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Behind Enemy Lines: New Orleans Saints

Josh Fyffe of The Giants Beat goes behind enemy lines to ask Saints publisher Scott Alexander five burning questions about the Saints.

Josh Fyffe | TheGiantsBeat.com

 Brees has obviously been one of the best quarterbacks in the league over the last 10 seasons. After 7 games thus far, he has barely tossed over a touchdown a game and hasn’t played at the elite status expect of him; what have been the major culprits of his early-season struggles?

Scott Alexander | SaintsInsider.com

Several factors are definitely in play regarding Drew Brees's like of 'Brees-like' production this year. And it's actually NOT the one most people think it is. Yes, Brees is 36 & just a couple months shy of 37, but he has never been in better shape in his life thanks to heavy core fitness workouts. The arm is still strong but he did suffer a bruised rotator cuff early in the 2nd quarter in an early season loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He could barely lift his arm above his head, much less throw a ball downfield & it cost the Saints dearly in that game. Brees missed the next game vs the Panthers, but he has looked sharp for the most part leading the Saints to 3 victories in their last 4 games. 

Josh Fyffe | TheGiantsBeat.com

Who has been the breakout defensive player of the year for the Saints and who has underperformed on the defensive side of the ball?

Scott Alexander | SaintsInsider.com

Not having his security blanket Jimmy Graham was certainly a big factor early in the season, but he is spreading the ball around nicely to WRs Brandin Cooks & Willie Snead as well as tight end Benjamin Watson. Also, for the first time in his career, Mark Ingram has become a major factor in the Saints passing game and he has one of the highest yards from scrimmage marks in the NFL. Speaking of Ingram, the Saints are also relying a lot more in the running game with the 3-headed monster of Ingram, Khiry ROBINSON & CJ Spiller. Under Payton, the Saints are 35-3 when they rush for over 100 yards.

Josh Fyffe | TheGiantsBeat.com

A lot of NFL analysts projected Brandin Cooks to have a breakout season, presumably being the number one target in a Drew Brees lead offense. His numbers aren’t necessarily bad, posting above 60 yards a game along with a score on the season, but not near the dominancy you hope for from a former first round pick. Is Cooks playing at his full potential and do you see him and Drew Brees having better chemistry during the latter half of the season?

Scott Alexander | SaintsInsider.com

 The when will Brandin Cooks officially break out scenario has been playing out weekly here in the Crescent City. It is certainly the $64,000 question in New Orleans, so your guess is as good as mine! For the Saints sake, LET'S HOPE IT HAPPENS SOON!

Josh Fyffe | TheGiantsBeat.com

What matchup, on either offense or defense, do you see being a big source of advantage for the Saints this week?

Scott Alexander | SaintsInsider.com

I don't see the Saints having any obvious advantages over a very good (& hot) NewYork Giants team. The Saints hope to pound the run with Ingram, Robinson & Spiller because they are well aware of the G-Men's opportunistic defense, particularly in the passing game. That said, Brees ALWAYS plays better in the Superdome so there is hope there. 
On defense, they Saints have been getting pressure the last 3 out of 4 games. Jordan & Kikaha are leading the way there....

Josh Fyffe | TheGiantsBeat.com

What is your final score prediction and why?

Scott Alexander | SaintsInsider.com

 27-24 Saints
The reason for the score is both teams are playing well now but for some reason Drew Brees's eyes get very excited when he sees the Giants uniform come into the Dome. I think it will be a fantastic football game & could go either way!

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