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Deke Bellavia

Join Deke and the Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert for live, local talk about the Saints, LSU, Pelicans and much more on "Sports Talk!" 

Weekdays 4-8pm

Twitter: @dekebigchief
Email: bigchief@wwl.com

Deke: If the Saints lose Sunday night, their season is over

Series History: Dallas and the Saints have played a total of 27 times. Dallas has 16 victories, while the Saints have won 11. Prior to last season's game, the Saints had won three straight and five of the last six, but in 2014 Dallas jumped out to a commanding 24-0 halftime lead and went on to beat the Saints 38-17.

The Saints and Cowboys square off once again with each team seemingly headed in different directions. Dallas is coming off their first loss of the season while for the second time in four years the Saints have started a season 0-3.

New Orleans is desperate for a win and Dallas needs to find a way to win without their two best players in QB Tony Romo and WR Dez Bryant. If Dallas can find a way to stay around five hundred before they get their go-to guys back, then maybe, just maybe the Cowboys can make a run at the post season when and if they get Dez and Tony back.

Dallas jumped out to a 21-7 and 28-14 lead over Atlanta last week before the Falcons rolled over Dallas in the final quarter en-route to a 39-28 win over the Cowboys.

What the Saints need to do?

Well folks, this is it - if the Saints lose Sunday then the season is over. Sure there will be 12 more games left on the schedule but there is no way the Saints will come back from that poor start and make the playoffs.

New Orleans needs to run better, rush the passer better, win the turnover battle and have someone on offense step up and make a big play. Who is the Saints go-to man on offense? No one seems to know.

I think the next three games can be not only a season saver but perhaps a franchise saver when it comes to the Sean Payton era. Should New Orleans get to 3-3 after six games that would represent three huge wins over playoff caliber teams.

Should the Saints lose to Dallas, I can't see this team being anything other than a spoiler or a team that musters up a five hundred record. And to me that's sad. This team is well paid at the top, they have been among the elite for nearly a decade and to me another poor start means that more than just X's and O's are the problem.

Questionable drafts, losing draft picks to trades, bad free agent picks and disciplinary problems are all starting to catch up with the Saints. With that said, the Saints are a win away from feeling good about themselves, and a win Sunday could possibly start something good!

Run the football!

New Orleans needs to run the ball against the Cowboys. Atlanta gashed Dallas and New Orleans should be able to get four yards per carry against the Cowboys Sunday night. The Saints brought in big players to boost their O-Line and now we want to see the results. Asking the Saints to rush the ball effectively against Dallas is not that huge of a deal. The Saints getting the job done may very well be!

Go Marcus Go!

The Saints have a new spark plug when it comes to making plays and he's rookie Marcus Murphy. Murphy was electric last week as he totaled 154 yards on five touches with a 74 yard punt return for a TD. Murphy should be more involved on offense and a team that needs a spark should call on the hot hand. Double M is hot!

Win the turnover battle, win the game!

When the Saints don't turn the ball over under Sean Payton, they don't lose. New Orleans was minus -2 last week in turnovers against Carolina. And the Saints are minus -3 for the season. If the Saints lose the battle of turnovers Sunday night they will more than likely lose the game!

The Big Chief's Final Analysis

New Orleans is a 4 1/2 point favorite over Dallas. Are the Cowboys as bad as Tampa even without Tony Romo? Can QB Brandon Weeded play as good as Bucs QB Jamies Winston did two weeks ago in the Superdome?

I'm thinking that the Saints are favored here because they are at home. New Orleans has lost their last six home games. And what would be a more prefect time to stop that skid than Sunday night against the Cowboys?

I think the Saints could win, but I'm not betting on it. In the spirit of being with the home team, I'll pick the Saints and take the points. New Orleans 28 Dallas 24!
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Deke's NFL Top Ten, week four

The Patriots are hot, the Ravens are not.  Seven teams are undefeated after three weeks and 25 are not!  In the NFC, Green Bay and Arizona are damn good, Atlanta is also close in the neighborhood.  Carolina and Dallas are about the same, while I think Seattle is still the most dangerous team in the game.  In the American Conference, White Horses play hard on defense while the Bengals and Steelers are salty on offense. Buffalo billed their way back into my top ten, while the planes of New York fell out yet again!  I think that about covers it y'all, and now back to more football.  

