Drew Brees insists that he nonetheless has the juice, that opposite to the trending narrative and unimpressive numbers he doesn’t really feel like his 41-year-old physique has checked out on him.
“I feel good,” Brees maintained this week. “Borderline great.”
Just know that it’s far simpler for the New Orleans Saints quarterback to persuade himself of that than to win over the numerous critics – TV analysts, Twitter specialists, man-in-the-armchair — lining as much as declare that he’s washed up. An even more durable activity, although, looms on Sunday evening when the red-hot Green Bay Packers (2-0) come calling on the Superdome, sans the pure crowd noise.
The Packers carry the NFL’s No. 1-ranked offense, with all of these yards producing a league-high 42.5 factors per recreation. Brees, the all-time chief for passing yards and scoring strikes, can relate to that. He’s been in the thick of comparable zones with the prolific Saints offense.
Yet the important query now: Can Brees and Co. sustain with the Packers?
Whatever Brees declares about his bodily situation could be confirmed to some extent with a monster recreation towards Green Bay. It’s the perfect opportunity to silence the critics and show that he’s not washed up. At least till subsequent week. But if the efficiency resembles what’s been show through the first two weeks of the season – Brees’ common of 4.82 air yards per go is the bottom after two video games since Brett Favre in 2009 — the Saints (1-1) will probably be in for an extended evening.
Sean Payton, the offensive whiz who has for therefore lengthy been tethered to Brees, is hardly throwing his quarterback below the bus. Payton factors to the larger image, lamenting the dearth of precision that has lengthy been a trademark for the effectiveness of the offense.
The absence of all-pro receiver Michael Thomas clearly hurts. Not solely did Thomas set the league document with 149 catches final season, in three-plus years he has been the quintessential go-to goal for Brees, the disciplined route-runner to rely out being in the appropriate spot. They have put the work in over time, with Thomas being as specific as his quarterback concerning the particulars. Without Thomas, dominated out for a second recreation on Sunday evening resulting from a excessive ankle sprain, the hit-or-miss chemistry with Emmanuel Sanders, Tre’Quan Smith, Taysom Hill and Jared Cook was on full show throughout Monday evening’s loss at Las Vegas.
Brees dismisses his lack of downfield prowess as a perform of working throughout the offense. He says his job is to throw the ball to the open targets, who apparently aren’t getting open deeper downfield this season – or are being missed once they do. It certainly occurred in the previous. Yet you’ll be able to’t ignore the sliding completion (64.7%) and effectivity (93.5) charges. And a part of the equation is that Brees isn’t forcing the problem with defenses as he’s trying means fewer aggressive throws down the sector, which undoubtedly gas critics.
The Saints have had early-season struggles on a number of events in latest years, but usually labored via it, with the offense discovering the precision and timing that made the inspiration for lengthy profitable streaks. Giving Brees and his unit the good thing about the doubt, possibly that occurs once more.
But for an ageing quarterback with a ticking clock, the questions and the warmth will intensify if Brees doesn’t give his group a spark when it wants it probably the most.
Other objects of curiosity as Week 3 rolls on in the NFL:
Josh Allen. Look who leads the NFL in passing yards? The Buffalo quarterback. Kids, this used to occur when Jim Kelly triggered the Bills Okay-Gun offense. Now Allen, off to a scorching begin with 363.5 yards per recreation, is exhibiting extra promise because the franchise’s greatest passer since Kelly. Sure, it has solely been two weeks and a significant check comes on Sunday towards a Rams protection that options the pass-rushing warmth of Aaron Donald, however if you happen to keep in mind the recklessness that Allen exhibited in the playoff loss at Houston in January, it’s placing that the third-year professional has an effectivity ranking of 122.8 and hasn’t thrown an interception in 2020. And you’ll be able to consider he’s loving the presence of latest acquisition Stefon Diggs.
CONTENDER OR NOT? Separating NFL’s best 2-0 teams from the rest
Dan Quinn. The worst lack of this younger NFL season clearly belongs to the Falcons after a number of members of the so-called “hands team” stood round and watched the soccer on the onside kick that was Dallas’ miracle – and impetus to an inconceivable victory. What horrible preparation. Makes me surprise: Why don’t Bill Belichick’s groups commit such boneheaded blunders. Quinn, the Falcons coach, was on the new seat final 12 months and saved his job with a five-game profitable streak to shut the season. But after final week’s debacle, which prompted Falcons proprietor Arthur Blank to query whether or not the gamers knew the principles, the warmth is on Quinn once more.
