Nov 10, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) celebrates a sack against the Dallas Cowboys during the third quarter of a game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Through three games, the New Orleans Saints‘ defense has only produced one turnover, which came in the form of a forced fumble during the Week-1 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Rob Ryan‘s unit showed great improvement against the Minnesota Vikings to help capture the team’s first victory, but amazingly, the Black and Gold did not have a single takeaway.
Even last year as the NFL‘s No. 4 overall defense, New Orleans still ranked at the bottom of the charts when it came to interceptions and fumble recoveries. Winning the turnover battle usually results in winning the game, so something needs to change if the Saints wish to find themselves contending for a championship in February.
The good thing is that it’s early in the season, and after showing solid improvement this past Sunday, we can only hope that it gets better from here on out. Holding the Vikings to only nine points and 247 total yards on offense is certainly a step in the right direction.
However, if the Saints really want to make a statement on the defensive side of the ball, stopping a solid Dallas Cowboys‘ offense on the road would do the trick. With Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray heading the unit, The Boys are perfectly capable of picking apart a struggling Saints’ secondary.
Then again, with Romo captaining the Cowboys’ offense, New Orleans’ secondary is perfectly capable of picking off the notorious interception hurler several times, and I do think that will be the case during Sunday night’s primetime matchup. Keenan Lewis and Jairus Byrd could both be in for a big game. I’d also like to throw in the fact that Murray has fumbled the football in each of the first three games of the year.
Dallas has given up seven sacks through the first three weeks, so if the Saints’ front seven, led by Cam Jordan and Junior Galette, can administer a little pressure on the offensive line, forcing Romo to make throwing errors shouldn’t be a problem. The more tension the defensive line and linebackers put on the quarterback, the more opportunities the secondary will have at coming up with the big play.
Even though DeMarco Murray leads the NFL in rushing at the moment, I see Jason Garrett, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and the pass-happy Romo trying to take advantage of a struggling Saints secondary. Romo is averaging 29 pass attempts per game this season, but seeing 35-45 on Sunday is definitely realistic, which could give New Orleans an excellent chance to win the turnover battle and the game.
I know it’s the “Cowgirls”, but the Black and Gold will need to play their best football of the season in order to come away with the win on the road. I believe they do just that, beginning with producing turnovers.