The New Orleans Saints (10–0) face their biggest challenge yet this season when they take on the New England Patriots (7–3) Monday night at the Louisiana Superdome.
Chief among the Saints concerns is facing New England All-Pro quarterback Tom Brady who is clearly back to his former self after throwing for over 300 yards in the last five games and 20 touchdowns this season.
Brady has had great success throwing to his favorite receivers Wes Welker and Randy Moss. Welker is averaging an astounding 106.8 yards per game while Moss is ranked second in the league in receiving with eight touchdowns, 93 yards per game, and 925 total yards.
On the other side of the ball, New England’s defense is also playing well, ranking sixth in the league and allowing only 298 yards and 16.4 points per game respectively.
While there is no doubt that New England is an extremely talented team and will be a major test for the Saints, New Orleans is no slouch.
If the Saints can maintain their momentum they could become the second team in NFL history behind the 2007 New England Patriots to go 16–0 in a regular season. Much like that historic Pats team that averaged a league high 41.1 points per game, the Saints are also doing it with a high-powered offense that is averaging 36.9 points per game.
Behind quarterback Drew Brees, the Saints have the NFL’s best offense that is amassing 421 yards per game, 266 passing yards, and 154.3 rushing yards. Brees has thrown for 2,746 yards, and a league-high 22 touchdowns.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick knows his team must be well prepared when facing New Orleans. He commented on the Saints with www.patriots.com, “They’ve won every game by double digits—most of the time they are running out the clock in the middle of the third quarter. They are a very good football team and we know it will be a very energetic atmosphere and certainly a hostile environment toward the Patriots down there.
“So [there are] a lot of challenges in place for us Monday night that we have to get ready for.”
Well-Balanced Saints Attack
What makes the Saints dangerous is the fact that quarterback Drew Brees distributes the ball evenly and makes it difficult for defenders to hone in on any one receiver.
With a cast of talented players that includes receivers Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, tight end Jeremy Shockey, and running backs Mike Bell and Pierre Thomas, Brees has weapons that make it hard to stop any one player without freeing up another.
So versatile is the passing attack, that Brees has thrown touchdown passes to nine different players.
In addition to their aerial assault, the Saints running game is also extremely efficient, churning out two runners who are on pace for 1,000-yard seasons in Bell and Thomas.
When the Saints defense takes the field, safety Darren Shaper will be a major asset in slowing down New England. Sharper has seven interceptions this season and has discovered a fountain of youth in New Orleans, playing some of the best football in his career.
Coach Belichick knows how talented Sharper is, “He [Sharper] makes a lot of plays on anticipation, route recognition, reading the quarterback, and they have a good pass rush to go with it, so that helps those guys in the secondary.”
While the Saints are one of two undefeated teams in the NFL, along with the Indianapolis Colts, this game will be huge test for them.
The Patriots hold the regular season edge winning eight out of 11 games against New Orleans, including three straight games.
A win against the vaunted Patriots this Monday will prove, if anybody still has a doubt that the Saints deserve to be considered as a one of the very best teams in the NFL this year.