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Our offense vs their defense: Houston Texans

We get our final look at the Saints offense before the regular season begins.

New Orleans Saints v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints will kick off their final preseason game this Sunday against the Houston Texans in the Superdome.

In the Saints' second preseason game, we didn’t see any of the starting offense. Jameis Winston got the start with Jake Haener finishing off the second half of the game. While neither QB passed for a touchdown, they both moved the ball down the field efficiently but were only able to muster one touchdown drive.

The rushing game struggled for the most part. Outside of a couple of nice runs, the team amassed just 61 rushing yards on 26 attempts (2.3 YPC). However, we did see multiple big plays in the passing game. Shaq Davis Jontre Kirklin, Lynn Bowden, and Kendre Miller all had catches of over 25 yards in the passing game.

After a week one performance where the Texans allowed just nine points to the Patriots, their defense fell apart, allowing 28 points to the Dolphins. A mixture of Tua Tagovailoa and Skylar Thompson threw for 193 yards and three touchdowns including 10-plays of over 15 yards. The Dolphins dominated on the ground, rushing for over 200 yards on 38 attempts (5.4 YPC).

Houston is a work in progress this year, and with new defensive minded Head Coach DeMeco Ryans, they are going to be a defense-first team in the future. Luckily for the Saints, they’re still at least a year away from being elite on that side of the ball. Their third overall pick in this year's draft, Will Anderson, looks to make a big impact for them. In his first NFL game, he recorded two tackles and a sack in limited snaps.

Unlike some teams, the Texans played most of their starters in their week two matchup, so we should expect to see at least a few of their starters this Sunday. They have some playmakers at each level of their defense. Anderson is expected to be their anchor on the defensive line, Derek Stingley should be their CB1, Denzel Perryman will hold down the mike linebacker spot and Jimmie Ward highlights the backend of their defense.

After getting embarrassed this past weekend, the Saints offense shouldn’t expect to be able to have an easy day at the office. Ryans is one of the best defensive minds in the NFL, and he’ll have his team right come Sunday.

As for the Saints, we should expect to see a lot of the same players as we saw last weekend. Jameis will likely get the start with Kendre Miller and the second-team offensive line and Haener will likely take over for the second half with Darrel Williams and Ellis Merryweather rotating in the backfield. The receivers will likely be rotating throughout the game to get everyone as many snaps as possible. Expect to see a lot of Shaq Davis, A.T. Perry, Lynn Bowden, and Jontre Kirklin as they seem to be leading the race for the final couple WR spots.

The Saints have a legitimate shot at going 3-0 in the preseason, but there’s still a lot of mess to clean up if they want to do so. One major point of emphasis is going to be penalties. It’s miraculous that the Saints beat the Los Angeles Chargers after committing 14 penalties. Another point of emphasis will be the offensive line. They did a solid job in pass protection, but they’re going to have to find a way to open some holes for the run game. After the Texans allowed 205 yards last week, the Saints should be able to eclipse the 100-yard mark this Sunday, and if they can’t, the ability to run the football could be a major concern come the regular season. Finally, the Saints need to find a way to score touchdowns. Outside of the first couple of possessions in week one, the offense has completely sputtered once they cross the 50-yard line. Kicking five field goals won’t cut it most weeks, so if they want to remain undefeated in the preseason, they will have to find a way to put six on the scoreboard instead of three.

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