WHERE THEY STAND
In case you haven’t heard, the Saints are one of only two teams in the NFL at 0-3. Cleveland, the other winless team, was supposed to be a bottom-feeder. The Saints were supposed to be playoff contenders.
The Saints hit the road this week to face the Packers at Lambeau Field. After that, they’ll host the Chargers in a Sunday night game on Sept. 30 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
JOB WELL DONERB Pierre Thomas
WHAT HE’S DONE: OK, so he only had 11 rushing yards last week. But he only got six carries as the Saints abandoned their ground game. Thomas also had 55 receiving yards on four catches, and very nearly made an acrobatic touchdown catch (officials ruled it incomplete after an instant-replay challenge). WHAT’S NEXT: Thomas, Darren Sproles and Mark Ingram face a stout front seven in Green Bay. The Saints will have to commit to the run, and Thomas is capable of doing the job. He is averaging 7.3 yards per carry.
ON THE SPOTSS Roman Harper
WHAT HE’S DONE: It’s not fair to pile all the blame on Harper — or, for that matter, anyone else. The Saints’ front seven struggled to make tackles against the run last week, putting more pressure on Harper to clean up the mess. But he’s also a leader in a secondary that ranks 25th in the NFL against the pass.
WHAT’S NEXT: It doesn’t get any easier. First, the Saint’ front seven has to do a better job against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay ground game. And although the Packers offense is struggling, it’s more than capable of waking up at home in a must-win game.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
56.7The Saints’ third-down conversion percentage in 2011, best in the NFL.
37.8The Saints’ third-down conversion percentage this season. They rank 19th in the NFL.
68.5Drew Brees’ completion percentage through three games last season, when he threw for 1,059 yards.
54.7Brees’ completion percentage through the first three weeks this season. Brees has completed 75 of 137 passes. He has 904 passing yards.
“We have to do a better job coaching, we have to do a better job playing and then things will turn around. If we look for other things to happen, it’s not there. That’s what it comes down to.”
WHAT THEY’VE DONE: Atlanta is one of only two NFC teams to start 3-0 this season (Arizona is the other). The Falcons have allowed only 48 points in three games.
WHAT THEY’VE DONE: The Bucs took Carolina by surprise in the season opener, but lost two road games to the Giants and Cowboys. Both losses were toss-ups in the fourth quarter.
WHAT THEY’VE DONE: Aside from that win over the Saints ... Not much. Cam Newton struggled in the opener at Tampa Bay, then threw three interceptions in a loss to the Giants.
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