The New Orleans Saints returned to work on Wednesday two games out of the final spot in the NFC playoff picture with four games left in the season. A Post season play is slim unless the team gets some major help but the games have to be played and who knows what may happen. The game this week is the (7-5) New York Giants.
“Offensively they’re protecting the quarterback better than anybody in the national football league right now. Eli is playing at a high level. He’s smart. He’s tough. He’s accurate. He does a great job of throwing off of his back foot. They’ve scored 85 points the most in the national football league inside the 50-yard line so they’ve done an outstanding job offensively. They’re averaging 150 yards rushing the ball in their wins. Defensively, they have taken the ball away 30 times which is a phenomenal stat. It’s going to be our number one stat for us this week that if we can’t protect the football it’s going to be a long day for us.”
The Saints are trying to snap a two-game losing streak and bounce back from a 23-13 loss in Atlanta last Thursday night. Quarterback Drew Brees threw five interceptions in the loss and if you as a Saints fans was upset by the performance imagine how the signal caller felt. “I probably hung onto that Atlanta loss a little bit more than normal because we had more time,” Brees said. “I dug deep to find where I can make the corrections, we can make the corrections and how we can move on from that.”
Whether it's Brees or anyone else on the team, mistakes have to be held at a minimal because for any hope of the Saints to reach the playoffs they can't lose again this season. It’s something that is pretty much understood at the Saints training facility. “Obviously we’re in a situation this season at 5-7 where the margin for error is very tight. We understand that if we want a shot at postseason play, we have to win out,” says Brees. “This is the fourth quarter of the season. The last three don’t mean anything if you don’t win this one and we understand how important this game is going on the road playing the defending champs in their house. They’ve come down here on two occasions and now it’s our turn to go up there. We understand what it's going to be, the type of team we’re going to play. They’re very much in the hunt. They have a lot to play for. They are very well-coached. We know we have our work cut out for us.”
Brees and the Saints have had success however against the Giants as they have won all three meetings against them in the Brees era. The two teams played last season in the dome with the Saints winning 49 to 24. “One of the big things defensively is we’ve gotten a lot of pressure on him in the past and we were able to get some hits on him,” says Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins on the past success against Eli Manning and the Giants. The Buckeye warns though it wasn’t easy. “Even the last game he had a good game throwing the ball and they did get some yards. We were just able to put some points up offensively and get some key stops.”
Manning threw for 406 yards to go with 2 touchdowns and an interception. New York gained 465 total yards of offense but the Saints gained 577 yards of offense as Brees threw for 363 yards with four touchdown passes.
Three Saints players did not work on Wednesday. Right tackle Charles Brown (knee), DE Martez Wilson (toe), and CB Johnny Patrick (illness). Safety Roman Harper (rib) was limited.
Defensive tackle Tom Johnson (back), wide receiver Courtney Roby (hamstring), tight end David Thomas (knee), defensive end Junior Galette (ankle), and safety Isa Abdul-Quddus (concussion) all were listed as having fully participated in practice.
The Saints pushed practice back about an hour later on Thursday as they try to get a little more acclimated to the late kick off that will take place on Sunday. The Saints and Giants have a 3:25 kick off local time.