I'm a poet and you know it!  Here's my top ten, so let's begin!  

1.  New England Patriots (3-0) -  Nearly one thousand yards of offense the last two weeks and five pretty TD passes from the prettiest player in the history of the pigskin make me think that the dynasty is still alive and well.  Last week beat Jacksonville 51-17/ this week vs BYE.

2.  Green Bay Packers (3-0) -  The Packers are on fire and QB Aaron Rodgers is making last season's MVP showing look like it's going to be second fiddle to what he's currently doing in 2015.  Cold frozen tundra?  Warm indoor climate?  Those late January home field venues could be the difference in a Super Bowl berth between the Cards and Pack.  I think those two will be the top seeds this post season.  Which one is one and which one is two TBD!   Last week beat Kansas City 38-28/ this week @ San Francisco.

3.  Arizona Cardinals (3-0) -  They are without question the second best team in the NFL right now, and they might not even win their own division this season.  As long as QB Palmer plays, these Birds of Prey are pretty damn good!  And did I mention they've scored 95 points the last two weeks!  Last week beat Chicago 47-7/ this week vs St. Louis

4.  Denver Broncos  (3-0) - Denver has a stout defense and a veteran QB that knows less of his arm means more of his team, which is not a bad thing.  The White Horses are perhaps the most complete they've been since Manning came to the Mile High Club!  Damn did I just say that?  Oops!   Last week beat Detroit 24-12 / this week vs Minnesota

5. Cincinnati Bengals (3-0) - I know that the Bengals are going back to the playoffs.  What don't know is if they will finally win a post season game.  This team is as consistent as any in the regular season.  Too bad they don't hand out trophies this time of year!  Last week beat Baltimore 28-24/ this week @ Kansas City. 

6.  Atlanta Falcons (3-0) - As long as double J is in uniform, these Black Birds from the ATL got a shot.  Ladies and gentlemen say hello and welcome in the NFL's new best player, WR Julio Jones!  Julio is all that and then some, my people!   Last week beat Dallas 39-28/ this week vs Houston.

7. Seattle Seahawks (1-2) -  Yes, the Seabirds picked up their first win of the season with a dominant defensive effort in their 23-0 win over the Bears.  Hey, they could be 3-0, but they are just as dangerous at 1-2.  Last week beat Chicago 23-0/ this week vs Detroit.  .

8.  Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1) -  Big Ben went down and is out for at least four games.  Hey man, having Mike Vick as your backup ain't too damn bad.  I hope MV wins all his games as the Steelers starting QB.  Give the brother a break.  MV paid back all the money he was fined, he's helped the cause three fold and he's more mature man.  If you want forgiveness, don't you have to give it too?  Last week beat St. Louis 12-6/ this week vs Baltimore.  

9.  Buffalo Bills (2-1) - Their only loss was by eight points to the perfect Patriots. The Bills defense is stout and their offense led by young QB Tyrod Taylor is getting better each week.  Now the battle of NY takes place in Orchard Park as the G-Men from the Big Apple are in town.  I'm for the Bills people!  Last week beat Miami 41-14 /this week vs NY Giants.  

10.   Carolina Panthers (3-0) -  Hey, they win ugly and there's nothing wrong with that at all.  QB Cam is doing well and their defense is among the best in the NFL again this season.  I'd say another playoff berth is highly obtainable.  Last week beat New Orleans 27-22/ this week @ Tampa Bay.  
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Deke's SEC Rankings, week five

SEC, SEC, SEC!  The West is still the best and the Bulldogs and Gators are the only Eastern teams that still don’t have a loss.  Here are my rankings as we go into another week of great SEC football! 

