What was supposed to be the Saints’ first loss of the 2012 season turned out to be the Saints fourth loss. But unlike the previous three losses, this one could have a lasting effect.
Yes, the Black and Gold's 28-27 loss to Green Bay hurts…and it hurts bad. The Saints finally played a Super Bowl-caliber team, and they could have won…make that SHOULD have won the game. The Saints won the turnover battle, they had more yards, and they made the big plays needed to win a game. But, they didn’t.
The Saints did something in this game that they did not do in their first three: The Saints beat themselves. The Saints were flagged 10 times for 72 yards, including a holding call on TE David Thomas that wiped out a field goal which would have given the Saints a two-point lead late in the contest.
I mean, the Saints actually looked like the team that everyone in the world thought they would be. New Orleans protected their QB better this week, the offense was in a rhythm, and the defense came up with two key turnovers in the game.
All that certainly looked better and sounds good…but we are talking about one of the elite franchises in the NFL. We are not talking about a team that is in rebuilding mode, we are talking about the New Orleans Saints. A team that has won 41 games and a world title in three seasons.
This one hurts more than the other three combined. It hurts more due to the caliber of team, the fact that the game was on the road, and because the Saints had their backs against the wall. But like I've said in the past, no one will feel sorry for the Black and Gold.
The odds that were stacked against the Saints a week ago are even higher now. The division we are in is led by a team that is a perfect 4-0, while the preseason favorite is now 0-4.
The Saints should feel better about themselves after the way they played, but how can you feel better about yourself when you are winless? Yes, the Saints could go on a run. The Saints could prove that this performance against the Packers is a sign of things to come, and that their four-game slide is just a funk.
But folks, even if the Saints win and win a lot, things are no longer in their hands. Yes, the Black and Gold will need a lot of help the rest of the way. The good news is that the Saints trail Tampa and Carolina by just a game in the NFC. The bad news is we are four games behind the Falcons.
I guess we have to take things one game at a time. But reality is that the Saints can win all they want and they still need a lot of help.
New Orleans Saints (0-3) @ Green Bay Packers (1-2) - Last week’s results: Seattle beat Green Bay 14-12 and Kansas City beat New Orleans in overtime 27-24
Series history – Green Bay leads the series 15-7 with the last meeting between the two teams coming back in week one of the 2011 season. The Packers edged the Saints in that game in a thriller, 42-34. New Orleans has won two of the last three meetings between the two.
The line – Green Bay is a 7 ½ point favorite. with the total being 54.
If only Fox could have the luxury of flex scheduling this game early in the season. A year ago, these two powers kicked off the 2011 NFL season with a dramatic game that ended with the Packers keeping the Saints out of the end zone on the final play of the game.
Now, these two teams are desperate and in much need of a win. 1-3 is much better than 0-4 for the Saints, and ce,rtainly 2-2 is far greater than 1-3 for the Packers. The key match-up here is the struggling Packers offense facing the struggling Saints defense.
New Orleans gives up on average 477.3 yards per game while the Packers are gaining only a shade over 300 yards of offense per outing in their first three games this season. Neither team has proven that they can rush the ball consistently, as the Saints average 92.7 yards per game, and the Packers fare far worse at 78.3-yards per game.
But when you look at what team is having trouble getting it done, it makes the match-up even more interesting. Green Bay has trouble running the football, and the Saints cant’s top the run. Green Bay has not scored in the first quarter this season, the Saints have put up 24 points in the first. Green Bay’s defense is good, New Orleans’ is not! You get the point, now don’t you?
What they are saying
Green Bay Coach Mike McCarthy on his defensive improvements
“We’re playing with a lot of confidence. We’re doing a good job of moving some veteran players around and creating some problems, whether it’s Clay Matthews or Charles Woodson. I think the depth on our defensive line has helped us and I can’t be more excited about our young players. Our young players are playing their role and contributing. That whole blend has been good for us the last two weeks. I feel good about what we’ve been able to accomplish. This will be our biggest challenge this year.”
Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers on a surprising match-up of losing teams:
“Yeah, I expected maybe both teams to be 3-0 at this point going in, but we both had some frustrating games. They’ve had a couple of real close ones and so have we. There’s still a lot of the season left to go. They have a lot of pride on that team and a lot of talented players and so do we. It’s going to be one of the 1-2 versus 0-3 matchups you’re going to see.”
Saints Coach Aaron Kromer on his team being criticized:
“I think that the criticism of the o-line is justified. I think the criticism of the receivers, the tight ends, the quarterbacks and the running backs is justified because we are 0-3. I think it is all justified and we need to do a better job as a team.”
A few things to keep an eye on!
1. First quarter scoring – The Saints have scored a total of 24 points in the first quarter of games this season, while the Packers have yet to score in the first quarter of a game. If the Saints are going to steal one away from GB at Lambeau, getting off to a hot start in the first quarter would be a good thing.
2. Cheese Heads O vs Swiss Cheese D – The Green Bay offense has not been as solid as in past years. Right now, the Packers are scoring only 19 points per game and averaging just 304 yards of total offense. On the flip side, the Saints defense is allowing a lot of everything to their opponents. New Orleans gives up 34 points per game and 477 yards of total offense. Will the Cheese Heads O run through the holes of the Saints Swiss Cheese D?
3. Get into rhythm early – If Green Bay gets off to good start pressuring Drew Brees, it could be a very long day for the Saints. Let’s face it, on paper, if the Saints have a chance in this game it will be due to their offense. Green Bay gets on average four sacks per game. If the Packers bring the heat early, it could be a sign of a hassle-filled day for Saints QB Drew Brees.
4. Special Teams be special – The last time these two teams met, both squads got great returns from their play-makers. Green Bay’s Randall Cobb and the Saints’ Darren Sproles could be the difference in this game. If Sproles can give the Saints a much-needed spark of a big return that ends with a score or a short field for the offense to work with, it could be a big factor into which team wins this game.
5. Ratings game? – If I would have told you that after three games into the 2012 season the Saints would be 0-3 and the Pack 1-2, you would have called me a fool. Even worse, can you believe that Aaron has a QB rating of 87 and Drew’s rating is 77? Whichever QB has the better rating at the end of the day will more than likely lead his team to victory.
6. One thing! - I asked Coach Kromer if he could have one stat in his favor what would it be. He quickly replied: Win the turnover battle! If the Saints are at the very least not even in the turnover battle, they will not win. But if the Saints are to win this game, they will have to be at least plus one in the turnover ratio.
The Big Chief’s Final Analysis – I picked the Saints to win their first three games and they are 0-3. Maybe if I pick against them, they will win? That’s not the reason why I’m picking Green Bay. At the end of the day, if all else for both of these two teams fails, the Packers have by far the better defense. That alone, along with Green Bay being at home, is plenty enough for me to take the Packers in this one.
Sorry Saints fans, the Saints fall to 0-4…and the sick, bad feelings that none of us have had to endure in quite some time will have to deal with once again! In the words of Florida Evans, “Damn, Damn, Damn!”
Tonight, Allan Waddell and I are broadcasting from the Lutcher-Broadmoor showdown! Here’s producer Mark Menard’s WWL Allstate Sugar Bowl Prep Football Roundup, a full rundown of the prep matchups you need to know about in Week 5 of the prep football season!
The state’s leading passer Dakota Duron takes to the road for the third straight week as the Eagles of Shreveport’s Evangel Christian Academy continue a tough stretch of games against much larger football powers.
Two weeks ago, they traveled to Lake Charles where they fell by a single point to Barbe, the state’s current #2 school in 5A. After that 48-47 loss, they made the trip to Lafayette a week ago and took down 4A St. Thomas More 36-33. This week, the 3-1 Eagles, ranked #2 in the state in 2A will look to avenge a loss from a year ago as they take a much shorter road trip.
While Ouachita is 3-1 on the season as well and have climbed all the way to #5 in 5A, they’ve fattened up their record with wins over bottom-feeders. And the Lions were hardly the kings of the jungle in their last marquee matchup. Two weeks ago they were stunned by crosstown rivals Neville, the top-ranked school in 4A, 21-3, so this week they make a second bid for statewide respect. In 2011, Ouachita topped Evangel 24-7, but the Eagles are better than they were a year ago and certainly battle-tested after the last couple of weeks.
