The New Orleans Saints make their second visit this season to Giants Stadium, but their first as the visting team when they face the New York Jets in a matchup of teams already out of the playoff race.
After the Superdome was deemed unplayable following Hurricane Katrina, the Saints’ home opener against the New York Giants on Sept. 19 was relocated to the Meadowlands. The Saints lost that game 27-10.
New Orleans has only one win since a season-opening 23-20 victory over Carolina and won’t be part of the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year. The displacement after the hurricane and a season-ending knee injury to star running back Deuce McAllister in Week 5 have contributed to another disappointing season for the Saints, who have qualified for the postseason only once since 1992.
New Orleans suffered a 24-17 loss to the two-time defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots on Sunday.
On the last play of the game, quarterback Aaron Brooks threw a pass into the end zone intended for Joe Horn, but Eugene Wilson intercepted it, sending the Saints to their sixth straight loss. They need a victory Sunday to avoid their first seven-game skid since 1999, when they finished 3-13.
Besides McAllister’s injury, Horn’s decreased production has also played a role in the Saints’ struggles. He has only one touchdown catch after he had 11 last season. The controversial wide receiver has let his feelings known about the league’s treatment of the Saints through their tumultuous season.
“We haven’t even seen the commissioner yet,” Horn said. “Guys right now are salty that he has sent his executive here to talk to us. I don’t really personally care whether he came or not. But the other guys are (ticked) off that Mr. Tagliabue hasn’t said, ‘I’m going to New Orleans and I’m going to hear their frustrations, hear their pain, so at least when I leave and get back on that plane and go back to New York they will say I was man enough to come there and confront them.’ That’s what the players want.”
The Saints have been forced to make their temporary home in San Antonio, playing home games there at the AlamoDome and at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, LA.
“The least they can do is resolve this mess,” Horn said. “Let us stay here. If we are going to stay in Texas, then damn it, let us stay in Texas. If we are going to Louisiana, then, hey, let’s do that. Tell us something. Let something be fact so that we can go home and tell our kids, ‘You’ll be here the whole year and next year, or you’ll be going back to Louisiana.’ Don’t have us hanging over, using us like were bait.”
The Jets also entered the season with high hopes, but injuries to quarterbacks Chad Pennington, Jay Fiedler and 15 others have all but ended their playoff aspirations.
New York lost its fifth straight, its longest skid since 1995, with a 27-0 defeat at Denver last week. It was the first time the Jets were held scoreless since Dec. 24, 1995, a 12-0 home loss to the Saints.
Two more Jets quarterbacks were injured against Denver, bringing the total used on the season to five.
Bollinger is expected to start against the Saints and tight end Doug Jolley, who went to BYU as a quarterback, is the emergency signal caller.
“The quarterback situation is in shambles,” said Jets coach Herman Edwards.
Speculation has centered around Edwards leaving the Jets for the Kansas City Chiefs should Dick Vermeil retire.
“I think he’s performing fabulously,” said Jets owner Woody Johnson. “We’re not winning, but he’s doing everything he can to win and I think the team is doing everything they can to win. When I’m down at league meetings and I talk to my colleagues down there, they say, ‘Woody, this happens, unfortunately.”’
The Jets have scored three points in the past two games against two of the league’s best teams in Carolina and Denver. They have entered the opponents’ red zone only once in those two games, kicking a 22-yard field goal against the Panthers. New York has not scored a touchdown since a 31-26 loss to San Diego on Nov. 6.