This weekend the New Orleans Saints face the Arizona Cardinals. The Saints are absolutely rolling right now, having won five games in a row. The Cards are on a nice little roll themselves, having won their last three in a row. The big subplot for the Saints here is who will start at quarterback, will it be Teddy Bridgewater or Drew Brees? Also, can Latavius Murray have another big game in Alvin Kamara’s absence? Lastly, is anyone outside of Marshon Lattimore prepared to play corner this Sunday? We will have to wait to see.
The Saints have been building a special season here in the first half, and another win here would be a fantastic way to cap off that first half. It looks like a 7-1 record going into their bye is in the cards for the Saints. Nobody could have guessed it after the ugly game in Los Angeles, but here they are, right where they want to be.
Let’s take a look at this, and all of the matchups in the halfway point of the season.
Last week I went 10-4
I told you so: Saints over Bears!
What do I know: Falcons over Rams?
Thursday, October 24th - Thursday Night Football
Kirk Cousins will have a monster game through the air against his former franchise in primetime. Minnesota wins 34-10.
Sunday, October 27th - Early Games
The Rams may have a better homefield advantage in London than they do in Los Angeles in this one. Los Angeles will feast on the league’s worst defense and the league’s worst rushing game. Los Angeles wins 31-6.
Another embarrassing loss for Atlanta means another week of “How on earth does Dan Quinn keep this job?”. Seattle wins 38-14.
Denver’s tough defense will keep them in this game for a while, but Indy will pick up the big win at home. Indianapolis wins 28-20.
Buccaneers(2-4) at Titans(3-4)
Tennessee’s defense will keep Tampa in check in this one. Tennessee wins 24-14.
Buffalo’s defense will be too much for Philly to handle in this one. Buffalo wins 26-19.
Chicago rebounds from their embarrassing loss last week by stifling Phillip Rivers and the Los Angeles offense. Chicago wins 27-17.
Matthew Stafford and the Detroit passing attack will overwhelm the Giants defense. Detroit wins 30-17.
The Jets’ non-existent offense will fail them once again this week in the River City. Jacksonville wins 26-17.
Cardinals(3-3-1) at Saints(6-1)
Alright folks, let’s go ahead and address the elephant in the room right away, the Saints struggles with rookie quarterbacks dating back to the RGIII debacle of 2012. With top overall pick Kyler Murray coming to town, some worrisome fans are bracing for another top-two picked quarterback making a name for himself in New Orleans at the expense of the Saints. Fear not Saints fans, let’s debunk this.
The Saints have gone 2-3 against rookie quarterbacks picked in the top-two in the draft since 2012, and all five of those game took place in the Superdome. This isn't nearly as bad as it seems when you give it perspective. In 2012, the Saints lost to # 2 pick RGIII when they fielded the worst defense in NFL history. In 2015, they lost to both #1 pick James Winston (the first time) and #2 pick Marcus Mariota, with another atrocious defense on the way to another 7-9 season. The last two times have been much better though, in 2016, beating #1 pick Jared Goff in a rout, and in 2017 roughing up #2 pick Mitchell Trubisky in another victory. This Saints defense is obviously infinitely better than any of those past defenses could have dreamt of being. The past of defensive failures against rookie QBs is dead and gone.
The keys to victory for the Saints are simple: Do what they do. Continue to dominate on defense, win in the trenches on both sides of the ball, and demoralize the opponent. The Saints have excelled at this and they should be expected to continue it this week. Murray will go for something like 17 of 32 for 189 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. He’ll spend the majority of this game facing relentless punishment from one of the NFL’s very best defenses.
Whether Teddy gets one last start at quarterback this week or whether Drew Brees returns a week before the bye, it really shouldn't matter. The Saints will go into the bye with a 7-1 record, winning six in a row, and looking forward to making it seven in a row when they get Atlanta after the break. Saints win 31-23.
Sunday, October 27th - Late Games
Carolina will utilize Christian McCaffrey to his absolute fullest against the NFL’s 2nd ranked defense. Expect a career high in carries for CMC in this one, and Carolina pulls out a thriller in Santa Clara. Carolina wins 23-21.
Houston gets back on track against the struggling Raiders defense. Houston wins 37-27.
Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland offense will be flat-out embarrassed against the league’s best defense in Foxboro. New England wins 38-6.
Sunday Night Football
This marquee matchup is greatly diminished without Patrick Mahomes, but Aaron Rodgers will do his part to electrify in Kansas City. Green Bay wins 28-20.
Monday, October 28th - Monday Night Football
This clunker of a primetime matchup will be a showcase for Pittsburgh’s sneaky good defense. Pittsburgh wins 21-17.
That’s how I see Week 8 playing out. Hopefully the Saints will win their sixth consecutive game! Leave us your picks, comments, and insight below!