In another key showdown in north Louisiana tonight, the state’s top-ranked team in 4A faces an up and coming 5A club. The Neville Tigers, 4A’s defending state champion, has given up a total of 13 points in 2012 on their way to a 4-0 record, and their first-team defense has not allowed a single touchdown. That defense will be tested in a battle of unbeatens as 4-0 Airline makes the trip to Monroe. The Vikings’ offense is scoring 38 points per game as they continue their climb towards the state’s top 10 in 5A, but this will be their first game this season against a true title contender.
And a pair of former district-mates in 3A renew a rivalry that took extra time to settle a year ago. In both 2009 and 2010, the Livonia Wildcats suffered heartbreaking, single-digit losses to Brusly. Last year though, Livonia would not as they faced Brusly out of district, even though it took three overtimes for Livonia to finally put down the Panthers 26-20.
This year, both Brusly and Livonia come into their annual throwdown unbeaten and ranked in 3A – Livonia at #5 and Brusly at #9 – and with high-octane offenses producing over 40 points a game. But only one of these closely-matched clubs will enter district play still perfect.
The officials have been terrible and the commissioner is even worse, Texas and Atlanta top our poll, and the battle of so-called preseason powers takes place this week in the Land of Lombardi. What a whacky season it has been in just three weeks. Roger Good-All is a joke. This season is horrible and the rest of the professional franchises are all having their bodies wiggle with laughter at how incompetent the NFL's highest authority looks right now! Well, at least we get the regular zebras back this weekend. Here we go with our week #4 NFL Rankings!
1. Houston Texans (3-0) – The Texans piled up 436 yards of total offense in their win over the White Horses from Mile High. I’m telling you, this Texans Team could have the AFC South locked up by week 10 of the season. Houston should without question be the top seed in the AFC this season! Last week beat Denver 31-25 / this week vs. Tennessee.
2. Atlanta Falcons (3-0) – Mike Nolan’s Defense is the story of the season right now. In back to back weeks the Dirty Birds Defense put the clamps on QB’s Peyton and Phillip. And now with the Black and Gold at 0-3, this team could run away with the NFC South in the first half of the season. Atlanta could start the season 7-0! You reckon if Black Birds get to Super Sunday that a current player will do the once halfway famous Dirty Bird Dance! Man how, that was a funky chicken! Last week beat San Diego 27-3 / this week vs Carolina.
3. Arizona Cardinals (3-0) – The Cardinals are doing all the right things. They are running the football, passing with success and winning the turnover battle. You know the Cards could have their best regular season record in franchise history, and this team is winning without a so-called big time QB. Oh yes this is a team sport! Last week beat Philadelphia 27-6 / this week vs. Miami.
4. Baltimore Ravens (2-1) – The Ravens Offense can actually light it up! QB Joe Flacco has become one of the elite players in this league. This team is loaded in all phases and right now the best off season pick up was landed by the Purple Birds in Jacoby Jones. Now, the Ravens will beat up on the team from the city they use to play in. Last week lost beat New England 31-30 / this week vs. Cleveland.
5. New York Giants (2-1) – There is no other QB in the game today that is playing on the level of Eli Manning. Without question, the Giants looked the best of any team last week in a road beat-down of Cam and the crying cats. Cam has to learn that he can’t be a crybaby when he loses. Now, a NFC East showdown takes place against rival Philly in the City of Brotherly Love. Last week beat Carolina 36-7 / this week @ Philadelphia.
6. San Francisco – (2-1) Alex Smith played like the Alex Smith we all really know last week as the 49ers got stunned by the Vikings. No time to fret as a cross-country trip takes place this week to face sexy rexy and the NY Planes. J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets! Last week got beat by Minnesota 24-13 / this week @ NY Jets.
7. Chicago Bears (2-1) – Man, if there was one team smiling late Monday, is was these Monsters of the Midway. Even after losing to the Packers, the Bears are still in 1st place in the NFC North. Chicago has what it takes to make it to the Big Easy...as long as they don’t see the Cheese Heads this post season that is. Last week beat the St. Louis Rams 23-6 / this week @ Dallas.
8. Philadelphia Eagles (2-1) – As long as Mike Vick is in the game the Eagles have a chance. As long as Mike Vick is in the game the other team has a chance. If the Eagles don’t quit giving up the ball as much as they have been, they are going to fade out like a bad fire cracker. I can see this team sinking quickly beginning this week. Last week got beat by Arizona 27-6 / this week vs. NY Giants.
9. San Diego Chargers (2-1) – Boy what a difference a week makes! Last week the Bolts had a chance to stay ahead of the pack in the AFC West, and now they are playing the once-looked-to-be-dead last Chiefs for 1st place in the wild wild west. I would set the magic number in this division to win it is at 9! Last week beat by Atlanta 27-3 / this week @ Kansas City.
10. NFL Officials and NFL Commissioner – Yes, these two parties have to be ranked! Combined, these two parties have cost betters millions, they have been the sole reason for bad outcomes in games and they have made the point that the man in charge can do and say what he wants because he’s backing up every bad call the officials make or don’t make. It sickening to think that this head of the most powerful league uses his power to help ruin a game that he so called tries to protect. "Pathetic" is the best word describing these two parties. Remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it! Last week screwed New Orleans and Green Bay / this week back on the field, with who knows how much rust?
The good: I think the number one "good" is the win. I don't like to lean on the numbers from Vegas, I like to look at the history this rivalry. Nine times out of ten when LSU and Auburn play, it's going to be a tight one, regardless. Auburn has had good recruiting classes the last several years, so they didn't have bad players, and I didn't think they were that bad of a team.
Zach Mettenberger: He doesn't have to be a savior, he's just got to go out and make some plays. And yes, he sometimes didn't make the plays he needed to, but he didn't do bad, considering it was his first SEC road trip in a hostile environment. It's only going to get tougher going to Florida, so it was a flat "good" going over there and winning the game at Auburn.
The Bad: The offensive line: Mettenberger at times is a victim of holding the ball too long, but the O-line really got beat in that ball game. That really put an edge on LSU when they got into third and long situations. They still can't afford to get into those situations, and the Tigers need to be able to convert on those downs. They don't seem to be at that comfort level yet.
And there's really not a true playmaker on either side of the ball, or on special teams yet. This times last year, you saw Honey Badger, and we saw Mo Claiborne, making plays like returning the kickoff 99 yards.
The Ugly: Penalties! There was one play when LSU had two personal fouls that backed them up to their five yard line. Over the course of the first four games, the penalty count has been ugly. That's got to clean up, because I mean, you got to travel to Florida, and then come home and play South Carolina...and then go play A&M in October? It's a monster three-game stretch. Everybody gets UP when they play LSU.
Also ugly: The red-zone turnovers. In four games, LSU had three red-zone turnovers. If LSU had scored that TD against Auburn instead of giving away the turnover, who knows how it would have gone? They got to clean up the penalties right away, and when they get in the end zone, they've got to score a touchdown.
And, LSU has yet to find a rhythm in the passing game. What you saw Auburn do, you'll see everybody do. They're going to say, "all right, you've got this new guy at QB, and all these running backs...You're going to pass when WE want you to pass it. You're not going to be able to dictate when you want to pass." Until LSU can contain that, it's going to be a struggle on the road.
Everybody's talking about Alabama in November. Forget about November! You better worry about October.
I don’t care that Sean Payton is not here. I don’t care that Mickey Loomis is not here, nor Joe Vitt…and I don’t want to hear another word about “conventional” versus “unconventional” quarterbacks. The truth is the Saints are a bad football team and there first three performances have been not up to par, to say the very least.
Yes I know that Sean, Mickey and Joe are difference-makers but come on people! Vegas had the Saints favorites in 12 games this season. The O-Line has been beat up like Spider Rico and the rest of the team looks dazed and confused.
No excuses needed. I don’t want to hear about a “learning curve” for a defense or any other excuse. If this team’s mantra was to “do your job” like their coach would have wanted them to, then they are failing miserably in making Sean Payton proud.
The more this team plays, it seems the worse they get. Someone please tell me how a team that was on the cusp of winning their second world title in three seasons can be this bad? Are the Saints really 0-3 right now?
Folks, mathematically the Saints are still alive, but reality says that the season over. There will be more sad days like this one, and there will be more embarrassing outings by the Saints. This team has no life, and they are about to be 0-5 if they don’t look in the mirror and do their damn jobs.
