Friday, September 21, 2012

Keys to the Game: Chiefs @ Saints

Sunday Showdown:

It's Do or Die!
0-2 Teams Seek First Win, Saints need it more

Here's my weekly take on the Keys to the Game for the Saints on Sunday!


The offense set the tone in Carolina’s game on Drive One. We saw the Running Backs (Sproles/Thomas) go off & make things happen. We even saw lesser errors in terms of flags, but what ended up being the biggest problem were the turnovers. The team had to play catch up, and we saw Drew Brees throw two passes that in all honestly should have never been thrown in the first place. I can’t say it’s uncharacteristic for this to happen (especially on the road), but the O-Line has to keep protecting Brees, but most importantly the receivers have GOT to make something happen. It wasn’t until the 3
rd Quarter that we saw Marques Colston (side note, has been playing hurt) get involved in the offense, and we did see some more drops – including the two biggest ones from Jimmy Graham & Lance Moore, which lead to 3 points instead of 6. A lot of people rag on Devery Henderson, but getting him back is probably one of the biggest things for the week. The Saints MUST get off on the right foot, and the biggest thing is to KEEP pushing until the end to where we won’t have to play catch up. I look for Graham to be a huge factor, and yes, I know he’s always a big factor, but this week I see some huge production for him. I am also looking for Brees to read & pick apart the Chiefs with their blitzing schemes.

There’s no question whatsoever that the defense is under fire, surrendering 75 points & 900+ yards in the first two games for the Saints. They started on the right foot last week, but really fell in the middle when Carolina scored 21 straight points. Simply put, the one to watch is Dwayne Bowe. Corey White is a targeted man, and you will know that Cassel will be looking for who is matched up on him. We got Greer back last week, and he played hurt as well. I believe it’s not simple to put it on one person, however one key difference here is how healthy Johnny Patrick is (who has been a full participant in practice), and that secondary plays. The front seven will simply have to make some pass rush happen, and start wrapping up the QB. I know a lot of you are automatically screaming turnovers, which would be great, but I’ll take keeping the offense off of the field. The Saints are 26th against the Pass, dead last against the Run, & 22nd in Sacks in this early season. We don’t have an easy task with the hydra of Jamaal Charles, Dexter McCluster, & Peyton Hillis – but we will have to disrupt the potential run threat the Chiefs will bring.

Special Teams
Again, it will always stay the same. We don’t need to see a lot of Thomas Morstead. When/If we do, he’ll need to pin the Chiefs deep in the shadow of their own goal post, and then the Who Dat Nation will have to be louder than a Metallica concert to cause some False Starts. Sproles has been a factor when he returns the ball (31 Yards/Return), so if he can get the Offense started in some great field position, it will obviously help. Quietly – Garrett Hartley is 5/5 on Field Goal attempts this week. I’ll just hope that Hip keeps going strong.

Call me crazy. I’m going with Cam Jordan. He has been one of the most consistent players on the Defense (along with a select few others), but I’m expecting him to be a huge force for the game. If there’s ever a time for him to shine & produce, it’s now.

To summarize, it’s a must win situation for the Saints this weekend, and it will only get harder as they will have to face the Chargers & Packers in the next two weeks. Obviously the best case scenario before the Week 6 BYE is 3-2, however, we have to start here, and take it a week at a time. Keep the Faith Who Dat Nation, if it were easy, the Browns would be champions.

Final Prediction: Saints 34, Chiefs 21

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