A weekly analysis of the New Orleans Saints' quarterback play:
Rewind: Drew Brees had one of the more under-the-radar five touchdown games you'll ever see in a 35-17 victory over the Buffalo Bills. Part of the reason is that such performances are the norm for Brees (he now has eight five-TD games, an NFL record). The other reason is that Brees and coach Sean Payton actually expressed their frustration with the offense's inconsistency after the win. After a sloppy start, the Saints trailed 10-7 late in the first half before Brees went on a tear. He finished with 332 yards and no interceptions.
Fast-forward: Brees and the Saints will take their show on the road to face the New York Jets, but that shouldn't slow them down much. Brees played well in similar conditions outdoors at Chicago and New England in October. The key will be which Jets defense shows up. New York's D had been playing well for most of the season before losing in a 49-9 debacle last week at Cincinnati. The secondary got picked apart as Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton threw for five touchdowns of his own.
"If we don't play better pass defense than we played this past week, [Brees] will throw for 700 yards,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said Monday.
What pressure? According to Pro Football Focus, Brees had a perfect passer rating of 158.3 when the Bills blitzed. He certainly handled the pressure on his best throw of the day -- a 42-yard touchdown pass on the run, on third-and-20, to rookie receiver Kenny Stills in the fourth quarter.
Prediction: Brees might have to stay patient Sunday against a Jets defense that is better than what it showed last week. And Ryan will probably have a creative plan for keeping Brees as off-balance as possible. But Brees has proven this year that he can deliver even if a late rally is required. How about a more pedestrian 288 yards and three touchdown passes in a 27-17 win?