RG3 looked like a super hero and Jamaal Charles looked like Superman against the Saints. Suck it up guys, and play with some pride. The city you represent has always had your back, and right now you are not playing like the team this city and these fans have come to love over the years. Hey fellas, life is tough. No one feels sorry for you because you don’t have your coach.
The only thing that is sorry is the way you have played. Shhh, listen do you hear that? It’s the sound of laughter coming from the other 31 NFL cities as they are basking in your terrible play right now.
All this “us against the world” crap is over with. This is real, and the Saints are bad! If there was ever time for a “peel the paint off the wall” speech by a player or coach, now is the time to stand up and give it. Don’t save that speech for another day, because by that time the season will be long over and the loud laughing will be even louder.
I’m not going to waste your time nor insult your intelligence with stats or other numbers. Bottom line here is that if I or if you showed up to work and performed like this team has for the last three weeks, we all would be out of work right now.
Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) @ New Orleans Saints (0-2)
Sunday September 23, 2012 Noon Kickoff Mercedes Benz Superdome
Last week’s results: Buffalo defeated Kansas City 35-17 / Carolina defeated New Orleans 35-27
The Rankings: The game will feature two of the best offensive units in the National Football League. The Chiefs are the top rated offense in the AFC, averaging 407.4 yards per game while the Saints are ranked 3rd in the NFC and 3rd overall with an output of 422 yards per contest. The Chiefs defense is 20th overall in the NFL (377.5) while the Saints are dead last in the league allowing a whopping 461-yards per game.
What they are saying!
KC Coach Romeo Crennel on Saints RB Pierre Thomas
“How strong legged he is. He doesn’t go down easy. He has some toughness and he is one of those guys that you have to tackle. All of your running backs are like that. You have to tackle all of those guys. They will not go down on their own. Sometimes when one guy thinks he has the tackle, he is just fooling himself. He needs more people to get those guys on the ground.”
KC QB Matt Cassel on if Sunday’s Game against the Saints is a must win
“You just don’t want to keep digging that hole because in the NFL, every team is great each and every week. As you get late in the season, you want to be able to have the ability to either win or lose a game when it starts to count every single week in which you have to be perfect by the end of the season. If you continue to dig yourself too much of a hole, it becomes a little bit more difficult.”
Saints Coach Aaron Kromer on New Orleans being 0-2
“We are not used to being 0-anything. This is a winning organization. It has been a winning organization and we are going to take it back to that. This is unchartered territory for all of us. All we can do is worry about this one week and worry about this practice and this day and how we are getting better individually. Look in the mirror, don’t point fingers, and move on.”
Saints LB Curtis Lofton on is he surprised the Saints are 0-2
“Around here, there’s a reason I came here. This is a winning organization and losing is not what we do and so we just have to go back and get to the fundaments and continue to improve as a team. I actually saw a quote where adversity weakens the weak and strengthens the strong, so we have great strong guys in here, great character guys and we’ll continue to improve and get better.”
Keys to the game
1. Get a conventional/unconventional win! – Over the last three weeks the verbiage has been “conventional” and “unconventional.” Those two words have been used to break down the Skins and Panthers offensive units. The natives are becoming restless and the ship must be righted Sunday, or things could get ugly in a hurry. Simply put, the veteran leadership and the winning ways of this team all have to come to the forefront not only this week but the next few weeks. I think the Saints have to look short term right now. I mean, we all hear the clichés “one game at a time” every week, but that is oh-so-evident with the Black and Gold. This is a must-win for the Saints. They need confidence, but most of all they need a win. If the Saints fall to 0-3 with a trip to Lambeau followed by a home date with the lightning bolts looming, this season could get away from the Saints in a hurry. Regardless of how, it’s got to be done just get a win. Please!
2. Everybody needs to play better – They say that the truth hurts, and right now the truth is that the Saints are not playing good football. Simply put, when this team plays good ball they win and they win big. Right now the Saints are 0-2 for a reason and their play is an indication of their record.
3. Slow the Chiefs down – Like the Saints, the Chiefs are 0-2. The KC offense has piled up some big numbers. Kansas City has the #1 ranked offense in the AFC with an average of 407.5 yards per game. QB Matt Cassel is no threat to tuck and run like RG and Cam, however he can throw the ball, and he has a good weapon on the outside in WR Dwayne Bowe. The Chiefs will hit the Saints with three good RB’s in Jamaal Charles, Peyton Hillis and Dexter McCluster. Until New Orleans slows down their opponents rushing attack you can expect a healthy dose of rushes from opposing teams.
4. Don’t turn the ball over! – Against the Skins the Saints were -3 three in the turnover department. Last week against the Cats New Orleans was -1 and we threw a pick six. If we are not going to force any turnovers, the very least we have to do is not give the ball away. More times than not the Saints have been on the losing side of what is considered the #1 stat in football. Can you imagine if this team did not turn the ball over? Oh yes, that’s right…we don’t lose when we don’t turn the ball over. Simple enough!
5. Play with a sense of urgency – If this is not a must win then what is? I’d hate to be 0-3 going into Green Bay saying that next week’s game at the Packers is a must win. I’m not saying panic, but playing with a sense of urgency like the rest of the season is on the line might be a good starting point for the Saints. I’m not saying put a fork in the Saints if they don’t win this game. But it will be time to take the silver wear out of the napkin for sure if they lose to the Chiefs!
The Big Chief’s prediction – The line started out with the Saints giving nine points. I think the Saints will win but I would be foolish to tell you to give two scores to a team that has the #1 ranked offense in the AFC, a team that is desperate just like the Saints. The best play here is not to play this game at all. Find another game to get down on if you know what I mean.
Hahnville @ St. Augustine - Hahnville needs a win after dropping their first two games of the season. The Tigers have lost back to back games to 4A powers Karr and Lutcher. The latter of the two hurt the most for the Tigers. Hahnville held a lead for most of the game last week against Lutcher, only to lose to the Bulldogs 32-28 in a heart breaking loss at home. Now the Tigers travel to New Orleans to face the Purple Knights of St. Augustine. The Knights got a does of humbleness last week in the form of a 42-18 loss to the #1 ranked 5A Rummel Raiders. Coach Cyril Crutchfield will have his Knights ready to rebound this week against a desperate Hahnville team seeking their first win of the season.
Rummel @ Denham Springs - Denham Springs was believed to have one of their best teams in many years, but after a big 42-13 loss to the Catholic Bears, the Yellow Jackets faithful might be questioning how good this team really is. Denham is going to have their hands full this week against a Rummel Team that is ranked #1 in Class 5A. The Raiders are coming off a win in which they held the talented Purple Knights to just 18 points. There will be a lot of talent on display in this game, but Rummel is clearly the better of these two 5A schools.
Salmen @ Karr - A possible preview of the Class 4A Title Game takes place when the 3rd ranked Cougars host the 4th ranked Spartans. This game has it all! Great players and coaches will be on display here, and some of the most sought after recruits in the country will pit their talents against each other. Salmen's Chris Thomas is one of the top players in the state this season, and he and Karr's Speedy Noil are considered two of the best junior players in the country. If there are big plays made in this game, the likely hood that Thomas and Noil make those plays is very high.
Loranger @ Kentwood(WWL Prep Football Roundup location) - A battle of smaller class schools has the 2nd ranked 1A Roos hosting the 4th ranked Wolves of Loranger this weekend "Under the Tank" in Kentwood. The Wolves have what many feel is their best team ever... led by LSU Commitment QB Jeryl Brazil. Brazil did not play last week in the Wolves 27-7 win over Pearl River, but he's a go against the Roos. Keep an eye on Wolves RB Miguel Toefield and LB Dylan Vaughn. Kentwood is loaded, and they are going to be loaded for the next four to five seasons. The Roos were flagged a total of 11 times for 95-yards last week in their 44-22 win over St. Helena Central. Lookout for freshman Shyheim Carter as this youngster has been hailed as one of the best to come to KHS in a long time. Kentwood plays at one of the best venues in the state. The Roos field is under a giant blue water tank that features an eight foot tall orange kangaroo on the front of the tank. This is the choice game of the week for the Big Chief to be at! Did you know that Pro Football Hall of Fame TE Jackie Smith is a graduate of Kentwood High School?
Covington @ St. Paul's - The Wolves have been the big dog in district 6-5A in like... forever. The Lions know that if they can steal one on the road, they can be a leg up on the rest of the district early in the season. St. Paul's broke through for their first win of the season last week by defeating McDonough #35 24-6, while the Lions took care of a pesky Higgins Team with a 28-12 win over the Hurricanes. I think the winner of this game will have the inside track to win district 6-5A this season.
