Part of the process for NFL teams to prepare for their upcoming game each week is to watch film on their next opponent. The more recent the better. In fact, the Saints are probably checking out footage of New York's last game against the Titans right now as we speak. Since we don't have access to all the latest game tape necessary to do our own scouting, I've resorted to Plan B: Chat with the blogger of the Jets last opponent in an effort to better understand what the Saints can expect.. This week that happens to be superstar blogger Jimmy from the Titans blog, Music City Miracles. On Sunday, the Titans lost to the Jets by a score of 24-17.
Bringing the Blitz
The main attraction in this weeks game will most certainly be the Saints number one ranked offense vs. the Jets third ranked defense so naturally, it was the focus of our discussion. The Jets have one of, if not the best, defenses in the league courtesy of new head coach Rex Ryan. Quite the interesting matchup against Drew Brees and his arsenal of weapons. So what did the Jets do last week to shut down the Titans offense?
They loaded up and blitzed Kerry Collins. The Jets kept stacking their defensive line on the opposite side of where the Titans lined up their running back. The Titans never really made an adjustment to counter it.
Because Rex Ryan is known for his blitz-heavy, attack style of defense it will be the battle in the trenches between the Saints offensive line and Jets front seven that Jimmy thinks will prove most important.
1. Keep Drew Brees upright
I know it sounds overly simplistic, but the Jets play a game that is very similar to what the Titans want to play. It is all about getting after the quarterback and forcing him to make mistakes.
Certainly the play of the Saints offensive line will be crucial, which has me a little worried given their injury situation. Drew Brees will need time to work his magic, especially against the talented cornerbacks that make up New York's secondary, all of whom are predicted to be healthy enough to play on Sunday. I fully expect the Jets to at least stifle New Orleans defense out of the gate. It will be how Sean Payton deals with it and how the offensive line adjusts to what they see that will determine the offenses success.
With all of this in mind, the New Orleans offense will need to counter accordingly. After watching the Jets cruise to victory last week, I asked Jimmy what he thought could help.
I think the Saints could take advantage of the Jets aggressiveness by running screens. The Titans have never been a very good screen team, so they were not able to keep the Jets honest.
Any type of screen, delayed handoff or end around would work nicely to counteract an attacking defense. I would also expect to see Brees getting rid of the ball quickly and finding room in soft spots behind blitzing linebackers in dink-and-dunk fashion. But a healthy dose of solid running does wonders for keeping defenses honest and opening up the play action. Like last week, this may not be Drew Brees' game to win. Maintaining that wonderfully balanced offense the Saints have been able to create is crucial.
Don't Turn it Over
Obviously turnovers are important and the Saints have emphasized that for years but they could easily be the difference maker in a game between two teams like these. Running backs and receivers need to be sure handed and Brees must stay sharp, making good decisions. This Jets defense is tough enough already; they don't need any help. Protecting the ball was Jimmy's second key to victory for the Saints this week.
2. Protect the ball
They [Jets] were also able to capitalize on two Titans turnovers on special teams. Fourteen of their 24 points came from a very short field.
There you have it; a complete blueprint for success. I would like to thank Jimmy from Music City Miracles for all of his excellent input and time. I now turn the floor over to you guys. Agree or disagree? What do you think will be most important for a Saints victory over the Jets. Add your own thoughts.