Brian Allee-Walsh

Keeping it in between the Lines

Saints columnist Brian Allee Walsh
Saints columnist Brian Allee Walsh Biloxi

Sunday’s stunning, improbable finish inside in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome once again reminds us how thin the line is between winning and losing.

Sometimes even football’s line of demarcation is not discernible.

And while we may never know if Denver Broncos rookie safety Will “White Shoes’’ Parks stepped out of bounds in front of the New Orleans Saints bench en route to returning a blocked extra-point attempt for the winning two points, it really doesn’t matter.

There’s no putting the toothpaste back in the tube.

One team won (Denver), one team lost (New Orleans). The sun rose Monday morning, a beautiful, glorious supermoon appeared Monday night and life goes on.

For the Black and Gold, life resumes in earnest Thursday night when their focus goes back inside the white lines against the Carolina Panthers in a prime time NFC South showdown at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.

An air-quality alert is in effect for the area due to forest fires in North Carolina.

Fitting, perhaps, because both teams seem to be playing in a self-induced haze this season, consistently taking one step forward and two steps back in what up until now has been a futile attempt to catch the division-leading Atlanta Falcons.

And by the way, last time I looked the Falcons (6-4) appear to be catchable. They are doing their level best not to run away with the division while giving hope to their pursuants — New Orleans (4-5), Tampa Bay (4-5) and Carolina (3-6).

Atlanta provided an opening Sunday, losing at Philadelphia, 24-15. Tampa Bay seized the moment, whipping Chicago, 36-10. The Saints and Panthers frittered away their opportunities. Carolina blew a 17-0 lead at home to Kansas City, losing 20-17. And you know about the Saints’ late demise.

So here we are, the opening night of Week 11, with a national simulcast on NFL Network and NBC, two disappointing teams coming off self-destructive losses.

Future Hall of Famer Drew Brees versus reigning NFL MVP Cam Newton.

Steady Sean Payton matching wits with Riverboat Ron Rivera.

A perennial top-10 defense (Carolina) and a perennial bottom-10 defense (New Orleans), units that were shredded for 79 points and 929 yards in Game 1 between the teams in Week 6, won narrowly by New Orleans, 41-38.

The rematch also promises to be a shootout — we’re probably looking at a game in the 30s — though both teams’ defensive units should be bolstered with the return of key players and new additions.

I suspect that when the smoke clears in hazy downtown Charlotte, Carolina will prove to be the better team on the playing field.

That said, here’s hoping the outcome truly is decided unequivocally between the white lines.