The Saints come into their game at Tampa Bay this Sunday having turned the ball over thirteen times in their last four games. Somehow, they've found a way to win all four of those games despite averaging 3.25 turnovers per game. They've been mistake prone, sloppy and vulnerable. That average number is astronomical, and while the Bucs are bad enough that your black and gold could probably afford a few turnovers and still win, I think we should all be hoping for a clean football game. Four times in a row is starting to become a trend and the Saints are starting to make a habit out of winning ugly. Not to sound like a spoiled fan, but how the Saints win this weekend against a weaker team will mean more to me than if they win.
Saints vs Buccaneers coverageShould the Saints lose Sunday make no mistake: They will officially be stuck in a funk. The Buccaneers are currently 1-8, and while they've played much better football of late, they are clearly in rebuilding mode while the Saints are eyeing a top NFC seed in the playoffs. There would need to be nothing short of a disastrous performance for the Saints to lose or a performance not too different from the performance they put out last weekend at St. Louis.
As evidenced by the Saints play of late, it's not impossible they'll lose this game. I've learned my lesson from last week when St. Louis played what I thought was an excellent game and almost stole one from the Saints at the buzzer. Regardless of how bad the other team is, if the Saints don't play well they won't be given the game. They need to come out this week and stop horsing around with these weaker opponents.
The key is to come out and get a lead early, force the opposition to be one dimensional playing from behind, and then step on their throats. That was the recipe that launched the Saints to 5-0 and that's the recipe that will ultimately lead to success in the playoffs. Plain and simple, the Saints are not playing well enough right now to win a SuperBowl. Through the first five games they were without question. This week is an opportunity to get back to that level of play.
Ultimately this is all about how the offense performs. I'm not worried about the defense because they're facing a raw quarterback in Josh Freeman. He's very talented but he's also prone to mistakes. Facing a defense that leads the league in forced turnovers is not a good matchup for Freeman even if both Saints starting corners are out. He will turn the ball over.
If the Saints play a clean game and avoid turning the ball over themselves, they should have no problems. Most of all, that means you Drew Brees. If you happen to get sacked, make sure you have good ball security in the pocket and avoid those two or three awful reads a game you've been having lately that result in bad interceptions.
Give me your prediction: What will be the turnover differential on Sunday? How many turnovers will each team get?