Saints @ Chiefs — Gus Kattengell’s Saints Report
Saints have a chance at the M-Word
Momentum. Saints head coach Sean Payton was asked if his team had it following last week's 41-38 win over the Panthers. Payton responded by saying it was tough to say you had momentum considering you had only just won your second game of the season.
This Sunday in Kansas City the Saints not only can win their third game of the season, but their third in a row and come against a team that was in the post season a year ago.
Momentum. A word that is used during games, before and after them as well. I would argue the Saints are gaining momentum as their play on the field has gotten better with the progression of the season. The Saints receiving group is as good as any in the league and the defense at times shows that it can be more than competent. Carolina’s Cam Newton was hit 13 times last week and sacked twice. Injuries and inconsistency however continue to plague the team.
The Saints and Chiefs have met 10 times with the series knotted up at five wins a piece and at Arrowhead Stadium the Saints are 3-1.
The storyline for me this weekend above all is simple in that we are going to find out how well the Saints can tackle. If New Orleans can do that they will win the game and improve to 500. QB Drew Brees is already at 1700 yards passing and the trio of Brandin Cooks, Willie Snead and rookie Michael Thomas have created a truly a situation where any of them can hurt you. Tight end Coby Fleener is also starting to emerge as a threat and so opposing defenses can’t key in on just one option.
So the Saints can and should be able to move the ball. Execute, limit penalties and scoring should happen. Kansas City is the opposite of the Saints prolific attack as QB Alex Smith will dink and dunk you to death. The Chiefs prefer to run the football and take an occasional play action pass shot down the field.
Tackling will be at a premium. Stop the run. Make sure the Chiefs run game stays in neutral a tough task no doubt but you want to make it to where Smith has to beat you with his arm.
Kansas City finished 11-5 last season and enter the game 3-2 on the season and coming off of a 26-10 win over the Raiders in Oakland. The Chiefs have not won or lost two in a row this season so they are looking to win consecutive games for the first time this season.
Consistency is the word being used in K.C. this week as they look to find a balance between a squad that lost to the Steelers by 29 points or one that kept a 4-1 Raiders team scoreless in the second half last week.
One thing sure to not help is losing two starters on defense defensive end Allen Bailey and inside linebacker Justin March-Lillard were both placed on injured reserve this week.
BY THE NUMBERS
The Saints offense comes into the game ranked 2nd overall in total offense averaging 413.4 yards a game. New Orleans is 1st in passing averaging 335.4 yards per game and 29th in rushing with just 78.0 yards per game. Kansas City is the 17th ranked offense with 352.0 yards per game. The Chiefs are 19th in passing with 243.3 yards a game and 14th in rushing with 108.8 yards on the ground.
Defensively the Saints are 31st in total defense giving up 419.4 yards a game, 31st in pass defense giving up 301.6 and 26th in yards allowed on the ground 117.8. Kansas City is 14th in yards allowed giving up 353.2 yards per game. The Chiefs are 12th in passing defense giving up 236.6 and 24th in rush defense allowing 116.6.
ESPN’s Week 7 power rankings have the Kansas City Chiefs as the 11th strongest team in the league. The write up cites that the Chiefs average just 6.6 yards a throw past the line of scrimmage this season. The Saints moved up five spots from a week ago to #20.
The Saints he needed to score 35 and 41 points the past two games to pick up wins.
Kansas City as of Friday is a 6.0 point favorite.
HOW THE SOUTH IS WON
Atlanta 4-2 vs San Diego 2-4 +6.5
Tampa Bay 2-3 @ San Francisco 1-5 -7
New Orleans 2-3 @ Kansas City 3-2 -6.0
Carolina 1-5 @ Bye Week
PLAYER THAT NEEDS TO HAVE A GOOD GAME ON OFFENSE
RB Mark Ingram. The Saints running game is non-existent although head coach Sean Payton says he is happy with the consistency of it when it has been called. Well the Chiefs are better against the pass then they are against the run. I have a feeling especially with head coach Sean Payton talking about the run game so much this week that it’ll be part of the game plan. Ingram has 272 yards on the season on 70 carries and just one touchdown. How about a 100 yard game.
PLAYER THAT NEEDS TO HAVE A GOOD GAME ON DEFENSE
Saints DTs. The beef up the middle will be needed to step up if the run game is to be stopped. The pressure has been picking up as we’ve seen over the last two weeks
KR/WR Tommy Lee Lewis. The Saints are 30th in the NFL in return yardage. Payton was asked if Lewis could provide a boost in kick returns by fielding a couple. Coach said there was a good possibility of seeing him back there. We saw last week Lewis excite the crowd as he almost broke a put a return for a touchdown. Scoring would be fabulous but gaining a chunk of yards and giving Brees a short field is good news as well.
S Kenny Vaccaro. Vaccaro is defensive back that enjoys physical contact and being a run stuffer is something that he has never shied away from. Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen also uses him on pressures. Vaccaro’s role in the run game and chance to make a big play in the passing game by a sack or interception could be a game changer.
HOW I SEE IT
The Saints are getting better. Albeit at times the play or final point totals allowed make it hard to believe. I get the Chiefs are a good team and are an almost touchdown favorite. I just don’t think they are the team that they were last season and certainly not one that the Saints can’t compete with. Their running is game is tough.
New Orleans though if they want to return to the post season and be considered among one of the better teams again must take steps, the next step. They picked up a win, taking advantage of breaks at San Diego. They jumped out and earned their win over Carolina, a team with only one win but fighting for their season. Now the next step, beat a good team on the road.
It’s time for New Orleans to show they’ve learned from earlier mistakes, time for younger players to step up and make plays, time to say hey don’t forget about us.
Saints win 27-20.