With Bradford posting a stat line of 27 of 32 passes made for an 84.4% completion percentage, 346 yards, 3 TDs and a 140.0 QB rating, the Saints defense instilled little confidence that they can temper the performance of even the most mediocre quarterbacks in the league.
This has been a recurring problem for at least two seasons now. Larry Holder of the Times-Picayune wrote about the Saints propensity for turning average QB’s into Tom Brady back in 2015. Halfway through that season, Brady had the number one ranked QB rating in the league at 113.5.
The Saints meanwhile had allowed opposing passer ratings averaging 112.0 through the first nine games. Players like James Winston, Brandon Weeden, Marcus Mariota, Carson Palmer, and Sam Bradford torched the Saints defense with Brady-like numbers.
During this preseason, fans started to believe the Saints defense could finally be better than what they’ve come to get used to. But following their Monday Night loss to the Vikings, fans realized they were in for much of the same when it comes to defensive secondary play. Coverages were busted, receivers were left wide open, and even when defenders seemed to cover their receiver well, the Vikings wideouts made the tough catch.
Coincidentally, last week, the Kansas City Chiefs defense made Tom Brady look more like, well, Sam Bradford, when he’s not playing the Saints that is. Brady had a tough time carving up the Chiefs secondary and posted a meager stat line of 16 of 36 passes made for a 44.4% completion percentage, 267 yards, and zero TDs.
Since the Patriots played Thursday night and the Saints played Monday night, Brady’s squad has a distinct advantage with more recovery and preparation days before they head into the Dome angry and, for the first time in a long time, with something to prove.
The Saints secondary has something to prove too. They can not keep letting average quarterbacks play like elite ones. This Sunday, they will face perhaps the most elite QB of all time. With extra rest. With a chip on his shoulder. I would say the odds are definitely not in the Saints’ favor.