Aside from a November 30, 2009 tilt against the New England Patriots in New Orleans, we don’t have a game against the Patriots to compare Brees vs. Brady. That’s okay though, we will go with what we’ve got.
Like 2009, the New Orleans Saints come into this game undefeated. Though not 10-0 just yet, the 2013 version of the Saints seems to be much more polished on defense, and has an even greater bevy of weapons at their disposal. If Drew Brees could throw for 371 yards and 5 TDs on just 23 passes in 2009, how much more will he be capable of now that he has Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles to throw to? I’m not going to be ludicrous here and say that his totals will be 400 + yards and 6+ TDs, but it’s not out of the question either. People already are claiming that the New Orleans Saints are as good as they’ve ever been, and Drew Brees still has yet to totally have the type of game that he’s capable of.
Brees vs. Brady the sequel is in New England, so that means hostile territory. However, against both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Chicago Bears, the New Orleans Saints have proven themselves to be road warriors that are willing and able to win in several different ways. Team Defense has made its mark on this team even more so than the opportunistic 2009 team. Though the defensive touchdowns are not nearly as plentiful, overall tackling and yardage against has been much cleaner. There’s less a focus on bend but don’t break, and more a focus on scheme and personnel packages now. The difference is clear between Rob Ryan and Greg Williams thus far, and I like this defense much better than the days of old.
Taking a page from the Cincinnati Bengals’ playbook might be a good way to go in this one too. Though the rushing attack for the New Orleans Saints may be a sore spot for them at the moment, this may be the game where that negative turns into a positive. I’m not saying that Pierre Thomas or Darren Sproles are going to magically turn into Adrian Peterson overnight, but they’re certainly as capable as BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Geovani Bernard of producing big runs.
When 40 of your plays are runs, as the Bengals had this weekend, ball control is the recipe. Though the New Orleans Saints certainly haven’t had a problem in that department this year, allowing the Belichick and Brady combo too much time on the field never ends well. Running more frequently and having a higher volume of carries is bound to produce a run or two of sizable gain. That would make the already formidable passing attack even more filthy, and add another dimension to the swiss army knife that is the 2013 New Orleans Saints.
You won’t hear me often make a case for running the ball too often with the New Orleans Saints, because I believe, like many announcers and foamers at the mouth, that the swing and screen passes that the Saints utilize are just as effective as runs. I’m excited though for this game, and I genuinely believe that the Black and Gold will win this game handily. I’m predicting a 38-24 final score and a 6-0 start for our Bless You Boys.