The New York Giants face the New Orleans Saints this week in a matchup that, in recent years, has ended with lots of Arena Football League-type scores. Let’s learn more about the Saints in this week’s “Five Questions” segment with Jean-Rene Ella of Canal Street Chronicles.
Ed: How much does the loss of cornerback Delvin Breaux hurt, and is the Saints’ defense as bad as I think it might be?
Jean-Rene: The loss of Delvin Breaux is huge for the Saints’ defense. Against the Raiders, New Orleans started second-year cornerback P.J. Williams opposite Breaux, and Williams is a de facto rookie, since he missed all of last season with an injury. With Breaux now gone, the Saints will rely on a collection of projects and misfits, starting with Ken Crawley, a first-year undrafted free agent cornerback out of Colorado and veterans Sterling Moore and B.W. Webb, whom they signed as free agents. Needless to say that Eli Manning and crew should have a field day passing the ball on Sunday.
Ed: Where do you see matchups that favor the Saints? Conversely, matchups that favor the Giants?
Jean-Rene: The Giants will have an enormous offensive advantage in the passing game. The Saints are absolutely depleted at the cornerback position, and of the two veteran starting safeties, only Kenny Vaccaro is worth his grain of salt, as Jairus Byrd is just out there trying to avoid injuries and collecting a paycheck. I predict that we will see Odell and Victor Cruz having a few dancing contests in the end zone.
The matchup that favors the Saints is going to be the exact same as the one for the Giants, but in this case it’ll be because of Drew Brees and his plethora of offensive weapons. Assuming that Janoris Jenkins is going to try and matchup one-on- one with Brandin Cooks, I expect Willie Snead, Mike Thomas, Coby Fleener and running backs out of the backfield to have a lot of opportunities to do some damage catching the ball.
Ed: Drew Brees is what, 500 years old, and he just keeps on going. How much longer can he keep playing at such a great level?
Jean-Rene: Hahaha, Brees has made a deal with a voodoo priestess down in New Orleans and she told him he would play well until the age of 50. In all seriousness, Brees is just a smart quarterback and in Sean Payton’s offense, which incorporates a lot of quick, short and intermediate passes, what he mostly needs is his brain and a decent-to- good offensive line. Barring any serious injuries, I expect Brees who is 37, to play at this high a level for another two to three years. And that obviously includes this coming Sunday.
Ed: If you could take one player off the Giants’ roster and put him in the Saints’ starting lineup who would it be? Why?
Jean-Rene: I would absolutely steal cornerback Janoris Jenkins and insert him right in the Saints’ secondary. New Orleans held the Raiders to 13 points through three quarters last Sunday, then in the fourth quarter alone they gave up 22 points, on their way to allowing 319 yards passing to Derek Carr. Look, we can give y’all our best gumbo recipes, but could we please borrow him? Even just for like two or three games. Thank you.
Ed: Who are some young Saints players we might not know much about, but whom we should be looking for on Sunday?
Jean-Rene: By now, everyone is starting to get familiar with wide receiver Willie Snead, especially after his nine catches for 172 yards and a touchdown against the Raiders. So it’s safe to assume that the Giants will primarily focus on Snead and Cooks, likely leaving first-year wide receiver Michael Thomas to tangle with the G-men’s nickel cornerback. Thomas caught all six passes thrown his way by Brees last Sunday, for a modest 58 yards. But the rookie has sure hands and has turned heads since training camp, so he is definitely one to watch. On the defensive side of the ball, you should be looking for cornerback P.J. Williams, as he is likely to be the one matching up with Odell Beckham Jr. The former Florida State Seminole has a ton of potential, but Sunday will be the biggest test in his budding NFL career yet.