|Off. Ypg (Rank)||Off. PPG (rank)||Def. YPG (Rank)||Def. PPG (Rank)|
|Saints||353.4 (6)||22.4 (12)||352.1 (25)||24.8 (25)|
|Texans||346.0 (9)||22.6 (11)||327.7 (18)||25.1 (26)|
For the Saints, Brown is doubtful, Grant and Usama Young are questionable. For the Texans, Ahman Green is out.
The odds for this game are even, which indicates how similar these 4-5 teams really are. The Saints have scored 203 points and allowed 223; the Texans have scored 203 points and allowed 226. The Saints are 2-3 at home and 2-2 on the road; the Texans are 2-2 at home and 2-3 on the road. The difference, I suppose, is that the Texans jumped to a 2-0 start, while the Saints dropped their first four.
With three six-win teams, the AFC South has a legitimate claim to the title of best division in football. A win today would put the Saints at 2-2 against the AFC South, a statistic that would be both maddening and encouraging. It's maddening because mediocre teams have no business going 2-2 against the best division in the game; it's encouraging because -- despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary -- it implies that the Saints are not mediocre.
Two weeks ago, I thought the Saints would run into a buzzsaw of a defense against Jacksonville. All they did was put up their second-best offensive performance in the Sean Payton era.
Last week, I thought the Saints would walk over the Rams defense. Through three quarters, the Saints had seven points. It wasn't until Jim Haslett stopped calling blitzes that the Saints began to move the ball.
I just don't know what to think. And I'm finished trying to predict what's going to happen.*
There was an interesting (albeit short) discussion in the comments section between our own southernsaint and Tim, the local Texans blogger (whose blog we should all visit today), about the Texans' potential gameplan:
In regards to shutting down the Saints passing game, the Rams and Hasless gave a blueprint for slowing it down: blitz hard and often to force Brees to throw the ball earlier than he wants.
Unfortunately for Texans fans, our DC steadfastly refuses to blitz. Even though the Rams seemingly provided a blueprint as to how to slow down Brees & Co., I would be shocked if we actually broke form and sent anyone other than our front four and a very, very occasional LB.
I guess it depends on whom the Texans' defensive coordinator, Richard Smith, decides to pay attention to.
Honestly, it kind of makes the Saints appear helpless and, well, mediocre.
Oh yeah, and there's this commercial, which I almost feel obligated to post:
*That's probably a lie.