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Our offense vs. their defense: Tennessee Titans

Week 1 will tell us a lot about this new Saints offense.

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

The New Orleans Saints clash with the Tennessee Titans on Sunday in their regular season opener. The Saints brought in a bunch of new weapons on offense including quarterback Derek Carr to help improve what was a very boring and disappointing offense last season. They’ll have a tough task ahead of them against Mike Vrabel and the Titans, but let’s see how to two teams matchup up.

Despite assembling one of the best backfields in the NFL during the offseason, the Saints might be limited in the rushing game on Sunday. Alvin Kamara is out for the first three games due to a suspension and Kendre Miller’s health is in question after suffering a hamstring injury. The rushing load will fall mostly on Jamaal Williams’ shoulders in Week one, but he proved last year he was capable of being a workhorse back.

The offensive line is going to have their work cut out for them against the Titans defensive front. In 2022, the Titans allowed the least rushing yards against them in the entire NFL, holding opponents to a total of 1,307 rushing yards or 76.9 yards per game. Denico Autry, Jeffery Simmons and Harold Landry highlight their front seven, and while they may not make the flashy plays, they’re very disciplined in the run game. Titans Head Coach Mike Vrabel was a linebacker in his NFL days, and he will have his defense ready to play each and every week. The Saints offensive line is going to have to work to give Williams holes to run through, and even if they find some success early, Vrabel will find ways to adjust and slow down the run.

Luckily for the Saints, if the Titans neutralize the run, they have Derek Carr’s arm to fall back on. In 2022, the Titans ranked dead last in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game with 274.8 YPG. Carr is going to revitalize the Saints passing game, and with Chris Olave, Michael Thomas, Rashid Shaheed and Juwan Johnson catching passes, it’s going to be a hard afternoon for the Titans secondary.

The Titans ranked 19th in the NFL in sacks per game last season. They didn’t make any new additions to the front seven that should make that number increase. The Saints were also middle of the pack in sacks allowed last year. If the offensive line can consistently give Carr time to drop back and throw, the passing game should be in full form come Sunday.

The Saints are likely going to try to run the ball early and often, but if Tennessee remains as stout in the run game as they were last season, Pete Carmichael is going to have to abort the run game for the most part and unleash Carr and the receivers. If the passing game lives up to the hype, the Saints should be able to move the ball through the air with ease and could walk out of the Superdome 1-0.

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