The Lions and Packers have advanced to the second round of PFW’s “In the Trenches” bracket to decide the best offense in the NFL. But in today’s matchup, the Super Bowl-champion Giants face off against the record-setting Saints. Which team has the better offense?
Here’s what PFW’s editors think of the matchup:
Associate editor Kevin Fishbain:
"Saints. Even though I'd take the Giants' receivers over the Saints', and the gap between Brees and Manning isn't as big as it used to be, New Orleans gets the edge thanks to Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles. Graham has turned into one of the game's best tight ends and is lethal in the red zone. Like Graham, Sproles is a matchup nightmare and provided quite the dynamic to the Saints' offense in 2011. The Giants can't match what those two bring."
Managing editor Mike Holbrook:
"The Saints earn a slight edge in my book, though this is a tough call. Drew Brees is a bit more consistent than Eli Manning, Jimmy Graham is much better than any tight end the Giants have and New Orleans’ WR depth is better. One concern is how the Saints handle the absence of ace play-caller Sean Payton this season — that could be a crippling blow to their attack."
Associate editor Arthur Arkush:
"Not to take anything away from the Super Bowl champions, who are extremely dangerous in their own right, but arguably no offense in the NFL hums the way the Saints does when it’s firing on all cylinders. New Orleans poses a plethora of mismatch nightmares for its opponents, what with Darren Sproles’ speed and Jimmy Graham’s great size and athleticism, and it has the perfect triggerman, Drew Brees, to light up a scoreboard quickly. Eli Manning was tremendous last season, but he doesn’t match the efficiency or accuracy of Brees, and the Giants’ running game was virtually nonexistent until the postseason. It says here New Orleans is the far more dynamic offense."
Associate editor Eli Kaberon:
"This matchup came down to two positions, and no, quarterback wasn't one of them. Eli Manning and Drew Brees are equals in my view, but the Giants have nobody like Jimmy Graham at tight end or Darren Sproles in their backfield. Graham and Sproles are so difficult to defend because of their speed and versatility, making the Saints' offense dynamic on so many different levels. New Orleans scored 20 or more points in all 18 games they played last season, a sign of talent and consistency."
Editor-in-chief Keith Schleiden:
"Even with Sean Payton out of the picture in 2012, the Saints will remain one of the NFL’s most productive offensive teams — much more potent than the defending Super Bowl-champion Giants. With an embarrassment of riches at his disposal, QB Drew Brees appears to lead his Saints up and down the field almost effortlessly. Last season, the Saints scored 30 or more points in 10-of-16 regular-season games — and then did it again in both of their playoff games. The Giants? They did so only four times in the regular season, and then once in four postseason games."
Senior editor Eric Edholm:
"The Giants are a very effective offense, one that thrived a year ago despite a consistent run game until the playoffs, and they should be even better off with first-round RB David Wilson in the fold. But a lot of their points come off good field position and turnovers because of their defense and special teams. The Saints are explosive on offense, able to flip the field with a play or two, and they have done so over the past five seasons without always having the benefit of having a great defense or good starting field position. Not having Sean Payton — or if Drew Brees is angered about his contract situation — won’t affect that greatly. The Giants might be the more complete team, but offensively speaking, the Saints are the more dangerous attack."
Executive editor Dan Arkush:
"My pick is the Saints. Jimmy Graham at the tight end position and Darren Sproles all over the place give the Saints a dimension that the Giants don’t have. I also think the Saints collectively have a better ground game than the Giants, but we’ll see if the Wilson kid out of Virginia Tech narrows the gap in the Giants’ favor. Both he and No. 2 pick WR Rueben Randle figure to provide an immediate impact for the Giants. But the Saints still look a bit more potent to me."
Senior editor Mike Wilkening:
"I very much respect the Giants’ offense, but I give the Saints’ attack the edge here. The New Orleans offense just does not have many weaknesses whatsoever. The line is very good, the pass-catching corps is strong, the RB depth chart is loaded. And the quarterback is an MVP-caliber performer."
Associate editor Dan Parr:
"The Saints scored nearly 10 points more per game than the Giants in 2011, a season in which New Orleans set a league record for yards gained. I like Eli Manning's wide receivers more than the New Orleans receiving corps, but the Saints get at least a slight edge at running back and on the offensive line. They also have a huge advantage at tight end with Jimmy Graham, and quarterback is close to even."