Posted October 06, 2013

Cover-Two: Breaking down the undefeated Chiefs and Saints

AFC West, Cover-Two, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, NFC South
Defense --not offense -- has been the real key for both the Saints and Chiefs this season.

Defense –not offense — has been the real key for both the Saints and Chiefs this season. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

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.

6 comments
RobertHamilton
RobertHamilton

New England is hurting now with injuries to key players. The Saints will get Lance Moore back on Offense this week. SAINTS by 10...

arby
arby

New England is not the juggernaut that all these writers seem to think they are.  In their first four games they struggled to defeat average teams (being generous) and they lost to an average, inconsistent Bengal team.  The Saints are playing very good team football with a much improved defense.  I wouldn't bet against the Saints right now.

DanielRoyer
DanielRoyer

The Patriots have lost 2 games in a row in 3 of the last 4 seasons, 2009, 2011, and 2012.  In 2009 the Saints started their 2 game losing streak, then they lost at the Dolphins the next week.  In 2011 they lost at the Steelers, then at home vs the Giants.  Then last year they lost at home to AZ then at the Ravens.  So the Patriots losing 2 games in a row isn't this CRAZY task in reality, like it is in everyone's minds.

nyhoukcdal
nyhoukcdal

"Breaking down" the teams?  Doesn't that usually imply some sort of analysis?  This was a pure opinion piece.  

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I'm super excited to see the Chiefs undefeated thus far.  Reminds me of the sort of schedule Atlanta had last year that helped them to a great record.  I'll gladly take it, but I'm really not looking forward to facing the Broncos twice in three weeks later this season.

gary41
gary41

The Patriots have home field advantage against the Saints, but they are going to have to run the ball, despite not having healthy RB's and other problems.  The Saints have a broad spectrum of good receivers, not unlike what the Patriots used to have.  This could be a sticky wicket.