These two games on the road will be decisive to prove that the Saints are serious playoff contenders. By winning both contests the Saints could get a significant boost in confidence that will pay off when they’ll face other tough challenges against Seattle or San Francisco in the second half of the season.
Week 5 @ Chicago Bears
Last year they finished 3rd in the NFC North. They didn’t make it to the playoffs. And yet they finished with a 10-6 record. Now they have a new head coach, Marc Trestman, who believes in Jay Cutler. Should he? Time will tell, I guess. Meanwhile, during the offseason, he helped his QB by renovating the O-Line with the acquisitions of former Saints’ LT Jermon Bushrod, former Jets’ guard Matt Slauson and the young Kyle Long; they also stole Aaron Kromer from the Saints’ staff to coach the new O-Line and become the new Offensive Coordinator. He then added a solid TE, Martellus Bennet, so that Cutler doesn’t have to throw the ball to Brandon Marshall on every pass attempt.
On defense they will probably be fine even without Brian Urlacher: Lance Briggs is a stud, Peppers and Melton are relentless and the duo Tillman-Jennings produced 12 INTs, 10 forced fumbles and 37 pass defended. Pretty good, uh?
Why the Saints can win this game: the n° 1 priority is to shut down Brandon Marshall and contain Matt Forte. If you do this, you’ve got a pretty good chance to exit from Soldier Stadium with a smile on your face.
Why the Saints can lose this game: be careful with turnovers, the defense will attack the ball a lot.
Week 6 @ New England Patriots
(no Tebow talk here, don’t worry)
This is a must-see: two future Hall Of Fame quarterbacks will put up a gun fight that you simply can’t miss. The loss of Hernandez, Wes Welker and the uncertainty on Gronk’s recovery will have an impact on this offense without a doubt, but don’t forget that in 2009 they hadn’t nor Gronkowski neither Hernandez and yet they finished the season with the 3rd best offense in the league. I personally believe that Danny Amendola will fit perfectly Welker’s shoes. But can he play sixteen straight games?
Resigning Aquib Talib was a good move but the real threat od the defensive side is the beefy Vince Wilfork: if he keeps playing at an incredible level as he’s done so far it will be hard to contain him and the rest of the defense will look better than they really are. I mean, you must have a gameplan for the big man every single snap on offense or you won’t be able to move the sticks effectively.
Why the Saints can win this game: Drew Brees.
Why the Saints can lose this game: Tom Brady.