I do believe the Saints will face their toughest opponent to date this season, on the road no less, as they take on the Patriots in Foxboro. If the Saints want to go 6-0 they are definitely going to have to earn it today. There is no question they have the talent and ability to take this one, though. But it will likely take close to a perfect game from the Saints to pull off. Here are the five things I'm looking for:no comments
I caught up with my buddy Derek Hanson who runs "Foxboro Blog", one of the very first blogs to join the Bloguin network. before Sunday's game for your usual Q&A. Many thanks to Derek for dropping some knowledge, I bet you'll learn some stuff. Personally he's given me a little more confidence going into this game, and I already felt good about it. Note we did this Q&A earlier in the week when Gronk was set to go... now it looks like he might not. Hope you enjoy!no comments
Congrats do jdup22 for winning last week's weekly guru contest. He was tied with me and mKS1053 going into the bonus round, and had the closest score. Serves me right for picking the Bears to win. I won't make that mistake again. jdup22 is now tied with two others with one weekly win for second place, while eliza18s continues to lead with two wins.
Make your predictions for the Patriots game and try to win a $50 gift card to NFL.com at the end of the season. Here's how it works: answer each of the five questions below (5th question is the tiebreaker) in the comment section. If you win, you automatically go into the standings as a weekly winner for the season. The person with the most weekly wins at the end of the season will win the $50 gift card. Good luck, here are the questions:no comments
The hire of Rob Ryan through 5 weeks seems like a huge overwhelming success. The Saints have yet to give up 20 or more points in five straight games and they are doing that with mostly the same players they had last year (add John Jenkins, Kenny Vaccaro and Keenan Lewis). The Saints are currently 11th overall in defense, plenty good enough when you consider the other side of the ball. Case in point, they are 5-0. The Saints are 7th in sacks, 3rd in interceptions, 9th in fumble recoveries, and 4th in points allowed. So I guess the removal of Steve Spagnuolo, addition of Rob Ryan, a new scheme and a few players was all that was needed to make a defense go from the worst in league history to around the top 10 in quality? Obviously Ryan adds a different dimension, tenacity and edge to this defense that Spags just didn't bring. The players love him. But how much of it is the change to a 3-4? Remember, the decision to change the Saints' base defense was made before Rob Ryan was hired. Is that tweak all that was needed to transform the unit's play?no comments
Jay Richardson's release for make room for the 53 man roster came as a bit of a shock considering Junior Galette and Martez Wilson were so banged up going into the season's opener. The Saints did eventually bring Richardson back, but now that OLB is becoming a healthier position and the Saints continue to battle with injuries along the defensive line, they've decided to part ways with Richardson again. Because the Saints play so much nickel, an extra defensive end is actually more useful than an outside linebacker anyway. The Saints in nickel are typically using Hawthorne and Lofton as the linebackers, both ILBs in the 3-4 package, and Galette as more of a down lineman with 4 front rushers. So three healthy OLBs on the roster is plenty. With the open roster spot the Saints signed DE Keyunta Dawson.no comments
The defense in the first quarter played by far their best of the entire season. As the game progressed they seemed to get less pressure because the team had a lead and they went to more of a safe shell. That led to them getting picked apart more by Jay Cutler. The Bears starting to get chunks of yards on the ground, and Alshon Jeffery started to give a performance worthy of Joey Galloway and Flipper Anderson in their prime against the Saints. 10 catches for 218 yards is just not ok. But the Saints started off so well defensively, they had the benefit of a two score lead and they never looked back. And once again, for the fifth straight game, they hold an opponent under 20 points. On to the grades...no comments
Ralph, Kevin, Andrew, and Dave break down the Saints 5-0 start. Ralph wants to know why 83% completions doesn't get Drew Brees an A+ from Andrew Juge. Why is Chicago allowed to have a cow pasture as a field? Dave wonders if more Pierre Thomas carries will be a regular thing from now on.
Kevin debates whether Pierre Thomas is a Saints Hall of Famer. Is Jimmy Graham the best non quarterback offensive player in the NFL? Ralph wonders if the fact the Super Bowl might be played in a blizzard makes correcting the running game more important?
The boys then answer your Twitter questions!
Does the Media get it wrong about Rob Ryan being some sort of crazy blitz happy coordinator? Ralph wonders if they need to make adjustments to the Rob Ryan Big Fat Chart of Fun.
Dave has great fun reading the Falcoholic game open thread and the boys lose their @#%^ as the Jets take the lead.
Kevin and Ralph bath in the warm hatred they both have for the Patriots. Andrew explains why going to New England might be the biggest test for the offensive line so far.
Dave wonders if Mark Ingram will ever carry the ball again as a Saint? Will Ron Rivera and Greg Schiano be employed on Christmas? Plus, the worst Tweet of the Week.
Oh and Saints-Patriot game picks.
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The offense didn't have one of their best performances by any means, but got the job done. The offensive line continues to be the achilles heel of the entire team, but they had a mediocre game this week which I view as an improvement. The running game was decent early, just good enough to force the Bears to passively pay attention to it. That helped the passing game and protection a bit, I think. As the game wore on, though, and when the Saints tried to kill the game, the running game and line play seemed to get a lot worse. Brees was sacked twice and still hit too many times, but there were many times were the protection was outstanding too. But as the defense started to cave a bit in the second half, the offense did a good job of bleeding out the clock to secure the victory. I would've preferred more than 6 half points, though, and a field goal following the Jay Cutler fumble was very disapointing. On to the grades...no comments
After a fantastic first half, maybe the best of the season, the Saints played some ugly and mostly conservative football to hang on 26-18 (led 20-7 at halftime). But a win is a win, particularly on the road with a field like that. Soldier Field was in horrific condition and footing was very difficult, affecting the offense negatively. Drew Brees played very smart and efficiently and the offense made just enough plays to win the game. Below are my bullets on the game:no comments
The Saints are looking for a jump to 5-0 today, but it won't come easy against the Bears in Chicago. The Saints are 0-3 in Sean Payton's years as coach of the Saints when playing in Chicago, but this will be by far the warmest it's been in any of those games. The forecast shows a high of 60 with a 20% chance of rain, so the Saints' offense should have decent weather to operate in. Here are the five things I'll be looking for:no comments