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Saints try to get even


The New Orleans Saints, 3-4, see it as a chance to get back into the NFC playoffs race. For the Jaguars, 5-2, a win in New Orleans on Sunday will keep them in the driver's seat for a wild-card berth.

It'll be a clash of two hot teams – the Saints have won three in a row and the Jaguars have won five of their last six – though one will be without its starting quarterback. David Garrard will be replaced at quarterback by Quinn Gray for the second consecutive week.

"We want to work the process, make the proper reads at the line, get us into the right play and operate," Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said of his expectations for Gray, who was a secondary factor in the Jaguars' 24-23 win in Tampa last Sunday.

The number one factor was the Jaguars' running game, which pounded out 44 carries and dominated time of possession. Del Rio more or less agreed the same game plan won't work again, but it's likely the Jaguars' offensive game plan for the Saints will be similar to the one the Jaguars used in Tampa.

Fred Taylor needs just 67 yards rushing to reach 10,000 in his career. He certainly has motivation.

Taylor's running mate, Maurice Jones-Drew, will have a chance to upstage Reggie Bush. Jones-Drew certainly has motivation.

The Saints' motivation is clearest of all: Even their record at 4-4 after an 0-4 start threatened to ruin their season. With a win over the Jaguars, the Saints will be right back in the NFC South title hunt.

"They haven't allowed a sack in the last month," Del Rio said of the Saints. "Drew Brees has been exceptional the last three weeks; quick release, good decision-maker. We definitely have to do things to get him out of his rhythm."

After a disastrous start to the season in which Brees was little more than an interceptions machine, he has rebounded to a 78.6 passer rating and is nearing the middle of the quarterback pack. He will attempt to move even higher against a Jaguars secondary that has slumped to 19th in the league against the pass.

Brees blamed the Saints' slow start on "trying to be too perfect. Everyone was trying to be Superman; taking those expectations and putting added pressure on ourselves. We did away with that and got back to basics and started having fun again," he said.

The Saints were last year's surprise team, making it all the way to the NFC title game and one win away from the Super Bowl. They were one of the favorites in the NFC this season, but quickly fell from grace.

"It's a very good offense," Del Rio said of the Saints, number 12 overall and number eight in passing. "Defensively, they've been very aggressive. They've turned up the heat in the last month. They're trying to come after you the whole game."

Kickoff is set for one p.m. Eastern Time.

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