How Good are the New Orleans Saints?

Drew Brees has been awesome this season, but can he continue this success?

With Thanksgiving 2009 in the books and Black Friday literally complete on the East Coast, I thought I would take some time to not discuss yesterday’s three awful, pathetic and un-enjoyable NFL games, but look ahead to Monday evening’s marquee match-up between the New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots.

When the 2009 NFL schedule was released, I literally circled this particular game. I told everyone I knew that this would be the game of the season, but little did I know my prediction was going to be correct.

I know the Saints are a very talented team, but with a record of 10-0, I just wonder, how good is this particular squad? Are they the best team in football or is this just a big fat, no good, rotten joke?

Beginning the 2009 season, the New Orleans Saints took on two sub-par and below .500 teams, the Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills. Now don’t get me wrong, but when I saw Drew Brees torch the Lions secondary, my jaw literally touched the kitchen floor. He threw 6-touchdowns that game and I believe someone in the media world wanted to hand Brees the 2009 MVP trophy following his week-1 performance. Sounds like a great plan, why don’t we hand him a super bowl ring too?

Two weeks later against the Buffalo Bills, the Saints slowly began to show every NFL fan that maybe, just maybe, they aren’t that powerful or the best squad. They struggled to take an early lead against a Bills team that was still recuperating from their week 1 hic-up against the New England Patriots. The Bills throughout this game seemed poised and ready to stop the Saints, especially when trailing at halftime, 10-7, but instead, the winds and fortunes of Ralph Wilson Stadium blew in the direction of the black and gold. The Saints 17-points in the 4th quarter possibly shows that being held out of the end zone for two strait quarters means the Saints are indeed beatable and not the best team.

Believe it or not, half of the games the Saints played in so far have either a 3 or 0 in the box score for various quarters. Against the New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons the Saints were unsuccessful in punching in a touchdown in the 3rd quarter and when facing the St. Louis Rams and Carolina Panthers, they were unable to put points on the board in the opening quarter or get off to their usual roaring start.

So what does this all mean?

Simply, the Saints are beatable, but lets not forget that Drew Brees is a top-3 quarterback in the league, Sean Payton is still establishing himself as a quality head coach and Greg Williams has not been calling the plays on defense for even one year. The offense has been spectacular, putting up loads of points in the past few games, especially against the Buccaneers, but when putting pressure on Brees is when the Saints falls off the tracks.

Does Sean Payton deserve all the credit this season?

As for the Saints defense, they have allowed close to 20 points a game, roughly 330 overall yards of offense and nearly 115 yards on the ground. Their defense has improved this season, but as of recently, cannot always be trusted.

I admire the fact that all Saints fans are acting exuberated, but having a 10-0 record doesn’t mean anything at the moment unless these players and coaches are holding a Vince Lombardi Trophy in the air. Being undefeated is great, but in this modern day losing sometimes can teach more than winning. The Saints 2009 season has been wild and crazy at times, but also very nerve-racking too. Squeaking by the Panthers, Dolphins and Rams shows they do have flaws and once again, are not the best team.

All in all, Monday night’s contest will be a great one, but just remember, the Saints are not an amazing 10-0 team and certainly are beatable.

2 thoughts on “How Good are the New Orleans Saints?”

  1. Not bad Noonan. But i do want to make a few points:

    1.) The Saints played the eagles in Week 2, and even though McNabb did not play, they put up 48 points on a defense that just came off a 5 turnover, 10 point game. The Bills were week three, and given the windy conditions and the Bills 32nd ranked run defense, i don’t blame the Saints for drawing up a gameplan that was very run heavy. The only points the Bills scored were off a fake field goal.

    2.) Find me a single team in the league that doesn’t have multiple scoreless quarters! The Saints probably have the fewest of most any team in the league, so saying that getting shutout some quarters means their offense is weak is like saying Albert Pujols isn’t THAT good of a hitter because he strikes out occasionally.

    3.) You are correct about them giving up alot of points. However, they have been without run stopper and pass rush aid DT Sedrick Ellis since the Miami game,putting alot of pressure on a secondary that has seen starters CB Tracy Porter, CB Jabari Greer, and S Darren Sharper miss time. And yet, the Saints still lead the league in takeaways and defensive TDs. And before Ellis went out, the Saints were ranked 6th (at the lowest) in rush defense. They lost Ellis then faced a half game of R. Brown/Williams, then full games against…hmm, MICHAEL TURNER, DEANGELO WILLIAMS AND STEVEN JACKSON. So the numbers are a little skewed.

    4.) Any QB under pressure will hamper the passing game, not just Brees. You don’t need me to go on for pages praising how great Brees is (i do that all the time), but Brees is among the best in the league in staying calm in the pocket and finding his hot routes while being pressured.

    5.) They are beatable. Everyone is in the NFL is beatable. But given the games they have had, whether they start off slow or pounce on suffocating defenses, and their ability to both pass and run the ball (didn’t mention they have a top 5 running game), and the gamechanging capabilities of their D they have to be considered at least one of the most dangerous and dynamic teams in the league.

    And after they beat the Pats 34-24, they will clearly be the best.

  2. What are you doing up at 12:04 AM blogging?

    I enjoyed both your blog and Jake’s response.

    I plan to watch. It should be a good game.

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