Jags, Gabbert Face Tough Test on Sunday

The Jaguars have the fourth-ranked defense in the NFL through three weeks. We'll find out on Sunday if they are worthy of the ranking as one of the best offenses in football invades Jacksonville Municipal Stadium.

The Jaguars find out Sunday if their defense is as good as its numbers.

The Jaguars rank fourth in the league in defensive yardage allowed, fifth against the run and seventh against the pass.

But the team is 1-2 because its offense has scored just 29 points in the first three games.

But the Jaguars defense faces its toughest test Sunday when it goes against Drew Brees and the New Orleans offense.

The Saints put up 40 points on the Houston defense last Sunday when the team wore throwback uniforms in honor of the fifth anniversary of the reopening of the Superdome following Hurricane Katrina.

Brees completed 23 of 31 passes for 246 yards and three touchdowns in the second half alone while passing for 370 total yards against Houston.

By contrast, the two Jaguars quarterbacks have passed for a total of 425 yards in the first three games, which makes the Jaguars the worst passing team in the league.

The Jaguars also have a challenge on offense. They will be sending rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert out against a Gregg Williams defense.

Williams, who spent a year with the Jaguars in 2008, has faced nine rookie quarterbacks since he joined the Saints in 2009. Those nine threw 15 interceptions against only two touchdown passes.

Williams' exotic blitz schemes can confuse rookie quarterbacks.

The Saints did lose three of those games, but not because of the play of the rookie quarterbacks.

Last season, Arizona beat the Saints, 30-20, even though rookie quarterback Max Hall had no touchdowns and threw an interception. But Arizona's defense scored three times with two fumble returns and an interception return.

Two weeks later, Drew Brees threw four picks against Cleveland and two were returned for touchdowns. Colt McCoy threw for only 74 yards but the Browns won 30-17.

Late in 2009, Tampa Bay beat the Saints with rookie quarterback Josh Freeman, but the Bucs tied the game on a punt return for a touchdown by Michael Spurlock in the fourth quarter and won in overtime 20-17.

Last year, the Saints beat three rookie quarterbacks -- Jimmy Clausen of Carolina twice and Sam Bradford of the Rams.

In 2009, all three rookie quarterbacks the Saints beat threw three interceptions -- Detroit's Matt Stafford, the New York Jets' Mark Sanchez and Freeman, in his first game against the Saints.

So the odds are that it won't be enough for the Jaguars to slow down Brees, they need to get turnovers and score touchdowns if they're to upset the Saints.

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