The New Orleans Saints season likely came to an end last Monday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in dramatic fashion. Defensively, the team played outstanding until the last four minutes of the game where Brady marched down to score two consecutive touchdowns to win the game.
With the playoffs pretty much out of reach, these next four games will be a big evaluation period for the future of this team. There are a handful of young players as well as guys playing for their future on the team, especially those who are in the secondary.
This week, the Falcons come to the Superdome with rookie Desmond Ridder starting in his first career game. Although similar in comparison from Marcus Mariota, Ridder may provide an unanticipated spark to this Falcons offense
Before we breakdown what to expect, let’s see where these two units rank through the air this season to this point.
How have these units performed this season?
When it comes to the Falcons passing game, they currently stand at 31st in passer yards per game, 10th in passing touchdowns and 19th in passer rating. Atlanta has been another offense that has struggled to figure themselves out similarly to the Saints. Marcus Mariota has been underwhelming as an acquisition completing just over 60% of his passes to go along with 15 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. But with Mariota headed to IR, rookie Desmond Ridder will be looking to make a lasting impression starting in New Orleans. When it comes to Atlanta's weapons, no one has really stood out of the bunch partially due to quarterback play, but rookie Drake London has shown flashes at times throughout the year. With Kyle Pitts out for the year, the young QB will look to hit his fellow rookie class member early and often.
When it comes to the Saints secondary, they currently rank 10th in passing yards allowed, 4th in passing touchdowns allowed and have given up the 15th lowest in passer rating in the league to opposing quarterbacks. A unit that has played exceptional as of late (if we can forget about the last four minutes versus Tampa). The group will most certainly be getting their best player back this week in Marshon Lattimore. It might be too late for such a prized acquisition to the lineup, but it should make this game a lot easier for them to win. These next couple of games will also be crucial for Alontae Taylor and Paulson Adebo in their competition for cornerback number two. Taylor has really caught some steam as of late as Adebo has been pretty on and off lately. It will be really interesting to see if Taylor continues to progress.
What to expect in this game?
My expectation for this game is honestly up in the air. I can see a scenario where the team plays very hard because that is something they have instilled in their locker room. I can also see a scenario where they allow a rookie QB to have a phenomenal start to his career as we have seen in years past. If I had to lean on one side, I would choose this defense to have a decent day against this team especially because of their struggles in week one. They should be able to suffocate this team if they don’t allow Ridder to extend plays.