1.     Georgia – RB Nick Chubb broke another record against Southern?! The Heisman could come down to Chubb and Fournette, and it will be won by the player that does the best in SEC games!  Last week beat Southern 48-6 / this week vs Alabama 

2.     Ole Miss – The Rebels had somewhat of a letdown in their game with the 'Dores, but that’s expected after you beat a team twice in a row for the first time in - forever!  Look out in the SWAMP!  Hotty Toddy!  Last week beat Vanderbilt 27-16 / this week @ Florida

3.     LSU – He’s the front runner for the big prize and RB Leonard Fournette is as legit as anyone, ever.  The last time a RB was taken #1 overall in the NFL Draft was back in 1995.  In April of 2017, Fournette will become the next!  Last week beat Syracuse 34-24 / this week vs Eastern Michigan

4.     Alabama – The last time Alabama lost two games in the regular season was back in 2010.  And the last time the Tide lost three games was in 2007. Last week beat UL Monroe / this week @ Georgia

5.     Texas A&M – The Aggies got by the Hogs and can eliminate another SEC West foe from the title race this week as the Bulldogs come to College Station.  Last week beat Arkansas 28-21OT / this week vs Nevada. 

6.     Florida – How could anyone have bet against the Gators when they played the Vols?  Florida owns property in Knoxville and they’ve owned it for 11 straight years!  The Gators have a chance now to enter the national conversation this week!  Last week beat Tennessee 28-27/this week vs Ole Miss

7.     Mississippi State – The Dogs reappeared in the West race and now can shock us all with a road win over Texas A&M.  Anytime you’ve got a player like QB Dak Prescott you’ve got a shot! Last week beat Auburn 17-9 / this week vs @ Texas A&M

8.     Kentucky – I like this team.  Their only loss was to undefeated Florida, and the Wildcats could finish towards the top of the East this season. Last week beat Missouri 21-13 / this week vs Eastern Kentucky 

9.     Missouri – The Tigers lost for the first time last week and now face a must-win to stay alive in the East game against the 'Cocks!  Last week lost to Kentucky 13-21 / this week vs Missouri

10.     Arkansas – The season from hell (or should I say season in hell?) continues for the Hogs.  Still with such a tough schedule of SEC games in front of them you can’t call these Hogs out just yet.  But the plump phat lady is warming up!  Last week lost Texas A&M 28-21OT/ this week @ Tennessee

11.     Tennessee – Coach Butch Jones and the Vols are an impoved program but not ready for prime time just yet.  Someone will win this week between two struggling teams.  Last week lost to Florida 28-21 / this week vs Arkansas.  . 

12.     Auburn – WAR EAGLE! IT’S OVER!  Only question is how good can Auburn become in 2016, becase 2015 is done!  Last week lost to Mississippi State 9-17 / this week vs San Jose State

13.     South Carolina – The ole ball coach could be coming to his last days on the sideline.  2014 and 2015 are showing that this team has lost it's power.  Forever?  I’m not sure.  Last week beat Central Florida 31-14 / this week @ Missouri 

14.     Vanderbilt – All they can hope for is respectable showings the rest of the season!  Last week lost to Ole Miss 16-27 / this week @ Middle Tennessee
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Deke: Saints likely to deliver a season full of long Mondays

Close calls are for losers! Hey, that’s the flat out truth.  The Saints are not a franchise enamored with moral victories.  In fact, not being negative Nelly here, but as a fan (which we all are), close calls suck, especially if you’re on the losing end.  Now the Saints fall to 0-3 and come home in primetime to face the Dallas Cowboys.  So as I prepare to look back and recap the Saints third loss of the season in as many games, I promise I try to remain upbeat.  What I’m upbeat about - I have no idea!

The Good
Saints QB Luke McCown did have a good showing despite a game-clinching pick thrown late in the game. Luke was 31 of 38 for 310 yards, with a QB rating of 89.7.  Luke was sharp throwing the football and he was very active in distributing the ball completing passes to nine different Saints players..

Rookie Marcus Murphy did something that no Saint had done since September 2011 season when he returned a punt 74 yards for a TD, becoming the first Saints player to score on a punt return since Darren Sproles did against Green Bay. Murphy averaged over 30 yards each time he touched the football. He had three kick returns for a total of 72 yards and two punt returns for 82 yards.

The Saints defense played well for the third straight game but in the end it was not enough.  Let’s face it - although this team is 0-3 on the season the defense has played better up to this point.  But it’s just not good enough.

