Recap: Last Sunday, Sean Payton’s team clinched its third consecutive NFC title. On Sunday, the Saints took on the San Francisco 49ers at the Superdome in a clash between 10-2 teams. Quarterback Drew Brees found tight end Jared Cook for a pair of first-quarter touchdown passes and New Orleans would eventually open up a 20-7 lead in the second quarter. But Dennis Allen’s defensive unit had zero answers for Kyle Shanahan’s attack as the Saints were gashed for 516 total yards – including 162 yards rushing. Brees threw for 349 yards and five touchdown without an interception and gave his team a one-point lead with 53 seconds to play. But it wasn’t enough.
Next Week: The Saints play host to the Indianapolis Colts for the first time since 2011 as these franchises clash on Monday Night Football. Dating back to their 31-17 victory in Super Bowl XLIV, Payton’s club has prevailed in the last three meetings in a series that dates back to 1967 – the latest a 27-21 win four years ago at Indianapolis.
Playoff Hopes: A week ago, Payton’s club wrapped up the NFC South. But the loss to the Niners now puts the Saints behind San Francisco in terms of seeding in the conference. Of course, there’s still three weeks to go and a lot could happen. But this is a talented team that is suddenly having some issues on the defensive side of the ball.
Recap: The defending Super Bowl champions faced a fifth consecutive 2018 playoff participant when they hosted the Kansas City Chiefs. New England’s proud defense gave up four scores through the air in last week’s loss at Houston, equaling the total the Patriots surrendered in their first 11 contests. On Sunday, Bill Belichick’s club gave up 283 yards passing to Patrick Mahomes, sacking him just once. The opportunistic Pats came up with two more takeaways but Tom Brady and the club’s struggling offense had another shaky outing. New England managed only 278 total yards and the team was only 2-of-12 on third down and just 1-of-3 on fourth-down conversion attempts.
Next Week: The Patriots head to the Queen City for the first time since 2013 as these franchises meet for fourth time in seven years and the first time since ’16. Dating back to ’04, Belichick’s team owns a 6-1 advantage over the Bengals and came away with a 35-17 triumph three years ago at Foxborough when the clubs last clashed.
Playoff Hopes: Thanks to consecutive losses to the Texans and Chiefs, Belichick’s team still hasn’t secured a playoff berth. It figures to be only a matter of time but the Patriots have now dropped three games this season, all to teams currently leading or tied for the top spot in their respective divisions. It’s a club out of sync these days.
Next: Nos. 2 and 1