<span>After a 27-7 win a the Buffalo Bills, the New Orleans Saints (3-0) host the New York Jets (3-0) at the Superdome in this weekend's match-up of two of the NFL's seven undefeated teams.
A methodical offense, attacking defense and opportunistic special teams have spurred the Saints to their sixth 3-0 start ever, their second under Head Coach Sean Payton. The team has improved to 4-0 twice, in 1991 and 1993. The Saints ran for 222 yards, their highest total since 2006, led by RB Pierre Thomas, who shook off a stomach ailment when he finally took the ball midway through the third quarter and ran for 126 yards and two TDs on 14 carries. The defense faced Buffalo's unconventional no-huddle look and didn't allow them to score a TD (Buffalo scored on a fake field goal in the first half when P Brian Moorman connected with DE Ryan Denney for a 25-yard TD) or enter the red zone. DE Charles Grant had 1.5 sacks, while DE Will Smith added a takedown and an interception. CB Malcolm Jenkins forced a fumble on special teams for the second straight week and recovered it, setting up the game's go-ahead field goal in the second quarter.
The Saints face a stiff challenge from a rejuvenated Jets team under first-year coach Rex Ryan that is ranked third in the NFL defensively.
While the NFL's top-ranked offense has been a key ingredient in the Saints start, several other factors have played role. The Saints, who have never trailed in a game this season, are ranked second in the league in rushing offense, running for an average of 170.7 yards per game and 5.0 yards per rush. They have scored on their first possession in each contest.
A ball-hawking defense is tenth in the NFL, fifth against the run, while tied for the league with seven picks. Special teams has been aided by solid performances in the kicking game, while the coverage units have recovered two fumbles.
Joining the consistent performance of QB Drew Brees, who has completed 67-of-97 passes for 841 yards, and leads the NFL with nine TD passes and a passer rating of 118.1, other contributors have also sparked the offense. The three-headed monster of RBs Mike Bell, Reggie Bush and Thomas have combined for 466 yards rushing with four TDs. WR Marques Colston is Brees' top target in the passing game, having posted a team-high 15 catches for 195 yards with an NFL-high three TD grabs. WR Devery Henderson leads the club with 214 yards on 11 grabs, while TE Jeremy Shockey has developed into an intermediate target, ranking second with 14 catches for 128 yards and two TDs.
Coordinated by Gregg Williams, the defense has been bolstered by old and new. The secondary has been significantly upgraded by the additions of CB Jabari Greer and S Darren Sharper. Greer has successfully defended some of the top receivers of opponents, while Sharper is tied for the NFL-lead with three interceptions. S Roman Harper leads the team with 23 tackles.
The linebacking trio of Scott Fujita, Scott Shanle and Jonathan Vilma have combined for 55 tackles, one sack, two interceptions and five pass defenses to shine along with the club's platoon of defensive linemen.
WORTH NOTING: The series between the two clubs is tied at 5-5 with the Saints winning four of the last five games...In their last meeting on Nov. 27, 2005, played at Giants Stadium, the Saints defeated the Jets 21-19...Seven games in the series have been decided by a touchdown or less, five by three points or less...New Orleans has a 1-3 record in contests played at the Superdome...Sunday's contest will be regionally televised on CBS (WWL-TV locally) with Greg Gumbel handling play-by-play and Dan Dierdorf serving as color analyst...A national radio broadcast can be heard on Sports USA Radio with Larry Kahn handling play-by-play, John Robinson serving as color analyst and Troy West on the sidelines...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 color analyst.