Alabama has one more easier one before a very tough stretch, the Vols have passed the first of four big tests, Texas A&M says don't mess with Texas - A&M that is! Ole Miss is still relevant and LSU has one of their own in charge of some desperate Tigers! Here goes this week's SEC Rankings.
1. Alabama – QB Jalen Hurts just keeps getting better each week. After this week, the Tide will either lock up the SEC once again or see their back-to-back title hopes fade. Why, you ask? After UK, Alabama goes to Arkansas, Tennessee, plays host to Texas A&M and then faces LSU! A tough stretch to say the very least. This week vs Kentucky .
2. Texas A&M – Credit Coach Kevin Sumlin as not many folks this side of College Station thought the Aggies would be 4-0. And with a win this week, the Aggies can continue to climb the polls and become more legit! This week @ South Carolina
3. Tennessee – Believe in them or not, Coach Butch Jones has Rocky Top rocking! A win this week between the hedges would set up a huge game next week at Texas A&M. This week @ UGA
4. Ole Miss – The Rebels are certainly still alive and well in the SEC as far as a conference title is concerned. The Rebels are an offensive machine that has their defense getting better too! This week the only Tigers to beat UM last year comes to town with Memphis being those Tigers, of course! This week versus Memphis.
5. Arkansas – Hey, they fought hard but in the end were not enough to keep up with the Aggies. But the Hogs will make more noise as the season progresses. This week vs Alcorn State.
6. Florida – It looked like the Gators were going to lock up the East in the first half versus the Vols. But then they fell apart. Or did Tennessee just roll over them? Oh well, get better Gators against the 'Dores! This week @ Vanderbilt.
7. Georgia – As bad of an ass whipping as they took last week, the Bull Puppies know they can erase all of that bad play with a win this week! It could happen. This week vs Tennessee.
8. Auburn – The buyout bowl was won by Gus and the War Eagle! Now Gus lives and stays on the Plains while Les is no more! This week vs Louisiana Monroe.
9. LSU – A new coach with the same lingo, style and attitude as the hometown folks. The best move LSU could have made, they did. If these Tigers can get to Ole Miss with a 5-2 record then as they say in my neighborhood, it's on like a pot of neck bones! This week vs Missouri
10. Missouri, Kentucky, Mississippi State, South Carolina & Vanderbilt
Missouri can open eyes and add to the LSU Tigers' woes this week in Death Valley, Kentucky can shock the world but won't come close, State is well... I'm not sure what state State is in! South Carolina looks to be in blowout alert and Vanderbilt is their usual selves!
The Saints are one of four NFL teams that have not won a game along with Cleveland, Jacksonville and Chicago. The Saints have given up a total of 96 points this season - that's second worst in the NFL, behind Tampa who have given up 101.
Folks, when you look at the first three games of the season, the Saints are not a good team. And when you look at the numbers, break them down, you come to the conclusion that the Saints are arguably the worst team in the NFL right now.
All the things that the Saints do when they lose, they are doing right now. There is no sense of balance on offense when it comes to passing and rushing. The Saints are mishandling and or misjudging fielding kicks and punts in the special team area, they are not stopping the run. And once again, the Saints are allowing yards and points at an alarming rate.
Through three games, the Saints have allowed 1,345 yards of total offense. New Orleans has surrendered 897 passing yards along with 448 rushing yards and 96 points. So on average the Saints allow 448 yards per game with 299 passing and 149 on the ground.
And even more damaging for those of you with big dreams, there have been some teams that made the playoffs after starting the season 0-3, with the 1998 Bills being the most recent. But I ask you, are the playoffs even a fair topic of conversation right now for the 0-3 Black and Gold?
Now the Saints head west to battle another team that has a pretty good offense in the 1-2 San Diego Chargers. Things are not good right now in Who Dat Land, in fact things are bad. And looking at the Saints, what they have done, what lies ahead and the remaining schedule, it looks more like things are going to get worse before they get better.
Tennessee is back, well for this week anyway! The Big Ten is flexing with three teams in the top ten. Is Louisville the best team in America right now? Will Clemson rejoin the title talks? Will the winner of this week's Stanford and Washington showdown win the Pac-12? So here is this week's CFB Top 10.
1). Alabama – Alabama always takes care of business. The only team that can beat Alabama is Alabama, and I stand by that! This week vs Kentucky.
2). Ohio State – The Buckeyes are well rested and now are ready to battle Rutgers! Hey, they are scrappy! This week vs Rutgers.
3). Louisville – Another big test this week comes to town as the Clemson Tigers are ready to take on the Red Birds. Another blowout is highly possible this week.
4). Michigan – Ok, all that matters is that the Maize and Blue are still perfect. They are set for their first big showdown of the season as undefeated Wisconsin comes to town. This week vs Wisconsin.
5). Houston – Basically it looks like a late season visit from Louisville is the only thing standing in the way of the Cougars being a playoff team this post season! This week vs UCONN. 2.
6). Stanford– The Cardinal have passed two Pac-12 tests and are 2-0 against team from Los Angeles. This is the soundest team West of Texas! A win this week over the Huskies may already give Stanford the title! This week @ UCLA.
7). Clemson – Deshaun Watson has quietly fallen out of the limelight, but a big showing this week and a win over Louisville would place the Tigers right back in the national title talks. Watson is also back in the Heisman race! This week @ Louisville. .
8). Wisconsin – WOW! That week one win over LSU is looking weaker and weaker. The Badgers can continue their shock the world tour this week at the Big House! This week @ Michigan State.
9). Washington – If Washington is for real, then they have to win this week. With the Pac-12 on the verge of joining the Big XII being left out of the playoff picture, it currently looks like the winner of the UW vs Stanford game is the conference's last hope! This week vs Stanford.
10). Tennessee – I was a big doubter of the Vols, but I have to admit coming back from a 0-21 deficit to the team that had beaten them 11 straight times
Alabama is still the king, Florida is off to a hot start, the Aggies are getting better and Tennessee will look to end 11 straight years of misery given to them by those Gators from Gainesville. Here goes this week's SEC Rankings.
1. Alabama – QB Jalen Hurts is putting the hurt on many opponents. RB Damien Harris showed out gashing the Rebels for 144 yards with nine yards per carry. And the Tide defense can score any time during any given game. This week vs Kent State.
2. Florida – The Gators are salty on defense, allowing a meager 4.6 points per game. Now the Gators favorite place to play away from home this week with a road trip to Knoxville. Will Florida make it 12 straight over the Vols? I say yes! This week @ Tennessee.
