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New Orleans’ Vaunted Passing Game Has Deflated Some

Brett Hundley begins his stint as an NFL starter at home, against the New Orleans Saints. The Saints are a great team at home, but not on the road. Since 2012, the Saints are 18-24 away from home. This year they are 2-1, but both wins were played in the south, at Carolina and Miami.

The Saints play remarkably few games north of, say Washington D.C. and Kansas City. In the previous six years, I count only five games played outdoors up north after October 20: two games in New Jersey, and one each in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Chicago. However, they won three of the five.

Even so, Lambeau Field will feel a little foreign to the Saints. The Packers won at home in 2011 (42-34) and again in 2012 (28-27). When the Packers were away from home in 2014, however, they got one of their worst clobberings in a decade; that score was 44-23, with Drew Brees going 27-for-32 (84% completions) for 311 yards, three touchdowns, and a 138.4 passer rating. The Packers must hold down Brees’ completion percentage on Sunday in order to be competitive.

On the season, after losing to the Vikings and the Patriots, the Saints are red-hot, offensively (as expected) and defensively as well. First, they whipped Carolina, 34-13; next they blanked Miami 20-0; last Sunday they ran up 52 points in beating the Lions by 14. That’s giving up only nine points a game during the stretch.

If you can believe it, the Saints depend on QB Drew Brees even more that the Packers depended on Aaron Rodgers.

Drew lost his top receiver when the team traded Brandin Cooks to New England in March. It cost the Pats their first and third round picks. Pulling a Ted Thompson, the Saints drafted no new receivers — even with those two extra high-round picks.

That leaves 2016 round two pick Michael Thomas as the top dog. On the season Thomas has the 24th most receiving yards in the league; Chris Hogan is 27th; 32-year-old Ted Ginn Jr. is 77th; and running backs Mark Ingram are 58th and 106th.

For Brees, his current 264 yards per game passing average is embarrassing. In past years he’s averaged 322.6 (2013), 309.5 (2014), 324.7 (2015), and 325.5 (2016) – always on top or near the top of the league.

The Saints’ offense has become more two dimensional. Though they are still 5th in passing yards per game, they’re also a respectable 14th in rushing yards. Mark Ingram, their 5’9” 215-pound steamroller, is their big ground threat. He’s averaging 4.2 yards per carry and 57 yards per game.

Did you think you’d get to see Adrain Peterson again? After gaining only 81 yards with the Saints, he was traded to Arizona on October 20 – for a conditional sixth round choice! However, after one game with the Cardinals, AP was name NFC Offensive Player of the Week.

Despite putting up 52 points against the Lions a week ago, neither quarterback played very well. Brees threw for under 200 yards and had two interceptions, but Matthew Stafford threw three of them. New Orleans rushed for more yards that it passed for – you’d probably have to go back a long way to find when that last happened.

All in all, the New Orleans offense hasn’t really established its identity as of yet this season. You can bet that Drew Brees has been viewing game film of the Packers’ defensive backs. He’s got to be drooling over the prospects of getting his pass attack flying high again.

Rob Born

I’m with Matt: “You gotta make those chunk plays!”



  1. Mike K October 20, 2017

    Maybe so?? But Brees will torch Capers “give a 10 yard cushion” secondary. It would not shock me in the least if Brees goes for 400 passing yards.

    1. icebowl October 20, 2017

      Agreed about Sieve Secondary …..

      Q is can #7 keep up w Brees and even survive the onslaught of Blitzes that Payton is gonna bring up against the Silk Curtain Oline….

      I fear Hundley will see the bench, not for bad play but because he’s gonna get hurt.. it could end up a Gallipoli-like experience for the GB QBs – next man up !

  2. Cheese October 20, 2017

    If you think the Saints passing game has been deflated, you need to take a look at Green Bay. Brees will torch this secondary like Scorpion from Mortal Kombat.