The New Orleans Saints currently sit at 2-5 and are essentially on the brink of disaster at the moment, considering this record. Despite the NFC South still playing at a low level, with every team at 3-4 or below, the Saints sit dead last as of this moment in the division. They will now look to get back on track against the Las Vegas Raiders, who come into this Sunday matchup at 2-4, after a bye week in week 6 and beating the Houston Texans this past weekend. In this article, I will be breaking down how the Saints’ passing offense and Raiders’ passing defense have performed this season, and then predicting how they will perform against one another this Sunday.
How have these two units performed so far?
Starting off with the Saints’ passing offense, it has been just above league average in most statistical categories, except interceptions and consistency have been an issue as of late. They rank 8th in passing yards (1,890), 11th in yards per pass (7.5), 20th in completion percentage (63.6%), tied for 5th in passing touchdowns (12), tied for 10th in passing first downs (84), and are 14th to last in passer efficiency rating (87.2). While they have been productive in the production stats (total yards, touchdowns, first downs) they have struggled in the efficiency-based stats (completion percentage & passer efficiency rating). This is copasetic with the number of attempts they have had in throwing the ball, as they have thrown it 253 times this season (T-11th most in the league), which is 56.8% of plays they have run on offense.
On the other side of the ball, the Raiders’ pass defense is essentially the opposite, being below league average in most standard metrics. They have given up the 12th most passing yards this season (1,576), are tied for the 3rd most passing touchdowns allowed (13), are tied for the 7th least number of interceptions so far (3), have allowed the 6th highest completion percentage on the year (68.5%), and have only seen the 10th lowest amount of passing attempts against a defense (219). They are also tied for the least amount of sacks on the season with 9, which is partially due to weak coverage allowing the opposing QB to get the ball off quickly before pressure can get through the pocket.
What should we expect from these two units on Sunday?
These two units are pretty close together, as the Saints’ passing offense has not necessarily been flawless as of late. This will most definitely come down to whether or not Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry play, and even potentially Jameis Winston (pending his medical situation). If the Saints could get back at least one of Thomas or Landry to pair with Olave that would be optimal and would most definitely swing things further in their favor.
With just Olave and the players from last weekend, it would still be in New Orleans’ favor slightly, but not significantly. Arizona had a pretty below-average secondary and they were more or less able to do what they needed to in the secondary to win. Olave did have a great game last weekend, so there is hope even if MT or Landry do not come back this week but having them skews this heavily for the Saints. Be on the lookout for this week’s injury report to gain more insight on this matchup, as it will play a pretty key role in which way this matchup goes.