For those of you that may be wondering my take on the loss to the Falcons (although I highly doubt that you are) , I'll describe it in one word: aberration. While it might be a tad bit concerning, don't think too much of it Saints fans - and all of the NFL for that matter. It'll take a lot more than a loss to the division-rival Falcons, who had absolutely everything in the world to prove based on last year's performance, to send me into panic mode. So now let me take a step down from the soapbox and give you the skinny on the Browns, the Saints' next foe.
As far as the Brown's defense goes, they actually have quite a few talented pieces. Their secondary features a hammer-hitting safety in Donte Whitner and a good cover man in Joe Haden, while the front seven houses Karlos Dansby, Paul Kruger, and Barkevious Mingo, who are all three capable of rushing the passer any given down.
Despite having these quality players, though, they weren't able to put it all together on defense against the Steelers in their week one matchup as they, like the Saints, allowed over 500 yards of offense (517) and 30 points. I don't know about you, but that is very uplifting since the Steelers aren't necessarily known to have a world-beating offense. If they can torch the Browns, I'm 100 percent confident that the Saints can hand a beat down with a similar magnitude.
On offense, the Browns are quite a mystery. Their top play maker from last season, Josh Gordon, who happened to lead the NFL in receiving yards despite missing the first two games of the season, will miss the entire 2014 season from abuse of drug policy (pending a change in said policy). Jordan Cameron, a new found gem at the tight end position, and freshly signed Ben Tate, the team's next two best weapons, could miss the game against the Saints as well due to injury (shoulder and knee respectively).
The Browns were able to put some sort of an offensive attack together against the Steelers, as they gained 413 yards and scored 27 points. However, these stats are misleading because they were actually behind 3-27 at one point in the game before mounting an impressive comeback. I didn't watch the game because I was too busy witnessing the Saints piss their own lead away with thousands of Falcons fans screaming in my ear, but the Steelers more than likely got way too comfortable and allowed the Browns to develop a large amount of momentum in the process. If you are looking for some positive numbers to help ease your mind, the Browns only converted 2 out of their 11 third downs (18 percent), and the Browns' offensive line allowed Brian Hoyer to get hit 5 times (3 sacks). The Saints weren't necessarily good at getting their defense off of the field on third down on Sunday allowing a 54 percent third-down conversion rate, but the Falcons' offense is much more of a threat.
While the Browns certainly are not a pushover team by any means, this is an ideal bounce-back game for the Saints. They have an edge over the Browns in every facet of the game both statistically and talent wise. The only two slight concerns I have about this game are that the Saints have shown too many times within the past few years that they can be trumped by a more inferior team, and the Saints have had trouble with surrendering a lead recently, which the Browns proved last week that they are capable of producing a comeback. If the Saints come out firing on all cylinders and are mentally in the game, both of these problems can be avoided.