(NEW ORLEANS) — The Saints are coming off of a 12-10 defensive showdown against the Cowboys, an impressive feat without star quarterback Drew Brees. Or is it?
The defense has stepped up since Brees’ absence to fill the hole in the team. The defense and special teams had two touchdowns in the Seattle matchup, and the Saints only allowed 10 points against the Cowboy offense who have talent all over the field. The Saints held the Cowboys to only 45 rushing yards even though the Cowboys have arguably the best offensive line in the NFL.
Teddy Bridgewater certainly has been solid for New Orleans, totaling 370 yards, two touchdowns, and only one interception in his two starts in the season so far. Running back Alvin Kamara has taken the torch and carried the load for the offense, especially in Seattle, when Kamara had 25 touches for 161 yards and two total touchdowns.
The offensive line has been struggling mentally while being the third most penalized team in the league. Head Coach Sean Payton said “I don’t care who you put in there, it’s going to be hard to overcome some of those penalties. Those have to get cleaned up, and they’re going to get cleaned up.”
The future of the Saints looks bright for the next four weeks. Next up, the Saints play an inconsistent Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that scored 55 points battling a defense that held the Saints to six points.
The Saints then go on a two game away stretch against the 2-2 Jaguars, and the 3-1 Bears. The Jacksonville Jaguars are dealing with a similar issue to the Saints. Their franchise quarterback, Nick Foles, was diagnosed with a broken left clavicle, and the rookie backup, Gardner Minshew, has won the past two games.
The game against the Chicago Bears is going to be an old-fashioned defensive showdown because the Bears defense is filled with stars. The Bears quarterback also suffered a shoulder injury in last week’s game against the Vikings while winning 16-6. The game before the bye week is at home against the Arizona Cardinals who are 0-3-1 with a rookie quarterback.
The Saints have played tougher teams than any of the teams in this stretch. New Orleans has the power to win all of these games as long as the defense keeps up the good work and the offensive line reduces the amount of penalties. Brees has the opportunity to jump back into a 7-1 team with hopes to go to a Super Bowl.