A weekly analysis of the New Orleans Saints’ quarterback play:
Rewind: Drew Brees had another outstanding performance in Sunday’s 26-18 victory over the Chicago Bears -- although this one was a little subtler than usual. Brees completed 29 of 35 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions. He stuck to the smart, steady game plan of accepting check-down throws and avoiding turnovers. According to ESPN Stats & Information, 25 of Brees’ completions and 27 of his attempts traveled less than 10 yards downfield. He did hit on a few shots, though, including a beautiful 38-yard throw to tight end Jimmy Graham.
Fast-forward: A fascinating showdown this week on the road against the New England Patriots as Brees squares off against another future Hall of Fame quarterback, Tom Brady. Brees proved Sunday that he can continue to thrive outdoors, outside of his comfort zone. But the late-afternoon game at Foxborough could be a little chillier, and the Patriots’ underrated defense will provide another stiff test.
Broken record: The NFL had shrewdly set up this matchup in Week 6 so Brady would be aiming to tie Brees’ NFL-record streak of 54 consecutive games with a touchdown pass. Then Brady went out last week at Cincinnati and snapped his streak at 52. Brees wasn’t celebrating when he heard the news, though. His first reaction to seeing that the Patriots lost was, “It just means that they’re gonna be pretty salty next week, and we’re gonna get their best game, there’s no doubt about that.”
Prediction: I think both quarterbacks will show up for this one -- but so will both defenses. I see more of a back-and-forth, 27-24 type of game than a repeat of last week’s aerial duel between the Denver Broncos’ Peyton Manning and the Dallas Cowboys’ Tony Romo. But I expect both QBs to come up big in big moments.