Drew Brees’ return from injury may not be as imminent as the Saints would like.
Drew Brees’ continued absence from the New Orleans Saints’ lineup had not caused them to miss a beat through Weeks 11 to 13, but the question of when he is likely to return became a more pressing one with a shock defeat to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 14.
Backup Taysom Hill threw for a career-high 291 yards in the 24-21 loss, tossing two touchdowns and one interception.
However, he was also sacked five times as the Saints offense was shutout in the first half, and given the tight nature of the race for the number one seed and the only first-round bye in the NFC, New Orleans can ill-afford such slow starts in the closing weeks of the season.
Indeed, the Saints’ loss combined with the Packers’ win over the Detroit Lions means the Packers now hold the advantage at the top of the conference, though both hold 10-3 records with three games to go.
Any further slip-ups from the Saints will, therefore, likely prove costly, but they may not be able to call on Brees in Week 15 against the Kansas City Chiefs as they look to get back on track.
Drew Brees injury update: When will he return as Saints starter?
Week 15 had been viewed as the target for the future Hall of Famer — who has not been seen on the field since Week 10 because of a collapsed lung and 11 rib fractures. However, a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter said the Saints will not rush Brees back and are prepared to continue playing Hill while they wait for the 41-year-old to heal to a satisfactory extent.
That means a meeting between Brees and Patrick Mahomes may not come to pass. The Saints face the Minnesota Vikings in Week 16 and the Carolina Panthers in Week 17, and they could instead look to ease Brees back into game action in one of those contests, where their defense will have much better odds of carrying the load and ensuring victory.
But if Hill cannot inspire the Saints against the defending champions, then the Saints may have to face up to the prospect of playing on Wild Card weekend and having to contest a road game to make it to the Super Bowl.