The Bad!
The Saints are still struggling to find a go-to guy on offense, and the team still looks weak when it comes to running the football.  The Saints rushed the ball 24 times for 70 yards with an average of 2.9 yards per rush.  Can you answer this?  With the game on the line who do the QB’s go-to?  Is it a WR, a RB or a TE? 

And the Saints have yet to finish a game with a team average of four yards or more rushing the football. 

The Ugly!!
The Saints are 0-3 for the second time in the last four seasons.  New Orleans sits alone in the NFC South as the only winless team in the division.  Atlanta and Carolina are 3-0, Tampa sits at 1-2. 

The Saints have no threat of a running game.  It’s like Who Dat’s once again hold their breath when the Saints rush the football.  When the Saints get a gain over four yards it’s a surprise and not expected.

How many of you out there love when you wake up on Monday morning with that feel-good feeling when the Saints are coming off a win?  It sets the tone for the first two days of the week and it makes us all feel so much better.  And man, when the Saints lose it feels bad.  It’s going to be a season in which we all have a bunch of bad Monday mornings.  And my people, there is only one cure for that sick, miserable feeling!
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Deke's college football top ten, week five

I love me some college football!  As we approach the half way point of the 2015 season, no team that was their league’s pre-season favorite is the best team in their conference right now, and I’ve got the valid proof. In the Big Ten, who’s better than the fighting Harbaughs of Michigan?  Michigan’s only loss was a six point setback to the best team in the Pac-12 in the Utah Utes.  And in the SEC, Auburn is done, while LSU and Ole Miss are two steps ahead of Georgia and none of those three were pegged to win the SEC!

And in the Big 12, I think Baylor is the best team right now, but I can see all teams in that conference losing at least one game.  And in the ACC?  Well, they can claim Notre Dame I guess which is a legit contender.  Folks last Saturday is why I love college football more than anything else other than high school football and the NBA.  Woke up with the first game at 11, and went to bed at 1:30 AM Sunday morning with the remote in my hand!

Here is this week’s top 10!

1.    Ohio State – The Buckeyes handled their business much better this week than a week ago, and now Urban has settled in on a QB - or has he?  Hell he’s got three to pick from.  It looks like easy street until the Michigans show up on the schedule in back-to-back weeks to end the regular season.  Last week beat Western Michigan 38-12/ this week @ Indiana

2.    Baylor – The Bears whipped up on the Rice Owls, and now BU faces a tough road test as they head to Lubbock to take on an improved Texas Tech Red Raiders Team.  Last week beat Rice 70-17/ this week @ Texas Tech

3.    Ole Miss – The Rebels know the SEC slate is brutal, and now they have to hit the road to take on Florida.  I’m telling y'all, every team in the SEC West will lose at least one game and I would not be shocked if they all dropped a pair of games. Last week beat Vanderbilt 27-16/ this week @ Florida 

4.    Georgia – I love when the national media uses a game to down-talk the SEC. It’s like SEC schools are the only teams that play a bad game in a season.  First of all, credit to Southern as the Jags played their hearts out between the hedges.  And after all, the Dogs just beat South Carolina and host Alabama this week.  I’ll give them a break.  Last week beat Southern 48-6 / this week vs Alabama

5.    LSU – Seven to the left to the left, seven to the right to the right, seven up the middle up the middle now score, now score, now score!  Leonard Fournette is LSU.  And ain’t a damn thing wrong with that.  Last week beat Syracuse 34-24 / this week vs Eastern Michigan

6.    Notre Dame - Notre Dame took care of business, and now the Irish have another huge game as they travel to the other Death Valley to face Clemson.  Hey say what you want about ND, but I can promise you, if this team is perfect or among a pool of teams with one loss, they go to the playoffs over anyone.  And they have the schedule to prove it!  Last week beat UMass 62-27 / this week @ Clemson.  

7.    Michigan State – The Spartans are a sound team, but are they as good as everyone in the Northeast says they are?  We will see in three weeks when they take on rival Michigan.  I think one team will come out of the Big Ten this season and make it into the playoffs.  I’m not thinking it’s going to be MSU, but I could be wrong.  Last week beat Central Michigan / this week vs Purdue.  

