Kansas City, Kansas City, here they come! Midwestern blues vs. southern jazz and bounce music - who wins?
If all goes well, the mirror gazing done by the Saints this week allowed quality introspection that will lead to marked improvement in the on-field performance of both individuals and the team as a whole. If it led to self-indulgent narcissism, then we're all in trouble, and they'd better take their "Bring the Wood" commemorative bats to those mirrors, posthaste.
** After you enjoy reading these insightful Hot Reads, let's use this comment section as the pre-pre-game open thread to discuss our mood, spirit, gear, spirits, and food for this glorious gameday. **
Say it with me: WE MUST PROTECT THIS BREES. And let's face it, thus far in the season, Drew Brees has not been protected well. He's been under physical, mental, and emotional fire that has caused him to throw bad interceptions, have less than stellar pass completion percentages, and our boss Dave has even removed his passing yardage totals from the weekly prediction thread!! I know I couldn't perform under that kind of pressure (TWSS).
What I'd Like To See: Everyone on the team playing well enough to allow Brees to just focus on doing his own job. I want to see him back there looking comfortable and in control, taking what the Chiefs are giving him, living to fight another play, another drive, and another day. That means no sacks, no INTs, at least a 65% completion rate, and a VICTORY for the Saints.
Checkdown # 1
As you know, I am a pretty deliberate fellow, wanting to have all the facts and angles figured out before issuing a ruling. I'm really not one to RUSH TO JUDGEMENT, but that's exactly what the Saints need to get a handle on this week. Get this: the Chiefs are rushing for over 150 yards per game, and the Saints have given up 186 per game. On the flip side of that, the Saints have only rushed for 97 yards per game thus far while the Chiefs allow 142 per game. Another shortcoming is that Super Saint Darren Sproles, who averaged over five carries per game and nearly seven yards per carry last season, has not been handed the ball one time this year. Not once!
What I'd Like To See: This is going to take two segments. First, just give Sproles the damn ball in the backfield, ok? Second, the defense needs to hold the Chiefs to close to 100 rushing yards while the offense rolls up well over 100 yards.
Checkdown # 2
An important part of victory today will involve the Saints' ability to sustain and finish drives, and a big part of that will come down to how well the team is able to GRAB THIRD DOWN BY THE THROAT AND MAKE IT THEIR B****. After leading the league in third down conversions in 2011 (56%), they are only succeeding on third down at just under 38% this year (9 of 24 - guh). Conversely, the Chiefs are swaggering into the game with a 53% conversion rate on third down.
What I'd Like To See: The Saints turn this right around and hold the Chiefs under 40% while converting at least 60% of their own third downs.
When all is said and done, what it's going to boil down to here is WHO CAN WIN THE RACE TO 30 (points). Both teams have given up 40, then 35 points to their opponents in their opening two losses. If you carry out the pattern like a good little math test taker, you'll see that 30 is the next number in that sequence. Whichever team gets to 30 points first is going to win this #$%&* game.
What I'd Like To See: The Saints be the first team to reach 30 points. Hell, I really want them to be the only team to reach at least 30 points this week, but in 2012, I am a beggar who's far from feeling like he has the luxury of choosing, so I'm going to take a win however they can get it, even if they give up 30 the low-scoring Chiefs.
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Now that I've let you have them, it's your turn to let me have them. Your thoughts on these Hot Reads, that is, as well as any other pre-pre-game feelings, ideas, random brainfarts, etc.