The New York Jets return home after a beat down at the hands of the AFC North leading Cincinnati Bengals. We recapped the defeat here at TOJ, but it is worth mentioning that the team lost because the defense got the breaks beaten off of them and made Andy Dalton look like Drew Brees. It’s a good thing the Jets don’t…wait, who is on their schedule Week 9? Oh yeah, Drew Brees. TOJ will help you become familiar with the former Super Bowl MVP and the rest of the New Orleans Saints in this week’s version of Know Your Opponent.
Week : New Orleans Saints, 6-1 last week: win vs Buffalo (35-17)
2013 Offensive Rankings: 5th in Points Per game (28 ppg), 6th in total yards (396 per game), 3rd in passing yards (310.7 per game), 9th in passing attempts (38.7 per game), 2nd in passing touchdowns (19), 7th in interceptions thrown (5), 4th in yards gained per attempt (7.5), 25th in rushing yards (85.2 per game), 20th in rushing attempts (25.4 per game), 22nd in rushing touchdowns (3), 28th in yards per carry (3.4), 35 of their 82 drives have ended with a score (43.9), 7 of their 82 drives have ended in a turnover (11.7%), average 5.9 plays and two minutes and 51 seconds per drive.
Overview: If not for the assault on the record books that Peyton Manning is orchestrating (be sure to follow along with The Whistle), it could be argued that New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees would be the NFL’s first half MVP. All Brees has done is complete 67.5% of his passes for 2290 yards, 19 TDs, and 5 INTs. Brees’s QB Rating is a staggering 109.2. The Saints are one of two teams (the Broncos being the other) with 4 players with at least 25+ receptions as their offense is led by the best Tight End in the game in Jimmy Graham (40 REC, 630 YDS, 8 TDs).
Brees has used his running backs as primary pass catchers this year as well, as both Pierre Thomas (32 REC, 224 YDS) and scatback Darren Sproles (36 REC, 366 YDS) have at least 30 receptions. Marques Colston is 4th on the team with 27 receptions for 342 yards and a touchdown. Rookie Kenny Stills has 13 receptions on the year, but is averaging 25.2 yards per reception and has scored three times. Their running game is non-existent; Thomas, Khery Robinson, and Sproles have combined for 136 carries and have gained 517 yards. The trio is averaging 3.8 yards a carry. The Saints offensive line, led by Ben Grubbs, has allowed Brees to be sacked 18 times this year.
WR Kenny Stills
LT Jermon Bushrod
WR Devery Henderson
RB Chris Ivory
TE Jimmy Graham (Probable)
RG Jahri Evans (Questionable)
WR Marques Colston (Questionable)
WR Kenny Stills (Probable)
RB Mark Ingram (Probable)
2013 Defensive Rankings: 4th in points allowed (17.1 per game), 12th in yards allowed (332.4 per game), 10th in passing defense (222.14 per game), 8th in passing touchdowns allowed (8), 19th in rushing defense (110.2 per game), 32nd in yards per carry allowed (4.8), 16th in rushing touchdowns allowed (5), and 6th in turnovers forced (15).
Overview: Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan has revamped this New Orleans Saints defense and has them playing some pretty good football. The defense is led by defensive end Cameron Jordan, who leads the team with 6 sacks and has forced two fumbles. The entire defense has 24 sacks, with 13 different players racking up at least one sack. Inside Linebacker Curtis Lofton is the team’s leading tackler with 40. Rookie Kenny Vacarro, a contender for Defensive Rookie of the Year, is second on the team in tackles with 31 and the rookie has 4 passes defended, a sack, and an interception through half of a season. Outside Linebacker Junior Galette is second on the team ins sacks with 4. The defense has forced 10 fumbles and recovered 7. They also, have 31 passes defended and 7 interceptions.
FS Kenny Vacarro
LB Victor Butler
CB Keenan Lewis (3 INTs)
DE Turk McBride
LB Jonathan Casillas
LB Jonathan Vilma (IR)
DT Brodrick Bunkley (Out)
DB Keenan Lewis (Probable)
DE Akiem Hicks (Probable)
DE Will Smith (IR)
DE Cameron Jordan (Questionable)
FS Kenny Vacarro (Questionable)
SS Roman Harper (Questionable)
CB Malcolm Jenkins (Questionable)
Darren Sproles is the team’s primary kick returner (21.2 yards per return) and punt returner (7.8 yards per return). Garrett Hartley is 14 of 18 on field goals and 22 of 22 on extra points. Punter Thomas Morstead is averaging 46.9 yards per punt. Due to Sproles’s kick returns, the Saints average starting field position is their own 32.
The Saints lead the matchup series 6-5 and won the last matchup (took place during Rex’s rookie year as a head coach) 24-10.