Sitting at 0-3 and heading into the fourth week of the NFL season, hopes for a playoff berth is dwindling for the New Orleans Saints. The chances of making the playoff are extremely slim for teams starting at 0-3 but only one team since the AFL-NFL merger has started 0-4 and reached the postseason.
The San Diego Chargers started the season 0-4 in 1992 before winning going 11-1 in their final 12 games to win the AFC West. That San Diego team even won a playoff game in the Wildcard round before losing in the division round.
Of the hundreds of teams that have started 0-4, only one has turned things around enough to reach the playoffs. History is not on the side of the Saints already because they are hosting the Super Bowl.
Against the Green Bay Packers this Sunday, New Orleans faces a must win situation or they could be watching the playoffs instead of being a part of the postseason. The Packers will be in a foul mood after a controversial call on the final play of the game against the Seattle Seahawks cost them a victory.
New Orleans shouldn't be happy either after blowing a 24-6 lead to Kansas City to end up losing to the Chiefs 27-24 in overtime. The Saints only converted one first down in their final six possessions.
In the Saints loss to the Chiefs, New Orleans only ran the ball 19 times for 83 yards. New Orleans with an 18 point lead didn't try to run the ball more to eat clock and shorten the game.
New Orleans also got three turnovers on defense and the Saints only had one turnover themselves. The Saints lost the battle of time of possession. Kansas City held the ball for over 40 minutes and New Orleans held the ball for barely over 26 minutes.
For the first two and half quarters the Saints defensive line was active and able to get stops in the running game and on passing downs. The final quarter and half saw the New Orleans defensive line wear down and allowed Kansas City to make their comeback.
The same thing happened to the Saints offensive line. Their protection of Drew Brees crumbled midway through the third quarter and on to the whole fourth quarter.
New Orleans must get four quarters of good play out of their offensive and defensive lines. The weakest part of this team has been the play of the offensive and defensive lines.
Currently the Saints have the seventh best passing offense but Packers have the best pass defense in the NFL. New Orleans best method of attack might be on the ground.
Green Bay has the 25th run defense. The Saints have the 23rd ranked rushing attack but New Orleans has used the ground game sparingly over the first three weeks of the season.
The Green Bay offense is ranked 28th in rushing and 21st in passing offense. New Orleans is has the worst run defense in the NFL and the 25th ranked passing defense.
The Saints have to protect Brees and run the ball. New Orleans can't afford to put all the weight on Brees and that great group of running backs the Saints have must their best game as a unit.
That struggling offensive line must open holes in the running game and give Brees a clean pocket. Too many times this season Brees has had little to no time to throw the ball.
The Saints wide receivers also must do more to help their quarterback out. New Orleans has had too many dropped passes and most of the drops have come when the Saints need a big catch the most.
On defense, New Orleans must get pressure on Aaron Rodgers. It doesn't matter if the Saints must blitz on every down. In their three losses, opposing quarterbacks have had nearly all day to find an open receiver and left their secondary having to cover for way too long.
I don't have much faith in New Orleans winning this game. Green Bay will be at home after a tough loss on Monday Night Football.
The Packers have played a lot better than the Saints have this season and even though they haven't looked great all the time, the Green Bay defense has played pretty well. I figure the Packers to feed off the home crowd in this game.
New Orleans will not be able to withstand the Packers defensive rush and the Saints won't run the ball enough to take pressure off of Brees. The pattern has been set this season on how New Orleans will play each week.
I don't think the Saints are going to change that pattern before their bye week. New Orleans has let this season get off the rails for reasons only known in their locker room.
Green Bay will win this game and New Orleans will fall to 0-4 on the season.
Packers 31 Saints 24