There are three NFL teams nestled in cities along Interstate 10. Last week the New Orleans Saints beat the Houston Texans and this week the Saints travel to Jacksonville, Florida, the east end of the I-10 route, to play the Jaguars.
This is not only a tale of two football teams, but also a tale of two very different fan bases.
The Who Dat Nation has been posting sell outs in the Superdome for many years. In stark contrast, for both of their home games this season, the Jaguars have had to ask the NFL for a ticket sales deadline extension, to insure the games were not blacked out in the Jacksonville area.
The Jaguars are 2-1 on the year and have struggled on offense. New Orleans has scored 104 points in three games this season, while the Jacksonville Jaguars have scored a grand total of 29 points for the year.
The Saints are lead by all universe quarterback Drew Brees while the Jags will rely on rookie quarterback Blain Gabbert for the second game in a row. The Jaguars just don’t have the firepower to keep up and I’m not sure there’s a defense in the league that can actually “stop” the Saints.
All that being said, they still have to play the game….. Here are some interesting match ups to look for:
The Saints love to blitz and I would think they will against a young quarterback. That will leave a lot of single coverage for the Jaguars receivers. With the performance of the New Orleans defensive backs of late, the Saints could, once again, get burned by the passing game.
Marques Colston returns to the line up this week for the Saints. But I think the biggest challenge for the Jaguars will be Jimmy Graham. Through the first three weeks, Jacksonville’s greatest weakness has been their inability to cover the tight end, and at 6’8″, Jimmy Graham may be the biggest and most dynamic tight end they will see this season.
Yes, this could be an I-10 Route
Oh, and about that Jacksonville fan base; there are many displaced Citizens of the Who Dat Nation in Jacksonville, so you may hear the Who Dat chant more than you might expect on Sunday.
I know that my sister and brother in law will be there in full force. They have been in Jacksonville for well over 10 years now. As a matter of fact, “brudda-in-law” Charlie Welch was my inspiration to write and produce the original Who Dat song in 1983, so you KNOW he’s a Saints fan.
Also being a football fan, he has Jaguars season tickets. I called him today to ask him how he felt about “his” new team playing the Saints this Sunday. His response; “Well my friends here will give me a lot of grief, but on Sunday, I’ll be in that number with my Who Dat shirt on, when the Saints go marching in”!
You can take the family out of New Orleans, but you can’t take New Orleans out of the family.
Who Dat Bro!