Tonight the 2-1 Washington Redskins will be in New Orleans to take on the 3-1 Saints for the week five Monday Night Football matchup. Both teams currently sit atop their respective divisions and will look to stay that way heading in to week six.
After dropping their season opener to short-lived FitzMagic and the Bucs, the Saints are winners of three straight and are ranked third in points per game (34.3), trailing only the Kansas City Chiefs (35) and Los Angeles Rams (34.6) – both of whom are undefeated. The Redskins are coming in off their bye week, giving them a little bit more time to game plan against the future Hall of Fame quarterback, Drew Brees. Brees has had many defining moments in his career, and tonight will likely be another huge moment. The 18-year veteran quarterback needs only 201 passing yards to break the NFL record for most passing yards in a career, surpassing Brett Favre (71,838) and Peyton Manning (71,940). While the odds are in favor of the record being broken tonight, it shouldn’t be too easy. The Redskins come in to Monday night with the number one ranked pass defense, giving up only 187 yards per game and have done so facing quality quarterbacks such as Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers. Granted, Washington had the pleasure of facing both of those teams at home and having to roll in to Mercedes-Benz Superdome is a whole different ballgame.
To slow down Brees, you have to slow down his weapons – and he has a plethora of them. Brees will be without Ted Ginn Jr. tonight as he nurses a knee injury, but there’s still Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, and Mark Ingram II. Ingram is returning from his four game suspension tonight and while he might not be a receiving threat as dangerous as Kamara, he still caught 58 balls out of the backfield last season. Ingram’s ability to grind out the tough yards in the ground game only makes Brees more deadly through the air. Michael Thomas is one of the best wide receivers in football so the Redskins secondary will have their hands full. Thomas comes in to week five averaging over just over 10 catches and 111 yards receiving per game.
Looking to slow down Thomas and Brees will be defensive backs Josh Norman (CB) and D.J. Swearinger (FS). One will try and get in your head, and the other will try and take your head. Norman will likely stick to his side of the field this evening, but with Ginn sitting this one out, you can be certain that Thomas will likely be double covered wherever he goes.
Norman and Swearinger are certainly good at their craft, but the key to stopping Brees is not allowing him to have the ball. To do this, the Redskins will look to deploy one of their own greats, Adrian Peterson. Earlier this year Peterson added his name to the top-10 all-time rushing leaders list and will look to prove his explosive running style isn’t going anywhere just yet. He’ll have a tough task ahead as the Saints are currently only giving up 3.2 yards a carry – the stingiest in the league.
Should Brees break the record, the game will likely be paused to pay respects to the living legend. The ball will then be presented to Hall of Fame president, David Baker, and brought to Canton, Ohio to live out its days as a piece of history. For nine minutes – nine representing Drew Brees’s number – the pink lights that grace the outside of the Superdome to bring awareness to cancer will instead beam black and gold in honor of a man that has done so much for his city. For many, football may be just a game, but for the people of New Orleans, Drew Brees is so much more.
Whether it happens tonight or another night, congratulations to you Mr. Brees.
Kickoff is scheduled for 8:15pm Eastern Time.
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