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NFL: Saints have great offensive minds

METAIRIE, La. -- There's a very good reason Drew Brees and Sean Payton seem more consistently in sync than Brett Favre and Brad Childress. Brees and Payton have been together for four years. Favre and Childress have been together since Childress ...

METAIRIE, La. -- There's a very good reason Drew Brees and Sean Payton seem more consistently in sync than Brett Favre and Brad Childress.

Brees and Payton have been together for four years. Favre and Childress have been together since Childress picked up Favre at the airport five months ago.

Brees, the New Orleans Saints' quarterback since 2006, was asked whether he and Payton, the Saints' head coach since 2006, ever engaged in one of those in-game sideline spats that make great fodder for talk shows between games.

"No, I'd say rarely, if at all," said Brees, whose team plays host to Favre, Childress and the Vikings in Sunday's NFC Championship Game. "I'd say pretty much all the time we're seeing the same thing."

Brees is a notorious workaholic when it comes to preparing for the next opponent.

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Payton, meanwhile, is one of the league's most innovative offensive-minded coaches and a former record-setting quarterback at Eastern Illinois. During the mid-'80s, he was the Division I-AA version of Brees at Purdue a decade later.

On the same page

Apparently, two sharp offensive minds think alike. Especially after 67 games and two runs to the NFC title contest.

"You can almost anticipate and know what's coming before it comes," Brees said. "That's when you know you're on the same page as the play-caller, which is a great thing."

It helps the offense move faster. And that helps when the opponent is a Vikings team that led the league in sacks during the regular season and then tacked on six more in last week's 34-3 divisional win over the Cowboys.

"They've got a great pass rush, they'll be on you and you've got to make good decisions with the ball," Brees said. "It's knowing where you can get rid of the ball."

Brees said the Vikings have a "great front four" but said the Saints have a valuable tool the Cowboys didn't have.

"Playing at home," he said. "Certainly the cadence helps. Being able to mix up your play calls and your launch points and all that other stuff is standard offensive philosophy when it comes to defending a good pass rush."

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And, by the way, Brees did come up with one time he and Payton disagreed on the sideline. It was Oct. 25 at Miami this season.

"We're down 24-3," he said. "Six seconds left on the clock (before halftime)."

The Saints were at the "6-inch line," Brees said. Payton called for the field goal. Brees wasn't happy.

"To kick a field goal at the 6-inch line, you just walk away feeling empty," he said. "So I said, 'Coach, I'll get it.' And we got it."

And the Saints won, 46-34.

NFC Championship

Who: Vikings at Saints.

When: 5:40 p.m. Sunday.

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TV/radio: KBRR (GF Channel 10); The Fan (1440 AM); KCNN (1590 AM).

Line: Saints by 3½.

Synopsis: Look for New Orleans to come out with a ton of energy in the first NFC title game ever played in Louisiana, and the rabid fans will make it tough for the Vikings to hear QB Brett Favre's audibles. The Vikes have RB Adrian Peterson, whose 18 rushing TDs led the NFL, but this could develop into a passing shootout. Home teams win in the NFC title game at a 2-1 rate -- they're 26-13.

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