1. Alabama (3-0) – The Tide are heads and shoulders above everyone else in the country right now. Good thing that the National Title is not played in September, because if it was, this team would win it easily! Role Tide Roll. Last week beat Arkansas 52-0 / this week vs Florida Atlantic
2. LSU (3-0) – Against Idaho, LSU led 14-7 at one point, but the Tigers blew the game open scoring 35 second half points. Now the Tee-Gars hit the road this week to take on Auburn. Can Zach survive his first road trip in the SEC? Mmmm! Last week beat Idaho 63-14 / this week @ Auburn.
3. Oregon (3-0) – The Ducks fell behind 7-0, only to end the game on a 63-7 run. Young QB Marcus Mariota looks good, throwing for 308 yards and four TD’s. This team is the class of the Pac-12 right now and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Last week beat Tennessee Tech 63-14 / this week vs Arizona State.
4. Florida State (3-0) –The ‘Noles have dominated their first three foes and now take on the Clemson Tigers. Is FSU for real? Will we find out this week? I think the ‘Noles are a good team, but there is a long distance between this team and the three above them. Last week beat Wake Forest 52-0 / this week vs Clemson.
5. Georgia (3-0) – The Bulldogs got their best outing to date from QB Aaron Murray. Murray scored four TD’s, two via the air and two on the ground. He also threw for a career-best 342 yards in a win over FAU. Yes, he’s meaner than a junk yard dog! Last week beat Florida Atlantic 56-20 / this week vs Vanderbilt.
6. South Carolina (3-0) – The Gamecocks once again saw starting QB Conner Shaw go down and leave a game for the second time this season. I’m a little concerned about this team protecting their QB, especially with a tough stretch coming up beginning this week with the Missouri Tigers. Last week beat UAB 49-6 / this week vs Missouri.
7. Oklahoma (3-0) – One thing I know for sure about the Sooners is that they are well rested before the Big 12 test this week against the Wildcats. This team has two off weeks in their first five weeks of the season. Wow, now that’s scheduling! Last week off/ this week vs. Kansas State.
8. West Virginia (2-0) – QB Geno Smith torched the JMU Bulldogs with 5 TD passes last week. “Johnson,” my smart young co-worker, likes the Mountaineers as a sleeper to make the national title game. Hey JOHNSON, wake me up when this is over! Last week beat James Madison 42-12 / this week vs Maryland.
9. Clemson (3-0) – The Tigers got a 58-yard TD run from Slipper Sammy Watkins and QB Tajh Boyd threw for 3 TD’s last week. If Clemson can go to Tallahassee and win, they can _____! You fill in the blank. Last week beat Furman 41-7 / this week @ Florida State.
10. USC (2-1) – Upset! What upset? When you beat a team four straight times, that’s no upset. Question: How many SC QB’s have won the Heisman Trophy that went 0-4 against Stanford? NONE! Last week got beat by Stanford 21-14 / this week vs Cal.
All of the Birds are in this week's top ten, the Pack got back on track, Eli went off and so did his coach, while the Saints are gone until at least November from the top ten. If league officials want parity, they got it. Will the Purple Birds finally get over on the Pats and their hooded leader? Will Philly fly in the desert? Let's take a look at the top ten as we enter the third week of the season.
1. San Francisco (2-0) - QB Alex Smith just continues to play well. Jim Harbaugh is arguably the best coach in the league right now. News flash... this team is loaded with talent on offense, defense and special teams. The 49ers are, without question, the team to beat in the NFC this season! Last week beat Detroit 27-19 / this week @ Minnesota.
2. Philadelphia Eagles (2-0) - The Eagles can play offense, and they can play defense; but can this team protect the football? Do you hear me MV? The only reason that the Eagles first two opponents have hung around is because Eagles QB Mike Vick can't protect the football. Philly got 486-yards of total offense against the Ravens defense. Has that ever happened to a Ray Lewis defense? Lookout this week as a huge showdown takes place in Arizona. Last week beat Baltimore 24-23 / this week @ Arizona.
3. Houston Texans (2-0) - The Texans have proven that you can have a superb offense and excellent defense. This team held the Jags to just 117-yards of total offense last week. I know Jacksonville is bad, but that is still hard to do at this level. Will the boys from H-Town be laid back, and ride the white horses this weekend in D-Town? Last week beat Jacksonville 27-7 / this week @ Denver.
4. Atlanta Falcons (2-0) - Mike Nolan's defense gave "the great one" fits all game long. The Falcons have a chance to really make things hard on the rest of the NFC South as the Saints are struggling. If Atlanta wins this week, they will be almost impossible for anyone in the South to catch. Yes, even after three games into the season! Last week beat Peyton Manning and Denver 27-21 / this week @ San Diego.
5. San Diego Chargers (2-0) - No Antonio, no problem. Back up TE Dante Rosario hauled in three TD passes from QB Philip "rolling on a" Rivers. The Chargers D held the Titans to just 38-yards rushing. Maybe the Bolts have figured out that if you start out decent, you can be much better later in the season. This team could run away with the AFC West. Last week beat Tennessee 38-10 / this week vs Atlanta.
6. Arizona Cardinals (2-0) - Dayum! You know if you would have bet one hundred dollars on the Cards to beat the Pats, you would have won six hundred bucks? Now Arizona can make a huge statement this week with a win over those other birds from Rocky Balboa Land. A win over the Eagles could allow the Red Birds to start the season 7-0! Possibly... Last week beat New England 20-18 / this week vs Philadelphia.
7. Green Bay Packers (1-1) - How do you kill a bear? Give him Cheese. Wisconsin Cheese that is. What else is new? The Pack continued the mastery over the Bears. Chicago has made the Bears O-line look flat out terrible the past three seasons, but it's no time to celebrate as a tough road trip awaits against the Sea Birds! Last week beat Chicago 23-10 / this week @ Seattle.
8. Baltimore Ravens (1-1) - The Ravens gave up nearly 500-yards in their loss to the Eagles. If Mike Vick would have protected the football, the Ravens would have gotten blown out. Now the Purple Birds take on a team that has their number. I wonder if a bad call will hamper Baltimore again this time? Last week lost Philadelphia 17-16 / this week vs New England.
9. New England Patriots (1-1) - Stunned! It was no fluke last week when the Red Birds beat the Pats at their own place. Don't look now, but another group of "Angry Birds" is ready to tease Tom's pretty hair and hand the Pats their second straight loss! In the history of football I wonder how many Hall of Fame coaches have worn a hoody? When you win, it don't matter what you wear. Last week lost to Arizona 20-18 / this week @ Baltimore.
10. New York Giants (1-1) - Down 34-16 after three quarters is no problem for the Giants as they ended the game on a 25-7 run. The G-Men got a 500-yard passing effort from Eli, and they showed a lot of heart in a come from behind win over the cheap shot Pirates from the Dirty South. Eli Manning is just scratching the surface of what he's going to do. Add that he's got the smoothest dancer in sports, WR Vic Cruz, and Hakeem Nicks... the G-Men will light it up against many of their foes. Last week beat Tampa Bay 41-34 / this week @ Carolina.
Ok let’s make this simple. When you are 0-2, there are not many good things to talk about. Coach Aaron Kromer said in his post-game speech that he and the Saints are going to “right the ship” and “win more games that they lose.”
Now, the team that has often overcome long odds to win games and championships will have to do so once again. Historically, when teams start out 0-2, they reach the playoffs just 13 percent of the time…so, you know what that means.
Next week, the Saints face another 0-2 team in the Kansas City Chiefs. New Orleans needs a win desperately before they go on the road to take on the Green Bay Packers. If this week was not considered a must-win situation, is the game against KC a “must win?”
Let’s break down the latest good, bad, ugly after the Saints 35-27 loss to Carolina.
The Good – The Saints have fourteen regular season games left. We are only a game behind Tampa and Carolina, with Atlanta still yet to play Denver on Monday Night. Don’t look at anyone outside of the NFC South Division.
The Bad – The Saints defense is bad and nearly ugly. In two games, the Saints Defense has allowed 927 yards of total offense. Washington gained 464 yards while Carolina got 463 yards. Teams have rushed on average for 186 yards per game against the Saints defense. Carolina and Washington passed for a combined 555-yards for an average of 277.5 yards per game.
