Brees, Saints take long view on Pats

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When most comparison are drawn between the 2007 Patriots and 2009 Saints, it’s the offenses that are contrasted.

If Drew Brees has his way, there will be more to it than just that. Brees said last night, speaking to ESPN’s Chris Berman, that he and his club want to make like the Patriots organizationally, and not just on the level of lighting up scoreboards.

“It’s gonna take our best game (to beat the Patriots),” Brees said. “We know the type of team that they are. We know the type of team that they’ve been now for the last decade. They’re a dynasty. Obviously, that’s one of the organizations we try to emulate. That’s who we’re trying to be.

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“We’re trying to be that contender year-in and year-out and obviously these opportunities, to play a team like the Patriots, you just gotta take advantage of them.”

But while we’re here, let’s compare the two offenses and how the Saints are keeping up …

POINTS PER GAME
2007 Patriots: 36.8
2009 Saints: 36.9

YARDS PER GAME
2007 Patriots: 420.5
2009 Saints: 411.2


YARDS PER PLAY
2007 Patriots: 6.2
2009 Saints: 6.4
FIRST DOWNS PER GAME
2007 Patriots: 24.6
2009 Saints: 22.1
THIRD DOWN PERCENTAGE
2007 Patriots: 48.2
2009 Saints: 46.9
TIME OF POSSESSION
2007 Patriots: 32:21
2009 Saints: 32:31
One thing I found interesting in running the numbers here: Through 10 games, the Patriots actually are averaging more yards per game than they did in 2007. Look it up. These Patriots are at 416.1 yards per game; Those Patriots averaged 411.2 per contest.
On the Saints’ side, here’s another nugget: While Brees has been impressive (and I think forcefully joined the Brady-Manning class, at least for this year), there was more on him last year, clearly, in New Orleans. Here are those …
2008: 413-635 (65.0), 5,069 yards, 8.00 yards/att, 34 TD, 17 INT
2009 (proj.): 349-512 (68.1), 4,394 yards, 8.58 yards/att, 35 TD, 14 INT
The real difference for the Saints — one that hasn’t gotten enough attention — has been the running game. Last year, New Orleans was 28th in rushing offense, which really makes it more amazing that they led the league in total offense. This year, the Saints are fifth, having upped their yards per carry from 4.0 to 4.8.
And here’s one more nugget: There’s a pretty good chance that Drew Brees goes over 4,400 yards passing for the fourth straight season. How impressive is that? Peyton Manning has only gone over 4,400 yards twice, and Tom Brady’s only done it once, although both are on pace to eclipse the benchmark this year.