Scott B

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Feb 19, 2002
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By Scott Balot | Saintsreport.com Staff Writer

Here we are in week three of the 2009 NFL season, and the Kool-Aid is flowing like the Mississippi River in Saints' land. Despite warnings from Sean Payton, fans are gorging themselves on cheese while dreaming of a February vacation in Miami. The eternal optimist in me wants to buy Saints' nation another round, but I need to balance the checkbook to make sure I can afford it. The Saints get in a New York state of mind for the next three weeks, starting with the Buffalo Bills. Let's take a look at the Saints-Bills match-up and the rest of WEEK THREE in the NFL.


-I have to give props to OLB Scott Shanle for his play in the first two weeks. I have been critical of his lack of play-changing performances and in the past. This offseason it was revealed that he was voted MVP of the defense by his players last season, and if he continues to play the rest of the season like he has in the first two games, he should win it again.

-Special teams showed marked improvement against the Eagles compared to week one, with the exception of one long kickoff return, which led to an Eagle touchdown. This is still a big area of concern, and had it not been for big leads in the first two weeks, the big plays given up on returns could have been game-changers.

-It's great to see Marques Colston back healthy and producing at a high level. In a league full of prima donna wide receivers, Saints' fans should consider themselves fortunate to have one of the top wideouts in the game that doesn't start every sentence with "I", "Me", or "My". Colston has been a class act since entering the league, and while the OchoCinco's of the world grab the headlines, it's not an accident that the upper echelon of wide receivers carry themselves with much more class, such as Colston, Andre Johnson, and Calvin Johnson to name a few.

-Heath Evans has been a pleasant surprise as an upgrade to former Saint fullback Mike Karney. Evans has two touchdown receptions in two weeks, and looks much more comfortable with the ball in his hands than his predecessor. Evans has also done an excellent job run blocking, leading the way for back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances by the Saints' offense. The importance of a successful running game cannot be understated despite the video game-like passing numbers Drew Brees has put up.

WEEK THREE-Saints vs. Bills

Line: Saints favored by 6

Last season the Saints were 2-6 in road games, and face their first back-to-back road trip this season. Buffalo appears to be a solid football team this year, particularly with the emergence of Fred Jackson at running back. Trent Edwards is the latest in the long line of NFL quarterbacks who has had the "pleasure" of having Terrell Owens as a wide receiver. Owens' career stats against the Saints are pretty impressive: 61 catches, 994 yards, 12 touchdowns. Lee Evans is also a threat lined up opposite of T.O., and both should provide quite a challenge for the improved Saints' secondary. Buffalo is dealing with some injuries, as well as the Saints. As stated above, the Saints' rushing attack has been just as impressive as their passing game, and Mike Bell has been a big reason for that. Bell won't play this week and Pierre Thomas doesn't look to be at 100%, so this bears watching. Putting Reggie Bush as the primary running back takes him away from his most effective spot as a satellite player, and exposes him to taking more injury-inducing hits. It appears Lynell Hamilton will get his first shot at carrying the ball in an NFL game, and his performance may determine the outcome of this game.

Drew Brees stays hot, completing 75% of his passes for 260 yards and 3 touchdowns. Bush gains over 100 total purpose yards and a touchdown. Saints' defense is the star of this week, as they create three more turnovers and register three sacks. T.O. has a long score, while Fred Jackson gets two on the ground This game is much closer than the first two weeks for the Saints, however the Saints win and cover. The guys in the Brandon Foret Band (www.myspace.com/brandonforetband) will be drunk with happiness (among other things). Scott says take the Saints and lay the 6 points...Saints 31, Bills 24.

Last Week: 7-9 (.438)

Lock O' The Week: 2-0

Season: 17-14 (.548)

Lock O' The Week

San Francisco +7 over Minnesota: This game will be decided by a field goal. 49ers are for real.

And now for the rest of WEEK THREE in the NFL:

Bal -13 1/2 over Cle-Ravens flex their muscles at home over one of the worst franchises in the NFL
NYG-7 over TB-Bucs in full blown rebuilding mode
Stl +7 over GB-Pack wins a close one on the road
Phi - 9 1/2 over KC-be ready for the Mike Vick media explosion this week
Atl +4 over NE-Falcons make a strong statement on the road
Hou -4 over Jax-home team gets the nod
Det +6 1/2 over Wash-The losing streak ends this week. So does Jason Campbell's future.
Ten +3 over NYJ-Jeff Fisher shows why he is a top-flight NFL head coach
Chi -2 1/2 over Sea-Bears know how to win ugly, and this game will be ugly
Pit -4 1/2 over Cin-Steelers bounce back in a strong way
Oak +2 over Den-Raiders expose Broncos 2-0 record as a farce
SD -6 over Mia-another home team nod. BTW, Chargers will NEVER win a Championship with Norv Turner.
Ind + 2 1/2 over Ari-I'll take Peyton Manning and points every time
Car + 9 over Dal-How 'Bout dem Cowbo...oh wait.

Who Dat!?!?!?!


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