The New Orleans Saints defense turned in one of their best performances of the season last week. They forced five turnovers in last week's matchup and are looking for another strong performance against the Minnesota Vikings this weekend.
The Vikings have a big change at QB with newly acquired Josh Dobbs getting his first start as a Viking this Sunday. Dobbs came in after an injury to Jaren Hall, and just a few days after arriving in Minneapolis, Dobbs saved the day and orchestrated the game winning drive against the Falcons. He threw for 158 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 66 yards and a touchdown.
This week however, he has to face off against the Saints elite secondary that leads the NFL in interceptions. Marshon Lattimore, Paulson Adebo and Alontae Taylor will matchup with Jordan Addison, KJ Osborn (maybe) and Brandon Powell. Justin Jefferson is designated to return from IR, but Kevin O’Conell said he likely will not play Sunday.
At first glance the Saints have the advantage on the outside. Lattimore will likely travel with Addison while Adebo and Taylor follow the other two wideouts. Not many teams have had a ton of success testing this secondary, but Josh Dobbs provides a unique challenge. Before the season, many wrote him and the Cardinals off, but he’s quietly put together a really good season. His success last week after hardly knowing the playbook was impressive, and don’t doubt his ability to come out and have a good game on Sunday.
In the ground game, the Vikings just lost Cam Akers for the season and will have to rely on Alexander Mattison to do most of the work. After less than one game on the job, Dobbs is already the Vikings third leading rusher behind Akers and Mattison, so don’t expect anyone else to get too many carries.
The Saints’ defense has been susceptible to the run game this season, allowing 4.4 yards per carry which ranks towards the bottom of the league. They also struggle against mobile QB’s, and while Dobbs isn’t the most mobile guy out there, he can still do some damage on the ground. The Saints will need an all-around effort from their defensive line and linebackers to halt the Vikings rushing attack.
The Saints rank 30th in the league in total sacks this season, but while they haven’t gotten to the QB as often as they would like to, they’ve been able to put some serious pressure on the opposing signal caller. Minnesota is in the dead middle of the NFL in sacks allowed, so while I don’t expect a huge game from the pass rush, there will be some opportunities for the Saints to get Dobbs’ jersey dirty.
Overall, I think the Saints defense has the chance to have a really good Sunday. Their secondary should be able to lock some things up, and with the Vikings weaker rushing attack, I don’t expect a big game on the ground either.
Dobbs has the ability to make things interesting, so I’m not counting anything out. The secondary will have to bring their A game, but as long as they stay focused and don’t let up too many big plays, I think the Saints defense will be just fine on Sunday.