Ralph Malbrough / Contributing Writer
Do you need a running game to win a Super Bowl in 2013? With the Saints starting 4-0 and having a top 10 defense, the offensive line is really the only question mark after a month of football.
Everyone knows Drew Brees is getting hit entirely too much and anything which puts #9’s health in danger is not only critical to the Saints winning but the collective sanity of the city of New Orleans.
The pass protection was better against Miami, but Brees is getting sacked at twice the rate he was during the first seven years as a Saint. I’m not even going to type all the bad things that happen when quarterbacks get hit repeatedly, but if you want specifics just google Jake Locker.
Brees can’t continue to get pounded on like he did in Tampa. If you want to argue with me it’s okay for Brees to continue to get hit like he has, you probably think it’s okay for toddlers to play in traffic. Agreed? Good.
So let’s for the sake of this discussion count on the Saints offensive line to get better in pass protection. What if the running game stays about the same? Are the Saints in trouble?
In 2011, the New York Giants ranked 32nd in rushing yards per game and in 2010 the Green Bay Packers ranked 24th. They both won the Super Bowl.
I’m a big believer that after you see a team for a month, you pretty much know what they will be. Last year the Saints started 0-4, and it was clear the offense was still a top 10 unit but the defense was a burning building.
The 2013 Saints have a really young defense that can get serious pressure on quarterbacks without rushing more than four guys and they have an offense that possesses an elite quarterback, the best tight end in football, and the best pass catching running back in the game.
History tells us two of the last three years a running game isn’t needed to hoist the Lombardi.
Rob Ryan's Big Chart of Fun: All year long I’ll be charting how the Saints defense does under Rob Ryan in certain situations. For a full explanation of how it works read this.
You’ve probably read 345 times how the Saints haven’t allowed 20 points yet and that’s awesome. You know what’s even more awesome? The Saints have been so good on 1st and 2nd down that teams have yet to have a game where they have more than 9 downs of 2nd and 3rd and less than four yards. It’s basically the dream scenario for Rob Ryan; he can get pressure with only four guys and is constantly calling defenses for third and long.
The man and this city are going to have a lot of fun Sunday nights. My friend Suzy, who sits in our section at Saints games, was really excited because she got her picture taken with Rob Ryan at Hotel Monteleone. Rob Ryan really is the perfect defensive coordinator for an insane fan base like us. I feel like Rob should have his own food show exploring New Orleans. You’d totally watch that.
Last Week: 3-2
New Orleans (Pick) at Chicago: Chicago is pretty much a house of horrors for Drew Brees and Sean Payton. The Saints haven’t won in Soldier Field since 2000. Aaron Brooks won a game in Champaign in 2002, so let’s just say it’s been a while.
I hate the Bears so much. I’m not over 2006, I’m not over the sign celebrating Katrina, and I’m not over them giving us Mike Ditka. I’ll never get over Ditka.
If the Saints can keep Drew Brees upright and not turn the ball over to the ball hawking Chicago defense .they’ll be fine because the Bears defense isn’t very good if they aren’t creating turnovers. Isn’t America due to see Jay Cutler pout, scream at an offensive lineman, and throw three terrible interceptions? I say yes.
Atlanta (-10) vs. New York Jets: You do not operate heavy machinery or drive after taking medication and under no circumstances. Do you pick Geno Smith to win a road game?
Carolina (-2) at Arizona: The Panthers might be the second best team in the NFC South by Thanksgiving or Mike Shula might coach them on Halloween. I’m open to either possibility.
Jacksonville (-11.5) at St. Louis: I can’t think of a way the Jaguars will win a game but after watching Sam Bradford last Thursday I wouldn’t pick the Rams to beat a blocking sled by double digits.
Mississippi State (+9.5) vs. LSU: If LSU loses in Starkville some Tiger fans will want Les Miles run out of town. The LSU defense is 2012 New Orleans Saints bad, which means if Zach Mettenberger doesn’t at least play at a B+ level a loss is possible.
I will admit I’m not emotionally equipped to watch a Les Miles coached team play in 44-41 games. Offensive shootouts require precision, clock management, and a calm sideline. Les Miles coached teams have none of those things and yet I’m really excited to watch LSU get 450 yards and score 40 every week. What’s wrong with me?
Ralph Malbrough is a Saints fan living in Houston. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, find him on facebook, follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/SaintsForecast or download his podcast at Itunes.