We head to New Orleans this Sunday to take on America's favorite team: the Saints. I haven't been less confident about the outcome of a game since we traveled to Indy in October. New Orleans has won three straight decisive victories over the Falcons, 49ers, and Cowboys. They've scored 107 points in that stretch against opponents who have only mustered 40. Here's a brief look at their offense:
It all starts with Drew Brees who I have an admitted mancrush on. He currently leads the league in completions, yards, touchdowns, and passer rating. He's 2nd in YPA and completion %. Here are the numbers: 318 of 479 (66.4%) for 4033 yards, 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. 101.2 Passer Rating.
Football Outsiders ranks him 2nd in their DPAR (defense-adjusted points above replacement) just behind Peyton Manning. Summing up, Drew Brees is about the best quarterback in the NFL right now and I'm sure he cannot wait to face our porous secondary.
Behind Drew Brees this New Orleans offense is currently 1st in the league averaging a collegiate 410 YPG. They're the only team in the league putting up over 300 yards per game in the air as well.
The two headed beast of Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister are a receiving/rushing tandem that would give any team fits. Deuce is coming off two straight 100 yard rushing performances against San Fransisco and Dallas respectively, rushing for over 5 yards per carry in both games. Reggie Bush is 3rd in the NFL in receptions and can destroy you in the open field, as anyone watching the Cowboys game witnessed his 61 yard touchdown reception. Virtually all of those yards, like most of Bush's receiving yards, happen after the catch.
Joe Horn is still an excellent receiver though he might not play this Sunday. He's still listed as questionable with a groin injury. Rookie sensation Marques Colston will play, however, and prior to injury was well on his way to ROTY honors. With 83 yards remaining there's little doubt that Colston will finish his rookie year with over 1,000 yards receiving. Who knew that a 6th round pick from Hofstra would be lighting up the NFL?
The Saints Offensive Line has allowed just 15 sacks this year, fewer than anyone besides Indy. As they've attempted more passes than nearly anyone in the league, this is a doubly impressive accomplishment. The only real weakness of this offense is their run blocking. New Orleans is averaging just 3.7 yards per carry. Only Arizona, Baltimore, and Cleveland have fewer.
In other words, we're facing the number one offense in the league that's as hot as it has been all season. They pass well, they have playmakers at receiver and running back, and we probably can't expect much success getting at Drew Brees. All this adds up to the Herculean task of slowing down New Orleans in their house.
Then again, we did hold the 3rd best offense in the league to just 263 yards last week, right? Lightning strikes twice?
HTTR -- post your predictions below.