A hot game with two hot quarterbacks calls for some Hot Reads from HansDat to let you know what it's going to take for the Saints to cool off Peyton Manning and steal a win from the Denver Broncos in Mile High Stadium tonight.
** After you process these reads, let me know what you think about them and then sound off on what you've got going for your gameday gear, food, drink, and general state of mind for tonight's tilt. That's right, this is yet another pre-pre-pre-pre-game Open Thread.**
And to help you pass the time until the prime time kickoff, CSC's all-day gameday coverage will include a late morning Fleur-de-Links AND an Open Thread for the afternoon games, so don't wander too far away from your internet!!
The Saints best chance to win still rests in the hands, shoulders, eyes, ears, torso and legs of Drew Brees right now, and HE MUST BE PROTECTED to let him do what he do. The Broncos 3-4 defense (a scheme which generally seems to give the Saints o-line absolute fits) features a pair of beastly players who merit extra attention: Von Miller with 6 sacks from the linebacker position, and Elvis Dumervil, a stud DE who has pitched in five of his own.
What I'd Like To See: Both of those guys held sackless, with Brees nabbed only one time in the backfield, and hit only twice. They need to also maintain pocket integrity to the Nth degree so Breesus has room and lanes to zip those passes (no passes tipped at the LOS!!) through the thin air cleanly to his receivers.
Checkdown # 1
Due to the fact that the Saints rush so poorly and defend the run even worse, to keep this game winnable they will have to MOUNT RUSHMORE ACADEMY. Mild effectiveness on either end of this will equalize things and allow the game to be decided by the respective cannon-armed Hall of Famers under center, which is how it should be.
What I'd Like To See: The Saints at least crack the 100-yard mark with success on obvious short-yardage run plays. The sieve formerly known as the Saints run defense must also hold the Broncos to no more than 105 rushing yards. That would be 10 yards below the Broncos' average, and over 55 yards less than what the Saints usually give up. Call me crazy.
Checkdown # 2
The Saints have big time trouble holding onto a lead in the final period, and the Broncos lead the league in fourth quarter scoring differential (79-6), so now you know exactly why the Saints need to SCORE MORE IN THE FOURTH.
What I'd Like To See: It doesn't have to be by much, but just edge those ponies by the slimmest of margins in the fourth quarter 7-6, 24-21, 3-0, 14-13, whatever.
STAND UP ON THIRD DOWN - After a rough early start, the Saints have improved their performance on third down to be second in the league with a 48% conversion rate. The Broncos aren't too shabby at this either, and are fifth with a 45% conversion rate. Excelling at this will make a big difference in the game, so the Saints need to do it.
What I'd Like To See: The Saints hit on 60% of their third downs while holding the Broncos under 40%. This will frustrate Sir Peyton beyond belief and let it get into his head just enough to cause him to force something late (does this seem familiar?). Who wears #22 for the Saints now...nobody. Rats.
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What do you think of these Hot Reads? Got any of your own? If so, I'd love to read them.