Having a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback on your team down the back stretch of a season where you’re fighting for playoff seeding is generally a good thing. Having said quarterback injured is definitely the opposite of a good thing. The Saints are facing that reality as Drew Brees is dealing with “multiple rib fractures on both sides of his chest and a collapsed lung on the right side,” according to Ed Werder of ESPN.
The Saints are currently just a half-game ahead of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who you know will be looking to pounce on the opportunity to pull ahead in the NFC South. Tom Brady is relentless like that.
Reports are saying Brees will be sidelined at least 2-3 weeks.
But hey, luckily for the Saints, who operate with a quarterback notorious for accuracy and ball security, they have a perfectly capable backup that totally fits that mold in… Jameis Winston. Just a refresher, in case you have somehow forgotten, Jameis “YOLO” Winston threw for a whopping 5,109 yards and 30 touchdowns last season. However, he also threw an equally-whopping-yet-disgusting 30 picks. That is the stuff of nightmares for Sean Payton, who would probably have an aneurysm on the sidelines if Winston reverts to that uncontrolled smattering of quarterback play.
If you’re Sean Payton, would you rather run a game script reliant on the decision making of Jameis Winston or the ability of your stud running back Alvin Kamara, who leads the entire NFL with 1,178 scrimmage yards through only 10 weeks? Probably the latter. Get the ball to Kamara, feed “Slant Boy” Michael Thomas with easy completions, play stout defense, and get out of the way.
Let’s also not forget that the Saints defense has been playing out of their damn minds the last two weeks, giving up just 16 points combined. And it has generated SEVEN turnovers and five sacks. What the hell? Where did these guys come from?
So, Saints fans, before you start stealing all the bourbon from Bourbon Street and drink yourself into a blackout, let’s take a deep breath and look at the situation.
The upcoming schedule for the Saints is very winnable. Over the next four weeks, they’ll be at home against the Falcons, at the Broncos, at the Falcons for a second time, then at the Eagles. Even if the Falcons can get up emotionally for a division game and somehow pull off a win in one of their matchups, the Saints, no matter who is under center, should still be looking at winning three of their next four games... Hopefully.
Meanwhile, your biggest division rival has things a little rougher in the next four weeks. The Buccaneers play at home against the Rams and Chiefs, have their BYE in Week 13, remain home vs. the Vikings, before heading to Atlanta.
So please, Saints fans, don’t panic yet. This team has been without Brees before, and they did just fine (eight wins in a row last year with Brees on the shelf was pretty damn impressive).
Expect a heavy dose of Alvin Kamara and some wizardry from Sean Payton until Brees can — hopefully — make a quick return. In the meantime, eat a W for Jameis.