8.    TCU – The Horned Frogs are a little overrated. They are good, but not as good as they were made out to be.  Hey, so was Auburn! But TCU is still in the top 10 because of a tipped pass?  TCU is living proof is all about survival!  Last week beat Texas Tech 55-52 / this week vs Texas.  

9.    UCLA – Are the Bruins the class of the Pac-12?  UCLA, Stanford and Utah are all in a class by themselves right now with USC just peaking from the outside!  Last week beat Arizona – 30 / this week vs Arizona State.  

10.    Utah & Michigan – Yes, I’m telling you, the best two teams in their respected leagues right now are two teams that were separated by a mere TD in week one of the season.  Utah is the Class of the Pac-12 right now and UM has a schedule that sets them up to run the table with two huge ones at home in Michigan State and Ohio State. I told y’all way back in July, these two were playoff sleepers.  But Utes watch out this week as the Bears from Cal are rising!  Wake up everybody!  Last week Michigan beat BYU 31-0 / this week @ Maryland and last week Utah beat Oregon 62-13 / this week vs Cal
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Deke: Saints weaknesses match up perfectly with Panther strengths

Records:  New Orleans is 0-2 and Carolina is 2-0
Last week’s Results:  Tampa Bay beat New Orleans 26-19 and Carolina beat Houston 24-17. 
Series History:  The Carolina Panthers lead the series with the Saints 21-19.  Carolina and the Saints split the 2014 series with the Cats taking a 41-10 win over New Orleans in the Superdome last December.  Nearly half the games in the series (19) have been decided by eight points or less. 

 The Scoop on the Cats

Defensively consistent: Carolina is a consistent team when it comes to defensive play.  Carolina’s defense has ranked in the top 10 in each of the past three seasons.  Carolina is one of three teams (Seattle & San Francisco) that have been ranked in the top ten during that time span.  Carolina ranks 5th in total defense allowing 282.5 yards per game.

Hard to run, hard to convert on 3rd down! The Panthers are solid on defense for many reasons.  Currently Carolina allows a meager 79 rushing yards per game (Saints average 79) & the Panthers are one of the best in the league in third down defense.  Carolina opponents are converting on 25.8% of their third downs, which is second in the NFL.

Tackling machine: LB Luke Kuechly is the real deal.  Luke led the league in tackles last season for the second straight year and he has led the league in three of the last four years in tackles as well. Lucky for the Saints he is not likely to play Sunday.

You don’t score on these clawing Cats: The Panthers are once again among the elite defense units when it comes to scoring defense.  Carolina is second in the NFL in scoring defense allowing 13 points per game.  Carolina’s foes have not been the toughest with two wins coming against Jacksonville and Houston. 

He’s tight at end! Since he was acquired, Carolina TE Greg Olsen has been one of the best players in the NFL.  Olson could own all of the Panthers career numbers when it comes to production at the tight end position.  Entering the 2015 season Olsen is second behind Wesley Walls and needs 54 catches and 696 yards to surpass Walls.  Olsen is one of the favorite and most reliable options in the passing game for QB Cam Newton.

In Cam they trust!  QB Cam Newton has the Cats off to a 2-0 start and the young signal caller can lead his team to the post season for a third straight season and another NFC South crown this season.  Cam and the Cats became the first NFC South team to win back to back division titles since the division was formed back in 2002.  In two games this season Cam has completed 36-of-68 passes for 370 yards with three TD’s and two interceptions for a QB Rating of 71.3.

The Big Chief says: Well folks the Saints are off to another 0-2 start for the third time in the last four seasons.  With Carolina and Atlanta at 2-0 the Saints can’t afford to fall much further behind. When it comes to breaking down this game I see that the Saints weak points fall right into the strengths of the Carolina Panthers.  The Saints offense is struggling, the Panthers defense is very good. 

