TALE OF THE TAPE

Tale Of The Tape: New Orleans Saints At New York Jets

New Orleans Saints
New York Jets
(credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Geno Smith (credit: Al Bello/Getty Images)
(credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Geno Smith (credit: Al Bello/Getty Images)
Quarterback
Winner Drew Brees is sharp enough to know that the Jets are going to be coming home angry after getting humiliated in Cincinnati. That means he is not going to force the ball and he will take what the defense gives him. There may be no better quarterback in the NFL under those circumstances because Brees is patient and accurate.
Geno Smith has had some decent moments and the Jets are in decent shape at 4-4, but it’s hard to feel confident after his performance against Cincinnati. Smith completed 20-of-30 passes for 159 yards, but he threw two interceptions that were both returned for touchdowns. Smith needs his receivers to get open by more than a step or he is at risk.
Offense
Winner The Saints are not operating at full strength, yet they still managed to put 35 points on the board in their Week Eight victory over the Buffalo Bills. The running attack has been ordinary this year with Pierre Thomas and that’s not likely to change against the Jets. Tight end Jimmy Graham is playing with a painful foot injury, but he still caught two TD passes against the Bills. Marques Colston will get open.
The Jets have gotten solid productivity from their running attack, but the Saints will load up to try to slow the Jets’ ground game because they don’t respect Smith. Jeremy Kerley and Stephen Hill are both decent receivers, but neither one is a consistent threat. Santonio Holmes can be a difference maker, but hamstring problems regularly keep him out of the lineup.
Defense
The Saints have been quite solid defensively this year and that’s a credit to defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. They get an excellent pass rush from Cameron Jordan and Junior Galette, while middle linebacker Curtis Lofton is the team’s best tackler. Strong safety Kenny Vaccaro is a hard hitter in the secondary who also is a solid asset in pass coverage.
Winner The Jets have played solid defense throughout the majority of the season, but that was not the case in Week Eight against the Bengals. Still, Rex Ryan is not about to take this game lightly, going up against his brother. The Jets are solid tacklers and the best may be inside linebacker David Harris, who leads the team in tackles. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie has been beaten regularly this season.
Special Teams
The Saints have been reliable in their kickoff and punt coverage, but they would like to see Darren Sproles break free for a big return. Placekicker Garrett Hartley has been reliable most of the season, but he missed two attempts against Buffalo. Thomas Morstead can place the ball inside the 20.
Winner The Jets have been quite reliable in their kickoff and punt coverage. They signed Josh Cribbs to give their own return game an upgrade. While the jets got blown out in Cincinnati, placekicker Nick Folk was 3-of-3 on his FG attempts.

We'll Just Call it a Tie

(credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images) Geno Smith (credit: Al Bello/Getty Images)

While the Jets have edges on defense and special teams, they are small. The Saints’ edges at quarterback and overall offense are much bigger and this game is likely to go in New Orleans’ favor unless the Saints have a flat effort.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 8:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers drops back to pass in the second quarter during the NFC Wild Card game against the New York Giants at Lambeau Field on January 8, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 26: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys throws against the Detroit Lions during the first half at AT&T Stadium on December 26, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
    Divisional Round Tale: Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys

    The Packers look to avenge a loss to the Cowboys in the regular season.

  2. PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 08:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers hands off to Le'Veon Bell #26 during the second quarter against the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Wild Card game at Heinz Field on January 8, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 25:  Quarterback Alex Smith #11 of the Kansas City Chiefs in action during the game against the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium on December 25, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jason Hanna/Getty Images)
    Divisional Round Tale: Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs

    The red-hot Steelers head to KC for a rematch with a Chiefs team they throttled 43-14 in the regular season.

  3. HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 07:  Brock Osweiler #17 of the Houston Texans hands off to Lamar Miller #26 at NRG Stadium on January 7, 2017 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 01: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots points to the defense during the 1st quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on January 1, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
    Divisional Round Tale: Houston Texans at New England Patriots

    The Texans head to Foxboro, the site of a 27-0 loss in the regular season and now have to face Tom Brady this time around.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS New York

50 YEARS OF NEWS
Get Our Morning Briefs
Bloomberg WCBS Tri-State Business Index

Listen Live