Drew Brees looks to take advantage of a favorable matchup against the New York Giants. Image by Kelly Bailey [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Game day is here and not only does today provide a very important matchup for the New Orleans Saints in their season, but today is the most important day in the franchise’s history. On this day 49 years ago, New Orleans was awarded their NFL team. That day, as is today, was All Saints’ Day. The announcement of the team falling on the holiday spurred the inspiration for the team’s eventual mascot and thus, the New Orleans Saints were born. As for All Saints’ Day 2015, the black and gold welcome a few former Newman Greenies, as Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr visit their hometown for a very important game for both teams. The Saints sit at 3-4, looking to get to the .500 mark for the first time this season. The Giants sit at 4-3, atop the NFC East.

Saints Offense vs. Giants Defense

Saints Team Offense

  • Total offense: 395.9 yards per game (6th in NFL)
  • Scoring offense: 23.0 points per game (T-15th)
  • Pass offense: 297.1 yards per game (3rd)
  • Rush offense: 98.7 yards per game (22nd)

Giants Team Defense

  • Total defense: 401.7 yards allowed per game (29th in NFL)
  • Scoring defense: 22.3 points per game (14th)
  • Pass defense: 288.3 yards per game (30th)
  • Rush defense: 113.4 yards per game (21st)

Pass Offense

It was a very slow start to the season for Drew Brees, but he and his passing unit are slowly getting things going. Brees ranks 3rd in the NFL with an average of 312 yards per game, while throwing eight touchdowns and four interceptions. Brees has been sacked 17 times in his six games played, but the protection has been better as of late. It is no surprise that Brandin Cooks leads the team with 35 receptions, but his numbers are far lower than most anticipated for his sophomore campaign. The pleasant surprise has been Willie Snead, who is tied for second on the team with 29 receptions and actually leads the team with 461 receiving yards. Both he and Cooks each have a touchdown reception. Ben Watson has emerged to be a frequent target of Brees, as well, as he is the other half of the duo tied for second most receptions on the team. The season has not been kind to Marques Colston thus far, but his big reception to close out last Sunday’s victory in Indianapolis could boost his confidence.

Though the Giants pass defense is tied for 2nd in the NFL with 11 interceptions, that has just about been all of the positives you can find. As you can see above, they are the third worst pass defense in the NFL. They also have only been able to record nine sacks, which is the second fewest in the league. Of course, they have been without their biggest pass rusher in Jason Pierre-Paul, who most of you know had firework accident over the summer, but no one has been able to step up in his place. Damontre Moore leads the team with just three sacks. It has been the secondary that has created a large amount of the team’s takeaways, particularly Brandon Meriweather, Prince Amukamara, and Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie, who have combined for five interceptions. Amukamara will miss today’s game, though, as he battles a pectoral injury.

The key for Brees and his offense today will be protecting the football. Like I said, the only thing the Giants do well against the pass is create turnovers. Aside from that, they struggle to put pressure on the quarterback and that leads to easy connections between the passer and receiver. Brees should do well in what is a very favorable matchup, as long he does not try and force the issue and allow New York to convert easy plays.

Rush Offense

Coming off of his best performance of 2015, it seems as if Mark Ingram is getting in to a groove. His 14 carries for 143 yards and a touchdown last week helped boost his numbers, particularly his yards per carry average. Ingram is now averaging 4.4 yards per carry, while running for 450 yards and five touchdowns thus far. Khiry Robinson has still played an active role in the rushing attack, although he has struggled to do much aside from getting in to the end zone lately. He is coming off of a two touchdown performance, though he only averaged 2.0 yards per carry. We have still yet to see a consistent dose of C.J. Spiller, who has just 16 carries for 57 yards.

They have not struggled as much as they have against the pass, but the run defense of the Giants has been far from good, as well. Linebacker Uani ‘Unga and rookie safety Landon Collins are tied for the team lead with 42 tackles a piece. Star linebacker John Beason has battle injuries throughout the early portion of the season and remains questionable to suit up with an ankle injury.

It should be another good opportunity to establish the rushing attack, much like last week against the Colts. Again, if the Giants are forcing turnovers, they are struggling to slow teams down. It has become a mystery now-a-days over whether Sean Payton will choose to use the run or the pass to attack early, unlike past seasons where Brees has always set the tone through the air. Today, though, may be a day that he tries to seize control with the run and limit the pesky Giants from forcing any mistakes.

