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How will DeAndre Hopkins affect the Saints’ season opener against the Titans?

The All-Pro receiver could significantly improve the Tennessee offense.

Houston Texans v New Orleans Saints Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The Tennessee Titans, the place where wide receivers go to die, have somehow signed another big-name free-agent wide receiver.

The Titans have massively upgraded their wide receiver position from utter crap to above average with the addition of DeAndre Hopkins. This presents a new challenge for the New Orleans Saints, who will have to play Tennessee in their season opener on Sept. 10.

The Titans were the fourth-worst passing offense in 2022 for both yards and completions. Quarterbacks Ryan Tannehill and Malik Willis were not given much to work with. Their top target was Robert Woods who had 53 receptions and 527 yards last year. After the season, Woods signed with Houston, leaving Tennessee with a WR room of Treylon Burks, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, and Kyle Phillips.

Needless to say, Deandre Hopkins is probably the only real receiving threat on this team.

It is assumed that star Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore will guard Hopkins for the week one battle. This will be a massive test for Lattimore who missed ten games last season with a lacerated kidney.

The last time these two faced each other was also a week one battle. The Houston Texans faced New Orleans in 2019, and in this thrilling opener, Hopkins was targeted seven times and made four receptions for 51 yards. It should be noted that his quarterback was Deshaun Watson and not Ryan Tannehill.

Although a healthy Lattimore can moderately contain Hopkins, the new Tennessee receiver is now the only true receiving threat to this Saints defense. Hopkins certainly makes this week one matchup harder for Dennis Allen and his defense.

However, the Saints are fortunate to have one of the league’s best corners in Marshon Lattimore. There’s no doubt that this will be a challenge for Lattimore, but it’s almost guaranteed that there will be a top-notch corner going against this top-notch receiver for most of the game. Lattimore also tends to perform up to his competition, which explains his stellar career against Mike Evans and Julio Jones.

Sure, Hopkins might have five to eight catches and maybe even find the endzone, but it will not be an easy week-one payday for him.

Given his impressive rookie performance, there’s no reason to doubt that likely CB2 Alontae Taylor will shut down his assignment. Based on Taylor’s rookie performance, Treylon Burks, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and Kyle Phillips shouldn’t pose a big threat to him. Hopefully, Paulson Adebo, Bradley Roby, and Lonnie Johnson can lock down their assignments too.

In conclusion, Hopkins certainly makes week one more challenging for the Saints; however, the New Orleans secondary still matches well with the Tennessee offense. It should be a week one victory for the Black and Gold.

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