Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Reporter
METAIRIE, La. – The Saints enter Sunday’s game at Jacksonville averaging 34.6 points per game.
Through three games this season, the Jaguars (1-2) have only scored 29 points – total.
Yet, New Orleans (2-1) players all said that numbers only mean so much.
“There are games that we can point to that we can look at stats and we were heavily favored and it didn’t happen,” Saints cornerback Jabari Greer said. “It happened to us last year with Arizona and with Cleveland. If you just look at purely stat-wise, we were heavily favored. That’s not the way football is played.”
In fact, Sunday’s game sets up like both of those losses from last season.
The Saints went into Arizona averaging just 19.8 points per game but boasted the 12th-ranked offense while the Cardinals were scoring just 14.5 points and had the 31st-ranked offense.
But Arizona scored three defensive touchdowns to make those rankings moot.
New Orleans entered the Cleveland game scoring 21.6 points and owned the No. 8 offense while the Browns were scoring just 14.6 points and had the 24th-ranked offense.
The Browns, though, scored on two interception returns to pace them past New Orleans.
So heading into Sunday’s game, when New Orleans has the second-best offense in the league and Jacksonville the 28th-best, the Saints know not to look past the Jaguars.
“We can’t say that we’re going to score this amount of points because if you look at it that way, it’s almost a guaranteed victory,” Saints defensive end Will Smith said. “And it doesn’t work out that way.”
He added, “We know that a team that’s struggling to score point is always going to be creating new plays, trying to do different things to score points. It almost puts a lot more pressure on the defense to be more aware and more conscious of what they’re trying to do because they’re pretty much going to do anything because they need to score points.”
And the Saints can’t discount Jacksonville’s defense coming up big like Arizona’s and Cleveland’s. The Jaguars have the fourth-best defense in the NFL, allowing only 280 yards per game.