Saints receivers vs. Broncos secondary: Champ Bailey and Dre Bly are past their prime. Those names sound intimidating but they don't represent what they once did. Denver ranks 29th and 28th in passing yards allowed per game and per play, respectively. The Broncos focus more on stopping the run, a result of being in the AFC West, a division with a lot of talented running backs. If Drew can get a lot of time in the pocket, he may have a chance to carve up this defense.
Advantage: Who Dat!
Saints defensive line vs. Broncos offensive line: Denver's offensive line is like a patchwork quilt right now, made up of all kinds of players at all different points in their career. Though they have looked pretty good the first two games they still have some room to grow. Defensive ends Will Smith and Charles Grant should be able to take advantage of the situation. The Saints pay them enough.
Advantage: Who Dat!
Saints run defense vs. Broncos running backs: After the last two weeks, stopping the run is imperative this Sunday. The bad news is that on top of having the most productive offense in the league, the Broncos are ranked 10th in rushing yards per game and have a two talented backs in Selvin Young and Andre Hall. I'm not sure how much more Vilma can do so it's incumbent on everyone else to step it up and help plug those holes. The Broncos have run the ball right up the middle 22 out of 56 times, almost 40% of the time. That means Sedrick Ellis and Kendrick Clancy will definitely have their hands full in the middle.
Advantage: Screw Dat!
Saints running game vs. Broncos run defense: The Broncos are known for having a good defense year in and year out but so far this season it has been less than extraordinary. That being said the Saints running game has not been everything it could be either. This may be the first game we see some significant action from Deuce. If that's the case, maybe our offensive line will start to run block better. Otherwise Reggie and Pierre will have to attempt to make something out of nothing. This matchup is too tough to call.
Saints secondary vs. Broncos pass offense: Jay Cutler and the Denver receiving corp has been lights out thus far. The Broncos are 2nd in the league in pass yards per game thanks in large part to Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal. The good news is that Mike McKenzie, Randall Gay and Roman Harper all may return to action this weekend. The bad news is this Broncos aerial attack may still be too much for them to handle.
Advantage: Screw Dat!
Keys to the Game
- Establish the run.
- Pressure Cutler. A lot.
- Get defense off the field quickly.
- Play all 60 minutes.
- Tackle better.
"The Saints have a lot of good athletes on their team," Daniel Graham said. "Guys that can make plays. You never want to underestimate them just because you don't know too much about them. If you do that, they will come in here and get a win. We respect the Saints and everything that they do -- it will be a hard game on Sunday."
"Just get 11 men to the ball," Bailey said. "That is all there is to it. When he gets the ball everybody has to be there. He is good at making one man miss so we have to have every hat to the ball."
-Boss Bailey, on Reggie Bush
"Reggie can do everything," he said. "He's a pretty good pass protector, but at the same time he's a running back coming out of the backfield playing receiver. I'm not on defense -- I won't be out there tackling him -- but just watching him, he brings a lot to the table. He's one of the big go-to guys in this league. We're going to have our hands full with Reggie Bush."
"Like I said, this is my first game -- three weeks in -- and I have to get it started right now," he said. "That is something that helps me on Sunday, just that drive. It's just something that'll give you that edge and make you even want it more."
"He still has some history in that computer upstairs of his where he can kind of draw from," Broncos defensive coordinator Bob Slowiksaid. "But I'm not sure it matters who he plays. As long as he gets a comfort level with the coverages and so on, he's awesome."
"He's been around and seen everything you can throw at a quarterback, so he's not really thrown off by anything," Broncos safety Marlon McCree said. "You can't really surprise him. You can try to disguise but he knows where to find the holes. You've got to put pressure on him and make him earn everything."
"They're completely different guys. Both are great players. But Reggie Bush is Reggie Bush. . . . He's a great athlete. He has balance in what he does and they know different ways to get him the ball. And when he does, he makes things happen."
-Marquand Manuel, on Reggie Bush and Darren Sproles