Fight for Old DC: 2006 Season - 2014 Season
When you think of the Saints, who've had five playoff appearances and one Super Bowl win since the start of the 2006 season when Drew Brees joined the team, your brain would probably tell you the Redskins have had a bad showing against them in recent years. After all, Washington hasn't exactly had the stability or talent that New Orleans has seen in that time, even when you allow for the tumult of Bountygate and the suspensions that followed. Like me, however, you might be surprised when you consider the numbers.
The Redskins played the Saints four times in the past nine seasons and came out of those games with a 3-1 record (1-1 at home, 2-0 on the road). Two of the three wins came during losing seasons, the exception, not surprisingly, being the (fluke?) 2012 season when the Redskins won the NFC East, and the games were fairly close, with the widest margin being eight points. What does this tell me? Even when the burgundy and gold are struggling and inconsistent, they are somewhat capable of putting up a fight against good teams. All things considered, I don't think this 3-1 record is too bad for a team that's posted a depressing 54-90 record with just two winning seasons over that same time span.
Modern Day State of Affairs: November 15, 2015
After last week's collapse against the New England Patriots, which is frustratingly contradictory to the point I just made about the Redskins having the ability to stay in the game against good teams (I still believe they have the ability, though they chose not to show it last week), Washington returns to FedEx Field to take on the New Orleans Saints. Both teams are in a pretty bad spot. The Redskins, at 3-5, are one game out of last place in the NFC East, and the Saints, at 4-5, are also one game out of last place in their division. Both teams are struggling on defense, and neither team can really get their offense going, though New Orleans lit up the Giants by scoring 52 points two weeks ago.
The question is whether or not the Redskins can get their fourth win against the Saints in the Drew Brees Era. I think it's possible. Positively speaking, for us, the Saints are ranked 31st in total defense in the NFL. They're giving up, on average, nearly 300 passing yards and over 100 rushing yards every week. If ever there was a week for new center Brian de la Puente to get acclimated in a game situation and for Kirk Cousins, Alfred Morris, Matt Jones, DeSean Jackson, and Pierre Garcon to get back on track after a sub-par performance this is it.
On the flip side, New Orleans is ranked #1 in total offense. The defense simply cannot do the same things they did last week now that they're facing another intelligent, high-powered quarterback. Among the changes I'll be watching for: if, how much, and how well Perry Riley Jr., plays this week (hopefully I don't see him one-on-one coverage against anyone in the end zone again), the cohesion of the defensive line and any improvement against the run game with the chance of Terrance Knighton returning to the line-up, and the overall play of the secondary as the Redskins continue to change their configurations in hopes of getting the best out of an inconsistent group that has yet to make a big impact this season.