Deja deja deja vu, believe it
And it will come true
Veja veja veja do
What works for me might work for you

Deja deja deja vu, believe it
And it will come true     …….. “Off To See The Lizard”…Jimmy Buffett

Leave it to Jimmy Buffett, the un-official mayor of “Whodat Nation” to nail my thoughts on the start of the 2017 NFL Season.  The first two weeks of the season and our favorite team offense appears to not be able to get out of its own way and our defense looks like a carnival traveling troupe.  Don’t you feel like we have been here before?

The one constant of our team in the Payton/Brees era has been the effectiveness of the offense. The offense continues to pile up yardage at a high rate (#3 in the league), but our points scored rank number 16.  Our third down conversion rate of 35% ranks 23 in the league.  38% Red Zone efficiency will not cut it in this league.  Our offense is searching for an identity.  The inability of the injury depleted line to build a rushing game is making the team one dimensional and 26 minute time of possession is keeping our struggling defensive unit on the field too long.

Our defense can’t get off the field.  The defense has allowed 52 first downs (6 by penalty) and 58% third down conversion efficiency through the first two games.  Add that to absolute blown coverage assignments (insert Vacarro’s name here) and poor execution and the Saints once again have the worst in the league defense – giving up 500+ yards per average game.

It is not all bad … we have not had a turnover!

After an entire off season of talking about the importance of a fast start, the team is once again going into the third week looking for their first win.  At division foe, Carolina – against a defense that has given up 6 total points, with a team that is already playing the roster game to field a team; this could be the start of a very long road trip.

Keys to the Game:

  1. Defense must allow the offense to play with the lead: Each week, we take a struggling offense and make them start in catch-up mode.  Our inability to stop drives and our ability to give up big plays has forced the offense into playing catch-up too often.  The margin of error for our offense is slim and when the defense waits until the third quarter before they start forcing punts, our chances for any offense to score enough is remote.
  2. Can our best 8 beat their best defense: For the third week in a row the Saints strength will be playing with only the 8 best players. With both offensive tackles out of the game with injuries and the team handicapped by the stupidity of a wide receiver that can’t use Uber, a short-handed offense takes on the leagues stingiest defense.  Talent won’t win this battle today, it will be desire, effort, and passion.
  3. Defense get right day: So you played the GOAT and gave up 447 yards passing and 3 touchdowns – that could make any teams stat line look ugly.  Today you face the 26th ranked offense.  A team without Saints killer Greg Olsen, a team missing starting center Kalil, and a quarterback that is struggling to stay in the top 20 with QB rating.  Could this be the day the defense earns some respect?   We will play again without our best defensive back, but if we can avoid the creation of a new hero, the defense could hold the opponent under 30 points.

With no apologies, I am an unabashed Saints fan.  I will always see the most optimistic opportunity for our team….but it is getting more difficult.    The Carolina offense is a bigger mess than ours.  We should see a game today that matches strength to strength (Saints offense vs Carolina defense)…..this can only be true if the Drew and the boys come out and put the foot on the gas.  Our Saints historically play the division very tough, we may be catching the Panthers at the right time. If we play like the first two games, it will be Deja deja déjà vu all over again.  Saints 23 – Carolina 17.