Saints succeed in London

Across the Pond      

JOHN DUDEK

Times Columnist

This past Sunday, the much maligned defense of the New Orleans Saints did something that they haven’t done in five years. They actually shut another team out from scoring a single point.

The last time the Saints achieved the feat, was in the season finale of 2012, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Considering the manner in which the Saints got shredded on defense through the first two games, I definitely did not see this one coming. I expected it to be shootout, with the Saints hopefully getting the ball last, and Drew Brees coming through once again in the clutch. Boy was I wrong. The Saints jumped out on the Dolphins, and after an early interception in the end zone, Miami never really got into gear. New Orleans played a bend but don’t break type of defense, and it worked to perfection last week. Maybe they should get the NFL to schedule all of their road games in London.

The Saints are on their “bye” week this week, and don’t have another game until Sunday, October 15th. That Sunday, they will be hosting the new look Detroit Lions in the Superdome. The Lions are 3-1 on the young season, but could easily be undefeated. They are currently ranked as the #7 team in the NFL power rankings, meanwhile, the Saints are in the 20th spot. This will be a true test for New Orleans. While the defense has shown a marked improvement, there is obviously still a ton of work to do. A lot of folks figured it was a case of them simply playing a couple of sub par offenses, but shutting out any NFL team is an accomplishment.

            Moving forward, if the Saints can beat the Lions at home, and get into the win column in the standings, it will be a good sign. However, if they lose to the Lions, it won’t look too good going into Green Bay. The Packers will truly be a challenge for the Saints, and could be a season defining game, win or lose. A win could spark the confidence of a young defense, but a loss would be a huge blow to the morale of a team still trying to find its identity. As far as the off week, I’m not sure who needs it more, the team, or the fans.