Scouting Report: New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees - US PRESSWIRE

Breaking down the New Orleans Saints as the New York Giants get ready to face them on Sunday.

The New Orleans Saints will travel to New Jersey this weekend to take on the New York Giants. The previous two times these teams faced off were not kind to the New York Giants, but those games were in New Orleans and that wasn't as flawed a Saints' team.

Offense
Category New Orleans NY Giants
Points per game 26.8 (6th) 26.8 (6th)
Pass yards per game 294.2 (3rd) 256.4 (9th)
Yards per rush
4.2 4.4
Sacks allowed 22 15
Time of possession 27:51 30:18
Turnover differential -2 +14

Just based off the numbers if you were picking an offense you would take the Giants. And I think that holds true when you're watching the teams as well. It's not that the Saints offense is drastically less dangerous than it has been in the year's past, it's just that they don't have the same success or balance they have had in the past. They are really one dimensional this year and don't have confidence in their running attack. They only average 22.1 attempts per game which is third only behind the Jaguars and Raiders, and they turn the ball over a lot. Part of the issue, though is that their defense is so bad that they are often put in terrible positions.

[Struggling Saints try to focus on Giants]

Leaders

Brees -- 304 completions in 492 attempts (61.8% percent for 3,674 yards (7.5 yards per attempt), 31 TD and 16 INT.

Here's a dirty little secret: Brees has thrown 52 INT his last three seasons. Eli Manning has thrown 42. Manning is always a guy labeled as someone who throws too many INT, Brees throws even more.

Here's dirty little secret No. 2 -- Manning has a higher yards per pass attempt average over the last three seasons than Brees does. The difference between the sheer numbers of yards Brees has put up and Manning has put up is tied to their pass attempts. 1,555 for Eli the past three seasons, 1,807 for Brees. (Attempts per INT for Manning 1 INT per every 37.02 throws. For Brees that number is 1 per every 34.13 pass attempts.)

Where Brees has the major edge is touchdown passes -- 110 (1 every 16 passes) to Eli's 76 (1 every 20.5 passes). However, The Saints have 8, 16, and 9 rushing touchdowns the last three years (33 rushing touchdowns). The Giants have 14, 17, 17 rushing touchdowns the last three seasons (48 touchdowns combined). Meaning for every pass Manning and Brees have thrown over the past three seasons the Saints have scored a touchdown every 12.6 passes, while the Giants have scored a touchdown once every 12.5 passes.

Just food for thought.

Rushing Leaders

Leading the Saints in attempts is Mark Ingram with 98 carries and a 3.6 yards per carry (RGIII had at least a 100 rushing attempts heading into the Giants game for reference),

The yardage leader is Pierre Thomas at 425 (4.8 yards per carry)

The yards per carry leader is Chris Ivory (5.4)

Their receiving leader out of the backfield is Sproles with 51. Pierre Thomas also has 21 catches out of the backfield and 11 more from running backs equaling 83 catches out of the backfield this year. They throw to the running backs a lot. That number doesn't include TE Dave Thomas who also lines up in the backfield at times as well.

Receiving Leaders

Colston leads the team in catches (61), yards (828), touchdowns (8).

Lance Moore leads the regulars in yards per catch at 15.8.

Graham also has 8 touchdowns.

Joe Morgan, a second-year player has played in 10 games and has 5 catches. The catch length:

5 yards, 80 yards (TD), 48 yards (TD), 33 yards, 38 yards.

If he's in the game, pay attention. Ball's going deep.

Defense
Category New Orleans NY Giants
Points per game Awful 20.2 (9th)
Yards per game Brutal 366.9 (22nd)
Pass Yards Unreal 245.2
Yards per rush Catastrophe 4.6
Sacks 25 30
INT 8 18
Fumbles 9 14

If you're interested in the real numbers. The Saints are 28th in points allowed at 27.2 per game, last in yards per game at 440.5, 30th in pass yards per game at 286.7, and last in rush yards per game at 153.8 (and giving up 5.1 yards per rush)

Individual Leaders

Tackles -- Curtis Lofton 101

Sacks -- Cameron Jordan with 7 (as a side note, according to PFF Jordan leads the league in snaps from the 43 DE position)

Interceptions -- Patrick Robinson 3

The Saints defense is terrible, however, the defense is playing a little better lately (still bad, however).

They can't stop the run, or the pass, and they don't create a ton of turnovers.

Special teams

The Saints' most dangerous return man is Darren Sproles, but Travis Cadent has been good this year as a kick returner as well. Both are averaging north of 28 yards per return on kickoffs this year Cadet has a long of 75, Sproles a long of 48.

On punt return Sproles is averaging 8.7 yards per return.

Their kicker, Garrett Hartley has 11 field goals made this year (compare that to Tynes who has 11 in the 20-29 range and 21 other made field goals.

There you have it. The Saints game was one most fans might have marked as a loss when the scheduled was released, and while that of course is very possible. The Giants are the more balanced team and will be playing at home on a day that has 50 percent chance of rain right now that a team that even if they win out are probably looking at a 40/60 chance of making the playoffs as a wild card the Giants should have the motivation factor as well. But this is the NFL and we'll find out Sunday.

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