The New Orleans Saints defense is obviously the strength of this team. Before last week, the Saints defense hadn’t allowed an opponent to score over 20 points in 11 straight games. The unit had a bad outing on Sunday, but I’m not ready to write them off just yet.
The Patriots game gives them a very good opportunity to bounce back. The Pats offense has struggled immensely through four weeks, and I think the Saints defense will feast on Sunday.
Mac Jones doesn’t move me as a QB. He doesn’t do anything exceptionally well and he doesn’t have the weapons around him that a QB like him needs to succeed. Through four games, he has nearly 900 yards for five touchdowns, four interceptions and is completing just 63% of his passes.
To be fair to Mac, he’s not throwing to any great wide receivers. Their leading receiver is their TE Hunter Henry, followed up by Kendrick Bourne, Demario Douglas and DeVante Parker. All of them have less than 175 receiving yards on the season.
On the other side of the ball, the Saints have one of the best secondaries in the league. Although they didn’t look too great against the Bucs last week, they still have the top three corners based on passes defended in the entire NFL.
The only scary thing is that Marshon Lattimore seems to play down to his competition. He’ll likely cover Kendrick Bourne on most plays, and when he plays a non-top end WR, he has a tendency to play worse.
In the run game, they haven’t been much better. Rhamondre Stevenson has been off to a slow start as well, rushing for just 164 yards and one touchdown on the season. The addition of Ezekiel Elliott has not proved to be impactful as he had only 137 rushing yards this season.
The Saints are currently in the middle of the pack in rushing defense, allowing 4.1 YPC through four weeks. Luckily, the New England Patriots offensive line struggles to get any push and open holes for their RBs, so if the Saints can play just average in run defense, they should be able to hold the Patriots run game at bay.
This game will likely be a defensive battle with very few points put on the scoreboard. I expect the Saints defense will be able to limit the Patriots offense to no more than 17 points on Sunday, but the question still remains, can the Saints offense score 17+ points?
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