The Ugly – The Saints are -4 in the turnover department in two games, and the new-look defense has given up 75 points for an average of 37.5 points per game. Dropped passes have also plagued the Saints. In the loss to Carolina, Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Darren Sproles and Joe Morgan all had dropped passes. That just can’t happen, and when you are 0-2 these things add up.
The final scores of last weeks Saints and Panthers games were NOT an indication of how lopsided each contest really was. What I’m saying to you is that both scores were much closer than the games actually were. The Saints were rarely in their game with the Skins, and likewise for the Panthers and Bucs.
Now, each team faces a possible 0-2 start to the season. That is not a good sign as far as playoffs are concerned, as only 13 percent of teams that have gone 0-2 before have gone on to make the NFL playoffs.
1. Which team’s offense will break out? Last week was supposed to be a great homecoming party for the Saints in the Dome, and the Cats were expected to walk all over the Bucs. Neither of those came to fruition as Tampa and Washington made things look easy in slowing down two of the most dangerous QBs in the game today. The Saints and Cats must run the ball better. I’m not telling you that you have to run the ball to win. But what I am telling you is you have to rush the ball more than 13 times (New Orleans) and 10 times (Carolina) to win games. Both teams combined for 23 carries for a pitiful 42 yards last week. That’s weak, people. The team that has the most balance on offense will more than likely win.
2. Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers! New Orleans was -3 in the turnover department last week, while Carolina was just one better, finishing -2 against Tampa. Turnovers thwart drives, kill momentum and give the other team more time of possession. When the Saints don’t turn the ball over, they never lose! So, simply put, don’t turn the ball over.
3. Special teams – Last week Darren Sproles and Carolina’s Joe Adams had their moments, but they both did not play to their capability. Sproles is a proven return man; Adams is also special and has the makings of being one of the league’s best return men. A big return on kickoff or punt return could be a difference-maker here. The question is, which of these two is going to have that big return?
4. Time of possession is key! Last week both the Panthers and Saints were dominated in time of possession. Carolina had the ball for just 22:33 and the Saints held the ball for just 20:50. New Orleans does have a much faster-paced offense, as even with their lower-than-average TOP, the Saints still got off 64 offensive plays. Carolina is not fast-paced, and they were only able to run 43 offensive plays, compared to 60 plays that Tampa ran. The Panthers were doomed from the start last week as Tampa had the ball for nearly 19 minutes in the first half of the game.
5. Tackle better, please. Tackling was not as bad last week as it has been, but it still has a ways to go. How come teams like Baltimore, Pittsburgh and San Francisco can consistently make tackles and the Saints can’t? If the Saints are ever going to become a defense that is thought of as anything other than just trying to slow the other team, or as a defense that only needs to hold their opponent under 30 points, then they need to tackle better. Guys, you are pros. Can you tackle like it?
6. Just win baby! If the stats show that only 13 percent of teams that start 0-2 make the post-season, doesn’t that make this a must-win? The Saints need to win this game badly. A loss here would put the Saints staring at a more than possible 1-3 start through their first four games of the season. If that were to happen, it would be the second-worst start to a season in the Sean Payton era, second only to the 2007 season when the team began 0-4 and missed the playoffs.
Big Chief’s Final Analysis – New Orleans has to win this game. You can’t rely on what has been done in the past. Yes, this team has winning streaks of 13 games and 9 games in two of the last three seasons…but that was then and this is now. The Saints defense has to play better, and they can expect a healthy dose of Cam and the Carolina stable of running backs. I don’t think this game is going to be easy, but I think the Saints will pull it out in a close one. Lay the 2 ½ points and go with the Black and Gold.
New Orleans Saints (0-1) @ Carolina Panthers (0-1)
Sunday September 16 Noon Kickoff on WWL Saints Radio
Last week’s results: Washington beat New Orleans 40-32 / Tampa Bay beat Carolina 16-10
OK, sports fans, here are this weekend’s big games. Here we go! The plot has thickened in the NFL, things got interesting last week in CFB with two big upsets, and NFL action has some big-time teams squaring off against each other. Speaking of squaring off, you reckon the 49ers and Lions coaches may have words again this year? Maybe! Possibly! Probably! Let’s take a look at this weekend’s key match-ups in CFB and the NFL.
Baltimore @ Philadelphia – The Ravens looked as good as any team did in week one in their 44-13 blowout win over the Bengals. The Eagles looked as bad as any team did in a win last weekend. In a battle of the Birds, I’ll take the Ravens in this one!
Detroit @ San Francisco – Last season the Lions lost at home to the 49ers, and then their coach was pushed around as well. I think SF will be good for many seasons to come.
Denver @ Atlanta – The Saints need the horses to win...but if the Dirty Birds win, then those Birds could really be the team to beat in the NFC South. Could this be the year the Falcons get it done? A win over Denver would be huge for the ATL.
Alabama @ Arkansas – The Hogs got punked at home last week by ULM. All the Tide has do is roll. Alabama will beat Ar-Kansas like they stole something. I can see the Hogs fading fast after this one! Roll Dam Tide!
Florida @ Tennessee – The battle of former Saban understudies takes place as Derek Dooley and the Vols host Will Muschamp and the Gators. The winner of this game could challenge the Dogs and Gamecocks in the SEC East. The loser could be in for another long season, and perhaps their leader seeking employment elsewhere.
Notre Dame @ Michigan State – If the Irish are for real, they can prove it this week. The Spartans look like the front-runner in the Big Ten now that Wisconsin got beat. Is the church really back? I think the Spartans will win this one by two scores.
Texas @ Ole Miss – The Rebels could make a huge statement with a win over Texas. If the Horns do loose to the Rebels, they will once again prove how overrated their team and program are. Man, will things be salty in Hi-dee Ty-dee land if the Rebs win this one!
Deke’s CFB Pick of the week! Houston @ UCLA – This is the pick of the week. Houston gave up over 30 points to Texas State and 50 last week to La. Tech. UCLA has the nation’s leading rushing in RB Jonathan Franklin. Don’t look now, but there is another college football team in the city of Angels! Take the Bruins and lay the 17 points and take a nap. This is a lock!
Although the biggest game this weekend takes place on Saturday between the Purple Knights and Raiders, there are some good games on the slate this fine Friday evening. With that said, man I wish the Rummel vs. St. Aug game was tonight. The Raiders beat the Knights 41-20 last year, but we all know that Rummel is good again, and the Knights are a lot better. With that said, let's take a look at some of the key games on tonight's prep football round-up!
L.W. Higgins (0-1) at Covington (1-0)
Last week's results: Higgins lost to O.P. Walker 20-0. Covington defeated Franklinton 35-7. Covington beat Higgins for one of the best wins of the season a year ago with a 26-18 win over the Hurricanes. Higgins is coming off a tough loss to a good OP Walker Team, and the Lions shut down the Franklinton Demons last week with a strong defense that allowed just 76 yards of total offense. This is the game that I will be broadcasting from tonight at the historic Cow Palace on the CHS Campus!
Mandeville (0-1) @ Jewel Sumner (0-1)
This matchup features two teams that need a win. Last week the Skippers fell to 5A Catholic, while Sumner blew a 17-0 lead in a 29-17 loss to 1A power Kentwood. Sumner is led by LSU commitment Jeremy Cutrer.
Karr (1-0) at Destrehan (1-0)
Karr is coming off an impressive 41-13 blowout win over 5A Hahnville, while in the battle of Wildcats Destrehan got the best of St. James, 47-8. Karr narrowly won last season 29-27, but Karr looks even better than they did a season ago. Could Karr be looking ahead to next week's showdown with fellow 4A power Salmen? I know I am! Karr has as much talent and as many Division I-A recruits as any team in the state. Karr's Speedy Noil, a junior, is without question one of the nation's top underclassman.
St. charles (0-1) at Northshore (1-0)
Last week's results : St. Charles lost to Vandebilt 36-33. Northshore defeated Chalmette 36-14. St. Charles lost to a team with a name other than Curtis or Evangel for the first time in a long time last week. The Comets gave up a near 400-yard rushing effort from Terrier QB Ellijah McGuire. The Comets fell to 3rd in the 3A top ten, while the Panthers picked up a nice win last week over 5A Chalmette. This should be a very good game.
