The Saints will play the last of their pre-bye week games against the New York Jets in the Superdome this Sunday afternoon, pitting an undefeated offensive juggernaut against an undefeated defensive powerhouse.
After two more difficult than the final score relates road games against mid-level teams, the Black and Gold will face its most formidable opponent thus far and perhaps one of the team’s three toughest games of the season (the other two being New York’s “other” team and the Patriots).
While the Jets were probably handicapped in the pre-pre-season as a probably win by the hoi polloi (including this self-anointed “expert”) because they are lead by a rookie quarterback, the 3-0 Jets have at this point shown the capacity to not just make the playoffs but go deep in post-season.
The New York Jets have one of the stingiest defenses in the league, giving up an average of 11 points (2nd in the league) per game, 256 yards (3rd), with an average of 173 yards (5th) against the pass. Their greatest trophy yet is their defeat of intra-division rival the hated New England Patriots, whom they limited to a whopping 9 points.
The Jets have been moderately less effective against the run, giving up 82 yards per game (9th).
The Jets offense has been adequate, led by rookie quarterback Alex Sanchez, who has become the toast of the town and heralded with a blasphemous nickname by the Green and White Devout. The team is 13th in points (21), 21st in yards (315) with a better running game (11th in the league with an average of 130) than a passing game (25th in the league with 185- an off game for Drew Brees).
The key for the Saints defense is to contain the run and make Sanchez carry the team, thus opening opportunities for picks. For all of his hype, Sanchez is a better leader than he is a quarterback at this juncture of his career.
Though Brees didn’t rack up in Buffalo his usual spectacular passing yardage, part of that had to do with the weather conditions at Ralph Wilson, which was windy for much of the game. Brees will be in his element on Sunday in terms of climate but will be facing a very aggressive defense. The blitz happy Jets are going to try to get inside his head and on top of his body early.
The key players in this game will be the linebacker corps on stopping the Jets’ running game, Reggie Bush and Lance Moore for their ability to get big yards off of short passes and Zach Strief, who will be playing in place of injured Jermon Bushrod, who himself was starting in place of injured Pro-Bowl tackle Jammal Brown, who has since been placed on the injured reserve list. Strief is going to be getting a lot of attention/pressure from the Jets’ front giving him an opportunity to demonstrate his worth and talent.
Odds maker Danny Sheridan favors the Saints by 7.