Cover-Two: Breaking down the undefeated Chiefs and Saints
The Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints both moved to 5-0 with wins on Sunday afternoon. Our latest Audibles Cover-Two compares and contrasts the two surprising unbeatens.
Which team has been more impressive thus far: Kansas City or New Orleans?
Chris Burke: New Orleans. This has to do mostly with the competition faced. The Saints have wins over Atlanta, Miami and Chicago, a trio that should be in the playoff conversation come November and December. Kansas City, meanwhile, has run roughshod through the miserable NFC East (3-0 against the conference thus far), beating winless Jacksonville and now a Jake Locker-less Titans team.
That’s not necessarily meant to take anything away from the Chiefs’ start — their defense (especially up front) is playing out of this world, and Jamaal Charles might be on his way to a Pro Bowl berth. But if the two teams’ schedules were reversed, I think the Saints still would be 5-0. I’m not sure the Chiefs would have the same mark.
Doug Farrar: New Orleans. With all due respect to the Chiefs, who seem to have the NFL’s best defense right now, the Saints have my vote as the most impressive team in the league when all factors are considered. Drew Brees has the New Orleans offense rolling as expected with the return of Sean Payton, but it’s Rob Ryan’s defense that has opponents on their heels. One season after setting league records for futility under former defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, a defense that has much of the same personnel is lighting offenses up with complex and incredibly effective blitz packages and coverage schemes. This is the one team I would not want to face right now — even more than the Broncos — because they have the capacity to suck the oxygen out of your plans in more ways than anybody else.
Will the Chiefs or Saints lose first?
CB: The Saints. The Chiefs’ upcoming three-game homestand vs. Oakland, Houston and Cleveland looks much tougher than it did at the start of the year — even if Houston might not be as good as first thought. Still, it’s very possible we will see Kansas City roll through that stretch, dump the Bills in Buffalo and head to a bye at 9-0. New Orleans, on the other hand, could stumble in Foxbo next weekend against a Patriots team expecting to get Rob Gronkowski back. The emotional lift from that return alone will be tough to overcome.
DF: The Saints, based on difficulty of upcoming schedule. The Chiefs have Oakland, Houston, Cleveland, and Buffalo over the next month, and all of those teams have some interesting issues. The Saints face a New England team next week with a much better defense than people think, and they’re traveling to Foxboro to do it. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see both teams extend winning streaks into December.