Trading a Ferrari for a forklift-New Orleans Saints

NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Saints can celebrate their NFC championship while also cherishing this: Winning ugly can do wonders for a team at this time of year.

It can reinforce toughness. It can create more confidence. Most importantly, it can sharpen the focus of a squad that needs one more victory to secure a world title.

Yes, the Saints’ 31-28 overtime win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday had plenty to do with an opportunistic New Orleans defense. It forced five Vikings turnovers. But that victory also was the result of a Saints offense that didn’t sabotage the cause.

The normally prolific Saints protected the football and played the field position game in ways that had to feel unnatural at times. It’s likely the offense will be asked to do the same things when meeting the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.

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1/25/10