Pig Foo Wee! Dayum, dats a shame dat lil’ ole school from North Louisiana beat up on ‘dem Hogs like dat! Check your facts and stats, that game was no fluke. Wisconsin once again let everyone down, and the Huskers got shucked in the city of Angels! Here we go as things are starting to heat up in CFB. Let’s take a look at this week’s top ten.
1. Alabama (2-0) – The Tide did not take WKU lightly, and it showed. A test comes this week in the form of Arkansas? What test? Go Bama, go Bama, go Bama, go! Last week beat Western Kentucky 35-0 / this week @ Arkansas.
2. USC (1-0) – The only thing that slowed down Trojan QB Matt Barkley was lightning. Barkley tied a school record with 6 TD passes in a win over the Orange. Now SC has two weeks to get ready for Stanford. Last week beat Syracuse 42-29 / next @ Stanford Sept 25th.
3. LSU (2-0) – LSU once again scored 41 points, but this 41 feels better than last week’s 41, doesn’t it? Now the Vandals come to Tiger Stadium before SEC play begins the following week @ Auburn. Last week beat Washington 41-3 / this week vs. Idaho.
4. Oregon (2-0) – The Ducks did not look as good this week in their 42-25 win over the Dogs. But FSU is better than Arkansas State, aren’t they? RB Kenjon Barner gashed FSU for 201 yards and 3 TD’s. Another tough one this week in TT? Last week beat Fresno State 42-25 / this week vs. Tennessee Tech.
5. Florida State (1-0) – In a game shortened due to weather, ‘Noles QB E.J. Manuel threw three TD’s. Now FSU opens ACC play with the Freakin’ Deacons from Wake Forest. Last week beat Savannah State 55-0 / this week vs. Wake Forest.
6. Georgia (2-0) – The Bulldogs came on strong late to score 17 in the fourth to down the Tigers 41-20. Now UGA gets a breather before they take in Tennessee between the hedges. Last week beat Missouri 41-20 / this week vs. Florida A&M.
7. South Carolina (2-0) – The Gamecocks got a big effort from RB Marcus Lattimore. Marcus rushed for two TD’s in the win over Vandy. The Cocks have a tougher schedule than many think, as this week they take on a tough ECU Team. Last week beat East Carolina 48-10 / this week vs. UAB.
8. Oklahoma (2-0) – Now that’s the Sooners I know, beating down a hard-core opponent like Florida A&M! You know OU should go 12-0 each year. I mean, it’s not like they have a tough non-conference slate, and Texas is not that good either. That’s a rivalry? Last week beat Florida A&M 69-13 / next vs. Kansas State September 22nd.
9. West Virginia (2-0) – The Mountaineers had the week off and now get ready to take on the Bulldogs of JMU. Could this team win the Big 12? Possibly. Maybe! Last week off / this week James Madison.
10. Clemson (2-0) – The Tigers shrugged off a slow start to pile up 52 points in a win over the fighting David Letterman! I like this team. Have you seen Slipper Sammy Watkins play? Exciting, to say the least! Last week beat Ball State 52-27 / this week Furman.
What happened in Who Dat Land? Are the Packers and Saints both about to be 0-2? Is Frisco #1? Are we destined to see an all-Harbaugh Super Bowl? Man, the plot has twisted early this season. What the hell is wrong with Michael Vick? Strap it on here we go with week two of the NFL!
1. Baltimore Ravens (1-0) – The team that should have won the AFC last season will win it this season. The Purple Birds are loaded, and this team’s QB is just starting to come into his own. Last week beat Cincinnati 44-13 / this week @ Philadelphia.
2. San Francisco – (1-0) Alex Smith showed up Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau last week! Smith was 20-26 with 2 TD’s and no picks. Watch out people, this team could win 14 or 15 regular season games this season! Last week beat Green Bay 30-22 / this week vs Detroit.
3. New England Patriots (1-0) – Tom was OK, but former LSU Tiger Steven Ridley was the man. Ridley rushed for 125 yards on 21 carries. The Pats will win the East and of course be in the thick of things again this season. Last week beat Tennessee 34-13/ this week vs Arizona.
4. Chicago Bears (1-0) - QB Jay Cutler was sharp with 333 yards and 2 TD passes in the Bears win over the Dolts! This team is scary with the addition of WR’s Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall. Jeffery had three grabs for 80 yards last week, and Marshall chipped in 9 receptions for 119 yards. A win this week will put the Bears in the drivers’ seat in the NFC North! Bear Down! This week beat Indianapolis 41-21/ this week @ Green Bay.
5. Houston Texans (1-0) – The Texans used a 24-0 run in the 2nd quarter to dispose of the hapless Dolphins. This week another monster game comes in the form of Jacksonville. If Houston does not win the South, they are sad! This week beat Miami 30-10 / This week @ Jacksonville.
6. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) –The wheels could have begun to come off, if not for a last-second win over the Browns. Wake up Andy and MV, this week you are about to get your you-know-what handed to you in the City of Brotherly Love. I can smell an ass-whipping in this one! Last week Cleveland 17-16 / this week vs Baltimore.
7. Atlanta Falcons (1-0) – Matt and Julio hanging out by the school yard hooked up for 2 TD’s last week. If the Dirty Birds win this week over Denver, Atlanta’s “sometimes we like them and most of the time we don’t care” fan base will start to like them. Well, sort of! Last week beat Kansas City 40-24/ this week vs Denver.
8. Green Bay Packers (0-1) – Could Super Bowl Favorite GB be 0-2? Is Aaron Rodgers making too many commercials during the off-season? Are the Bears going to win in the land of Lombardi this week? Tune in next week, same bat time same bat channel! Last week lost to San Francisco 30-23 / this week vs Chicago.
9. Dallas Cowboys (1-0) – Give the Stars some credit, they did look good in the second half of their win over the NY Giants. Now Dallas has had a week and a half to get ready for the Hawks. And I’m not talking about Dominique and Spud either! Last week beat NY 24-17 / this week @ Seattle.
10. Detroit Lions (1-0) – The Cats from Motown got by a big scare from the Lambs of St. Louis. Now I wonder if Detroit is going to win the game this time (as well as the fight between head coaches) as they face SF in Rice a Roni land? I think NOT! This week beat St. Louis 27-23 / this week @ San Francisco.
It’s only one game, right? Well, whether you see it as a good day for the Skins or a bad day for the Black and Gold, one thing is for sure: The Saints got it handed to them, and it was not supposed to happen!
The Saints got beat by the Washington Redskins 40-32, and the game really wasn’t even that close. If not for a blocked punt late in the first half, the Saints would have never really been in the game at all past the first quarter of the game.
Make no mistake about it, the Redskins came in with a game plan, which they executed it to near-perfection. They kept the Saints playing catch up all day long. “Our fans deserve better than we played. But let’s credit the Redskins. They played well,” Saints Coach Aaron Kromer said after the loss.
Robert Griffin III had the second-best day in NFL history for a rookie QB as he passed for 320 yards in his debut, second only to Cam Newton’s 422-yards last season in his rookie season with Carolina.
The Saints played from behind all but 21 seconds in the game. After falling behind 3-0, New Orleans came right back to take a 7-3 lead when Drew Brees tossed a 20-yard TD pass to Jimmy Graham to give New Orleans a 7-3 lead.
That lead was short-lived, as Griffin came back and threw an 88-yard TD pass to Pierre Garcon to give the Redskins a 10-7 late in the first quarter of the game.
Coach Kromer pointed out that the Saints played well against Houston in the preseason and that his team was ready and prepared for the Washington Redskins. “There were no indications that this would happen,” Kromer said. Washington poked holes in, around and through the Saints’ new-look defense.
Washington had 464 yards of total offense in the game, running for 153 yards and passing for 311. The Redskins came out and got their young QB in a groove early. Griffin’s first five passes of the game were all thrown behind the line of scrimmage, and then RG3 dropped the big one on the Saints to gain even more confidence.
Griffin finished the game with a QB rating of 139.9, while Drew Brees was forced to play from behind and had to pass far too much. Drew completed 24 of 52 pass attempts for 339 yards with 3 TD’s and 2 interceptions, for a QB rating of 70.9.
Now, the Saints must put this game behind them and focus on yet another solid play-making QB, as New Orleans hits the road to face Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.
Washington QB RG3 on playing in the dome - “I’ve been to games at the Superdome before. Both of my parents were born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, so I know what it’s like to be a fan of the Saints and the atmosphere that it will be like once we step into that stadium and that dome. It’s definitely going to be loud. They are going to be pumped up, ready to go. It’s just our job to go out and execute.”
