Everyone put your Taysom Hill’s away, ‘cause he’s back.
The New Orleans Saints will welcome starting signal caller Drew Brees back into the lineup on Sunday for his squad’s big matchup against the NFL’s top team—the Kansas City Chiefs—after missing the previous four outings with several broken ribs and a punctured lung.
Saints head coach Sean Payton announced that his longtime starting quarterback would be making his return from those grisly injuries on Friday.
“He’s looked good. He feels good. We were encouraged at the start of the week,” assured Payton. “We wanted to see how it felt as he went through a full practice week, and he’s done a good job.”
Though they will once again have the services of their starting quarterback, the Saints will be without their top pass-catcher in wideout Michael Thomas. Thomas suffered an ankle injury in Week 1 that kept him out through Week 8, and after playing through the injury for the past six weeks—and putting up 421 yards on 37 receptions in the process—the best receiver of 2019 has once again succumbed to the ankle issue as he’s been ruled out for Sunday’s matchup with the Chiefs.
Though the absence of Thomas is significant, he wasn’t healthy the last time Brees played, and the future Hall of Famer was still on the verge of a six-game win streak when he went down. As a result of Brees’ return, the Saints are offering much less value against the favored Chiefs, with just +130 odds as the underdogs against Patrick Mahomes and company on sports betting site 888sport. The Chiefs’ money line (-159) and their -3 point spread at -108 odds are both offering solid value here.
Despite the odds lowering with their longtime starter returning under center, backup Taysom Hill still led the team to a 3-1 record in Brees’ absence. However, Brees’ return means that Hill will return to his swiss-army knife role and Jameis Winston will once again serve as the backup quarterback.
It might not seem like an important distinction, but considering the injuries the 41-year-old Brees just went through it is definitely something to consider. On the topic of his aging leader’s health, Payton was blunt.
“We wouldn’t be playing him if he wasn’t healthy and able to function and feeling good and recovered,” Payton said.
Though Brees missed just one game through his first 18 seasons in the NFL, a torn ligament in his thumb last year and these broken ribs (and that punctured lung, let’s not forget that) have forced him to miss nine games over his past two seasons. It surely is not lost on the Dallas native that both major injuries have occurred after his 40th birthday.
Nonetheless, Brees is back in time for his first (and possibly only) clash with the class of modern-day NFL quarterbacking, Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes.
A Super Bowl champion and MVP, 13-time Pro Bowler, five-time All-Pro, and owner of countless NFL records, the Purdue alumnus will undoubtedly be looking to bolster that Hall of Fame resume in what could be his final season. There has been much chatter about him ending his illustrious career after this season and transitioning to an analyst role at NBC.
But for now, Brees remains a stud in the NFL, and his return makes the Saints-Chiefs game on Sunday afternoon a lot more interesting, even if the result remains obvious. Before his injury, Brees had amassed 2,196 passing yards, an 18-3 TD-INT ratio, and a league-leading 73.5 completion percentage as he led New Orleans to an NFC South-leading 7-2 record through nine games this season.
Brees will need to be in tip-top shape too, because thanks to a Christmas Day matchup with the playoff-hunting Minnesota Vikings, his squad will be playing two games in six days. As they say in his native Dallas, giddy-up Drew.