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Sunday, December 19, 2010
Rapid Reaction: Ravens 30, Saints 24

By Pat Yasinskas

BALTIMORE -- A rapid reaction to the New Orleans Saints' 30-24 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

What it means: A road loss to Baltimore is nothing to be ashamed off and it certainly doesn’t end New Orleans’ chances of repeating as Super Bowl champions. At 10-4, the Saints are very much in the postseason picture. But, unlike last year, when they had the No. 1 seed, the Saints might end up having to play on the road in the playoffs. Possible road settings include Chicago, New York and Philadelphia. Those aren’t exactly warm-weather sites. In fact, Baltimore in December might seem balmy compared to what the Saints could face in those venues in January.

What I didn’t like: You can talk all you want about the Baltimore weather and claim the Saints are a dome team. But the fact is the Saints were able to throw the ball around and score some points in a cold-weather venue. The much larger concern going forward is the defense. The Saints weren’t great against the run or the pass. To make matters potentially much worse, cornerback Jabari Greer left the game with a knee injury and did not return. If Greer is going to miss any time, that’s not at all good for New Orleans. Greer is the best cornerback the Saints have.

Not a great idea department: With the Saints trying to shut down a Baltimore drive late and get the ball back, defensive end Will Smith got hit with an unsportsmanlike penalty for shoving a player from behind, long after the play was over.

What’s next: The Saints probably will be keeping a close eye on the Falcons playing out in Seattle as they head for the airport for their flight home. No matter what happens in Seattle, the Saints have to focus totally in on Atlanta. The two teams play each other Dec. 27 in a "Monday Night Football" game that could have huge implications on the postseason.