3. Texas A&M – In the first three weeks of the season, it seems like Aggies Coach Kevin Sumlin has quietly taken himself off the hot seat. However a loss this week to Arkansas may put him right back on it! The Aggies offensive trio of QB Trevor Knight, RB Trayuveon Williams and WR Josh Reynolds are solid skilled players and they will need another big week to get by Arkansas. This week vs Arkansas in Arlington, Texas
4. Arkansas – The Hogs already have a quality win over TCU and another win over a Texas school should see Arkansas become one of the teams to beat in the West this season. This week vs Texas A&M in Arlington, Texas
5. Georgia – The Bulldogs picked up a SEC road win and anytime you can do that it's a good thing. Now the toughest test to date takes place Saturday in Oxford against a desperate Ole Miss team. This week @ Ole Miss
6. Tennessee – This is the week! I don't think the Vols have to get the SEC title this season in order for Coach Butch Jones to switch seats from hot to lukewarm. But a loss here, and that hot seat turns into scorching. This week vs Florida
7. Ole Miss – The Rebels have shown that they can build big leads but can't close out games. Is this a two time thing or what we're to expect moving forward? Only time will tell. A must win this Saturday. This week vs Georgia
8. LSU – The QB play is better but now a road trip to the Plains won't be easy. LSU's season could be on the line. This week @ Auburn
9. Auburn – 1-2 after three is not all that bad. The Tigers do look better on both sides of the football. With that said a loss to LSU and then Gus becomes the guy on the SEC's hottest seat! This week vs LSU.
10. Mississippi State – Mississippi State will win some games this season and I think that they are a little better than most are giving them credit for. I don't think the Bulldogs will be the bottom team in the West this year. This week @ UMass.
11. South Carolina – The Gamecocks got a nice non-SEC win over a pretty good East Carolina team. But if South Carolina is not going to finish last in the East they need to win at Kentucky this weekend. This week @ Kentucky.
12-14 The rest – Kentucky, Missouri, Vanderbilt
The last three teams need to tighten up or it could be very long years for the Wildcats, Tigers and Commodores.
The Steelers are rolling but their rivals are not far behind. New England is still beating people even with their third QB, and Denver and Minnesota prove each week that defense is still the king in the NFL. Here is this week's top 10.
1. Pittsburgh (2-0) - If pre-season looks counted, then this team could be hositing their 7th title trophy. Have you seen the Steelers offensive weapons? It's scary. This week vs Washington.
2. New England (2-0) - Hey even with their third string QB, they are still damn hard to beat! Now can they really use their 3rd stringer to get by a tough H-Town defense? We shall see. This week Houston.
3. Denver (2-0) - Their defense is all that and then some, but an injured Demarcus Ware is not a good thing. If Denver wins on the road this weekend, they will once again be thought of as a legit Super Bowl-caliber club. This week @ Cincinnati.
4. Minnesota (2-0) - I know if AP is hurt, this team looks much different. But their defense is good enough to keep them in every game they play. A big test this week on the road at Carolina.
5. Baltimore (2-0) - Man, I did not see a close one against the Browns last week from these Purple Birds. But like they say, 'any given Sunday!' Can the Ravens put it all together this week in Florida? If they want to get to 3-0 they will. This week @ Jacksonville.
6. NY Giants (2-0) - Their investment into their defense is paying off big time, and now the G-Men can take control over a weak NFC East with a win this week over the struggling Redskins. This week vs Washington.
7. Houston (2-0) - With the Colts at 0-2, it looks like the Texans have the AFC South all to themselves. A win this week would credit the Texans with being a solid post season team! This week @ New England. 8. Carolina (1-1) - Cam and the Cats piled up over 500 yards of offense in a blowout win over the Niners. Now a much more physical defense puts Cam's hyped offense to the test. This week vs Minnesota.
9. Arizona (1-1) - A nice bounce back win in a 40-7 trouncing over the Bucs. Now the Red Birds go cross country to face a desperate Bills team that must win! This week @ Buffalo.
10. Green Bay (1-1) - Hey face it, the Packers just don't match up well with physical defenses. Luckily Detroit does not have one! This week vs Detroit.
Cincy (1-1) - A hard fought game last week did not produce the results the Bengals had hoped for. But no time to worry about the Steelers. The White Horses are coming to town and losing two straight is not a good thing! This week vs Denver.
Seattle (1-1) - Their offense is not looking good and the Rams continue to have their magic number. Still the Seabirds are too good not to be mentioned as one of the best. Still! This week vs San Francisco.
After the third straight 0-2 start, Saints fans are talking differently from each other. Simply put the Who Dat Nation has a decision to make.
If you're a loyal Who Dat no matter what...
You are patient and in it for the long haul. Loyal Who Dats are somewhat borderline delusional at times because they never think the Saints do or have done anything wrong. But the loyal Who Dats understand that the Saints are going through a phase right now.
And regardless of how many games the Saints lose, how many bad moves are made and how much money is being blown, loyal Who Dats will stand by the Black and Gold. The loyal Who Dats think that the Saints are an improving team that is trying to find the right mix of players to come up with the best 53 man roster. And although the Saints have spent money on some players that have not panned out, they still believe in the 'Sean and Mickey Process' so to speak.
The loyal Who Dat dearly values the one Super Bowl win that was handed to them by Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis and the rest of the organization. And the loyal Who Dat has complete confidence and solid faith that Payton and Loomis will bring the city another title sooner than later.
The loyal Who Dat thinks that TE Colby Fleener is feeling things out, and will soon prove that his near $50 million dollar deal was money well spent. They also think that WR Brandon Coleman is worth putting in the game and his dropping the football will eventually turn into TD receptions instead of the busted possible big plays Coleman has been known for since he arrived in New Orleans.
Yes those loyal Who Dats think that Mark Ingram will roll up big yards and he will be what he was when he played for the Alabama Crimson Tide. And they also believe in Andrus Peat. And I ain't joking.
Yes you loyal Who Dats are the ones who back the Black and Gold no matter what and you are the ones don't like those who talk outside of the family meaning you can't and won't stand for ANYONE bad mouthing your beloved Saints.
If you're a frustrated Who Dat...
Frustrated Who Dats feel much the same as the loyal Who Dats, with the exception they are about to blow a fuse if they don't see wins very soon. The frustrated Who Dat backs the Black and Gold but they take a more realistic approach.
Why are the Saints seemingly always unable to run the football? Why can't the Saints rush the opposing team's QB on a consistent basis? And why aren't the Saints among the elite teams in the NFL when they pay out top free agents big money and they have the highest paid coach in the NFL?
The frustrated Who Dat is very annoyed right now and they are fed up with 0-2 starts being shown to them by what is considered one of the best head coaches in all of professional sports. The frustrated Who Dat is not going anywhere because they still truly believe that the Saints will get back to the Super Game. At least one day they hope!
The angry Who Dat...
"Man damn all this! We paid how much for Coby Fleener, Jairus Byrd and Keenan Lewis? We can't run the damn ball, we can't protect Drew like we supposed to, we are once again 0-2 and I'm sick of being 0-2."
Yes the angry Who Dats are flat out tired of what they've seen. They want some answers to why the Saints front office has missed more than hit on free agents and top draft picks. They want to know what the Saints saw in CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste that 31 other teams did not see. They want to know why did they pick Andrus Peat, and why the Saints are hell bent on making Peat work out as a starter?
