This Sunday the NFL will host another game in London. This will be the second of four games to be held in London this year. This week will see the New Orleans Saints take on the Miami Dolphins. And after the beat down Jacksonville gave Baltimore last week, anything is on the table.
1. Drew Brees still has dat?
Drew Brees is 38 years old and a lot of sports writers have been ready to write him off but Brees being Brees has put together another solid start to the season. Through these first 3 games Brees ranks in the top 10 in completion percentage, touchdowns, passer rating and yards. Oh, and lets not forget that Brees has yet to throw an interception. Only 3 other quarterbacks can claim that distinction. Keep in mind Brees has done this without Willie Snead who has been suspended, Brandin Cooks who was traded in the offseason to New England and a dysfunctional running game that finally put together a solid showing last week. I can admit that a lot of the Saints offensive stats have come in “garbage time” (they are ranked 6th with 380 yards per game) but anyone who has watched this team for the last decade can tell you, they are capable of putting up massive yards and points at any moment. If the Dolphins want to slow down Brees they will need to have consistent pressure on him and make him let go of the ball before routes fully develop.
2. Saints offensive line vs Dolphins defensive line…
This could be one of the better matchups throughout the day. And the Saints offensive line could be nearing full strength soon. Both Terron Armstead and Zach Strief returned to practice this week. This is after the Saints offensive line had arguably their best performance of the season last week. But this week they will face Ndamukong Suh and the Miami defensive front. Suh can, and probably will, create havoc up the middle while Cameron Wake can create plays on the end. Armstead and Strief are both listed as questionable on the injury report but with a BYE week coming next week I would expect them to stay on the sidelines unless they are needed.
3. Garbage Time!!
Following last weeks poor performance Head Coach Adam Gase told reporters that he was tired of watching Miami’s “garbage offense.” Ouch! Choice words for Jay Cutler and company but it was an assessment that wasn’t far from the truth. However, despite promise in the preseason, the Saints defense isn’t much better than Miami’s offense. So if there were ever a time for Miami to bounce back, a meeting with the Saint’s secondary is exactly what the doctor should order. The Saints defense did have an admirable showing last week and I don’t want to take anything away from them but a lot of their performance had more to do with Cam Newton not being very good. Lucky for them, as Gase put it, Miami is garbage. Which unit is worst? Only time will tell.
4. The Running Back Rotation
Eventually Sean Payton is going to stop giving valuable snaps to Adrian Peterson and give those snaps to the #1 back in New Orleans, Mark Ingram. Everyone is still watching and waiting to see if Peterson “still has it.” Peterson still has his power but his burst and quickness just isn’t there. Personally I don’t want to see Peterson on the field unless Mark needs a break or the game is already won and Payton wants to give Peterson garbage time stats. And if we are being honest with ourselves, Kamara should be ahead of Peterson on the depth chart at this point.
5. Welcome Home!
Miami Running Back Jay Ajayi and New Orleans Defensive End Alex Jenkins will be traveling home. Jay Ajayi might be the NFL’s biggest name from across the pond and has been a great face for the NFL as it tries to market more and more in London. As for Jenkins, he will not play this week since he is on the practice squad but just the ability to be home in his first year of the NFL is surreal.
Saints: Offense: Drew Brees has a solid day passing for 350 yards and 4 scores. Defense: 2 sacks and 1 interception
Miami: Offense: Jay Ajayi will rush for 100 yards and a score. Defense: 2 sacks on Drew Brees
Final Score: Saints 31 Dolphins 21