It’s Week 7, but we thought we’d bring back the Interview with the Enemy series. This week, Joel Thorman of Arrowhead Pride answers 5 quick questions about the upcoming matchup between the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs:
What challenges does the Drew Brees and Sean Payton New Orleans Saints offense present for the Kansas City Chiefs defense?
Compared to the Raiders last week? Not a whole lot actually. Obviously they do different things with different weapons, but facing a high powered offense that can put up points in a hurry is what the Chiefs faced last week in Oakland; it's what they'll face this weekend at Arrowhead. The challenge will be some of the recent injuries for the Chiefs. Starting DE Allen Bailey and ILB Justin March were put on IR this week. Starting CB Phillip Gaines tweaked his knee last week and may not play. The Chiefs depth will once again be tested. Is there any chance the Saints are starting their third string right tackle like the Raiders were?
Chiefs QB Alex Smith was able throw the ball down the field for big plays a couple of times against the Raiders. Was this an anomaly, or a sign of things to come for Alex Smith moving forward?
The Chiefs have been working on it. They're good for a couple to a few deep attempts each game. The difference in Oakland is that the Chiefs completed them. I give Alex Smith credit for dropping a couple of dimes in there to Jeremy Maclin and Albert Wilson. Those were really good throws. If the Chiefs can do that regularly - like we saw occasionally as the year went on last season - it's another level for their offense.
What under-the-radar Chiefs player do you expect to have a big game on offense?
I'll give you a couple. Spencer Ware is the running back that replaced Jamaal Charles last year. Jamaal is back but Ware is playing terrific. He's on pace for 2,000 yards from scrimmage through five games this year. He will be the back that gets 20 carries (if they run it that much) while Jamaal will be worked in a little more than his 11 touches last week. Ware can bulldoze through you while he also has a 100-yard receiving game this year already. He's dangerous. Another name to watch for is Tyreek Hill, a returner and receiver. He might be the fastest player in the league. He's already one of the top returners with two touchdowns called back this year due to penalties. The Chiefs will line him up as a receiver. It feels like he's always one tackle away from breaking one on one of those screens. The Saints will know who he is and what he can do.
What Chiefs defensive player do you expect to give the most trouble to New Orleans?
You can count on Derrick Johnson being a problem for the Saints. The ageless middle linebacker is so good. I like him for this game because he's good in coverage so he will be a benefit against a strong Saints passing game. Another player to watch for is Chris Jones, a rookie defensive lineman. The Chiefs took him in the second round and he has played 10-20 snaps per game or so. With defensive lineman Allen Bailey headed to IR, Jones will likely start and play the most snaps of his career. He has the ability to throw offensive linemen around and hang out in the backfield all day ... he just hasn't been given the opportunity.
Predictions for the game? Final score?
I'll take the Chiefs but the Saints will cover. This will probably be a close game because I don't see the Saints giving it up 3-4 times. Give me 28-24 in favor of KC.
Thank-you, Joel, for taking the time to answer our questions. Saints fans, make sure you check out Joel and the work his guys are doing over at Arrowhead Pride. You can follow them on Twitter @ArrowheadPride and you can follow Joel on Twitter @JoelThorman.