The 2010 version of the Saints defense has been very different from the Super Bowl defense of last year thus far. The good news is they've given up an average of just 18 points per game so far, down from 21.3 a year ago. That change is timely, too, because the offense has struggled to put up the kind of bulk points they did a season ago. The bad news is that they've only gotten 7 takeaways through 4 games (1.75 average per game), three of which were fumble recoveries on special teams and not defense. Through 4 games last year, the Saints had 13 takeaways, and they finished the season with 39 (2.44 average per game). So while they may be getting beat by big plays less, they're also making less plays. I also think the lack of offensive productivity is at least in part due to the lack of takeaways. This is something they'll look to change as they go up against the Arizona Cardinals and rookie quarterback Max Hall, who will be getting his very first start.
Assuming the Saints can dominate the line of scrimmage, starting with Ellis and Ayodele, this is where things get exciting. Send a corner/safety blitzing, send Jonathan Vilma, whatever. The point is if the run is stopped, then the Saints can take full advantage of a rookie quarterback making his first start. That means sacks, turnovers, and getting closer to the 2009 form that made the Saints' D so exciting to watch. You know they are all licking their chops for this opportunity. Gregg Williams will have them ready. Again, it all starts with slowing down Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower. If they can do that, this is a great chance and opportunity to start getting the takeaways that have been missing.
How many turnovers are you expecting from Max Hall in this game?