“I don’t think you can truly prepare for the noise that you will get at any given stadium, but of course you can do your due diligence and make sure you’re practicing with the loudest noise you can possibly imagine. That’s what we have been doing for the last couple days and really just working on communicating when you can’t hear each other. Because that’s what it’s going to be like at certain points throughout the game. The crowd’s going to be into it and they’re going to make it extremely hard for us to communicate. It’s our job to know what we have to do, not only just knowing our offense, but knowing it without even really having to communicate clearly to each other.”
Saints Coach Aaron Kromer on facing Redskins QB RG3- “When you get a guy that can really run, it is important that you contain him, that you keep him within the realms of the defense where you can corner him in and not let him out and run in space. You give a guy like that, that’s that fast and elusive a lot of space, that is a problem.”
Saints QB Drew Brees on is this the most talented Saints Team - “I feel like we have the potential to be. Just as you watch it, I would agree this was one of the harder teams to make since we’ve been here with talent across the board. It was so competitive at so many different positions with guys vying for a spot on this team and it’s a reason why we took five running backs. This guy (Travaris Cadet) can play. How do we find a way to keep this guy, even though it’s a little bit unusual. We know this, the 53 guys that made it deserve to be here. They worked their tails off to have this opportunity. We’re going to need everybody down the stretch. That’s for sure.”
The Redskins have been downright bad the last few seasons. Washington has compiled a 23-41 record the last four seasons, with no playoff appearances in that span as well.
But now, a new ray of hope comes in the form in one of the best college football players ever in Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III. Griffin will have some bumps along the way, but RG3 will look no further than last year’s prized rookie to have hope that he too can have a great rookie season.
A year ago at this time everyone was downplaying Cam Newton…and all Cam went on to do was to have the best rookie season ever for an incoming QB. Those expectations are not too high for RG3 but I think that he will have a tougher time than Cam did.
The Redskins added WR Pierre Garcon this off-season to give Griffin some help. And TE Fred Davis is coming off a season in which he hauled in 59 receptions for 796 yards. Washington will look to take some pressure of their young QB with a stable of RB’s.
Rookie Alfred Morris and second-year players Evan Royster and Roy Helu will all see action in the Redskins Backfield. Morris made the club as a 6th round draft pick out of Florida Atlantic while Royster and Helu combined for nearly one thousand yards and two scores in 2011.
Defensively the Redskins are very good. Even though Washington was -14 in the turnover ratio last season it was not because their defense did not take the ball away. Washington forced 21 turnovers in 2011 and with a little better ball security they could be much better in this area in 2012.
The 3-4 scheme that Coach Jim Haslett implements features a solid front seven led by inside linebacker London Fletcher. Fletcher is like a fine wine, he only gets better with age. The 37-year-old Fletcher is as good as ever, coming off a season in which he posted 166 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 2 interceptions.
The middle of the defense features nose tackle Barry Cofield, and DE Adam Carriker, who had 34 tackles and 5 and half sacks last season.
And, arguably the best pass-rusher the Redskins have, and one of the best young players in the league, is Brian Orakpo. Orakpo had 59 tackles last season with nine sacks to his credit. Josh Wilson, DeAngelo Hall, Reed Doughty and Madieu Williams lead the charge in the Washington Redskins Secondary.
Nothing else matters now but the 2012 season. Whatever has happened in the past, good or bad, has to be put behind the Saints. New Orleans has all that it needs, and then some, on offense…and now the team has made some big moves to help improve their defense.
I mean, let’s be real here…When your offense averages 34.2 points per game, your defense does not have to be great. If the Saints defense allows per game (21.2) what it did a year ago, and if the defense can get more takeaways, or at least have the defensive players catch the ball when it hits their hands, then the Black and Gold D will be much improved this season.
Over the course of the last three seasons, the Saints have built a group of running backs who are arguably one of the best in the NFL, to go along with a solid WR core. RB’s Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory, Mark Ingram, Darren Sproles and newcomer Travaris Cadet all bring something different and special to the table.
If New Orleans gets a lead on their opponents, they now have the luxury to keep pouring it on, or they can hand the ball off to one of these backs who are all more than capable of wearing down a defense as a group.
But enough about the offense…I could go on and on with names like Brees, Colston, Graham, Moore…well, you get the point. If anyone is worried about the Saints offense I would advise you to point your worries elsewhere.
With that said, how the Saints do without Coach Sean Payton is something that we will monitor all season long, as will the national talking heads. The big thing that can make this team even more aggressive and even better is the play of their defense. The addition of guys like Curtis Lofton, David Hawthorne, Barrett Ruud and Brodrick Bunkley have the coaches optimistic about how improved this team could be.
Insert DE Cam Jordan. Jordan is expected by some to have a breakout season after having an excellent training camp. Jordan was on the winning side of one-on-one drills more often than not, and he’s an aggressive player against the run.
Turk McBride was off to a good start last season before he got hurt, and newcomer DT Brodrick Bunkley has been brought on board to help to get some type of push up the middle.
Sedrick Ellis has proven he can be effective, but we need to see the Ellis of two years ago. The defensive backfield should also be better, with an emerging Patrick Robinson at one CB and the reliable Jabari Greer at the other.
Safeties Malcolm and Roman need to catch the ball, and they should at least triple their interception total of 2011, which was zero.
The Big Chief’s Final Analysis
Simply put, the Dome will be loud. The fans are fired up. It’s opening day. And there is an early Christmas Gift under the tree for us all. The line in this game started at 9 and now it is down to 7. That means that Vegas is not getting much action on this game, or that folks are loading up on the Redskins and the bookies want to even things out. 7, 9, man I don’t care, you have to go with the trend here. And the trend is the Saints.
Five reasons to load up on New Orleans: The game is in the dome, the game is in the dome, Drew Brees, Drew Brees and the other team has a rookie QB in his first game. For Washington to have any chance at all, they will need to win the turnover battle, have as many rushing attempts as passing attempts, and they will have to get a score via special teams or defensive points.
I think RG3 is going to be great. But what Cam did and what RG3 does are two different things altogether. Lay the seven points and start 2012 off on the plus side.
Washington Redskins @ New Orleans Saints
Sunday September 9th Noon Kickoff Mercedes Benz Superdome
Series History: Washington leads 15-8
Last Meeting: December 6, 2009 in Washington when the Saints won 33-30. The Redskins have won the last three meetings in the Superdome. Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan is 3-1 against the Saints as a head coach.
As we enter week two of the 2012 prep football season, this is actually week one for many teams down here in South Louisiana, with Hurricane Isaac causing a lot of teams not to play last week. A national match-up takes place in the Dome, the Great American Rivalry takes place in City Park, and two of the state’s best players square off on the LSU campus. Let’s take a look at some of the interesting match-ups this weekend.
Plant vs John Curtis in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome – This is the best match-up in the country this week. #6 Curtis takes on #7 Plant as both are ranked in the top ten national high school poll. A few years ago when Curtis traveled to Alabama to take on then-powerhouse Hoover, the Patriots beat down Hoover. Once again, I expect Curtis to be fully prepared and the Patriots will prove that they are among the best programs in the country.
Holy Cross vs Jesuit in City Park – The oldest rivalry in high school football in Louisiana, and one of the oldest in the nation, takes place again in City Park. Coach Barry Wilson and his HC Tigers are looking to improve from last season as the highlight of 2011 for the Tigers was a big upset win over Fontainebleau. On the flip side, the Blue Jays made a deep run in the 5A playoffs last season. Coach Wayde Keiser has built a solid program as Jesuit has been a threat in the Catholic League and Class 5A the last few seasons. Expect a big crowd for the 93rd edition of the Great American Rivalry.
Edna Karr @ Hahnville – A lot of talent will be on the field when the Tigers and Cougars play. Coach Lou Valdin, longtime Coach at Hahnville, is looking to see how far his team has come since jamboree weekend. The Cougars are loaded once again with Division I-A talent. This is a great 4A versus 5A battle down in Hahnville.
Loranger @ University High – A recruiting coordinators dream takes place here as two of the top football players in the state will be featured in this game. Loranger QB and LSU commitment Jeryl Brazil leads the Wolves against a powerful 2A Team in the U-High Cubs and their top star Tim Williams. The Wolves did not get to play last week, as their game with Riverside was called off due to Hurricane Isaac. U-High made a statement last week by whipping 5A East Ascension by four TD’s. No doubt about it, this is going to be a good game to follow this weekend.