The angry Who Dat wants to hear why Mark Ingram does not get more rushing attempts and they want to know why Mark Ingram is their team's main RB. They want to know why the Saints got rid of Chris Ivory, they want to know why they did not pursue OL L'ael Collins, why the Saints signed what the Buffalo Bills' front office considered a descending player in what they feel is an overpriced Jairus Byrd and they want to know why the Saints can't ever find a bad to the bone interior defensive lineman.
The angry Who Dats are the ones who scratch their heads as to why the Saints paid Keenan Lewis and Junior Gallette, but did not fork up the dough to keep Darren Sproles or Malcom Jenkins, and why the Saints did not take a chance on the Honey Badger, L'ael Collins, Kelvin Sheppard and many, many other in-state LSU players that are flourishing in the NFL currently.
The angry Who Dat does not mind ticket increases, they don't mind paying 10-12 bucks for a brew in the dome and yes even the angry Who Dat will fork over whatever it takes to be decked out in Saints gear on Sundays in the Dome. But the angry Who Dat wants some return on their investment. They want to leave the Dome proud of their team and they want a good product every week of the season.
The angry Who Dat wants to hear from GM Mickey Loomis on to why he's made some of the moves he has. And they want to win and win now. The angry Who Dat is tired of being a middle of the road team that has a good offense and bad defense. And they want to know why Saints training camp is far away from home at a Country Club. The angry Who Dat is about to lose their cool!
So there you go, three Who Dats take on the current state of their New Orleans Saints. Which are you?
Things tend to change over the course of a season, and right now that is the case when it comes to players that are now considered Heisman Hopefuls. I'm quite sure that with it being so early in the year, many could make a much longer list than what I have complied for you below. But I do feel comfortable saying that one of the players mentioned below will win the 2016 Heisman Trophy!
Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett – He's probably the most consistent player among the Heisman Hopefuls. J.T. puts up some nice numbers and his ability to protect the football gives him more value.
In three games Barrett has racked up 809 yards and 11 TDs. Barrett is completing over 67% of his passes going 49-of-73 attempts, 650 passing yards with 10 TDs to only one interception. J.T. also has rushed for 159 yards, three TDs gaining 4.1 yards per carry.
J.T. has the total package as far team wins, big games on the back end of the OSU schedule. And J.T. has been a good player that is well known for a few years. If J.T. keeps on his current course he will be invited to NY this December.
Louisville QB Lamar Jackson – Let's face it, the trophy would already have his name ingraved in it if the trophy was going to be awarded to a player right now. Folks, looking at his numbers after the first the games of the season, simply put, Lamar Jackson is the best college player in the land.
Jackson has totaled a massive 18 TDs so far. Jackson has completed over 61% of his passes going 50-of-82 for 913 yards with eight touchdowns. But his ability to move in the pocket and tuck the ball and run is what has everyone wondering if this talented QB can be slowed.
Jackson has carried the ball 49 times for 464 yards with 10 touchdowns. So that is a total of 1,370 yards and 18 scores the first three weeks of the season. And Jackson has a lot of steam behind him already with a huge showing in the Cardinals 63-20 win over then #2 Florida State.
With future games against Clemson and Houston, along with some games in which Jackson should be able to pad his numbers in the first half of games, he should be the leader of the pack the rest of the season.
LSU RB Leonard Fournette – He's still the one player that the rest of the nation knows most about. And Leonard is the one player that everyone checks on to see how many yards he's rushed for each week. Fournette has rushed 285 yards on 51 carries with two TDs averaging 5.6 yards per carry. Honestly, Fournette's Heisman fate boils down to three games. If LF can light up Ole Miss, Arkansas and Alabama then he should have enough to take the trophy.
Stanford RB Christian McCaffery – If this special #5 can pull enough votes from the West media then he could come up with the Heisman. Christian is the real deal and he is once again off to a great start. In three games he is right on schedule to have another huge season.
In two games, McCaffery has rushed for 291 yards on 52 carries and three TDs. McCaffery is averaging 5.6 yards per carry and this talented Stanford star also has 113 receiving yards to his credit and one TD receiving as well.
McCaffery may be a player that is a victim of a weaker back-end schedule. Stanford's toughest stretch of the season is happening right now. The last four weeks of the season have some of the Pac-12's weakest teams with the exception of Oregon, voters may look elsewhere and point out to a player who's team is in a much more meaningful contest.
Alabama QB Jalen Hurts – This young man has a tremendous future in front of him and his current play has earned him notice and he's without question a legit Heisman Hopeful. And Hurts has already two, count them, two big games against quality foes in USC and Ole Miss.
Hurts has piled up 760 total yards with 563 coming from his arm and another 197 yards on the ground. Hurts has completed 48-of-78 passes for 563 yards, Hurts is completing 62% of his passes.
With games left against Tennessee, Arkansas, LSU and Auburn, Hurts has more than enough prime time outings to keep his Heisman status in very good shape.
Others to keep an eye on -- Clemson QB Deshaun Watson, Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly, Cal QB Davis Webb
The SEC only has one top ten team right now and it could be a while before another one joins the Tide. The Big Ten is still flexing, Mr. Jackson (Lamar that is) has Louisville rolling, while both Stanford and Wisconsin start hard stretches in conference play. So here is this week's CFB Top 10.
1. Alabama – Hey the Tide like giving the home dog a 21 point lead, and then coming back on that very same team and ROLLING over them! One thing is for sure, the Tide is going to roll an awful lot this season. And the Tide have some serious playmakers in QB Jalen Hurts and RB Damien Harris and WR Calvin Ridley, and TE O.J. Howard, and well you get the point! This week vs Kent State.
2. Ohio State – QB J.T. Barrett threw 4 TD passes in the Buckeyes big 45-24 blowout win over Oklahoma on the road. Once these Buckeyes shore up their defense that was raided by the NFL, I look for Ohio State to be highly ranked all season long. This week vs Rutgers.
3. Louisville – I'm sorry the rest of the nation. Cause Mr. Jackson is for REAL. QB Lamar Jackson is all that and a bag of chips. The talented youngster has scored 18 TDs already and he's coming off a 5 TD showing against then #2 Florida State. This week @ Marshall.
4. Michigan – Ok they had a little scare last week against Colorado. But it was Tom Brady Day at Michigan. This week could be interesting as the Lions of Penn State are in town. This week vs Penn State
5. Houston – Sure everyone knows the names Barrett and Jackson. But many of you don't have a clue who Greg Ward Jr. is. Houston QB Greg Ward Jr. is slowly climbing up the Heisman Trophy race. Ward Jr. Tallied 399 yards and three TD's last week. Man I don't really look that far ahead but the power five folks know that when November 17th rolls around that either Houston or Louisville crash the playoff party! This week at Texas State
6. Stanford – Stanford crushed rival USC and now Stanford will learn if they are a title chaser or faker. The Cardinal plays at UCLA and then at Washington the next two weeks! This week @ UCLA.
