Last week's matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals really solidified, what now looks like a vulnerable New Orleans Saints secondary. Something we haven’t said since 2016. A short week after two consecutive downfalls is not a recipe for success.
Tonight, the Saints will be playing the 2-4 Arizona Cardinals, who will get one of the league's best playmakers back from suspension, Deandre Hopkins. It would be easy to say this matchup would equal out with Marshon Lattimore being healthy however, that is not the case. Lattimore has been ruled out with a now lingering abdominal injury which will be his second consecutive game missed. A tough pill to swallow.
The Saints will not have to worry about Marquise Brown though as he is out indefinitely with foot injury. Instead, they will likely have to deal with a familiar face from Week two in newly acquired Robby Anderson, who is healthy to play but unsure if he will since it’s a short week.
Rondale Moore and Zach Ertz are the other players that the Cardinals will rely heavily on. Moore has not been as productive but does have special tangibles to break one loose at any moment, especially with the Saints issues at the moment in the slot. Zach Ertz on the other hand has been very consistent in his target share, catching at least six passes in the last five games. Expect Kyler Murray to continue to look his way.
In the Saints secondary, aside from the bad news of Marshon Lattimore, we will in fact get to see second round pick Alontae Taylor receive what should be significant snaps at corner. I fully expect Taylor to be slotted on the outside in this game opposite Paulson Adebo which slides Bradley Roby back into his nickel role. It will be interesting to see how well Taylor plays in his first start, if he does get that opportunity.
As far as the game, it will come down to not allowing Kyler Murray to extend plays with his feet. Not having Marquise Brown will limit what they will want to do when it comes to those homerun hitters. I also suspect that Deandre Hopkins will have a slight bit of a slow start just getting his feet back under him again after missing some time. I could see the Cardinals really utilizing play-action and misdirection to get Murray on the move along with the flexibility that Moore and Ertz bring to the table. Because of this, not only does the defensive line have to be sound but so do the safety and nickel positions when covering guys in the slot. There were many times against the Minnesota Vikings in particular where guys were stuck behind the motion instead of in front of it. This led to some decent gains. As well as last week, where we saw a ton of RPO game targeted at the nickel defender. Something else the Cardinals do well.
Hopefully this week it will all come together for a team that is mightily desperate for a win.