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Sizing Up the Saints

Posted Oct 22, 2012

While their record might not indicate it, the Saints are a dangerous team coming to Denver on Sunday night.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Broncos are expecting far better than a 2-4 caliber team coming to Denver on Sunday night.

The New Orleans Saints started the season with four consecutive losses, but have righted the ship with two straight wins, looking more like the team that made the playoffs in each of the last three years rather than the team that went winless in the first month of 2012.

"It's like (Head) Coach (John) Fox said, 'You don't have to worry too much about the record when you look at the tape,'" tight end Jacob Tamme said about the beginning of Week 8 preparations. "They had a tough stretch there early, but now they've won some games and it's just a matter of time for them. They're a good team. They've got too many really good players. We'll have to prepare really well this week."

In recent games, New Orleans has found a stride offensively, heading to Sports Authority Field at Mile after consecutive 30-plus point performances. Before that, the Saints put up 27 in a one-point loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 4.

"What they're doing now is just playing great as an offense, with all 11 guys are holding up on their responsibilities," linebacker Keith Brooking said. "(Saints quarterback Drew Brees) is playing better than he's played since I've been following him and watching him in this league. Now, they're playing better collectively as a group."

Brees' numbers during the last month support Brooking's claim. In his last three games, the quarterback has averaged 398 yards passing per contest - a league-best - to go along with 11 touchdowns to two interceptions. Most recently, he threw four TD passes in just more than a quarter-long span at Tampa Bay, overcoming an early 14-point deficit.

"I think a guy like that, he's always a great quarterback," defensive end Elvis Dumervil said. "You can never take him for granted. He can turn it on at any given point, any series. So we have a big task in front of us."

But Brees is surrounded by other playmakers on the Saints' offense. In the last three games that New Orleans has played, a receiver has topped the 100-yard mark.

Cornerback Tracy Porter, who spent four seasons in New Orleans, is familiar with the options that Brees has at his disposal, and how effectively he incorporates all of them.

"They have five weapons," Porter said. "Any quarterback would want five weapons each down that he could get the ball to, so he doesn't have to focus on getting the ball into one receiver's hands. They have a guy for everything they want to do in their offense, so (Brees) doesn't have to stare down one receiver. If that guy's not open, he just progressively makes his reads."

The Broncos seem fully aware that the Saints' 2-4 record is quite deceiving.

"There are just so many weapons," Dumervil said. "We have to lock in."

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