Nov 9, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) throws the ball against the San Francisco 49ers during the fourth quarter at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The 49ers won 27-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
The 2014 New Orleans Saints are not really THE NEW ORLEANS SAINTS as we have known them over the last decade, as they sit at 4-5, a mark that is somehow good enough to put them in first place in the NFC South. Luck for the Saints, though, that the 2014 Cincinnati Bengals ARE starting to resemble the old Bungles that we used to know and love. With Cincy set to visit the Superdome on Sunday, the Saints must be licking their lips in anticipation of sinking their teeth into one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Get ready for the Drew Brees and Mark Ingram show, ladies and gentlemen.
While the Saints are struggling this season, Brees is still performing like an upper-echelon quarterback at age 35. In nine games, he has tossed for 2800+ yards, with 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while completing more than 68% of his passes. Brees has distributed the ball well to his stable of wide receivers and tight ends, and he should have luck doing that again on Sunday against a Bengals’ secondary that is 20th in yards allowed. One feather in the cap of Cincinnati’s D this season is that they have allowed a league-low 10 passing touchdowns, though you could argue that’s because the opposition is always so deep in the Red Zone that they just run it in. To that end, the Bengals have allowed 12 rushing touchdowns, second worst in the league.
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And it is that putrid run defense which will bite Cincy again this weekend in New Orleans, and which will provide with a better set of options than he usually has. Expect Saints running back Mark Ingram to get the ball early to poke into Cincinnati’s soft underbelly, and don’t be at all surprised if he comes through with big yardage. If Ingram gets winded from all the running, well then Brees can give him a breather with a couple of deep passes to break things up.
It could get ugly for the Bengals when New Orleans is on the field, especially with linebacker Vontaze Burfict out again and fellow LB Rey Maualuga listed as doubtful.
If you’re looking for a Bengal to pin your fantasy hopes on this week, well, good luck. But if you just have to have some Orange and Black on your roster, you might look to old standby (at least this season) Mohamed Sanu. The presumed second option at wide receiver actually leads the team in yardage by a fair margin over A.J. Green, who has been injured for much of the year. Quarterback Andy Dalton is not a popular guy in Cincinnati or on the Interwebs right now, but he Saints’ pass defense is porous, so it’s likely that Dalton and Sanu will get theirs, too.