7. Clemson – Deshaun Watson and the Tigers offense had a feel-good game, racking up 59 points. But I think the next two weeks are huge for the Tigers, starting this week with the Yellow Jackets and the Louisville Cards next. This week @ Georgia Tech.
8. Wisconsin – WOW! Man, the Badgers almost blew it last week in a near loss to Georgia State. Now the worst part of the schedule comes up with a Big Ten battle at Michigan State. This week @ Michigan State.
9. Washington – All I know about the Huskies is that they are in everyone's Top 10. And their schedule gets much tougher this week with Arizona and then Stanford and Oregon. Win those and then the rest of the nation could begin to at least think this team is legit. This week @ Arizona.
10. Michigan State – Go Green, Go White! The Spartans picked up a much needed quality win. Now the Spartans are in position to really open eyes with a home game against Wisconsin. This week vs Wisconsin.
Over one thousand yards of total offense, 101 points and 13 touchdown passes. Just when ole Eli thought he had the leaderboard all locked up with six TD strikes, Drew topped dat with seven. And now the entire world will be looking to see - will this type of offensive explosion take place again?
Or should I say, will two horrible defensive units be horrible once again? Those are just a couple of questions that will seemingly be answered Sunday afternoon in the Big Apple when the Giants entertain the Black and Gold.
The Giants and Saints have met each other 28 times. New Orleans Saints has won 13 games and the New York Giants have won 15 games.
Last week's results: New Orleans lost to Oakland 35-34 and NY beat Dallas 20-19.
Next Week: The Saints entertain the Atlanta Falcons on MNF while the Giants will host the Washington Redskins.
Vegas Says: New York is a five -5 point favorite over the Saints with the total being 53
More than just OBJ
For those of you who think that the Giants offense is all about Odell Beckham Jr, well, think again. NY has plenty of weapons and the Giants offense feels like they can muster up much better numbers this season than they did a year ago.
Sure OBJ is arguably the best young WR in the game today, but the former LSU and Newman star is not alone when it comes to playmakers on the Giants offensive unit. TEs Larry Donnell and Will Tye bring a combination of size, speed and athleticism that causes tough match ups, and with fellow WRs Sterling Sheppard and Victor "I'm bout to Salsa" Cruz, NY can claim that they are one of the deepest teams when it comes to pass-catching players.
But to me, what makes this team so tough to defend is the ability of the Giants running backs to come out of the backfield and be legit threats catching the ball. RBs Rashaad Jennings and Shane Vereen are two players that QB Eli Manning feels very comfortable with in the passing game. So the Saints, who had their hands over filled with the Raiders offensive weapons a week ago won't get any breaks this week in New York.
Finish Strong not WRONG!
Man, can the Saints go back to the 2009 season and re-borrow that mantra "Finish Strong." Well last week after a great start by the Black and Gold defense, the Saints didn't finish strong - man, they finished WRONG!
Looking as if they were going to get off to a 1-0 start to the 2016 season, the Saints defense had set the table for a good ending to the first week of the season. In the first three quarters of the game, the Saints allowed 13 points on 23 plays with 145 yards gained in three scoring drives - but the way the Saints finished the game was pitiful.
Of course we all know that the loss of a key player like Delvin Breaux would factor in, but it would ultimately be the key injury that kept the Saints from winning.
Leading 24-13 going into the fourth quarter, the Saints defense put themselves in a good spot to come up with a win. But simply put, the Black and Gold did not get off the field when they needed to.
Oakland would have a four play drive that gained 60 yards and scored a TD, the Raiders then had a two play drive with 75 yards a TD and a two point conversion. And the Silver and Black ran an 11 play drive for 75 yards with a TD and a game winning two point conversion.
So if you put a number two pencil to that, the Raiders had 17 plays for 210 yards with 22 points scored in the final stanza.
And for those wondering, in last season's 52-49 win over the Giants the Saints defense allowed 49 points, 28 first downs and 416 yards. Just sayin!
Run to where?
For those of you who started laughing at me back in my first segment on this feature when I said that both the Saints and Giants defenses had improved, they have. And last week against arguably the best O-Line in the game, the NY G-Men more than held their own.
Dallas was able to manage only 101 yards rushing, averaging under four yards per carry at 3.4 yards per rush. After being one of the worst defensive units in each of the last two seasons, the Giants looked very much like an improved unit in their 20-19 win over the Cowboys.
So if you go by what the Giants did defensively against the Cowboys rush, and you factor in the Saints, it's safe to say that it's going to be difficult for New Orleans to gain yards on the ground. The Giant D-Line that consists of Jason Pierre-Paul, Olivier Vernon, Jonathan Hankins and Damon Harrison won the battle in the trenches and will make things hard on the Saints revamped offensive line this week.
I hate to cry over spilled milk, but winning last week was so vital to the Saints season. Now a loss at NY puts the Saints at 0-2 and for seven days all of us will have to hear all those damn bad stats about how 0-2 teams struggle mightily to make the post season.
Folks, the Saints are going to have trouble this week. New Orleans is going to have to win the turnover battle, get at least two extra possessions and make sure they don't leave to many hidden yards on the field.
Eli Manning and his talented core of pass catchers can't see the ball kicked off fast enough knowing that they are all going to face a young, inexperienced set of cornerbacks. If the Saints offense can't light up the scoreboard then I think this could get ugly. And I'm talking as ugly as my second grade picture!
The line opened at 3 and has since climbed to 5-5 ½. I sure would be nice to come home and celebrate the big anniversary next week with a 1-1 record. But it's more of a wish than a reality, I do believe.
OK let's get this straight - first of all I'm a proud graduate of Louisiana State University, I love to see all of the Tigers programs do well and hell, I live in Louisiana. What am I saying to you all?
I'm saying that this state benefits when LSU wins. Shoot, Bobby, T-Bob and I do more shows and get more work when the Tigers are playing well. So I truly want to see them win and win big! BUT that in no way taints my thinking of telling you what's really on my mind and what I think is really going on and going to happen. Looking at the Tigers first two games, folks, things don't seem to be getting better.
First the positive. The LSU defense is pretty good! Tradavius White is one of the nation's most dynamic players and his draft stock is only rising more and more each minute of each game.
LSU still has everything in front of them, but simply put, this team looks more like they are just waiting to implode more so than a team that looks like they are improving and gearing up for their big games.
LSU will once again rely on the nation's best RB in the dynamic Leonard Fournette and of course the Tigers have talent elsewhere. But folks here's why I think this team is heading for trouble!
1. The Schedule could see Tigers unravel a month earlier this year. Going to Auburn next week, it is going to be very hard to score points and win on the road. And I ask you all, don't you think the Auburn players, fans and coaches are sick and tired of seeing the highlights of L-Train #7 dominating the Tigers defense in last year's game? Winning at Auburn and Florida are two things that would very much surprise me. I don't expect LSU to win at either place. So with dates against Ole Miss, Arkansas and Alabama ahead, with the probability of three losses, already means doom for the Tigers and Coach Les Miles.
