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Parallel football universe for Saints, LSU
Tigers winning with offense, Saints led by defense
Mike Detillier -   Sep 26, 2013

Who would have thought that early on in the 2013 football season what everyone would be talking about is the great play of the LSU Tigers offense and how dominant the New Orleans Saints are on the defensive side of the ball.

It is like within a one-year time frame the football axis is spinning in another direction.

In 2013, opponents have scored a grand total of 38 points against New Orleans in the first three games of the season. Last season the Saints gave up 102 points in the first three games of the season and 40 points in the first game.

For the past couple of seasons, the LSU Tiger offense has been running almost idle with the exception of a strong rushing attack. This season, with Zach Mettenberger having a year of college experience under his belt and being guided by veteran quarterback coach Cam Cameron, the Tiger passing attack resembles a pro-style unit.

Wide receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham are the best 1-2 receiving tandem in the nation and LSU has scored 173 points in four games.

Jeremy Hill has again emerged as one of the top running backs in the nation and is averaging an eye-popping 8.4 yards per carry.

This team will win big in 2013 due to their offense, but the defense, which has nine players from last season now playing in the NFL, will face their toughest test against Georgia.

Like the Tigers, the Bulldogs are trying to rebuild their defense too. While LSU lost nine to the NFL, Georgia lost eight players to the league, including John Jenkins, Jarvis Jones and Alex Ogletree.

But the talk in the college football world is the showdown between Mettenberger and Aaron Murray at quarterback and who is the better runner between Jeremy Hill and Todd Gurley for Georgia.

The SEC is changing and it will be rare to see 17-14 games anymore. The SEC has turned into the big brother of the Big-12 where "spread" offenses and pro-style schemes are plentiful.

Just look at what is being run at Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Missouri and Tennessee. That has influenced what we see from primarily run-first teams like LSU, Alabama, Florida and Georgia.

The college football world is changing in the Deep South and the evidence will be on display Saturday when the Tigers face off against Georgia. It looks like the ultimate "over" game points wise.

In New Orleans, the talk is all about Rob Ryan and the Saints defense.

No one could have imagined just how quickly he could have turned this unit around. The Saints defense is for real and they have a lot of talent upfront with future All-Pro defensive end Cameron Jordan, Akiem Hicks, John Jenkins, Tyrunn Walker, Glenn Foster and outside linebacker Junior Galette.

In a stunning turnaround, the Saints have played at the highest level on defense and struggled offensively in the redzone with an almost non-existent rushing attack.

The one real strong area for the Saints offense this season has been the play of tight end Jimmy Graham, who is playing in the final year of his contract with the team. Graham is playing the best football of his NFL life and looks to be on pace to possibly eclipse the 100-catch mark this season.

Every team has a flaw and for the Saints it is along the offensive line. You can’t pay everyone in the NFL and the Saints have been stung with personnel losses like Jermon Bushrod, Carl Nicks and Jonathan Goodwin.

At times quarterback Drew Brees seems to be fighting for his life to get away from pressure. When given time, Brees is still one of the elite players in the league, but with no rushing attack the Saints have to face three tough teams in a row in the Miami Dolphins, Chicago Bears and New England Patriots.

But keep this in mind as the Saints face off against the undefeated Miami Dolphins - they are 9-2 on Monday Night games under Sean Payton.

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