J.J. Watt vs. T.J. Watt and Derek Watt. Three brothers will probably be on the identical NFL discipline? Well, it occurred final 12 months for a Steelers-Bills contest that included Tremaine, Terrell and Trey Edmunds. But it’s so uncommon. Before final 12 months, it hadn’t occurred since 1927. In Sunday’s subplot at Heinz Field, the place the Texans (0-2) will probably be determined for an upset, it’s placing that for all of J.J.’s accomplishments as three-time NFL Defensive participant of the Year, it’s really T.J. who enters the sport tied for the NFL lead with 2 ½ sacks and was AFC Defensive Player of the Week. And, effectively, fullback Derek hasn’t misplaced since becoming a member of the Steelers (2-0) as an offseason free agent signing.
Next man up
With Saquon Barkley misplaced for the season with a torn ACL, changing the manufacturing and on the spot big-play menace that the star working again supplied is one thing of a pipe dream for a Giants group that has scored the fewest factors (29) in the league. After Barkley went down at Chicago, Dion Lewis (5-8, 185) stuffed in an averaged 2 yards per run. Lewis is extra of a receiving menace. Devonta Freeman? The G-men simply signed Freeman, however sadly this isn’t 2016, when he had his final 1,000-yard season. In the years since, he’s had his share of harm points. Coming off the road, it might take Freeman some time to get right into a movement. Wayne Gallman is an alternative choice on the roster, who performed three snaps in Week 1 and was inactive in Week 2. What a disaster for brand new O-coordinator Jason Garrett.
Cee Dee Lamb. The first-round decide is already flashing because the star the Cowboys envisioned, making some powerful, acrobatic grabs and clutch performs whereas main all rookie receivers with 11 receptions via two weeks. He posted his first 100-yard recreation in Week 2 and arrange the game-winning discipline purpose. Technically, Lamb is Dallas’ No. 3 receiver behind Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. Yet Lamb and Cooper had been each focused 9 occasions towards the Falcons. It’s obvious that Dak Prescott may have the luxurious of exploiting favorable matchups and discovering the sizzling hand on a week-to-week foundation.
Stomach for an upset
Raiders at Patriots. It was once so uncommon for a Bill Belichick group to undergo back-to-back losses. But it occurred twice final season…and twice in 2018. It might occur once more, with the Raiders offense hitting an early stride (34 factors per recreation) that features Derek Carr’s effectivity and slashing runs from Josh Jacobs. It figures that, not like the Saints on Monday evening, Belichick will determine a strategy to include tight finish Darren Waller. Whether that’s sufficient with an undermanned protection is pending. A shootout beckons, particularly with Cam Newton reminding the soccer universe in the shut loss at Seattle that he’s nonetheless a deadly passer, too. Let’s hope it doesn’t come all the way down to a bogus name just like the “Tuck Rule” drama.
If the playoffs had been at the moment
Through two weeks, groups from the NFC West are a mixed 7-1, one of the best mark of any division. It begs the query: Can all 4 NFC West groups make the playoffs? Mathematically, it’s attainable with the playoff discipline expanded this 12 months to seven groups and three wild-card slots per convention. Yet it’s nonetheless unlikely. At the second, the NFC West group that superior to the Super Bowl final season, injury-stung San Francisco (1-1), could be the odd squad out.
Did you discover?
While it’s simple to be enamored with the impression of second-year quarterback Kyler Murray on Arizona’s 2-0 begin, the Cardinals protection is on the upswing. Arizona leads the league in third-down protection, permitting a paltry conversion price of 26.1% (6-of-23). Last season, the unit ranked thirtieth in the NFL with a 46.7% and was dead-last in first downs allowed (375). What an important formulation as Vance Joseph builds his protection in his second 12 months as coordinator: Get off the sector. Give the soccer again to Kyler.
Stat’s the actual fact
Russell Wilson heads into the showdown towards Dallas because the NFL’s top-rated passer (140.0) and chief with 9 TD passes. He joins Patrick Mahomes, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning as the one passers with 9 scoring strikes via the primary two video games.