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Previewing the Saints’ offense and praying for chaos

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The Kist & Solak Show #42!

NFL: Cleveland Browns at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

As we ramp up our analysis of the New Orleans Saints entering this all-important Week 11 game it’s important to remember a couple of things. First, football is chaos. More than we would like to believe the difference in a game comes down to pure luck. Second, they play the games for a reason. Sometimes good teams get beat by lesser teams because they just get outplayed.

Those two factors are, for the most part, impossible to predict. The Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles are massive underdogs and in desperate need of both of those factors going in their favor to beat a white hot Saints’ team.

On the 42nd installment of The Kist & Solak Show, we dove into the factors surrounding the two games where the Saints failed to score 30 points or more in the 2018 season. Perhaps those factors can lead the Eagles to victory, or at least a close game.

Obviously we did our normal in-depth breakdown of the Saints offense like we typically would on any preview show, but I feel the above message is important to keep in mind. As such, I loosely transcribed a portion of the show dedicated to said topic.

What follows are my words on the matter. You can also listen to them by clicking here, or by utilizing the media player at the bottom of the article. As always thank you for listening/reading, we appreciate your support, FLY EAGLES FLY!

“You look at this Saints offense and one of the things you want to do is look at games where they performed below their normal level of success.

Two games stand out, Week 2 against the Cleveland Browns where they scored 21 points and Week 7 against the Baltimore Ravens where they scored 24 points. Those are the only two games where they went under 30 as an offense.

Now there’s a major problem with this beyond the particulars of those two games. First up is the fact that the Ravens game was played outside.

For his career, in a dome vs playing outside, [Drew Brees] completes 5% more of his passes, has a 12 point higher QB Rating, almost a full yard more of yards per attempt, averages 60 yards more per game and has a much better Touchdown:Interception ratio.

A study done by Pinnacle took a look at league-wide scoring from 2003 to 2015 and found that dome and retractable roof venues averaged 3.8 more points per game and the correlation was found to be strong enough that during the same period Vegas averaged 3 points higher with their over/unders when the game was being played in a dome. It makes a difference.

Dialing back to those two games against the Browns and Ravens which had relatively low scoring outputs.. The Ravens and Browns are both top 10 DVOA defenses per Football Outsiders. The Saints also were in scoring position on 5 of their 7 drives against the Ravens. One of them was a 10 minute drive that got stuffed on 4th and 1, shortly followed by a Ravens drive that lasted 7 and a half minutes and yielded a field goal, so that’s about 18 minutes with 3 points.

So it’s not that the Ravens stopped the Saints, the clock stopped the Saints, and the Saints also scored 17 of their 24 points in the 2nd half, and by the way, the Saints also lead the league in 2nd half scoring.

In the Browns game, Week 2, first drive for the Saints ended in a fumble by Michael Thomas and we often talk about how counting on those just isn’t sustainable.

Next drive Saints march down the field and get a touchdown on a play that is almost exactly like the play Ezekiel Elliott scored on, instead it was a touch pass and not a pass to the flat, but same idea, same misdirection and similar deception, but that’s called back on what I thought was a ticky tack holding call, so they have to settle for a field goal.

So they started slow there and these are the types of breaks the Eagles are going to need.

Ben, third drive, third drive of this game, Ted Ginn fumbles, it was a hard hustle play to knock it out, and a hustle play to recover, that’s what you need

All those little things, and they’ve gone wrong for us a lot and that’s part of the problem, but if we’re being honest with ourselves here and I think we are, as a fan base I think we recognize the defense is in trouble and the Saints are rolling, we’re going to need help from these types of breaks.

If we get them, we have to capitalize, because you don’t get many gifts against this Saints team, look how far I had to dig to figure out how they got quote unquote slowed down. But to really emphasize this, I think as a fan base we had this idea that teams were going to roll over for us, and now we have this idea that we’re going to roll over for the Saints, somebody needs to make an impact play early, because the defense has not done consistently this year, especially not in multiples.

We can talk scheme and we can talk X & Os and what coverages to deploy against what alignments because of tendency and all that jazz, and it’s all great and I love doing it but screw all that for a moment..

Play with your hair on fire and go make an impact play that changes the landscape of this game and see what happens. Eagles were gigantic favorites over the [Dallas Cowboys], Saints are gigantic favorites over the Eagles. Sometimes teams outplay other teams. I’m waiting, just once, JUST ONCE this season for that to be the case in a dogfight against a good football team.

Go be that team, go be that team that won a Super Bowl that just kicks the dog crap out of the other team and out hustles them!

And if we lay down then sorry Peter King, but you’re gonna hear a lot more booing throughout the season and quite frankly the fans aren’t wrong for it.

Oh Ben, fourth possession in the Browns game, 44 yard missed field goal.

At this point I’ll take lucky over good any day of the week.”