The Saints can’t run the ball, the Panthers stop the run.  The Saints aren't scoring a lot and the Cats don’t allow many points.  You get the point don’t you?  And for the first time since 2005, we won't have #9 under center. Even if Drew were in, the Saints are not playing well.  The hope is that the newer players will continue to get better as Coach Payton has suggested, Many younger players are getting better.  I think the Saints will play hard and if they don’t, then that is a sign to me that the problems on this team are much deeper than what we see on Sundays.

I’m going to go with the Carolina Panthers in this one.  Hey the Saints defense has not played that bad, but this week New Orleans is running into a team that is more sound on defense and they are a team that has a clear identity.

I’ll say Carolina 23 New Orleans 16
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Deke's NFL Top Ten, week three

There are some very good teams that have not won a game yet!  For the first time since he's been a head coach, the Ravens John Harbaugh is 0-2.  What in the hell is wrong in the Big Easy?  And what about the Big Apple?  All I can say is that this is a long season and there is no need to get too high or too low about any thing or any team just yet. It's a long season and for some teams it's only going to get longer!

1.  New England Patriots (2-0) - Don't let their eight point win fool you, the Pats and  their pretty QB were up 37-13 early in the fourth.  TB tossed the ball around to the tune of 466-yards and 3 TDs.  These boys in Clam Chowder land will not go down in the AFC East without a fight.  And lucky for them the AFC East is like the heavyweight division in boxing, there are no good contenders!  Last week beat Buffalo 40-32 / this week vs Jacksonville.

2.  Green Bay Packers (2-0) - The Pack attack is off to a 2-0 start, and now Aaron and his gang of offensive weapons can just continue to work on staying in front of the NFC to secure home field.  Last week beat Seattle 27-17 / this week vs Kansas City.

3.  Arizona Cardinals (2-0) - Ok they are 2-0, but how good are the Saints and Bears?  Hey man this is the NFL, not college and 2-0 is legit in this big boy league.  Keep Carson on his feet and this team might just compete - for it all!  Last week beat Chicago 48-23 / this week vs San Francisco

4.  Denver Broncos  (2-0) - The White Horses got a vintage Manning comeback in their 31-24 win over the Chiefs.  Now Denver stays on the road with a trip to the Motor City to battle the struggling Cats from Motown.  Last week beat KC 31-24 / this week @ Detroit.

5. Cincinnati Bengals (2-0) - I love the Bengals but its getting to be a credibility issue with them.  I mean this team has been as consistent as any team the last four years in the regular season.  But we are all waiting for them to show up and show off in the post season.  Is this the year?  QB Andy Dalton and WR AJ Green think so!  Last week beat San Diego 24-19 / this week @ Baltimore.   

6.  New York Jets (2-0) - The Jets defense is legit and I think this team is good enough on that side of the football to be an AFC playoff team.  Revis Island is off to perhaps the best start of his Hall of Fame career.  Not bad for a man that was supposed to be on the back side of his NFL days.  Last week beat Indianapolis 20-7/ this week vs Philadelphia

7.  Atlanta Falcons (2-0) - Me and Julio dominating everyone down in the school yard!  JJ is the best player in the game after two weeks.  And the boys in the ATL now have a nasty defense to go along with their Dirty Birds.  Keep an eye on the Falcons.  They could be around late this season!  Last week beat NY Giants 24-20 / this week @ Dallas.

8.  Seattle Seahawks (0-2) -  The Seabirds are 0-2 but could easily be 2-0.  I'm not going to panic.  After all this team has enough fire power on both sides of the football to win it all.  With that said the last team to lose the SB and make it back the following season was back in the mid 90's when Buffalo did it three years straight!  Last week lost to Green Bay 27-17/ this week vs Chicago.

9.  Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) - The Steel City once known for waving their terrible towels are now an offensive machine?  And the Steelers and Big Ben are mastering opposing defenses without all of their top skilled players.  Big one this week in the Lou.  Last week beat San Francisco 43-18 / this week @ St. Louis.

