The New Orleans Saints go into their third straight road game to face the New England Patriots. Yes, the first game of the year was technically a home game, but the Saints have not been in Louisiana since the preseason. The task does not get any easier this week as the Saints have to face the rebuilt Patriots in week three. The Saints will be looking to rebound from a devastating loss in week two. Injuries are beginning to dissipate so expect the Saints to put a better foot forward this week than last. Here are some key matchups to the game which could decide the winner of this matchup in week three.
Sean Payton vs Bill Bellichick
The saying goes, “defense wins championships.” That might be old fashioned in todays NFL though. Sean Payton is considered one of the best offensive coaches in the league. Bill Bellichick is considered one of the best defensive coaches in the league. In week three, these two face each other in a must-watch game. Both teams have started the season 1-1 and will be trying to stay above .500 on the season. Payton’s offense has been mediocre to bad the first two weeks while Bellichick’s defense has feasted on the Dolphins and Jets. This would seem to indicate that Bellichick has the advantage going into week three; however, do not dismiss the Saints just yet. This team under Payton has the ability to flip the switch at anytime and become an elite offense. Both coaches are sure to send their best to each other in this week three matchup.
Alvin Kamara vs Patriots Defense
The Patriots have not allowed a 100-yard rusher in their first two games; however, this stat could be misleading. The Patriots faced teams that were keen on throwing the ball or behind all game. They have not faced a running back like they will in week three either. During the first two games, The Patriots allowed 5.4 yards per carry to both Michael Carter and Myles Gaskin, while also allowing Ty Johnson to rush for 4.2 yards per carry. Neither the Dolphins nor the Jets committed to running the ball to make a difference in their respective games.
In week one, the Patriots also allowed Myles Gaskin to catch five passes out of the backfield. This could bode well for Kamara in week three. So far, Kamara has had a quiet season but the Saints will likely need to lean on him once again. If the Patriots are susceptible to the rush, then expect Sean Payton to have a game plan ready to attack that weakness. Kamara has been disappointing for fantasy owners so far this year but this could be the week that he explodes. If he does, then the Saints could come out of Foxborough with another win.
Jameis Winston vs Ghosts
Sam Darnold has been ridiculed for a performance against these New England Patriots. Darnold was caught saying that he was “seeing ghosts” in the New York Jets 2019 loss to the Patriots. In that game, Darnold threw four interceptions and only managed 86 yards passing. This is the exact scenario that Jameis Winston has to avoid in week three. The bad Winston is always lurking and Bellichick is the kind of defensive coach who can find the worst part of players. This Patriots team has five interceptions through the first two games of the NFL season. Bellichick will surely throw everything he can at Winston in an attempt to win this game on turnovers.
For Jameis Winston, he needs to avoid having a game like he did in week two. This was a worst-case scenario for Winston and the Saints though. In week two, the Saints were down multiple coaches and relied on a backup quarterback to make personnel changes. The Saints were also playing from behind the entire game due to injuries on the defense. Winston had to try and make plays even when he should not have, forcing the ball on multiple occasions which led to interceptions. In week three, the smart game manager from week one needs to show back up. If Winston starts to see ghosts though, the Saints could be in for a long week three.
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