2. Cam Cameron – Hey, if I get called negative, no good, ignorant and stupid for speaking what everyone else feels and many football minds know, then tough! For one of the highest paid coordinators in all of sports to place a product on the field as Cameron has the last three seasons is simply unacceptable. Making over one million dollars and being responsible for an offense that has averaged 150 yards passing in 15 of their last 27 games? And the same passing game that has averaged under 170 yards passing in the last two seasons is flat out embarrassing. Y'all do know that LSU's passing game ranks above only two schools currently - that being Boston College and Georgia Tech. So in all of college ball, LSU has the third to last passing game? Folks that's sorry!
3. QB play – The QBs at LSU were either recruited by LSU or allowed to transfer to LSU and at sometime or another became the top players at the position at LSU. "Deke, what the hell are you saying?" I'm saying that the QBs that play for LSU are the best they could come up with. And folks the progress or lack thereof is on the coaches. So sure fans are frustrated at the play of the QBs but it's the coaches that have hand selected the players at the QB spot.
4. What if? What if Les Miles has to go back to Brandon Harris? What if Les Miles has to go back to Harris, back to Etling and then bring in true freshman Scott? Man this entire QB saga could turn even uglier depending on how Etling does against Mississippi State. And folks just an obvious reminder, this is college football, this ain't and I say ain't the NFL. There is and will be no pick-ups, no available QB on the waiver wire for the Tigers to sign. This is it. So in the words of the late great Flip "Geraldine" Wilson "What you see is what you get."
I'll end in saying that the above is nothing earth shattering to the Tiger Nation. It only hurts a little more, opens the wound a little wider and makes things seem a little more terrible as what had looked like it could be a special season, could very well be in the middle stages of a LSU disaster! And bringing back 18 starters, all you're tough SEC Games at home, and a three, four, five loss season would be just that. A disaster!
Coverage starts at 1 o'clock with our "Gulf Coast Bank & Trust Tiger Tailgate Show" with the Big Chief Deke Bellavia & our resident Tiger T-Bob Hebert... live from LSU's campus in front the ticket office on North Stadium Drive. What's your prediction for the Purple & Gold? At 4pm--its LSU's official pre-game with the "Voice of the Tigers," Chris Blair & color analyst – former LSU great – Doug Moreau… kick-off is 6 o'clock.
Hey, we all love us some money. And we all prefer the kind that folds, and not jingles!
Last week I got off to a pretty good start, as I was 5-2-1 in my eight picks of the week. BUT most importantly MY LOCK of the week was over 64 ½ in the Oklahoma versus UL Monroe Game.
Remember the season is a marathon and not a sprint. And my advice to you is not to try and have a mindset that you can win'em all. Because you can't, I can't, hell even Vegas can't. So my wisdom to you would be look at the paper and online each day of the week. Pay close attention to how the line opens, watch and see how the line moves. And then keep an eye on injuries, who's playing at home and perhaps most importantly team scheme and weather. Here are my week two picks of the week.
College Plays Florida State minus – 2 ½ over Louisville: Francois versus Jackson is a QB battle that even the all-time greats want to see. FSU has been tested. Louisville has not. But still the underdog inside of me says go with the Dog. I'll take Louisville and the points here.
Michigan minus – 20 over Colorado: This game is in the Big House where Jim and the Maize and Blue will roll hard! UM's schedule does beef up starting next week with Penn State and Wisconsin coming to town. I expect Michigan to have a rather easy time with the Buffalos. Take Michigan and lay the 20 points.
Navy -6 over Tulane: The reason why I love Tulane is their style of play. The Green Wave love to run, they have a low risk (if there is such a thing) passing attack, they play good special teams and teams. I'm telling y'all Willie Fritz is a damn good coach and the Green Wave have gone back to sporting the angry Green Wave on their helmets and that is alright with me. I think the Wave will win this game outright. Take Tulane as a home dog with six points.
Stanford minus -10 over USC: This game is being played in Palo Alto with the Cardinal being at home. SC can't be as bad as they looked in their 52-3 loss to Alabama. I think this will be another typical SC versus Stanford hard fought game that could come down to a late field goal or a McCaffery special play. I like Stanford to win but I'll put my $$ on the Men of Troy. Take the points and bet on the Trojans.
NFL Games Baltimore minus -6 over Cleveland: The Ravens will once again be in the playoff hunt this season. It looks like WR Mike Wallace is ready to again become a legit deep threat, QB Joe Flacco is off to a good start. And the Purple Birds are playing Cleveland. Need I say more? YES! Take the Baltimore Ravens and take a deposit slip with you to the bank!
New York Giants minus -4 over New Orleans Saints: The Giants are hot. The Saints are not. How can the Saints stop Beckham, Cruz and Sheppard with two rookie CB's? Hell, your guess is good as mine. And without a decent pass rush, man, Eli might light up the Saints D like a Christmas tree in Times Square during the holiday season. Take the G-Men if you want to win $$$!
All those so-called experts who sit around all damn day long ni picking how each week the SEC could get put out of the four team playoff are suckers! How long have they been saying that? And how many times are they wrong? ALL THE TIME!
With that said, not only are all teams in the SEC pulling for the Rebels, but so is every other league in the nation. But when you're the hunted, it happens. So here are my SEC Rankings for the third week of the 2016 season.
1. Alabama - You know, in each of the last two seasons that the Tide lost to Ole Miss, they still made the playoffs. Just saying! This week vs Ole Miss.
2. Florida - Their defense alone will make sure they win at least 10 games this season. And their offense is slowly - and I again say slowly - getting better. This week vs North Texas.
3. Arkansas - Hey, a road win over a good TCU team means a lot to me. Now, which SEC West power will these Hogs handle again this season? Ole Miss, LSU? Maybe both? This week vs Texas State
4. Texas A&M - Hey they are 2-0 and have arguably the best, ok 2nd best QB in the league. This week vs Auburn
5. Tennessee - A bounce back, much-needed win over a good Virginia Tech team keeps Butch safe for now. But man ole man, next week those Gators come to town in a possible MUST win for the Vols. This week vs Ohio.
6. Ole Miss - A win this week means QB Chad Kelly gets free drinks on the house anywhere in Northern Mississippi for life. Oh how the Grove will be rocking this weekend. Say it with me now Hotty Toddy! This week vs Alabama.
7. Georgia - Can a team look any worse and still win? No! This week vs @ Missouri.
8. LSU - One QB that was once on the bench sparked the team. The once starting QB that is now on the bench is social media off-base. Wait, isn't this Les Miles' Team? Business as usual in Baton Rouge. This week vs Mississippi State.