10.  Carolina Panthers (2-0) - 'Cam I am' is having a nice start this season.  Super Cam can make sure his team remains the class of the NFC South by using his one of a kind skill set to make plays with his feet and his arm.  Carolina won't win any beauty contests but this is football and all that counts is winning.  At the end of the season these Cats will have more ugly losses than anyone else.  And they could be the three time division champs too!  Last week beat Houston 24-17 / this week vs New Orleans. 
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Deke: Syracuse has not seen the likes of LSU; Tigers favored

This week's Tigers foe is the Syracuse Orange.  Syracuse, once a Big East team, now calls the ACC Home. Syracuse is off to their best start (3-0) since 1991 when the Orange went on to beat Ohio State in the Hall of Fame Bowl. In their first three games the Orange have beaten Rhode Island (47-0) Wake Forest (30-17) and Central Michigan (30-27).

The Orange Offense
Total yards per game - 374 yards pergame
Rushing yards - 208.7 yards per game
Passing yards - 165.3 per game
Points per game - 35.7

The Orange have had more than their fair share of issues at QB.  Starting QB Terrell Hunt is out for the season.  And last week back-up Eric Dungy (yes, Tony's son) was hurt in the Central Michigan game.  The Orange are hoping to get Dungy back Saturday when the Tigers come to town but may have to go with their third or fourth string QB.  

Austin Wilson and Zack Mahoney are the players taking the snaps at practice this week for the Orange.  Wilson is 4-of-8 for 49 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT.  Mahoney is 4-for-4 for 19 yards.

The Orange have a couple of good RB's in Jordan Fredericks and George Morris.  Fredericks averages 6.4 yards per carry and Morris picks up 6.1 yards per rush. 

Steve Ishmael is the Orange's top WR with 144 yards on five grabs including a long of 62 yards.  And Brisly Estime has four grabs for 129 yards with a long of 89.  Estime looks like he's the Orange best player.

Estime is also an asset on special teams fielding kick and punt returns.  Estime averages 21 yards per punt return and 21.5 yards per kick return.  

The Orange Defense
Syracuse allows 14.7 points per game, on average.  That number is somewhat deceiving, as a 47-0 opening season win over Rhode Island has made the numbers look a little better than they are.

The Orange allow 46.7 yards rushing per game and 287.7 passing yards per game. The Orange are solid on third downs, allowing just 30% conversions against them.

Early Take
I haven't watched any film on the Orange but just from looking at the numbers, I think LSU will be able to rush the ball with good success against the Orange. But looking at Syracuse's passing yards allowed (287.7), I have to think that LSU will have an opportunity to pass the ball with the most success they have this season up to this point.

I feel like the Tigers WRs will be able to find some openings and allow QB Brandon Harris to get some real nice looks.  The Orange do average three sacks per game, but this team has not seen anyone like LSU, and the tremendous amount of talent the Tigers will use against the Orange is something that favors the Tigers in a major way!  
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Deke: Numbers show LSU in good shape after two games

They don't hand out any awards, crown any conference champs or even select the four playoff teams after the first three weeks of the college football season.  But we all do tend to gravitate towards the best teams, best players and biggest stats early every year. Tigers fans all over that love the Purple and Gold now find themselves in the midst of every major conversation of their home team being a legit playoff contender.
After two games LSU's numbers on offense and defense look pretty damn good!  So let's look a little closer inside those numbers.
The LSU Offense
 The Tigers offense has scored 66 points in two games while gaining 822 yards of total offense.  LSU has run 126 plays from scrimmage with 95 of those plays being rushing attempts and the other 31 being by way of pass. LSU is averaging 63 offensive plays per game, 411 yards of offense with an average of 338.5 yards rushing per game and 72.5 passing yards per contest.  The Tigers are scoring 33 points per game.
If history has taught us anything, it's that LSU will most certainly have to have some sort of pass-to-rush balance in some games this season.  Right now rushing the ball 32 more times that passing it is flying. But those numbers will have to come closer together as the season progresses.
The Tigers O-Line has been  outstanding through two games.  Vadal Alexander and Gerald Hawkins have led a young group of players that has made quite an impression on the nation, leading the SEC in rushing with 338.5 yards per game. LG Maea Teuhema, Center Ethan Pocic and RG William Clapp are three of the best underclass linemen in the league.  Teuhema and Pocic are both freshmen this season.  
The LSU Defense
 Through two games the Tigers defense is allowing 20 points per game (40 total), 101 rushing yards and 217.5 passing yards per game.  In two games the Tigers defense has given up a total of 638 yards (203 rushing / 435 passing).
The Tigers have been excellent on third down and solid in getting after the opposing team's QB.  LSU has allowed just six third down conversions.  Opposing teams are 6-of-24 on third downs for an average of 24%.
And the Tigers have a total of eight QB Sacks for minus -52 yards in two games.  The Tigers are also plus +2 in the turnover ratio.  The entire LSU defense has played well but the improvement along the defensive line has been a much brighter spot to the start of the 2015 season.
After a solid freshman season, Sophomore DT Davon Godchaux is off to another good start this season.  Godchaux has three sacks in two games to lead the Bayou Bengals.  Godchaux is currently second in the SEC with three sacks as well.
At Defensive End, players like Lewis Neal, Tashawn Bower and Arden Key have all had good showings in the two games while the interior D-Line is looking like a position of strength.
Along with Godchaux, Frank Herron and Christian LaCouture have allowed Coach Ed Orgeron to build some depth at the position.
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Deke's SEC rankings, week four

