The Saints have secured their first winning record since 2013 at the 3/4 mark of the season. Moving forward through the final stretch, there’s a ton of excitement and growing expectations. Despite the winning streak ending in Los Angeles, the Saints bounced back last Sunday to secure the lone position atop of NFC South. Tonight, they take on the Atlanta Falcons with the opportunity of ending their playoff hopes and potentially securing their own playoff spot depending on other games throughout the weekend. Check out these scenarios from the fantastic Canal Street Chronicles crew.
Drew Brees is steady as always with a 71.5% completion percentage. That percentage puts him at number 1 among Quarterbacks with more than 50 pass attempts. He’s also 3rd in the league in passing yardage with 3,298 yards- only 3 yards behind 2nd place.. Since the Midseason Review, Drew has thrown 4 touchdowns and only 1 interception. This includes the absolute bruiser of a game we laid on Buffalo when we scored 47 points without Drew throwing a single TD. Still, at this point in the season Brees has only thrown more than 35 passes 5 times. The Saints passing and rushing offenses both rank 3rd in the NFL. The offense has found a way to win without having to expect 400 yards and 4 touchdowns from their quarterback and the lack of wear and tear has helped keep the offense unpredictable and Brees fresh. I mean, he even scampered for one of the Saints six rushing touchdowns against the Bills. Brees looks to still be on pace for around 4,400 yards, over 20 touchdown passes, and one hell of a turnaround season.
Boom & Zoom A.K.A. Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara respectively, have been a pair of unstoppable forces since the bye week. Both are nearly striking distance of 1,000 yard rushing seasons. Ingram only needs 88 more yards. If Kamara can somehow average nearly 100 yards rushing and receiving per game, he could reach 1k in both rushing and receiving, though it’d be quite a task. However, Kamara is well within range of reaching 1,800 all-purpose yards on offense. These guys have been phenomenal and taking the league by storm. If nothing else, their brotherhood has amazing to watch off the field. If you haven’t seen their recent call with Deion Sanders, do check it out. Pro Football Focus also has Alvin Kamara in the lead on their rookie rankings all while he’s been the talk of the town in regards to OROTY.
Michael Thomas has been astonishing this year. Check out our tweet highlighting his rankings.
The highlights being that he’s 6th in the league in receptions and 10th in the league for receiving yards. He’s also got a 67.6% catch percentage which puts him 8 among players with 80+ targets, RBs included. Thomas is well within range to complete another 1,000 yard receiving season. Despite his low TD total, he’s been one of the most dominate receivers in the league, rarely not being a factor when it comes to keeping the offense alive. I’d look for him to double his TD total (currently 3) before the playoffs and to make it into the top 5 of Pro Bowl voting if the people that treat it like a popularity contest have gotten it out of their systems.
The Offensive Line has been great this year. Along with paving the way for a 1,000 yard rusher for the second year in a row, they have also done well when it comes to protective their quarterback. They have only allowed 15 sacks so far this season, fifth least when protecting a QB with 300+ dropbacks. In the midst of all this, they’ve also secured a potential 750 yard rushing season for another unning back, done very good work in the revived screen game, and have continued to pile on highlight after highlight of putting defensive players on their backs en route to the endzone.
Cameron Jordan has been the defensive equivalent of Drew Brees in terms of consistency. For the third year in a row Jordan has at least 10 sacks. He’s also been amazing in the run game, a blessing considering the loss of Alex Okafor. Per PFF, Cam has also gotten multiple pressures on the opposing quarterback in every game so far this season. His productivity is being praised all over Twitter by current players, former players, and analysts. This might be the year he finally gets recognition for his astounding ability to play every aspect of the opposing offense.
Marshon Lattimore has been missed sorely after leaving the Washing game early with an ankle injury. He tried to return during that game and ahead of the Los Angeles game to no avail. However, there’s a good chance he goes tonight. Having both he and Ken Crawley back on the field against Atlanta is a huge deal. Along with having them back together, we’ll also have rookie Safety Marcus Williams back. All told, the secondary hasn’t been the same this past quarter of the year, though Crawley played very well against Carolina. They’ll face some of their biggest tests this week and again in two weeks against Atlanta. Hard to review what hasn’t been present much over the last four games, but the fact that the defense allowed over 300 passing yards two weeks straight against Washington and Los Angeles after not doing so since Mathew Stafford in week 6 speaks volumes to the value of their presence.
There’s a lot to look forward to as the Saints inch closer and closer to their first playoff appearance since 2013. After suffering through 3 straight Jeff Fisher specials, here we sit at 9-3 with the reunion of the Boonk Gang and 4 very winnable games ahead of us to close it out.