9. Auburn - These Tigers are going to do some major surprising over the next three weeks. I'm sensing wins over some Tigers and Aggies going into the month of October and if that happens Auburn will become a player in the West. A year late of course. This week vs Texas A&M
None of the other schools are real good at QB, and I wonder which one, if any, will become bowl caliber this season. I wonder if coaching changes could become open at Vandy and UK? Mississippi State, Kentucky, Missouri, Vanderbilt, South Carolina.
The Patriots pull off their first upset in over a decade, the AFC North looks three legit to quit, and even the Silver and Black are back! The Seabirds continue to win ugly, but they win. Oh, and those Steelers from the Keystone State are mighty damn good on offense and nasty on defense. Here is week two of my rankings.
1. Seattle – Hey, this is the NFL, not college or high school. You don't get penalized for not blowing out a team. After all we are talking about grown ass men here! They win ugly but I'll bet they beat your team with their ugly style more times than not! This week @ Los Angeles.
2. Pittsburgh – They woke up in the second half and the Big Ben, Brown and Williams Show came to light. Man what was Carolina thinking when they let RB D'Angelo Williams go? All he has done is become the best released pickup by any team in the NFL. Ooo wee! This week a huge one takes place in the Steel City as the rival Bengals come to town. Did you know that these teams hate each other? This week vs Cincy.
3. New England – No Tom, no problem! If this team goes 4-0 without the services of the best looking cat in the history of the game can they go 12-0 with him. I'd say the odds on dat are not too bad! Nothing is new as the Pats are still the class of the AFC! This week vs Miami.
4. Denver Broncos – Their so-called inexperienced QB looked anything but last week in a win over the Cats. And the Denver defense is in midseason form already! Another Super Run is still possible! This week vs Indianapolis.
5. Green Bay – A closer than expected test took place in J'Ville, but hey on opening day, all teams play their best. Unless you're Cleveland. Damn did I just say dat? Sho did! This week vs @ Minnesota.
6. Cincinnati – A strong week one road win against the Planes of NY was quite impressive. And WR Mr. Green, A.J, is as good as any in the league. And maybe AJ is the best. This week @ Pittsburgh.
7. Baltimore – The Purple Birds are going to roll early this season. Just you wait and see. And you won't have to wait long my people. WR Mike Wallace could very well be the key pick up by any team this off season. This week @ Cleveland.
8. Carolina – Yes they lost but if the FG kicker had done his job, they would be 1-0. No fear, this team is in the NFC South. And is not going to be challenged at all unless it's from a rising young Bucs team! This week vs San Francisco
9. Minnesota – They won big and now they can show the rest of the league that even without Teddy's Jam at QB, these Vikings from the North are still going to be in the hunt! This week vs Green Bay.
10. Houston /Arizona– (Houston) They Texas Two-Stepped the Monsters from the Midway and now they look to get off to a hot 0-2 start. A revenge game this week? Possibly! This week vs Kansas City. Arizona – How do you lose to NE without Tom playing? Hell I don't know ask a Cardinal! This week vs Tampa Bay
Keep your eyes on: KC Chiefs – They are still all that on defense and a road win this week would be a huge 2-0 start for the boys from Arrowhead Stadium. NY Giants – I like what I see from their defense and the Salsa Dance is back for the first time in over 700 days! Oh snaps could the G-Men b-for real? Yes Sir! This week vs New Orleans.
The Saints defense is better. As bad as that may sound right now after allowing nearly 500 yards (486 to be exact), 35 points and several big scoring drives, it's true, if you breakdown the Saints' battle versus the Raiders.
The Saints did not play bad. Well, at least in the first three quarters. But to those who have seen some of the worst defensive play in the last two seasons, the fourth quarter was an ugly reminder about how bad the Saints defense was, and hopefully won't be for 15 more games this season.
Let's take a look at how the game unfolded with the Raiders. In the first three quarters of the game the Saints allowed 13 points on 23 plays with 145 yards gained in three scoring drives. But the way the Saints finished the game was pitiful.
Leading 24-13 going into the fourth quarter the Saints defense put themselves in a good spot to come up with a win. But simply put the Black and Gold did not get off the field when they needed to.
Oakland would have a four-play drive that gained 60 yards and scored a TD, then had a two-play drive with 75 yards a TD and a two point conversion. And the Silver and Black ran an 11 play drive for 75 yards with a TD and a game winning two point conversion.
So if you put a number two pencil to that, the Raiders had 17 plays for 210 yards with 22 points scored in the final stanza. So now the Saints will look at the tape, see what they did right, so what they did wrong and try to get ready for the New York Giants.
And for those wondering, in last season's 52-49 win over the Giants, the Saints defense allowed 49 points, 28 first downs and 416 yards. Just sayin!
The SEC is not mighty as of right now. In fact the SEC may very well be witnessing the worst QB play in league history to start a season. While the SEC tries to get it together the rest of the power five including the Big Ten and ACC are making moves to jockey for early season playoff position. With all that said, as long as Alabama is in the SEC, the SEC has a strong chance to win a title!
Two huge games this week take place in the ACC, Big Ten/Big XII and SEC. Who comes out alive? Who falls for the first time? Let's take a look at this week's rankings.
1. Alabama – After an "ass chewing" to little Lane, Nicky Boy wanted only to humble his $1.4 million dollar QB Coach. Hey it's all a part of the "process" that so many claim to use but no one other than Saban can orchestrate. This week @ Ole Miss.
2. Florida State – The Noles could be walking into a hornets nest this week as they take on the Red Hot Red Birds in the land of KFC. Oh man the overs in this one could be set at 110? This week @ Louisville.
3. Ohio State – All they do is win, win, win no matter what. But a tough road trip this week awaits in Norman against the Boomer Sooners. Man a win this week and we could see these Buckeyes in playoff position all season long. Or until the battle with the Big Blue and Maize! This week @ Oklahoma.
4. Michigan – The best QB Coach of all time looks as if he has another solid club. You know Jim Harbaugh could very well become one of the greatest coaches of all time. Hell I think he already has. This week vs Colorado.
5. Louisville – The Red Birds have scored more points in two weeks than most teams will do in 10 games. QB Lamar Jackson has 13 TD's already and has been named the player of the week the first two weeks of the season. Say what you want about young blonde good looking ladies, motorcycles and Coach Bobby Petrino, but the man is a damn good coach and if he wants he can move on to a much bigger job next season. This week vs Florida State.
6. Stanford – After a week off, the Cardinal are ready to open Pac-12 play against rival USC. Looking at the schedule, the Cardinal really need this one. This week vs USC.
7. Clemson – Which set of Tigers have looked the worst? The ones from BR or Clemson? Man oh man these boys better tighten up fast or their so-called hope to get back and take care of some unfinished business won't come close to taking place. This week vs South Carolina State.
8. Wisconsin – These Badgers are for real. Listen, when you have a type of defense that this group of ground hog looking mascot people have you can do some things. Special things. But one has to wonder will a brutal first five Big Ten Games kill their shot at the title? Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa and Nebraska make that stretch more than unfair! This week vs Georgia State.