The West is still the best, while the East belongs to the Dogs right now.  Man what a bad weekend for the state of Alabama!  Now let’s take a look and see if the teams that came up with big wins last week can maintain a level head and not get the big head!  Here goes!

1.     Georgia – As RB Nick Chubb goes, so do the Dogs.  But QB Lambert is rising in the East!  Last week beat South Carolina 52-20 / this week vs Southern University 

2.    Ole Miss - Hotty Toddy!  These Rebels are legit!  Chad Machine Gun Kelly is all that and will only get better! Last week beat Alabama 43-37 / this week vs Vanderbilt.

3.    LSU – These Tigers can run, run, run til their Les Miles Daddy takes their Fournette away!  Last week beat Auburn 45-21 / this week @ Syracuse.

4.    Alabama – The Tide have questions at QB!  But don’t give up on these Crimson-colored players just yet.  I know I’m not!  Last week lost to Ole Miss 37-43 / this week vs UL Monroe.

5.    Florida – I was impressed with the Gators defense in a 14-9 win over a good UK team.  Now can the Gators keep their magic working on the boys from Rocky Top?  Last week beat Kentucky 14-9 / this week vs Tennessee.

6.    Texas A&M – OK, they did not play their best against Nevada.  But this week’s tilt in Arlington against the skinless, sinking Hogs is a biggie for the Aggies.  Last week beat Nevada 44-27 / this week vs Arkansas.  

7.    Tennessee – The Vols big early season test, take two!  Tennessee has to win one of these big games.  Don’t they?  Last week beat Western Carolina 55-10 / this week @ Florida.  

8.    Missouri – Are these Tigers just a week away from falling apart like the Tigers in the West?  That would be the Auburn Tigers. Question is, is there another league and or conference that has three set of Tigers in it?  Last week beat UCONN 9-6 / this week @ Kentucky.

9.    Arkansas – Pew-we Pig Sooie!  Can the Hogs be that damn bad?  Better wake up this week, or this might be over!  Last week lost to Texas Tech 24-35 / this week vs Texas A&M.  

10.    Kentucky – Not bad against a talented Gators team.  Now the Wildcats need to win this week against the defending East champs.  Last week lost to Florida 14-9 / this week vs Missouri.

11.    Auburn – What can I say about Auburn that has not already said about our national deficit?  It’s bombed out and depleted!  Oh well time to rally on the Plains!  Last week lost to LSU / this week vs Mississippi State.  

12.    Mississippi State – That loss to LSU does not look that bad now does it?  A road win over Auburn would sure make the Bulldogs feel good!  Last week beat Northwestern State 62-13 / this week @ Auburn.  

13.    South Carolina – The ole ball coach might be done?  Hey no disrespect, but the Cocks are not real good and their coach has to rebound fast!  Last week lost to Georgia 20-52 / this week vs Central Florida.  

14.    Vanderbilt – Well they won a game!  Now can they keep from getting at least 60 hung on them in Oxford?  I doubt it. Last week beat Austin Pea 42-7 / this week @ Ole Miss.  
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