Saints Defense vs. Giants Offense

Saints Team Defense

  • Total defense: 404.9 yards allowed per game (30th in NFL)
  • Scoring defense: 26.4 points per game (25th)
  • Pass defense: 275.7 yards per game (26th)
  • Rush defense: 121.1 yards per game (28th)

Giants Team Offense

  • Total offense: 343.4 yards per game (23rd)
  • Scoring offense: 23.7 points per game (11th)
  • Pass offense: 247.9 yards per game (14th)
  • Rush offense: 95.6 yards per game (25th)

Pass Defense

While the yardage allowed shows that nothing has changed from the first few games of the season, the pass defense has been leaps and bounds better. As it always does, the ability to stop the pass starts up front with the pass rush. Rob Ryan’s unit has sacked the opposing quarterback nine times in the back to back wins over the past two weeks. Five of them have come from Cam Jordan, who leads the team with 6.0. He is also tied for 4th in the NFL in that category. Delvin Breaux’s name has gotten bigger and bigger with each week that passes, as the rookie continues to make great plays. He had two stumbles (literally) a week ago, but he continues to put himself in great position against receivers, often knocking the pass down. His 10 passes defended are tied for 4th most in the NFL.

As it typically is with Eli Manning, the season has been up and down. One week, he will throw for 400 yards and four touchdowns without turning the ball over, while the next week he could complete 50% of his passes and throw three or four interceptions. This year, though, he has done a much better job at protecting the ball. Manning has thrown just four interceptions, while his offense has turned the ball over just six times. That is tied for 3rd fewest in the league. His pass protection, along with his ability to get rid of the ball quickly, have been key, leading to just nine sacks this year. Every football fan in Louisiana already knew how good Odell Beckham Jr was, but he put the entire league on notice with an unbelievable string of game through the second half of his rookie season in 2014. He leads the Giants with 42 receptions, 524 yards, and four touchdowns. His receptions total is 9th most in the NFL. Victor Cruz has yet to play this season, so Beckham’s fellow former LSU Tiger Reuben Randle has seen plenty of opportunities as the #2 receiver. Randle has 26 receptions, 329 yards, and two touchdowns. Tight end Larry Donnell’s numbers may not say so, but he is another favorite target of Manning, especially in the red zone.

It will be interesting to see how this matchup against a quarterback who gets rid of the ball quickly turns out for Ryan’s defense. Though they have created a lot more issues over the past few games, his unit tends to go through spurts of taking too much time in getting to the quarterback. With the way Manning operates, they will have to get there very quickly if they want to get him on the ground. The matchup between Beckham and Breaux will not only be a key factor, but it should be very fun to watch.

Rush Defense

Stopping the run has been a struggle for the Saints defense for most of the season. DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews torched them a few weeks ago, while Devonte Freeman had a lot of success in his limited carries in his team’s loss to New Orleans, being limited strictly by the score. The same can be said for Frank Gore last week, only getting to run the ball nine times due to his team’s large deficit, but he averaged 4.8 yards per carry. Rookie Stephone Anthony leads the team with 45 tackles, while Kenny Vaccaro follows right behind with 44. Dannell Ellerbe has come on to be a huge defender of the run in this defense lately, but looks primed to miss today’s game as he battles a hip injury.

The rushing attack for the Giants has mostly been non-existent. Rashad Jennings has struggled to get much of anything going, rushing for only 262 yards, 3.7 yards per carry, and just one touchdown. Rookie running back Orleans Darkwa out of Tulane saw his first real action in the team’s victory against the Dallas Cowboys last week, taking eight carries for 48 yards and a touchdown.

This matchup is kind of a “nothing much to see here” type of situation. The Giants can not really run the ball, nor have they really attempted to very much. They have relied on their short passing attack to fill in for their lack of run game, which is something Saints fans can surely relate to. If New York somehow manages to have solid success on the ground, that will likely mean that things are not going well for New Orleans.


This seems like a very good matchup for the Saints. I still find this team kind of hard to have a lot of confidence in as far was knowing what to expect, but everything points towards them having the upper hand. With that being said, I feel pretty confident that Payton’s team will be able to get to an even 4-4 with this game. It would certainly be nice to see one of those classic Superdome explosions from the Saints, but at this point, a win would do just fine.

Prediction: Saints-30, Giants-17

Stay tuned for my post game report, covering all of what happens in today’s matchup. Enjoy the game!

Who Dat?!