The New Orleans Saints were one of the favorites coming into the season to win the National Football Conference and advanced to their second-ever Super Bowl. That optimism was sidelined twice last week, first with the loss of Drew Brees to injury, and then in a lopsided defeat to the Los Angeles Rams, 27-9.
We could fill out the rest of this column space by simply listing Brees’ records and accomplishments on and off the football field. Then, with a sound like that of a moldy orange being dropped into the garbage, an injury occurred that totally rewrites the Saints expectations. That ugly sound was Brees jaming his hand into the oncoming rush of Aaron Donald. The realization that the injury was serious was instantaneous, and first fears were realized when their prize quarterback required surgery. He is not expected to miss the whole season, and six weeks is the most optimistic projection for his return.
This Sunday, the role of the New Orleans quarterback will be played by Teddy Bridgewater, who was rushed into duty last Sunday after Brees was hurt, and completed 17 of 30 passes for 165 yards. He didn’t serve up an interception, but he also didn’t get his team into the endzone. The Saints offense in Los Angeles was limited to three field goals. Many expect Bridgewater will still have trouble this week connecting with his receiving corps. For that reason, people who know this have decided to bet on the Seattle today; the Seahawks are collecting more than seven of every ten bets made on this game.
What if I were to tell you that the Saints losing Brees can only serve to inspire New Orleans to play at their peak today in Seattle? While the Seahawks have the comfort of winning their first two games and expecting a third against an injured Saints team, New Orleans knows it has to play better than it did not only last week, in their loss to Los Angeles, but even better than they played the first week when they downed the Houston Texans.
This kind of situation, where one team is looking at the abyss of losing a second straight game, while their opponents are confident in their ability and looking to add a third straight win, is a motivational gem. That kind of makeup will cause one team to be on their toes; first to the loose balls, and always with the extra effort to survive, while the home team will rely on what they thought they already knew, they were the better team.
A better team is the one that is motivated that day.
If the Saints weren’t a quality team, well coached with talented players, then a setback like the loss of a starting quarterback could blunt their chances for success. But, the Saints are a good team. They were picked as one of the favorites to advance to Super Bowl LIV because they are talented on both sides of the ball.
The Saints defense was one of the reasons they carried low Super Bowl odds, and that unit will be inspired to play their best game of the season in making up for the loss of Brees. The offense may not have the precision look like the one we are used to seeing Brees orchestrate in New Orleans, but an inspired group looking to overcome the loss of their quarterback is more than a worthy match for a Seattle defense that thinks their talent can win them this game.
Qoxhi Picks: New Orleans Saints (+4½) over Seattle Seahawks