With two statistical studs like quarterbacks Tom Brady of New England and Drew Brees of New Orleans, it’s easy to overlook each teams defense, but you shouldn’t. Sure, it’s fun to think about the Saints’ prolific passer and his bevy of highly skilled position players, or the Pats’ three-time Super Bowl winner who is manning an offense that’s scored more points per game than Peyton’s. Unfortunately, if you do that, you’re discounting one of football’s best safety duo’s (New England’s Brandon Meriweather and Brandon McGowan), and two filthy front-four gems like former Proctor High standout Will Smith, and Charles Grant.
When it comes to two potent offenses, you have to look at the top pressure guys on each team, and can figure out quickly how things will end up. For New England, it’s a little known linebacker named Tully Banta-Cain, who is easily the team’s best pass rusher. His numbers are not worthy of a Pro Bowl visit (5 sacks, one forced fumble, one pass defended), but his ability speed by tackles and put heat on the quarterback will be critical for the Patriots.
New Orleans is a blitz heavy team, sending extra rushers on 49% of their opponents passing plays according to WEEI.com. Any number of Saints could be flying in the face of Tom Brady, but Smith and Grant should worry the Pats most. How effectively the Pats block Smith and the Saints handle Banta-Cain should tell the tale of this game.
If both are neutralized, prepare some extra flash bulbs for the scoreboard, if not, prep the medical crews.