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The Road Gets Tougher

Rating: 1 votes, 4.00 average.
Posted 10-04-2013 at 04:26 AM by BoudinSandwich

I was debating on whether or not I'd post this week, but since I'm superstitious and the Saints are 4-0, I guess I have to. Again, I'd like to thank everyone who reads these things. This post, however, I won't be patting myself on the back for realizing trends early on.

I will say that I was correct in the Cardinals and Dolphins being 'what the doctor ordered' in terms of getting the Saints' redzone offense back on track. The Saints have once again proven themselves to be masterful under the spotlight. There's something about prime time that brings the best out of Sean Payton's teams. Monday Night Football may be the best display of this phenomenon. And, there's nothing like the satisfaction a Saints fan gets when his team crushes their opponents for the whole world to see. That's when the Saints start getting respect from the media again.

Unfortunately, the schedule is getting tougher from here on out. Many people will tell you it's simply road games that the Saints struggle with, but I think it goes beyond that. These next two games will be played on real grass fields, something that Sean Payton teams struggle with. It's easy to understand why this happens. Payton builds his teams to win at home, in a dome, and on a 'fast track'. Natural grass slows down the speedy Saints. Expect to see slower receivers, a slower pass rush, and slower defensive backs. Sometimes, being outdoors in the elements can cause Brees to struggle as well. Expect some players to not be as sure-footed as they normally are on artificial turf.

The secret to winning these next two games is the Saints running game. Unfortunately, the running game has struggled early on this year. The short passing game to Sproles and the dominance of Jimmy Graham helped out the Saints short game because, otherwise, they would have none. Expect those players to be less effective in this next stretch, though. Everyone is aiming to limit Graham's effectiveness and some of Sproles' speed is going to be reduced. The true key is going to be Pierre Thomas and the Saints' offensive line. Pierre Thomas is one of the Saints players who actually doesn't struggle on natural grass. The Saints have to feed him the ball often. Hopefully, the offensive line can block for him. As a unit, the line teams to struggle to pass block for Brees on natural grass as well.

When it comes to the defense, who have started out spectacularly, expect their rankings to fall a bit. I don't think the defense will start to play worse, but they simply have tougher competition up ahead. Also, other teams' defenses are going to rise up in the rankings as well. I said the Saints defense was going to be middle-of-the-pack this year. They've surprised everyone thus far, including myself. I think they're actually better than I thought they would be. That said, I expect their ranking to fall somewhere between #10 - #14 by the end of the regular season. This is still a spectacular ranking compared to what the Saints defense did last year. You have to tip you hat to Rob Ryan, who has almost done the impossible in such a short time. And, as we all know, a ranking that high is all the Saints need to make another Super Bowl run as they consistently have one of the best offenses in the league.

Now, don't take this as me losing confidence in the team. It's not all doom and gloom. We're just simply getting into a hard stretch in the schedule. I recognize the difficulty. Not only are the Saints playing two consistently though teams, but they also take place in some of the toughest stadiums for a road team to play in. Also, what the hell is up with the NFL constantly scheduling the Saints to play in Chicago every time? When is the last time we actually played the Bears at home? Sean Payton's teams struggle in Chicago. They are bound to win there eventually if they keep playing there, let's hope that 'eventually' is this weekend.

The Saints are 3rd in the Take/Giveaway category with a +5 differential. ( ESPN Team Stats ) That can all change in one game at Chicago, though. The Bears know how to get turnovers, especially at home. Let's hope the Saints can protect the football. Brees can't try to force the ball into tight windows. He also can't throw too many high balls. If those balls get tipped up in the air, look out, because the defense is going to catch them. The good news is that the Bears' QB also tends to turn the ball over, especially in the redzone where the Saints' defense seems to be stout. Let's hope the Saints can capitalize.

I don't know how these next two games will fall, but I know they should be difficult. To win them both would be amazing. If that happens, we can start the Super Bowl talk. We should also be very pleased if we split the next two. However, even if the Saints were to drop both of them, they'd still be 4-2 at the bye week. That's a fantastic start. And, following the bye, we get the Bills in the dome - a perfect way to get right back on track.
Posted in Sports, Saints
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  1. Old Comment
    TheOak's Avatar
    It has been said each week that the "secrete to winning that week is the ground game", each week it fails, each week we win.

    It is simply not the case.

    Sproles speed is reduced.... Huh?

    Doom and Gloom. Purely... All things getting worse... reread your prediction and tell me I am wrong.
    Posted 10-04-2013 at 04:45 AM by TheOak TheOak is offline

  2. Old Comment
    BoudinSandwich's Avatar
    In terms of TheOak's comment:

    I just want to say that while others may have said that running the ball was the secret to victory, I don't think I've actually said that for the first few weeks. I am saying it this week, though. Graham will draw a huge focus from the defense and, yes, I believe the natural grass will slow Sproles down a bit.

    The good news is Chicago is where Pierre Thomas had his breakout game years ago. He went over 100-yards rushing as well as over 100-yards receiving in that one game.

    I very well could be wrong. The schedule is just getting tougher. I do believe Pierre Thomas is the x-factor this weekend, though. I stand by that.

    Edit: Also, the Bears have forced 14 turnovers in the first 4 weeks, 8 of those were fumbles. Thomas rarely fumbles the football.
    Posted 10-04-2013 at 05:18 AM by BoudinSandwich BoudinSandwich is offline
  3. Old Comment
    TheOak's Avatar
    Speed is relative and with everyone playing on the same surface they will all be slower. Sproles is still quicker than they are.

    Graham was the huge focus against Miami.

    Sproles probably more than anyone else on the team can handle grass... That's what he played on for 5 years in San Diego.

    While you may have just started seeing or saying it this week.... Everything you have said, has been said before and we are still 4-0.
    Posted 10-04-2013 at 06:46 AM by TheOak TheOak is offline
  4. Old Comment
    soretoes's Avatar


    As i am new to this web site, I have sat back and followed the chat since I have joined and i must say that it is refreshing to read the comments from so many obviouse knowlegable fans who follow the team as intensly as myself,.
    I believe that coach Payton has proven that the pass to our RB's out of the backfield or lined up outside is an ext. of our running game, it has been very effective as we seen last week with the screen pass to thomas for a TD. Although I would love to see more of a pounding rushing attack I havent been impressed so far this season, I hope we all agree on that,
    It's kinda depressing that Ingram hasnt been more effective considering what we gave to get him in the draft, I have heard rumors that there is talk of dealing him at the conclusion of this season, has anybody heard the same talk? or is it just talk up here in north La.
    I do believe the rushing game has more to do with the offensive line than our running backs because it seems that we do not have success with running the ball no matter who the RB is. Besides Drew is taking more hits this year than he has in the previous years,
    Ofcourse this is just one Saint fans opinion...
    Posted 10-11-2013 at 02:28 PM by soretoes soretoes is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Mardigras9's Avatar
    Hilarious photo with Cutler, love that.
    Posted 10-16-2013 at 09:54 AM by Mardigras9 Mardigras9 is offline
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