In a Copycat League, the New Orleans Saints Are Drawing Blueprints for the NFL

Paul Augustin, Jr.Senior Analyst INovember 24, 2009

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 22:  Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints talks with some players during the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on November 22, 2009 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

Coaches and players spend countless hours per week watching game film on their upcoming opponents. They often look to see how other teams have beaten their next foe when formulating the week's game plan.

The NFL has been often called a "copycat" league because of the way trends develop.

The Miami Dolphins shocked the New England Patriots with the introduction of the Wildcat offense last season. Now, just about every team has run some variation of the Wildcat this year.

Everyone is looking at the Saints this year, not only in trying to figure out how to beat them, but teams are also looking at how the Saints have beaten their opponents.

Three teams have seen their seasons go from promising to desperate since playing New Orleans this year.


Week Four: New York Jets

Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez entered Week Four on top of the world. He was a perfect 3-0 in his first three professional games.

Sanchez had turned it over just three times in those three games, a remarkable number for a rookie.

The Saints forced him into four turnovers, including two that turned into touchdowns for the defense.

Sanchez and the Jets have spiraled since losing to the Saints.

Sanchez has had multiple interceptions in three of his past five games, including five against Buffalo and four against New England.

The Jets are 4-6 after starting 3-0.


Week Six: New York Giants

This matchup featured two teams that were a combined 9-0. It was said that this game would be a measuring stick for both teams as neither had really been tested to that point.

The Saints had beaten two rookie quarterbacks and the Giants faced lowly teams such as Oakland, Kansas City, Tampa Bay, and Washington.

Drew Brees and his offense shredded the Giants defense for seven touchdowns and forced two turnovers from Eli Manning.

The Giants proceeded to slide from 5-0 to 5-4.


Week Eight: Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons were 4-2 heading into their Monday night showdown with the Saints. Matt Ryan had tossed 11 touchdowns and six interceptions in six games.

The Saints held Ryan to less than a 50-percent completion rate and forced three interceptions.

Over the past four games, including this one against the Saints, Ryan has had three games with a completion percentage of less than 57 percent.

Atlanta, which had a chance to cut the Saints' division lead to one game, is now five games out with six games left.


The Saints face the Patriots on Monday night. Will they be able to provide the blueprints for defeating them, too?