October 26, 2014, in an unlikely pounding of the Green Bay Packers, the New Orleans Saints started the 2014 season 3-0 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Drew Brees threw 27 of 32 passes with three touchdowns and no interception, while Mark Ingram was able to gain 172 yards on the ground. The Saints’ defense was able pick off Aaron Rodgers twice and held him to just one touchdown on the way to a 44-23 Black and Gold victory.
Remember that moment for a second, Who Dat Nation. Cherish that great memory, when the 2-4 Saints were told they couldn’t win against the Packers and utterly destroyed the future 2015 MVP. Your New Orleans Saints looked like a team that could bounce back to save their season. That was the last time Saints’ fans were able to feel any sense of hope for their team.
Since that game, the Black and Gold have been winless at home, going 0-6 with three losses to each of their divisional rivals. Their Week 2 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers seems worse now, as the Saints are off to an 0-3 start with the division rival Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers remaining undefeated.
It might not be the Superdome; this team has looked terrible from the start. The play from the offensive line has been inconsistent and Rob Ryan’s plans to simplify the defense have yielded no results. With Drew Brees possibly missing more time, the Saints’ whole season is in dire trouble of ending before the first quarter stretch.
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For most of the Brees era, the Superdome has been one of the biggest home field advantages in the NFL. From 2009-2013, the Saints were 31-9 at home. In 2011 and 2013 they were undefeated in the dome. The only time they weren’t above .500 at home was during Sean Payton’s suspension in 2012, going 4-4 in the Big Easy. Since the start of the 2014 season they have been 3-6 within the usually friendly confines of the Superdome.
The New Orleans Saints’ woes at home may change this Sunday night when they will be hosting a banged up Dallas Cowboys team this week. This primetime matchup could be featuring backup quarterbacks at both sides if Brees is unable to play. Cowboys starting quarterback Tony Romo was knocked out in a Week 2 win over the Philadelphia Eagles with a fractured clavicle and will miss at least the next seven weeks. Also, out is all-star wide receiver Dez Bryant who broke his foot in Week 1.
Last season the Saints were blown out in Dallas by the Cowboys, 38-17. This year, the NFL hoped for a marquee rematch between two of the leagues most explosive quarterbacks in Brees and Romo, but fans are more likely to get the dull matchup of Luke McCown and Brandon Weeden in a must win home game for the Saints against a Cowboys team that is currently boasting a 10-game win streak on the road. That’s right, Dallas has yet to lose a game on unfamiliar turf since 2013, becoming only the eighth team in NFL history to go undefeated on the road in a season (2014).
Both Weeden and McCown looked decent, but very well over matched in their Week 3 losses, and both quarterbacks gave up game changing interceptions. The New Orleans Saints are looking to be healthier on defense this week, but the Cowboys’ offensive line is a tough matchup for any defense in the NFL. If Brees is out, the Cowboy’s run game may be enough to continue the Saints streak to seven consecutive home losses.
It is up to the fans to make the Superdome what it once was. The team has given them next to nothing to get excited about this season, and if the Cowboys get to an early lead, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few fans (the radically pessimistic ones) masking themselves with brown bags. If the Saints can pull out a win this week though, it just might give the fans the optimism they haven’t felt since they left that Sunday night matchup against the Packers last October. The New Orleans Saints host the Dallas Cowboys in another Sunday Night Football primetime contest.