9. Iowa – They took care of instate foe Iowa State and now these Hawkeyes face their toughest non-conference foe in North Dakota State? Please believe it! This week vs North Dakota State.
10. Michigan State – The Spartans could see their early season schedule do them in as they travel to South Bend to take on the Irish. Man do yall member that battle back in the day that ended in a tie when big bad Bubba Smith played for the Spartans? Now dat was a game! This week @ Notre Dame.
Who: The Oakland Raiders visit the New Orleans Saints Where: Mercedes Benz Superdome When: Sunday September 11, 2016 Noon Kickoff Team Records: Both the Saints and Raiders were 7-9 in 2015 What's next: The Saints will travel to New York to battle the Giants while the Raiders will take on the Falcons in Oakland
Both teams are coming off 7-9 seasons. And to say that those identical numbers have a different feeling to each the Raiders and Saints would be spot on. The Saints somewhat salvaged a rather embarrassing season with a last week win over Atlanta to avoid double digit losses for the first time in the Sean Payton era. While the same 7-9 mark for Oakland has Raiders fans thinking playoffs, seriously thinking playoffs, for the first time in nearly 15 years. Oakland finished the preseason with a 1-3 record and New Orleans was 0-4. The Saints looked not so good this pre-season and Oakland not much better.
First games of the season are always the hardest to get a feel for. First games are tough on players, coaches, fans, Vegas, etc. No one knows what's going to happen, when that light clicks on and we can see a team come together and gel. There is no way to predict how good or bad a team will be this season on what they did in three basically meaningless preseason games.
The Saints are not as good as the Raiders according to the national media, Vegas and just about everyone who classifies themselves a Who Dat. As the Cajun Cannon says, this is a game the Saints have to win. After going a dismal 4-9 in their last 13 home games, if the Saints plan on being a threat this season they have to go at least 6-2 in the Superdome.
The Saints offense has its hands full this week, taking on a much more physical Raiders defense. How the Black and Gold are going to put up some decent numbers rushing the football, I have no idea.
That leaves us with Drew Brees. Brees has saved the Saints before and if New Orleans has a chance to move the ball on offense it's going to have to be in the air. But caution is much better served here than bravado as the Saints O-Line will have a tough time keep Brees clean. Advantage: Raiders!
The Raiders offense is young, fresh and laden with talent. Can the Saints apply enough heat on QB Carr to keep him from hooking up with Crabtree and Amari Cooper? I actually like the Saints play on defense this preseason and I think they will play well Sunday. Advantage: Even!
The Saints began the week as a 2 ½ point favorite and now the line is at 1. Vegas numbers show that the public is laying the $$$ on the Silver and Black. In spirit of opening day and that the Saints are only favored in four games this season I'll say that the Saints eke one out here.
New Orleans 24 Oakland 23
Get ready for wall to wall Saints coverage starting at 8am with former Saints offensive lineman Steve Korte and Saints sideline reporter Kristian Garic for "Fans First Take!" Then, at 10 o'clock join the Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert, the Big Chief Deke Bellavia & NFL analyst Mike Detillier for the Bud Light "Countdown to Kickoff" live from Gate C at the Superdome. After the game – sound off on "The Point After" with the Cajun Cannon & the Big Chief live from our new home for "The Point After" – Big Easy Café (4517 West Esplanade & Clearview in Metairie) till 6pm.
1.) Alabama - After trouncing the men of Troy, the Tide again look title worthy. Oh well I guess some things never change. This week vs Western Kentucky
2.) Georgia - RB Nick Chub and young QB Jacob Eason passed the Dogs' first legit test with flying colors. Now a home opener awaits between the hedges against Nicholls State. Nothing like padding the stats and an easy day off every now and then! This week vs Nicholls State.
3.) LSU – Yes they lost but it was to a pretty good team that has an excellent defense. Now the rest of the month of September will decide the fate of Coach Les Miles. A 2-2 start in the first four weeks would call for a change. This week vs Jacksonville State
4.) Ole Miss – The Rebels had the toughest game of anyone in the first week of the season. It could very well wind up being the toughest foe they will see all year. Other than Alabama, who, by the way, the Rebels play next week in Oxford! This week vs Wofford.
5.) Tennessee – A lackluster win is still a win. With that said Tennessee has some huge games forthcoming including a tilt with those hated Gators that have beaten the boys from good ole Rocky Top mmm only 11 straight times! Be careful this week on the track in Bristol, cause those Hokies sho ain't afraid! DAYUM! This week vs Virginia Tech.
6.) Arkansas – Hey, they barely won, but La. Tech is no pushover. I like the commitment to the run and the sense to know that you also need some BALANCE (take a hint, LSU). Now tell me folks, what happens when you put a Frog and a Hog together? I'd say one hell of a feast! TCU is a legit foe this week in Fort Worth! This week @ TCU
7.) Florida – The Gators will play sound defense, be better on offense and I'd not count this group out this season as far as being a solid title contender for the East Crown. This week vs Kentucky.
8.) Texas A&M – Coach Kevin Sumlin avoided the Hot Seat this week with a good win over the then ranked-Bruins of L.A. Now the next few weeks will Sumlin be able to keep his back side cool from that heat on the seat? Maybe. This week vs Prairie View A&M.
9.) South Carolina – A close call win over the 'Dores in Music City has given this rebuilding program hope to shoot for a bowl bid this season. And another road win would almost assure this lesser known Mushchamp coached club a bowl invite. This week @ Mississippi State.
Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Missouri and Auburn
Auburn looked as good as a bottom of the division team could in a loss to #2 Clemson, Vandy perhaps blew their entire season last Thursday night, Mississippi State got outfoxed in Cowbell Land and Missouri just got beat by WVU. And of course it's ok UK, just keep carrying the SEC in Hoops and the rest is all good!
The Seabirds are still the best, there is a team in Pittsburgh that looks hard as steel, Pretty Tom and the Pats are not together for four weeks - and the rest of the league is pretty wide open! Super Bowl sleepers include the Jets, the Giants and the Ravens, and we have Super Bowl dreamers in Cleveland, New Orleans, and Philly.
It's game week with some big time tilts! Check out the Ravens and Bills, the Jets and Bengals - and everyone wants to know if the Cowboys can be that good with young Dak at QB. And can the Saints be that bad with Drew Brees?
OK, it's time for another season and here we go!
1.) Seattle Seahawks - They are still the best defensive team in the league and they look a lot more healthy on offense. I think they are the class of the league to start the season. This week vs Miami.
2.) Pittsburgh Steelers - If pre-season looks counted, then this team could be hositing their 7th title trophy. Have you seen the Steelers' offensive weapons? It's scary! This week vs Washington.
3.) Carolina Panthers - Cam and the Cats are in an easy division and this team will be around for quite some time. I think these Cats can make another run this season. This week vs Denver.
4.) Arizona Cardinals - Simply put, if the Red Birds don't beat the Patriots without Tom Brady, then am I supposed to think they will beat them when he plays? Shhh I sound dumb... but I'm not. This week vs New England.
