The Saints are up next this week for the Chargers in prime time on NBC Sunday Night Football! The Saints have not won a game yet, but I still think the Saints are a good team. On offense, Drew Brees is still throwing it all over the field to his three most frequent targets: Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston and Lance Moore. These three WRs get the most passes in this offense with Graham being Brees’ first target. If a play breaks down Brees scans the field to whoever is open or looks for Darren Sproles. These three WRs run across the middle, or down the middle, of the field and get their yards in chunks.
Sproles is of course their most dangerous player out of the backfield, if lined up as a receiver or catching quick passes out of the backfield. If one-on-one against an LB, Sproles runs in and turns back out to turn the LB around to create just enough separation to catch the pass and do what he does after the catch. As for their run game of Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram, They haven’t been much of a factor. Yes, they can break one, but so far in their games their run game has been a non-factor as a whole. They’re all about the pass game and short passes to Sproles. Ingram and Thomas do get more yards if they get one of these short passes and run after also but those are few and far between.
The Saints’ defense is not really as strong as it once was. Gone are the blitzes and constant pressure on the quarterback. The Saints play one-on-one coverage on the outside and jam receivers and run with them while just rushing their front four. Also, the LBs play coverage in the middle of the field. If and when the Saints do send more than their front four, they drop a safety down on the safety blitz or send two LBs in the middle along with the front four. Rivers will have to be smart with the ball this game for sure and not force throws. Also, the run game will be a plus for the Chargers with Battle and Mathews, and with runs in the middle to keep the chains moving. At the same time, also using Ronnie Brown to catch short passes and run with the ball.
If the Chargers front seven can keep playing the middle of the field the way they did against the Chiefs, the Saints’ run game will not be a problem. The game is going to be decided in the secondary. This is the game where they are going to have a lot of work to do trying to get the Saints go three and out. It will be tough though, because the Saints haven’t had many three and outs. They are always scoring points almost every drive; either through touchdowns or field goals either way almost all their drives end in either seven or three points. They keep the score board moving. Hopefully the Chargers can make them punt more in this game.
This will be the second test for the Chargers against a great passing offense. We’ll see if they can come out of New Orleans with a win this time – it will be loud in the dome!