Aug 15, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints linebacker Junior Galette (93) and defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) celebrate after a sack during first half of a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Let’s face it, last week was an ugly, ugly defensive performance as Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons‘ offense totaled 568 yards against our beloved New Orleans Saints. Something we’re so good at doing, but the Dirty Birds did better, is the hurry-up offense, which played a big part in the loss to our most hated rivals.
The Cleveland Browns, who the Black and Gold will be matched up with Sunday, found success last week as well using the no-huddle against the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, they fell just short of Big Ben and company, 30-27.
While QB Brian Hoyer and the Browns’ offense are not near as productive as Atlanta’s, they were still effective on the road against a tough Steel City crowd. As Saints’ defensive coordinator Rob Ryan emphasized on their success during Thursday’s press conference, he expects the same kind of play calling from head coach Mike Pettine and OC Kyle Shanahan on Sunday.
Cleveland will have an advantage with a home crowd, giving them a much more quite environment for play calling and audibles. It should really be nothing to worry about, but the Saints should still be on their toes. It can be tough to recuperate from a play with no time to organize a new strategy. New Orleans can’t go on the road and underestimate their opponent just because they’re the Cleveland Browns.
Obviously we’re the far better team and should have no trouble at all containing a below average offense, but looking at last year and last week, the Black and Gold deemed quite vulnerable on the road. I do fully expect the defense to bounce back this week, and they may need to as the Browns boast a pretty solid secondary with shutdown corner Joe Haden, safety Donte Whitner and rookie CB Justin Gilbert.
This is still one of New Orleans’ weakest opponents of 2014, but should certainly not be overlooked. Sean Payton will still need to have his team play their best football for a guaranteed victory, and I think he does. With guys like Cam Jordan, Junior Galette, Jairus Byrd and Keenan Lewis (just to name a few), the Saints are in good hands, will reign supreme and return home to the Big Easy with a 1-1 record.