There are two huge problems with the Saints offense. The offensive line and play calling. It’s nearly impossible to fix an offensive line overnight, but I think the Saints have to explore a change at play calling. Ronal Curry, the Saints current QB coach, was given the opportunity to call plays in the preseason, and I think it’s about time to give him a shot in the regular season. I don’t see it happening on a short week, but it certainly should happen soon. It likely won’t because the Saints seem to give Carmichael the benefit of the doubt over and over again, but things couldn’t be worse if they gave him a shot.
Okay, now that I got that out of my system, let’s breakdown how the Saints offense matches up with the Jags defense.
On the outside, Chris Olave, Michael Thomas and Rashid Shaheed should be able to get some separation against the Jags corners. Jacksonville ranks 27th in the league in passing yards allowed per game, and I think the Saints should be able to move the ball through the air. More likely than not, the Saints won’t be able to punch it in the end zone, but they should be able to gain a lot of passing yards.
Despite being one of the worst teams in the league in passing yards allowed, the Jags defense has been very good against the run. They rank 5th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed, averaging about 82 yards against them per game. The Saints have struggled to cement a solid run game behind this offensive line that, to say the least, has been bad. It seems this is going to be another game where they won’t be able to run the ball efficiently.
Through six weeks, the Jags have recorded 12 sacks, which puts them in the bottom 5-10 teams in terms of sacks per game. Despite the Jags inability to get after the QB, the Saints offensive line just allowed a Houston team that averages less than 1.5 sacks per game to get pressure on Derek Carr all day. This will likely be another long day for Carr in the pocket, and I expect the Jags will probably have one of their more successful games pass rush wise on Thursday.
Overall, I think Carr could easily push 300 yards passing again, but this just feels like another game where the Saints can move the ball downfield but struggle to get the ball in the end zone. Their red zone offense has been killing them all year, and I don’t see that changing on a short week against Jacksonville.
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