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Key Matchup of the Week: Kyle Pitts vs. Saints secondary

Who covers the talented young mismatch of a tight end on Sunday?

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

As the New Orleans Saints gear up for a contest with the rival Atlanta Falcons, a key matchup to look out for will be that of tight end Kyle Pitts and the Saints’ secondary.

While the Saints are currently 6-point favorites against the Falcons, according to DraftKings sportsbook, it will still be a mighty task to stop Pitts in the passing attack.

It will be interesting to see who Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen puts on the 6-foot-6, 240-pound mismatch nightmare out of Florida University.

Pitts has been annihilating defensive backs and linebackers all year, as he has the speed to get by LBs and safeties and the size/ball skills to baptize corners at the catch point.

His 484 yards and 14.7 yards-per-catch both rank third among qualifying tight ends, and his eight contested catches are tied for first.

With 47.5% of his snaps coming from the slot and nearly 34% coming from out wide, it’s safe to say he can beat you from wherever he sees fit.

Whether it’s back-shoulder fades vs smaller corners, in-breaking routes against zone, go balls versus slower linebackers or whatever else, Pitts has a very diverse receiving skillset.

One way the Saints defense could go would be to put Marshon Lattimore on Pitts. While he leads the league with 11 pass breakups according to PFF, the 6-foot, 190-pound Lattimore would be at a significant size disadvantage against Pitts.

Or the Saints could go with safety Malcolm Jenkins on the young tight end.

Jenkins has been somewhat of a tight end stopper for this defense, shutting down the likes of guys like Rob Gronkowski. He has one interception and three PBUs on the year, and is only allowing 9.2 yards per catch when targeted so far this season.

The only problem is the 33-year-old might not have the wheels to keep up with Pitts, who has 4.4 speed.

Or, considering the Falcons will be without their top receiver Calvin Ridley in this game, maybe the Saints just deploy safety help over Pitts with whoever is guarding him underneath.

We’ll have to wait and see. But nonetheless, it will be fascinating to find out what Dennis Allen thinks is the best way to try and hinder the talented rookie’s first campaign.


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Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.