Well, week 6 did not necessarily go as planned for the New Orleans Saints, falling to the Cincinnati Bengals and moving to 2-4 on the season. All things considered; however, the passing game was effective, just not utilized heavily considering the current state of the injury report and the Bengals’ pass defense being high quality. This week the Saints move onto an easier secondary to face, that being the Arizona Cardinals, who also sit at 2-4. In this article, I will be breaking down how the Saints’ passing offense and Cardinals’ passing defense have performed so far this season, as well as what we should expect from these two units matching up on Thursday night.
How have these two units performed so far?
We now have a larger sample size to look at, with 6 games behind us and the season nearly halfway through. The Cardinals’ passing defense has been about what it was expected to be entering the season, that being below average. They have allowed the 10th most passing yards (1401), 12th most yards per pass allowed (6.8), 6th highest completion percentage allowed (68.4%), are tied for the 6th least amount of interceptions (2), have allowed the 7th most first downs via the pass (76), and the 5th highest first down percentage via the pass (36.9%). Overall, not the worst in the league for sure, but definitely bottom 10-12.
On the other side of the ball, the Saints’ passing offense has been right about league average in almost every major category. They rank 14th in passing yards (1481), are tied for 11th in yards per pass (7.3), are tied for the 14th most passing touchdowns (8), have the 12th lowest quarterback efficiency rating (85.8), and the 14th least amount of first downs via the pass (67). Nearly every statistic you can find tells you this unit has been at the dead center of the NFL, not amazing, but not horrid.
What to expect from this matchup?
This matchup somewhat pans out to be one of the more interesting ones in the game, despite the statistics. The Saints will have Chris Olave back for this game more than likely but will not have Michael Thomas or Jarvis Landry seemingly with neither practicing Monday or Tuesday. Missing Andrus Peat could also prove to be an issue if he misses the game with his chest injury, however, Lewis Kidd filled in well for him to end last week’s game.
The key to whether this matchup swings in the Saints’ or Cardinals’ favor will be how Chris Olave matches up against Byron Murphy Jr., as this is a pretty high-end matchup on both sides. The one beauty is that this does favor the Saints slightly, as Murphy has been very streaky to open the season, allowing 20 completions on 34 targets for 152 yards and 2 touchdowns, as well as an 89.3 QBR when targeted. Regardless, these two units will be interesting to see go against each other and should favor the Saints slightly considering the Cardinals’ poor start to the season in the secondary.
Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, and make sure you’re subscribed to our YouTube channel