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New Orleans Saints Host New York Giants

    <span>After a week five bye, the New Orleans Saints (4-0) host the New York Giants (5-0) at the Superdome in this weekend's match-up of two of the NFL's five remaining undefeated teams.  

A balanced approach on offense, defense and special teams has spurred New Orleans' third 4-0 start ever. The team has improved to 5-0 twice, in 1991 and 1993. Prior to their bye, the Saints enjoyed a strong performance from all three phases as they downed the New York Jets, 24-10 in the Superdome on October 4. Two touchdowns by the Saints defense, including a club record 99-yard interception returned for a touchdown by S Darren Sharper and a fumble recovered in the end zone by DT Remi Ayodele for a score, gave New Orleans a 17-3 lead going into the half.

It was the first of two interceptions on the day for Sharper. The Saints held an opponent for under 250 yards for the second consecutive week, powered by a relentless pass rush led by DE Mark Brunell/Charles Grant.aspx">Charles Grant who had two sacks and DE Will Smith who had 1.5 sacks and forced the fumble for a touchdown.

Offensively, the Saints grinded out 343 hard-fought yards, including 153 on the ground. RB Pierre Thomas rushed for a game-high 86 yards on 19 carries with one TD and also tied for the team lead in receiving with four grabs for a club-high 46 yards. Thomas bulldozed into the end zone for the final score in the fourth quarter, culminating an 11-play, 74-yard drive that gave New Orleans a two-touchdown lead in the contest.

The Saints face their stiffest challenge to date from a hard-nosed Giants team that manhandled the Oakland Raiders 44-7 on Sunday.

Sunday's match-up will feature two clubs that have posted undefeated records through success on all three sides of the ball. With 13 takeaways on defense and special teams combined with only six lost fumbles and interceptions offensively, the Saints are tied for second in NFL turnover ratio at 7.

The Saints are currently ranked third in the NFL in total offense, second running the ball and 11th passing. While QB Drew Brees has enjoyed a typically productive season near the top of the passing rankings, the trio of runners Mike Bell, Reggie Bush and Thomas have helped the Saints rush for 665 yards through the first quarter of the season. A resurgent defense is currently ranked sixth in the league, seventh against the pass and 11th versus the run. Led by Sharper, who leads the league with five picks, the Saints are atop the rankings with ten interceptions after recording only 15 in 2008.

New York is at or near the top in numerous statistical categories. QB Eli Manning, the son of former Saints passer Archie Manning and alumnus of New Orleans' Newman High School, will play in the Superdome for the first time as a professional as he leads the NFL's second-ranked offense. The Giants feature a defense that is atop the league rankings powered by a pass rush that has dropped opposing quarterbacks 14 times, while forcing 11 turnovers.

  • DATE: Sunday, Oct. 18
  • TIME: Noon
  • SITE: Louisiana Superdome
  • WORTH NOTING: The Saints will be looking to improve to 5-0 for the first time since 1993...The Giants lead the all-time series 14-10...In their last meeting on Dec. 24, 2006, played at Giants Stadium, the Saints defeated New York 30-7...Nine games in the series have been decided by a touchdown or less, two by a field goal or less...The Saints have a 6-3 record in contests played in New Orleans ... Sunday's contest will be nationally televised on FOX (WVUE FOX 8 locally) with Thom Brennaman handling play-by-play, Troy Aikman serving as color analyst and Pam Oliver handling sideline duties...A national radio broadcast can be heard on the Westwood One Network with Howard David handling play-by-play and Dan Reeves handling the analysis...The game can heard regionally on the Saints Radio Network (WWL 870 AM and 105.3 FM locally) with Jim Henderson handling play-by-play, Hokie Gajan serving as color analyst and Kristian Garic reporting from the Saints sidelines...A Spanish language broadcast can be heard on WFNO 830 AM with Emilio Peralta handling play-by-play and Marco Garcia serving as analyst.
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