Saints X-Factors in Week 3


The New Orleans Saints (1-1) are coming off a 34-24 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders (2-0) on Monday night.  After the disappointing showing in primetime, the Saints have a shot at redemption this Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers inside the friendly confines of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Here are Saints News Network's X-Factors for Week 3. 

Offensive X-Factor: QB Drew Brees

© Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Over the first two weeks of the 2020 season, Drew Brees is ranked 29th among qualified quarterbacks in the PFF rating. Brees and the Saints offense have been below par to start the season despite averaging over 25 points per game. The Super Bowl XLIV MVP has completed 64% of his passes for 472 yards, 3 TDs, and 1 INT.

Following disappointing outings in back-to-back weeks, Drew Brees finds himself in a "prove it" game against the Packers in Week 3.  Brees has the most talented offensive arsenal of his career on paper.  If the Saints drop to a 1-2 record would be an astronomical disappointment. For the Saints to return the "Super Bowl Contending Form" in media and fans' eyes, Brees needs to flip the early season script and pull out a vintage performance in Primetime Sunday night. 

Defensive X-Factor: DE Cameron Jordan

© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The back-to-back second-team All-Pro selection has had a quiet start to the 2020 season. Jordan has failed to record a sack in either of the Saints' first two contests and has only one tackle for loss. Against the Raiders and their third-string RT Denzelle Good, Jordan struggled to record 0 QB hits and seeing QB Derek Carr carve the Saints defense for nearly 300 yards and 3 TDs.

Jordan has recorded 12+ sacks in each of the last three seasons and had two stretches during the 2019 season, where he did not record a sack in back-to-back games. The Saints have 6 sacks through two games and have shown glimpses of the dominant defense seen in 2019. Jordan is due a big night, and no better time to show out than under the lights.  

Wild Card X-Factor: WR Emmanuel Sanders

Saints WR Emmanuel Sanders #17
Credit: WVUE; Sean Payton and Emmanuel Sanders; September 21, 2020; Las Vegas, NV

Frustrating, disappointing, unforeseen, these are three words that describe WR Emmanuel Sanders’ first two games in the black and gold. Sanders caught only one pass Monday night against the Raiders. His lone catch came with under 1:30 remaining in the ball game. In 2020, the two-time Pro-Bowl WR has hauled in 4 receptions for 38 yards and 1 TD.

With an injury to Michael Thomas that kept him out of the Saints Week 2 contest, analysts assumed #17 would step seamlessly into the role of WR1 for New Orleans. Unfortunately for the Saints, nothing has been seamless with Sanders’ start with the Saints. The shortened offseason has affected Sanders' and the wide receivers' timing with QB Drew Brees. The lack of sharpness is a concern, especially since the Saints need a big game from the veteran wideout to match the NFL's #1 ranked offense in Green Bay.

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Editorial / Opinion