Originally written on The Sports Headquarters  |  Last updated 9/23/12

Coaching, contrary to popular belief, is important. Don’t believe me? Check the Saints 0-2 record to start 2012. No Sean Payton = No wins. It’s been that simple. Romeo Crennel, as solid of a coach as he may be, is also off to a 0-2 start which has left some scratching their heads. They haven’t had the toughest of starts schedule wise yet they come into Week 3 winless heading into a likely hostile Superdome in New Orleans. Unlike the Jets-Dolphins game I just previewed, I actually believe this has the potential to be a phenomenal game. Why? Two teams fighting for their first win of the season. 0-3 is a death sentence. You enter Week 4 without a win on your resume’ you might as well start watching college games to figure out who you’re drafting in 2013. The writing is on the wall for this to be a high scoring matchup between the NFC South and AFC West basement dwellers. So, which team gets their first victory of 2012?

What the Chiefs Must Do in Order to Win This Game

The Saints secondary is weak. The Saints run defense is mediocre. The Saints defense on the whole is incredibly short of spectacular. The Chiefs offense, through two weeks, has been night and day. Week 1, the Chiefs were able to hang with Atlanta to a point before Matt Ryan went off and the Falcons pulled ahead. Last week, the Bills got off to an early romp before the Chiefs added some late game scores (my fantasy teams thank you for that). So what do they need to do? Find Dwayne Bowe early and often. Two seasons ago, Bowe established himself as one of the top receivers in the league when he eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards and hauled in 15 touchdown receptions. Last year, Bowe still eclipsed 1,000 yards but only reeled in eight scores. Through two weeks in 2012, Bowe has two touchdowns and 155 yards on 11 receptions. He needs 15 targets this game if the Chiefs want to compete because Bowe is a top tier receiver who should be treated like one by Matt Cassel. Jamaal Charles has struggled out of the gate as he only has 90 yards through two games thus far. If Charles can’t get it going early, the Chiefs will have to look to Bowe to spread out the defense and get in the endzone. Two things which the LSU graduate is more than capable of doing.

What the Saints Must Do in Order to Win This Game

Drew Brees needs to be the leader I’ve heard so much about since he got to New Orleans. I remember when the Chargers drafted Eli Manning and traded for Philip Rivers, Brees’ career was just about over. Then, in Rivers’ rookie season, Brees came alive and earned himself a huge payday. Signed with the Saints, and the rest was thought to be history. After two games in 2012, however, we may have more questions than ever before. Brees has put up some decent passing numbers but his interceptions (4) are higher than they should be at this point in the season. He has averaged 332 yards per game through the air, but if he’s not getting his team in the endzone what does it matter? Pierre Thomas had a great game against the Panthers last week (110 yards on nine attempts) but he doesn’t get the ball nearly enough to consistently contribute. If the Saints are going to turn their season around, they are going to need a big game from Brees. That does not mean he needs to pass for 500 yards, but he needs to be in control of the offense. He can’t do much about the defense. I don’t know, maybe he can pay them or something. But he can control the offense. With so little stability at the top of this organization right now, he needs to be the calming force. If he cannot do that, and the Saints lose this game, can he still be considered one of the best field generals in the game today?

Final Predicition

38-32 Kansas City. Until I see the Saints put together a quality game for 60 minutes, there is just no way I can pick them to win a game. It just defies logic to even consider picking the Saints. This is a big game for both teams and the last big game I remember the Chiefs playing in was at home against the Packers last season, a game in which they won. The last big game I saw the Saints play in was at San Francisco in the playoffs last season, in which they lost. The Saints haven’t won since and if they cannot beat the Chiefs at home this week, they may be heading into their Week 6 bye 0-5 as they travel to Green Bay next weekend before hosting the 2-0 Chargers. While it’s a must win for both teams, all of the pressure is on the Saints. Let’s see what you’re made of Brees.


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