by Steve Geller, firstname.lastname@example.org,posted Oct 24 2013 6:21PM
Time to chase those bye week blues away Who Dat Nation. The Saints are looking to close out the second half of their schedule with the same success that they've had so far. The Black and Gold are 5-1 and welcome the 3-4 Bills to the Superdome on Sunday. You cannot chalk this one up as an easy win though. Buffalo has been in every single game they've played this season and seem to improve every week. Here are some players to watch in this match-up:
Tight End Jimmy Graham
What is the real status of Jimmy Graham? He injured his foot in the Saints loss to the Patriots and reportedly went for an MRI. The results of that test are not known, but ESPN reported that it is a “minor” injury. However on Monday, ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter tweeted that IF the Saints were in action this past Sunday it would have been difficult for Graham to play. He didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday.
We constantly hear that Drew Brees spreads the ball around to so many different weapons in the high powered offense, but the fact is Graham is the go-to-guy. Brees has thrown 14 touchdowns this year, 6 have gone to Graham. In fact, only one other player has more than one TD grab.
That being said though, I could see the team resting the big TE this week against the Bills since the Saints are at home and facing a weaker opponent.
Wide Receiver Marques Colston
With a big question mark over Graham, my first thought is that Colston needs to step up and pronto. The Quiet Storm has been too quiet this season, and I'm concerned his foot that bothered him during training camp is still an issue.
He has just 24 receptions for 324 yards and one score thru the first 6 games. To compare last year at this time, Colston had 5 TDs with 517 yards on 35 catches. That's a pretty alarming dip in numbers. Hopefully the week off will help the 30 year old get some of his mojo back.
Running Back Khiry Robinson
Time and time again I've been bangin' the drum in support of giving Pierre Thomas more carries. Well, Robinson is getting even fewer touches than PT and has been more productive.
K-Rob saw his first action of the season in week 3 and has been handed the ball just 26 times, but is averaging 5.27 yards per carry. He scored his first career TD in the loss against the Pats and feels as if he's earned an increased role in the offense. One problem though is that Coach Sean Payton has mentioned ball security issues with the 23 year old. Until coach CAN trust ‘em, his role will remain limited. This game could be that opportunity for Robinson to bust out.
Defensive End Mario Williams
Super Mario got paid big bucks in free agency last year and came alive after a tough start to post a 10.5 sack season in 2012. Well, this year the mammoth defensive end already has 10 sacks on the year, and you can bet he'll be coming hard for Brees on Sunday.
At 6 ft 6, 290 pounds Williams has the ability to steal momentum away from an offense like he did in last week's win over the Dolphins. Pressure is the name of his game so the Saints o-line better eat their Wheaties.
Linebacker Kiko Alonso
Alonso is off to a strong start and leads the team in tackles with 70. He also has 4 interceptions, 1 sack, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. The rookie out of Oregon also has 4 tackles for loss.
If Jimmy Graham is good to go, Alonso will likely be the guy in charge of trying to shut him down. So, it might be another frustrating day for the Saints TE. This kid also isn't afraid to do the dirty work of standing up offensive linemen to create opportunities for those around him either. Alonso is turning out to be a real top notch 2nd round draft pick by the Bills.
Running Back Fred Jackson
It's hard to highlight any player of the Buffalo offense, but I am going with Jackson. He and CJ Spiller have been splitting carries this season, and despite being 32 years old, Jackson has outperformed Spiller who is 26.
Jackson has managed to score 3 TDs over the last 3 games and has 226 yards rushing/receiving in that span as well. He aggravated a sprained MCL last week but intends to play Sunday. F-Jax remains the lead dog in the Bills running back committee and will try to victimize a Black and Gold run defense giving up on average 114 yards per game.