ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver defense knows it's going to take a near perfect all-around effort to keep Saints quarterback Drew Brees from lighting up the scoreboard.
"Last (49) teams haven't figured that out," Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio said, referencing Brees' NFL-record 49 straight games with a touchdown pass. "We get our crack at him Sunday."
Brees comes to Denver as hot as ever, throwing for 11 touchdowns to just two interceptions in the last three games. In that span, he has averaged just less than 400 yards passing per game.
The offense is a pass-heavy attack, throwing more than twice as much as it runs in 2012. While the defense still must respect the run, the aggressiveness of the Saints' passing attack could be the most dangerous element. Brees has completed 34 passes of more than 20 yards, the second-most explosive passing plays in the league.
"He's accurate and they take shots down the field," Del Rio said. "They take shots from wherever they are. They could be backed up, they'll take shots. They cross mid-field, they're taking shots and they're in the red zone, they're taking shots. They get some attempts at the end zone and he's an accurate guy. We just need to limit those attempts and play good defense."
While the defense has already seen its fair share of premiere quarterbacks this year, from the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger to the Falcons' Matt Ryan to the Patriots' Tom Brady, the leader of the Denver secondary believes Brees is in a league of his own.
Cornerback Champ Bailey said "you could argue that he's the best," adding that Brees has skills that he hasn't seen in other quarterbacks.
"I don't know if it's the system or what but I'll tell you the guy has the ability to make every throw and make every DB in this league look stupid," Bailey said. "I don't know how he does it. He's been special since he got to New Orleans."
It's not just Bailey's unit of the defense that needs to step up to stop Brees. The defensive line has to focus on his quick delivery and decision-making. Though he's not the fastest quarterback, he's one of the most difficult to sack.
"A guy like him, you have to make sure you get him on the ground and not let him make those crazy throws that he likes to make out of the pocket," defensive end Derek Wolfe said. "Just containing him and not letting him take those deep shots on us, make him check it down."
Even the offense is looking to help stop the Saints' quarterback. The most guaranteed way to keep Brees from beating you, running back Willis McGahee said, is to not let him get the ball.
If the offense can establish lengthy drives each time it's out on the field, Brees will see his touches and opportunities limited.
"When you play a good quarterback like that, at the end of the day, you don't want him to have all that time on the football field. We'll try to keep them on the sideline as best as possible, and it actually helps our defense out."