5.) New England Patriots - Don't fret - Tom is teasing his hair for the nest four weeks and he will be prettier than ever when he returns in four weeks. I wonder how many NFL fans would prefer to see Tom in a swimsuit rather than his supermodel old lady! This week @ Arizona
6.) Green Bay Packers - They have A. Rodgers and that's plenty enough to handle things in the NFC North. But can GB count on RB Eddie Lacey? Man, as good as Alabama is on the college level, their RB's sure do struggle in the NFL. Hell just google Trent and Mark. This week vs Jacksonville.
7.) Cincinnati Bengals - Yippy yippy yea, yea look who just got outta jail today! Oops did I just say that? Hey, these Bengals make me think like that sometimes! They just act a fool on the field. This week @ NY Jets.
8.) Houston Texans - How can the team with the best player in the league not be ranked in the top 10? The Texans hope to have young Clowny healthy this season to go along with Mr. Watt! This week vs Chicago.
9.) NY Jets - This team is more than worthy than putting a few nickles on to land in the Super Bowl. They are set. But can they deliever? This week vs the Bengals.
10.) Baltimore Ravens - These Purple Birds are too well-coached and too talented to not be in the hunt. Don't be surprised if this team comes out the gates smoking! And when I say smoking, I mean something like 4-0, 5-0 or maybe like 8-1. This week vs Buffalo
Man ole man, what a wild first week of the season! Five of the top 11 teams either lost or dropped in the polls. The mighty SEC was anything but, and the Big Ten looks legit once again. And a huge Pac 12 battle this weekend on the West Side could decide the conference!
Let's take a look at this week's college football top 10!
1.) Alabama - The Tide looked in mid-season form against a worthy foe in USC. Now how many you actually thought a young QB would hinder the Tide? The more things change, the more they stay the same. And how bout ole St. Nicky letting little Lane run up a big total on blondies former employer? This week vs Western Kentucky
2.) Ohio State - The Buckeyes are one of four legit powers this season from the Big Ten. Y'all know Ohio State is 25-2 in their last 27 games? Tulsa is up next, followed by a goodie on the road to take on Baker and the boys in Sooner-land. Say it with me: OH - IO! This week vs Tulsa
3.) Florida State - You see, there are coaching staffs that can prepare a QB for a season. Jimbo Fisher is the nation's 2nd best QB Coach. Jim Harbaugh is tops of course. The Noles have Charleston Southern this week before a very interesting one at Louisville. This week vs Charleston Southern
4.) Clemson - The Tigers offense managed only 19 points on the plains last Saturday night. QB Deshaun Watson has seen better days, but Watson is still all dat and then some. Oh, please believe it! This week vs Troy
5.) Michigan - The man can coach, and he's quickly restored one of America's most storied programs. Yes Jim Harbaugh is worth every bit of his monster salary. Hell, truth be told, he should get a raise. Hell on you if you ain't down with "Hail to the Victors." Go Big Blue! This week vs Central Florida
6.) Iowa - Some teams just win ugly - but they win. QB C.J. Beathford and DB Desmond King are the two veterans that will guide these Hawkeyes back to the Big Ten title game - or so I bet they would! This week vs Iowa State
7.) Houston - These Cougars are for real. And now they are on track to crash the playoff party. And for those of you who wish to see 6 maybe 8 teams in the playoffs then you should be yelling "Go Cougars!" This week vs Lamar
8.) Stanford - The Cardinal had a nice tune up in week one and now face rival USC. Simply put, coach David Shaw and Stanford are consistently underrated. And I'm sure they're both just fine with that status. This week BYE
9.) Michigan State - Sparty and the boys left a little to be desired in week one. But hey no one has ever won a title in September. This week vs Furman
10.) Oklahoma - The Sooners had one of the toughest games to open the season. And it's possible that the Big XII could be locked out of the playoffs three weeks into the season. Yes! That's exactly what will happen if OU losses to Ohio State in two weeks and they go on to win the Big XII. I'm not counting out QB Baker Mayfield and these Sooners just yet! This week vs UL Monroe
You play how you practice, right? Well if that is the case then the media has once again been fooled to the hip regarding how to gauge the Black and Gold this pre-season. Shoot, I don't have to remind anyone how the entire world missed the boat on calling the truth about the 2014 Saints.
Maybe, hopefully, we are all missing it again two years later as it is the complete opposite, as the Saints looked (seemingly) so title-ready two years ago at this time. And now this team looks "drafting towards the top of the first ten picks"-ready right now!
Simply put, the Saints have shown us that no matter what takes place in their final preseason game against the Ravens, this team has major concerns, a lot of big question marks and a lot of people feeling not so good about the 2016 season.
So it all comes down to one preseason game? No way, but to the Saints, the Ravens game is far from meaningless, and that itself to me is a sign of what we seen and where the '16 Saints are right now!
Saints Color Analyst Deuce McAllister says that the Saints will play their starters for some length of time tonight because they need to! "I think this comes down to execution and confidence. The Saints want to go into the season coming off a performance in which the team maybe put together somewhat of a complete performance. I think Drew and the offense want some consistency in running the football and getting good timing down in the passing game. I mean, we all know they can do it, and they have done it at the highest level for over a decade. But you still want to go out and have some good series in some of the preseason games."
Good strategy or desperation?
The Cajun Cannon sees the Saints not just wanting to go out and have a good showing, or at least the first team players - but the former signal caller says that the Saints NEED to look good. "Listen, the last time Drew Brees played in the final preseason game was his first year here back in 2006. And he Drew did so then because he was coming off a shoulder injury. I think the Saints are still unsure on who's going to be on the O-Line, which players are the right starting combination and there may be a few roster spots on the line in the Ravens game as well. I think if the first team offense looks good they may play one series and that's it."
The Big Chief's Final Analysis
To me, the Saints are not in desperation simply because a coach and a QB like Drew Brees would never say to anyone, perhaps not even to each other, that the Saints are that bad off needing a few good series in a meaningless preseason game to get ready for an entire NFL season.
With that said, I think the word "urgency" has been used far too many times this camp to have the same meaning. The current state of the 2016 New Orleans Saints is not one that is very good, and that is according to no one other that the coach and the team themselves.
Just go back and listen to each of the post-game pressers that Payton and Brees had, and in those tones, dialects and words you will find all you need to define the current state of the Saints. Whether you agree it is desperation, good move to play the starters, sending a message about how important all games are to his team, or simply having too many tight battles for roster spots, the Saints have not looked good overall and time is out after the Ravens game as far as the preseason is concerned.
If the Saints ran the ball well, stopped the run, played well in coverage, did not let the Ravens TE go off, and got after the Ravens QB, would any of us change our minds on what the whole preseason has presented before us? NO! And neither would the Saints.
The final game is about the process and how things play out. And if anyone from any part of the universe goes by what they have seen from the Saints so far, "concern" would be a mild term on how things are currently looking!