The New Orleans Saints play their fourth and final game against the AFC East Sunday as they take on the (4-4) New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. New Orleans is coming off of a 35-17 win over Buffalo while the Jets enter the game fresh from a 49-9 beat down at Cincinnati.

New York is two games behind division leader New England and have not won or lost consecutive games this season beginning with a win to start off the season and loss last week. The (6-1) Saints own a two game division lead over Carolina and in second place in the NFC overall standings behind 7-1 Seattle.

It’s a game filled with a number of story lines starting with the fact that Jets head coach Rex Ryan is the twin brother of Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Rob Ryan has never coached on a team that has beaten his brother Rex as he is 0-4 against him. Running back Chris Ivory thrilled Saints fans for three seasons before being traded this offseason to the Jets. Running back Mark Ingram hasn’t been on the injury report this week which means he is fully healthy and ready to play in his home state. Receiver Nick Toon’s father was drafted by the Jets and played for them his entire career and safety Malcolm Jenkins attended high school in New Jersey.

Let’s not forget the possibility that Sunday could be the first game of the season for former Jet’s draft pick and linebacker Jonathan Vilma. The Saints have until the Monday after next week’s game against Dallas to put him on the 53-man roster.

Sunday’s game is also the last game against an AFC opponent for while as the Saints will begin what I’ve called the Gauntlet next week. Five consecutive games against NFC opponents with Dallas, San Francisco, Atlanta, Seattle and Carolina due up.


Saints quarterback Drew Brees leads the third ranked passing offense into the game as the team averages 310.7 yards a game through the air. On the ground, the Saints average 85.3 yards a game which is good for 25th in the NFL. QB Geno Smith and the Jets passing game averages 210 yards per game good for 22nd in the league and are 13th in the NFL with a 120 yards per game rushing average. Brees and the Saints offense overall are the 7th best offense with the Jets sitting in the 14th spot in the NFL in overall offense.

A key reason for each team’s successes this season has been the play of their respective defenses. Rob Ryan’s Black and Gold defense is giving up 222.1 yards in the air per game good for 25th in the league, while on the ground they allow 110.3 yards good for 19th in the league. The Saints overall as a defense are the 7th ranked defense in the NFL . Rex Ryan’s Jets defense good for the 13th best defense in the NFL as they allow 237.1 yards through the air and just 77.9 yards on the ground good for 15th and first in the NFL in those categories.


The Jets cannot go toe to toe with the Saints offensively. Rex Ryan’s game plan is simple and that is to run the football which shortens the game and play good enough defense that holds the Saints offense to field goals instead of touchdowns and hopefully creating enough stops to turn the field position battle in their favor.

Running back Chris Ivory hasn’t had a stellar season as he has just 230 yards on 74 carries and no touchdowns. Ivory however showed his potential two weeks ago in a win over the Patriots when he carried the ball 34 times for 104 yards. Jets quarterback Geno Smith would love nothing more than to see Ivory get going cause it would keep the Saints defense line off of him. Smith has been sacked 28 times this season ranking him as the 2rd most sacked QB in the NFL trialing Miami’s Ryan Tannehill.

Pressure on the Smith could also force an errant pass as Smith has 13 interceptions this season and last week two of those were brought back for touchdowns. The Rookie QB to me is the key in this game. Smith in the Jets four wins he had seven TDs and four interceptions while in the four losses he’s tossed just one TD and thrown nine interceptions.

The Saints will face a Jets defense that HAS been consistent this season, consistently good at stripping the ball away from players. Now the Jets haven’t recovered many of those but head coach Sean Payton made it a point of emphasis this week that ball security would be key. The last two weeks the Saints running game has been better and even if you go back to Chicago the ground game has worked well enough to be complimentary.

The Jets will no doubt try to pressure Brees and the best way to keep the wolves at bay is to run at them. Ingram is healthy from his toe injury that’s kept him out of all but two games this season (Atlanta and Tampa Bay). Will Payton make him active on Sunday? Since his injury running back Khiry Robinson has enjoyed success with his 33 carries picking up 146 yards and a touchdown.

Brees is 2-2 against the Jets in his career having just three touchdown passes and five interceptions. No one enjoys a challenge more than him and you can bet he’s accidentally “bumped” into Rob Ryan this week in the building to talk about his brother’s defense.

This game will be close I believe and one that the Saints can win and will win but in the second half. I see the defenses having much of the success on Sunday but Brees has just enough weapons to manage to put points on the board. 27-17 Saints is how I see it.


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