The Sharper Image: Darren Predicted Saints 0-4 Start On NFL Network

As Sean Payton and others serve suspensions related to Bountygate, interim head coach Aaron Kromer and the New Orleans Saints have started the 2012 season with an 0-3 record – which is not too far off from an 0-4 prediction by NFL Network analyst – and former Saints safety – Darren Sharper.

Are you surprised that the New Orleans Saints lost a game that they led by as much as 18 points to the Kansas City Chiefs?

Are you surprised that they are now 0-3, on the precipice of starting the season 0-4?

Former Saints safety Darren Sharper likely isn’t surprised.

In fact, he said as much on NFL Network not too long ago.

On a 2012 NFL season preview special which aired on September 4, Sharper predicted that his former team would start 0-4. I could not find a video of this segment via NFL.com’s library of NFL Network videos – but there’s confirmation here – as well as Sharper’s own Twitter account. “Relax,” he wrote to his Saints followers hours after his prognostication, “IT’S JUST TV, MAN! You know the Saints [are] not going 0-4!”

Judging on how the season has started for the team under interim head coach Aaron Kromer, maybe he’d like to have that one back.

After the Saints lost their first game of the season, a home loss to the Washington Redskins under rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, Sharper argued that the team would be the “2011 playoff team most likely to start 0-2.” He added that the game against the Panthers would be “close”. The Panthers beat the Saints by eight points.

Then on last Monday’s edition of “NFL Total Access,” Sharper was among a four-man panel batting around a few topics, including: “Will the Saints rebound from an 0-2 start?”

“That next game against the Kansas City Chiefs: don’t look at it as an easy game,” Sharper warned Brian Billick. “We’ve seen this Chiefs team knock off the Green Bay Packers last [year, handing them their first loss after a 14-0 start]. So they can step to that level and play up.”

“You think [the Saints will] be 0-3, don’t you?,” Andrew Siciliano asked Sharper.

After letting out a deep sigh, Sharper clarified: “I don’t want to say it, but I think it could be leading that way, because you talk about the percentages, giving you that percent of just having a chance. They lose this game and go 0-3, that 11% chance of makign the playoffs at 0-2 goes to 3%. Now if you want to walk around with 3% chance in your pocket, I’ll let you have that. I want the other percent.”

Sharper also doubled down on his prediction that the Chiefs would upset the Saints on this past Wednesday’s “Total Access” (no video of that exists on NFL.com, either).

The result: in Week 3 at the Superdome, the Saints, who at one point led the Chiefs 24-6, let Matt Cassel and his crew score 21 unanswered points (including a safety for sacking Drew Brees in his own end zone), capped off by a game-winning field goal in overtime. The aforementioned Brees was ineffective down the stretch, with his final six passes of the game thrown for incompletions.

Sharper, who appeared on “NFL GameDay Highlights” this afternoon, made no mention of his prediction of a winless September for the Saints. Instead, Waddle and Paul Burmeister forced Sharper’s hand – specifically, Sharper shakily raising his hand when Burmeister asked, “Did anybody here predict the Chiefs to win?”

“I’m not proud to predict this against a community and a city that I love,” Sharper admitted. He explained that the team is suffering from “hangover” after the Bountygate business in the offseason. Furthermore, he considered himself “confused” watching a Saints defense that has already allowed 100 points in its first three games of the season. “I don’t see the same type of passion in the defensive effort that I’ve seen in the past on the same team.” (No bounties?)

Watch the video below:

Sharper also took the opportunity to take his former team to task for languishing in the absence of head coach Sean Payton, currently serving a one-year suspension for his role in Bountygate.

“It’s not New Orleans Saints football,” said Sharper, parroting a point from fellow analyst Tom Waddle. “It’s allowing teams to finish you off. This team in the past, Coach Peyton – I know he’s not there now,  but since he started coaching there – always finished teams when they had a lead on them. And that lets you know that this team, it seems like they got that, that ‘woe is me’ attitude, where they’re starting to feel bad for themselves. And that’s coming out of playing tough, hard-nosed football.”

There was also no immediate reaction from Sharper of his 0-4 prediction on Twitter after the game, but there were plenty of Saints fans who remembered his prediction – which has a chance to come to complete fruition next week when the Saints travel to Green Bay, where the Packers own a 9-2 all-time record against New Orleans at Lambeau Field.

At that point, NFLN might just need to make room for Darren Sharper on the weekly “Bold Predictions” segment on “GameDay Morning.”

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