The New Orleans Saints are now entering their second quarter of the season after a miserable first quarter that saw them go 0-4. Their point differential of -20 is what is most staggering to me. Lauded as a new and improved defensive team, the Saints have been anything but.Things Gone Wrong on Offense:
Drew Brees does have a better than 2 touchdown per-game average right now, but has 5 INTs and is completing less than 60 percent of his passes. While the numbers 1350 for yards and 10 in the TD column look good, efficiency is key in this league, and right now the Saints certainly don’t have it.
The rushing game has been absolutely miserable. Averaging just over 80 yards per game is not going to cut it in this league. It was only a matter of time before defenses started keying in on the fact that the New Orleans Saints are a pass-first team. Without a rushing attack to balance the offense out, no real merit can come from airing it out almost 48 times per game.
The averages of Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles are actually quite good, so this one for me is a head scratcher. While Mark Ingram has been less than stellar, feeding him the ball more would certainly help his confidence level, as well as give him the chance to break a few long gains.
Things Gone Wrong on Defense:
Where do I even begin? With just 2 total interceptions and 6 sacks, the Saints aren’t putting nearly enough pressure on opposing teams. While averaging for themselves just 80 yards per game, they’ve given up 185+ per game. That’s good for dead last in the league, Who Dat Nation!
Their opponent passing yards doesn’t rank much better, at 24th in the league, with 275+ per game against them. Brees’s 320 per is good for 3rd in the league, but when a team is rushing the ball as well as the Redskins, Panthers, Chiefs, and Packers have, it’s no wonder that we’re a quarter of the way home and the Saints sit at 0-4.
This Weekend: A tilt against the San Diego Chargers this weekend doesn’t look to provide much relief, at least as far as the running game is concerned. The Chargers are 5th in the league on defense, giving up just 79.3 yards per game on the ground.
What should be added motivation is the fact that Drew Brees and Darren Sproles will be facing their former team. Couple that with the fact that Sean Payton will be in attendance, and you could have the recipe for the first Saints win since January 7th of last year.
If history is any indicator, Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints should walk away from Sunday night’s matchup as victors. He only has one career start against his former team, on October 26, 2008, in Wembley Stadium in London. In that game, Brees passed for 339 yards and 3 scores. The Saints won 37-32 that day.
The New Orleans Saints know the other piece of history that is right behind them in the rear view mirror, and that’s their first 0-5 start in 16 years. Though they are off to their worst start since ’07, everyone on the Saints is positive that this is just a funk and that the Saints will rebound. Keep in mind that each of their losses this season have come by single digits, and the latest 2 are by just 4 points.
Drew Brees will look to break a record that’s stood for better than 50 years on Sunday, by throwing a touchdown pass in his 48th consecutive game. That will mean little to nothing to him though, if he’s not addressing the media after a win. I’d venture to say that he’d take that W right now over the record.
Look for his completion percentage to be through the roof on Sunday, and look for the Lightning Bug to wreak some havoc on the ground. I predict a 38-24 win on Sunday, and that our Bless You Boys will get back on track, starting this weekend. If not, we’re in for a long season, and may have to break out the old paper bags. I’m not going to bet against the Saints though. Let’s remember how much adversity they’ve already come through, and how they’ve handled it up to this point.
If you want to bet against them, that’s your prerogative, but I certainly won’t…not now at 0-4, and not ever. Let’s go Who Dat Nation! Root loud and hard on Sunday, and be sure to be watching as the Saints get their first win of the 2012 campaign.