Another week of football, another week of our Interview with the Enemy series. This week, Tom Childs of Arrowhead Pride answers 5 quick questions ahead of our Week 15 matchup, which is now officially featuring one of the most anticipated showdowns of the season: the Drew Brees-led New Orleans Saints vs. Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.
*Editors note: these questions were sent out prior to the Saints quarterback switcheroo. With that said, expect to see Taysom Hill more heavily featured in quarterback plays where he actually throws, so read to see how Hill may fare as well under center. Can’t do much about the loss of Michael Thomas.
When the schedule first came out, this was undoubtedly the most anticipated matchup of the season. Drew Brees and Patrick Mahomes have shockingly never faced off; unfortunately, it appears that may not ever happen, unless we both make it to the Super Bowl (which I sincerely hope we both do). How do you guys feel about your chances against a Taysom Hill-led Saints?
The main factor that Hill brings versus Drew is his mobility. That said, we haven’t seen much of that this year. This game is going to be his ultimate test, though, so if there was ever a time to take the training wheels off and let him run his best gameplan, it’s this matchup. But is that even a benefit against your defense, or do the liabilities lie elsewhere?
It looks like your defense managed to contain Tua Tagovailoa to secure last week’s win, by pressuring him and making him uncomfortable in the pocket. Is the key to the Saints success offensively in this matchup leaning on Hill’s mobility, or winning this game in the air?
First off, it’s such a shame that for the second year in a row we won’t be seeing Patrick Mahomes vs a sure-thing first ballot hall of fame quarterback. Last year we were robbed off Mahomes vs Rodgers.
In Taysom Hill, the Chiefs obviously face a different kind of challenge than Drew Brees. The type of challenge I’ve been dreading. I’ve often stated that a QB that can move the chains with his legs paired with an aggressive head coach will spell disaster for the Chiefs defense. They’ll have to spy Hill so look for Willy Gay Jr, Dan Soreson or Ben Niemann to be tasked with that. The question then becomes will Hill be able to make enough throws to keep the Chiefs defense honest.
Last week, Patrick Mahomes briefly showed signs of being human; that quickly dissipated, and per usual, he corrected and finished in typical lethal form. Prior to last week, there was likely no question that New Orleans had a formidable defense that could contend with Mahomes. I’m not willing to throw all that out the window, however; our defensive performance last week was nothing short of pure laziness and underestimating our opponent. That certainly won’t be the case this week, especially with bruised egos. How, if possible, do the Saints contain Mahomes? Is it through the pass rush, or will this ultimately come down to our secondary preventing a Mahomes Miracle?
The Saints are in the fortunate position where they can drop 7 or 8 into coverage and still get pressure. This has certainly been the best way to slow down the Chiefs offense. The Chiefs offensive line has been terrible this year and a lot of Mahomes’ best work has been when he has been scrambling or back pedaling away from pressure (well, expect the thirty yard sack). Despite the relative human performance last week, it will be hard for the Saints defensive staff to take any encouragement from the Miami’s game plan last week. After all, the Chiefs turned over the ball four times in Miami territory and left at least 12 points on the field, yet the Chiefs still scored 33.
Finish this sentence: The Saints will win this game unless _________________.
The Chiefs play at 85% or above. It sounds like arrogance on my part, but the Chiefs have won 21 of their last 22 games. It hasn’t mattered how high or how low the level of performance has been, the Chiefs have found a way to win. They’ve been dreadful for large parts of some games, yet they have managed to find enough to win. At this point the Chiefs need to play a stinker to lose, and even then the game will still be close. This isn’t me mocking the Saints - it’s a reflection of how the Chiefs have been over the last 14 months.
If you were Sean Payton, how would you game plan to attack the Chiefs defense?
Tackling has been an issue all season for the Chiefs, so I would get the ball in to Alvin Kamara’s hands as much as possible. Failing that, then target Michael Thomas - the Chiefs play a lot of cover 2 so I expect him to go to work in the middle of the field. Finally, the Saints shouldn’t even dress their punter or kicker in the game. At every opportunity Sean Payton has to keep his foot on the Chiefs throats and never let up. Sometimes, it won’t work out but when it does it will greatly increase the Saints chance of winning - something that kicking 3 points or gaining 25 yards of field position probably won’t do.
What is your prediction for the game? Who wins? Final score?
Despite my confidence in the earlier answer, I actually think the Saints may just pull this one off. The Chiefs now know that they can lose this game and it doesn’t really affect their chance of getting the number 1 seed. This leaves room for complacency which is always a worry. The Saints on the other hand have to have this game to keep up with the Packers. The Chiefs offensive line injuries worry me greatly, as does Sean Payton’s aggressiveness. Mahomes will get his but the Saints will come up with enough stops to stay in it. The game ends with a Jared Cook touchdown and gives the Saints a 1 point win.
Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints? Apparently not Tom Childs. Last week’s guest writer predicted the unfortunate trap game outcome, so here’s to hoping these predictions miraculously ring true for two weeks running.
Thank you, Tom, for taking the time to answer our questions. Saints fans, make sure you check out Brandon and the work his guys are doing over at Arrowhead Pride. You can follow Arrowhead Pride on Twitter @ArrowheadPride, Tom @tomchilds56, and of course, you can follow me @MaddyHudak_94. Who Dat.