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Our defense vs. their offense: Saints vs. Chiefs

The Chiefs have one of the highest powered offenses in the league and will be a huge test for the Saints defense.

NFL: New Orleans Saints Training Camp Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints kickoff the regular season versus the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday and Dennis Allen told the media that he expects the first team to take around 15 snaps in the first preseason game of the season.

Patrick Mahomes has started in the first game of every preseason since he entered the league in 2018. The Saints defense will have the ultimate test against Mahomes and the Chiefs the first time they step on the field.

As of today, the only Chiefs players on offense that are questionable for this game are Isaiah Pacheco and Kadarius Toney, the rest of the team is a full go. The obvious question for this game is how the Saints defense will be able to defend against Mahomes and Kelce if both play.

The Saints are likely to be without Demario Davis on defense, which is a huge blow for the defense, but it’ll give guys like Pete Werner, Zach Baun, D’Marco Jackson and Anfernee Orji valuable snaps early in the preseason. Depth at linebacker is a huge question mark for the Saints, but guarding Kelce and Jerick McKinnon/Clyde Edwards--Helaire out of the backfield will give the backups some much needed experience early on. You can’t expect the defense to completely neutralize Mahomes and Kelce early on, but if they can show some flashes during the first couple of drives, it’ll give them some much needed confidence as the regular season approaches.

The Chiefs revamped their offensive line this offseason, bringing in Jawaan Taylor and Donovan Smith to help keep Mahomes upright. Add on one of the best centers and guards in the league in Creed Humphrey and Joe Thuney, and the Chiefs have a very strong unit upfront. With a lot of young guys on the Saints defensive line, it’ll again be a major test for the defensive front. Carl Granderson, Payton Turner, Bryan Bresee and Isaiah Foskey need to show us something to feel good about. Even if they don’t register a sack, they need to put some pressure on Mahomes, because Saints fans are getting tired of first/second round defensive lineman not living up to their potential. If the defensive line puts up a solid outing on Sunday, it’ll make the fans and coaching staff feel much better about their unit heading into the season.

On the outside, the Saints seem to have a major advantage on paper. With Toney out and the trio of Marshon Lattimore, Alontae Taylor and Paulson Adebo starting, the Saints should be able to wreak havoc on the back end. The Chiefs are set to start Skyy Moore, Marquez Valdez-Scantling and Rashee Rice at receiver with a mixture of Richie James, Justin Watson and Justyn Ross rotating in.

Once the twos come in, the Chiefs will have Baline Gabert as their signal caller with James and company out wide. Bradley Roby, Lonnie Johnson Jr. and Issac Yiadom will be back in coverage for the Saints with Jonathan Abram and rookie Jordan Howden at safety. It’ll be interesting to see how some of these new bodies fit in the defensive scheme and I’m really excited to see Jordan Howden get some playing time at safety and maybe even in the slot.

There’s two ways this game could go. Mahomes and the Chiefs could completely dice up our defense and we leave the game wondering what happened, or the defense steps up and shows they’re at the same level they were to close out 2022. Either way, we should all be excited to watch some of the new additions and young players get some playing time to get a glimpse at what’s to come in the regular season.

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