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Brees, Saints take long view on Pats

Posted by Albert Breer  November 24, 2009 09:03 AM

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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.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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