super Bowl. It's yet to be seen if they can bring their best game two weeks in a row. They never did that during the season.
 
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