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Key Matchup of the Week: Marquez Callaway vs. A.J. Terrell

Can Callaway create some separation against the young, talented corner?

NFL: Miami Dolphins at New Orleans Saints Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

As the New Orleans Saints prepare for a game against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, one matchup to keep an eye on will be that of Saints receiver Marquez Callaway and Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell.

The Saints are currently 4.5-point favorites to the Falcons, according to DraftKings sportsbook, despite a passing game that’s been severely lacking.

While the NOLA receiving corps is obviously struggling this season, one bright spot as of late has been Callaway.

Over the past three weeks, his 255 receiving yards are the seventh-most out of 106 qualifying receivers. His PFF 79.1 receiving grade ranks 13th-highest, and his 15.9 yards per reception mark ranks 17th.

Now his three drops are tied for the most in that span, but nonetheless, he’s made some crucial plays on the outside for this offense to help keep the ball moving.

Sean Payton complemented his wide catch radius in high-traffic situations in a recent press conference, which is a big reason he’s been able to catch some big passes despite little separation being created.

Separation will be at a premium against A.J. Terrell, who is currently PFF’s highest-graded corner (87.8 coverage grade). While PFF coverage grades can be a bit wonky sometimes, this one seems warranted.

He’s allowing a league-best 44.3% completion rate when targeted and another league-best 6.7 yards per reception – among qualifying corners. His passer rating when targeted is 47.4 (third-best), and he’s broken up 12 passes (fifth-best).

Those are some ridiculously impressive numbers for a guy in his second season.

So, it’s safe to say that this will be a very tough matchup for Callaway.

He’ll have to use his slight size advantage to try and make some contested catches on Terrell, as I highly doubt the Falcons will bring much safety help over to Callaway’s side in this game.

But if Marquez can manage to make a few chain-moving plays against Terrell, it could bode very well for the Saints in a crucial game with playoff implications.

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