Ponchatoula @ Amite – The two best teams in Tangipahoa Parish in 2011 square off after not-so-good showings in jamboree action two weeks ago. Neither Amite nor Ponchatoula was able to play last week because of the storm, and each have a lot of holes to fill on both sides of the football. The winner of this game will have a lot of confidence moving forward the rest of the season.
East Jefferson @ Independence – The next two weeks will tell us a lot about the Independence Tigers. After a big win over Baker the Tigers now take on two solid teams in back-to-back weeks, starting with the Warriors of EJ this week. Independence was able to play last week, and that could be to their advantage. EJ is a playoff-caliber team in Class 4A, and a win for the Tigers would give them a good boost in the power ratings. The Tigers were clicking on all cylinders last week on offense and their defense played well also. If the Tigers win this week and next week against West Feliciana, look out!
Jewel Sumner @ Kentwood – Sumner is better, and Kentwood has the makings of a title team in 2012. This should be a good one. Sumner knows if they beat Kentwood, they can hang with anyone else they play. If the Roos win, it would help them generate a lot of power points with a win over a 3A Team. Kentwood is ranked 3rd in Class 1A, and the Cowboys would like nothing more than to be the first team to knock them off!
With the first week of the season is in the books, let’s look ahead to this weekend! The Tide’s roll from last January seems just as strong, the Trojans from the West Coast tasted the rainbow of Hawaii, and the Tigers of LSU looked a little sloppy in their win over UNT. Let’s take a look at this week’s top ten.
Alabama (1-0) – The Tide handled Michigan last week with no problem. I mean, did anyone other than the Bama haters really think that the Wolverines had a legit shot at knocking off the Crimson Tide? A breather this week before a biggie the following week in Ar-Kansas. Last week beat Michigan 41-14 / this week vs Western Kentucky.
USC (1-0) – The Trojans have everyone in their camp excited about what they did in week one, and they should be. USC beat down an inferior team and the Men of Troy set the tone for what could be a title-caliber season. Uh, oh more bad news about former Trojan Joe McKnight. I always wondered why he went all the way to L.A. from River Ridge to play CFB. They do have decent teams this side of the Rockies, you know? Last week beat Hawaii 49-10 / this week vs Syracuse.
LSU (1-0) – Tiger fans are not too happy about the way their team looked in a 41-14 win over North Texas. All LSU did was pile up 508-yards of total offense, their four RB’s averaged at least 6.3 yards per carry, and they had two TD’s called back. That’s enough to make anyone angry! Breathe, my people, it’s only September. Last week beat UNT 41-14 / this week vs Washington.
Oregon (1-0) – Quack, Quack, Quack! The Ducks racked up 605-yards of total offense with good balance (308 passing and 297 rushing,) as QB Marcus Mariota looked sharp in his first start going 18-of-22 for 200-yards and 3 TD’s. I think it’s going to be hard for USC to beat these Ducks twice in one season! Last week beat Arkansas State 54-27 / this week vs Fresno State.
Florida State (1-0) – The ‘Noles gained 606 yards of total offense and crushed Murray State 69-3. RB James Wilder Jr. averaged 8-8 yards per carry as he rushed for 106 yards and two TD’s in FSU’s win over MSU. Last week beat Murray State 69-3 / this week vs Savannah State.
Georgia (1-0) – The Bulldogs had their moments, but like LSU did not look as crisp as some had hoped. With that said Freshman RB Todd Gurley went off rushing for 100 yards and two TD’s and he added a 100-yard kickoff return. But the schedule gets much tougher this week with SEC newcomer Missouri. Last week beat Buffalo 45-23 / this week @ Missouri.
Oklahoma (1-0) – The Sooners used a big fourth quarter to put away a tough UTEP club. QB Landry Jones threw for 222 yards and two TD’s in the Sooners’ win over the Miners. Things get tougher this week against Florida A&M! Say what! Last week beat UTEP 24-7 / this week vs Florida A&M.
South Carolina (1-0) – The Gamecocks got a big effort from RB Marcus Lattimore. Marcus rushed for two TD’s in the win over Vandy. The Cocks have a tougher schedule than many think as this week they take on a tough ECU Team. Last week beat Vanderbilt 17-13 / this week vs East Carolina.
West Virginia (1-0) – The Mountaineers scored 69 points but allowed 34 and 545 yards of total offense. QB Geno Smith threw for over 300 yards and 4 TD’s. This team will once again score on whoever they play, and they will once again give up a ton of yards and points too! Last week beat Marshall 69-34 / this week vs James Madison.
Arkansas (1-0) – The Hogs have a new weapon in back-up QB Brandon Mitchell. The former Amite Warrior hauled in four grabs for 122-yards in the Hogs’ win over Jacksonville State. Now, one more tune-up before the big one against Alabama. Last week beat Jacksonville State 49-24 / this week vs UL Monroe.
OK, the long, boring, and over-priced preseason is over. The NFL finally gives their fans real action at full price after ripping them off for the last five weeks. How will the defending champs do? Are the Saints going to be alright without the best play caller in the game today? And are the Eagles going to fly or get shot down? Let’s take a look at my top ten as we enter the first week of the season.
1. Green Bay Packers – The Packers are the team to beat, in my opinion. 15 wins in the regular season and then they got pounded at home by the G-Men. This team is loaded on both sides of the football, but their biggest obstacle might very well be the monsters of the midway! This week vs. San Francisco / next week vs. Chicago.
2. New England Patriots – Yes, there is no other team in the AFC to place above Tom B and the Pats. Fear the hooded sweatshirt...his club from clam chowder land are still the tops in the American Football Conference. The Pats have played in three Super Bowls in New Orleans. Could they make it four? This week vs. Tennessee / next week Arizona.
3. Baltimore Ravens – If the Saints should have won the NFC, then the Purple Birds should have won the AFC. Baltimore is going to be the class of the AFC North and the best team with a shot to knock off the Patriots. This week vs. Cincinnati / next week @ Philadelphia.
4. Philadelphia Eagles – I’m still buying the Eagles. Every time Andy Reid has had his back in a corner he has come out on top. Clearly the Eagles have to win and win big this season, or there will be big changes in the City of Brotherly Love. A week two tilt with the Ravens could be a preview of the Super Bowl. This week vs. Cleveland / next week vs. Baltimore.
5. New Orleans Saints – I still believe that this team is going to be a strong contender. The odds-makers have the Saints winning 12 games this season. The Saints are a team that represents a city that loves the role of an underdog. Although the Black and Gold are no longer underdogs from what has taken place this off-season, this team and their city are ready to take on the world! Who Dat! This week vs. Washington / next week @ Carolina.
6. San Francisco 49ers – The additions of Brandon Jacobs, Mario Manningham, and yes, even Randy Moss, are far too great to overlook. This club does not need much offense to win a lot of games, and that is good, because I’m still not sold on Alex Smith. And by the noise from this past off-season, neither are the 49ers! This week @ Green Bay / next week vs. Detroit.
7. Chicago Bears – Drafting Alshon Jeffery and picking up Brandon Marshall give the Bears a chance to have the best offense in team history. We already know that the Bears match-up better with Green Bay than any other team...and with a little more offense, these Monsters of the Midway could be doing the Super Bowl Shuffle one more time in the place where the shuffle was born! This week vs. Indianapolis / next week @ Green Bay.
8. New York Giants – The G-Men have the cards stacked against them as being the defending champs. But the last time NY was coming off a title season they followed it up by going 12-4 and picking up the top seed. That season ended with a divisional loss to Philly. I think these G-Men are going to be good again, and I’d bet money that ole Eli wins one more...maybe even two! This week vs. Dallas / next week Tampa Bay.
9. Houston Texans – This team seems to be the sexy pick in the AFC. I’m not ready to make that less-than-bold statement. However, there is no true weakness on this team, and they no longer have to deal with Peyton Manning in their own division. This week vs. Miami / next week @ Jacksonville.
10. Atlanta Falcons – Ok my logic here is that if the Falcons get off to a 2-0 start, they will be red hot and ride that wave the entire season. However, they could easily be 0-2 going into week three of the season. Until Matt Ryan wins something of value, he’s no matty ice! This week @ Kansas City / next week vs. Denver.