Saints vs. Broncos: Who's going to stop Jay Cutler?

James ReesAnalyst ISeptember 17, 2008

Six hours into my pro football watching marathon last Sunday I realized two things;  First, the Saints revamped defense might not be as good as advertised; and second, the Broncos can flat out score the football.

As I mulled this over in my brain while also considering the monumental decision of what I would have for dinner, I began to make a few connections.  If the Saints are struggling on defense and the Broncos are scoring more often then Hugh Hefner, how in the world did New Orleans expect to win its Week Three trip to Denver?

Against San Diego, supposedly one of the best defenses in the league, the Broncos put up 39.  Cutler moved the ball at will against defenders far more talented than anyone the Saints have.  Brandon Marshall, hell bent on recovering fantasy value after his Week One suspension, caught 18 balls. 

And Eddie where-the-heck-did-he-come-from Royal proved he isn’t a one hit wonder.

There was no denying it: This Broncos team can and will score on anybody.  So again I returned to my question: Who on the Saints roster has a chance of stopping this Cutler-led scoring machine?

Based on Sunday’s performance against the Redskins, I’d say one guy--Jonathan Vilma.  Of course, he can’t stop an offense all by himself, but I single him out because he was the only Saints defender who actually defended against Washington.

The rest of the defense was ineffective.  I understand there were several starters injured, but no starters were out on the defensive line.  Why couldn’t the Saints get any pass rush? 

I digress, that game is over and done with.  It’s time to focus on this week.  By the way, how many combined points will the Saints and Broncos score?  Can Vegas get away with an over/under set at 60?  I might still take the over.

Clearly the only way New Orleans beats Denver this week is if they outscore them.  Can it be done?  Possibly.  Can Lou Holtz make it through an entire sentence without sounding ridiculous?  Possibly. Not likely, though. 

The point is New Orleans must play an outstanding offensive game to win this Sunday.  They’ve got to play a Dallas in ’06 type game to win.  So far the Saints offense hasn’t run as smoothly as it’s capable of running.  To get past Cutler and Co. it’s got to purr like a Corvette.

That means no more fumbles, drops or interceptions.  It means establishing the running game early with Deuce McAllister.  And it means tons of protection for Drew Brees

If the Saints can check those three things off the list at the end of the day, odds are they’ll heading home happy.