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Our defense vs. their offense: Tennessee Titans

How will the Saints defense matchup against Tennessee on Sunday?

New Orleans Saints v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints kickoff their 2023 season with a matchup with the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. Yesterday, we reviewed how the Saints offense matches up with the Titans defense, now it’s time to see how our defense matches up with the Titans offense.

If we go off last season's stats, the Titans offense is set up to be a matchup nightmare for the Saints defense. They run the ball exceptionally well with Derek Henry, but they struggled to consistently throw the ball with Ryan Tannehill under center.

After excelling in stopping the run-in previous years, the Saints defense fell to bottom ten in the league in rushing yards allowed. On the flip side, the Titans excelled at running the football. The Saints brought in some new bodies on the defensive line to help revive their run defense and they retain Cam Jordan who is arguably the best run defending defensive end in the business. We should see a much-improved defense against the rush this year, and the Titans will certainly give them an early season test on the ground.

Through the air, the Titans might end up as one of the worst teams in the league this year. Outside of newly signed DeAndre Hopkins, the Titans top pass catcher is second year WR Treylon Burks who struggled in his rookie season. The Titans ranked 29th in the league in total passing yards in 2022 (3,227), ranking only ahead of the Bears, Falcons and Ravens. The addition of Hopkins should provide a boost in stats, but they’re going to need a big sophomore year from Burks.

While the Titans struggled to pass the ball, the Saints were second in the league in passing defense, and that was without Marshon Lattimore for the better part of the year. With Lattimore back and Alontae Taylor improving, the Saints pass defense should be just as good, if not better in 2023. If Lattimore is 100% and can shut down Hopkins for the majority of the game, the Saints should have no problem slowing down the Titans pass game.

After a slow start to the season sacks wise on defense, the Saints rebounded and finished sixth in the league with 48 sacks. The Titans on the other hand, allowed the fifth most sacks in the NFL in 2022. They added rookie guard Peter Skoronski, but outside of that, they didn’t make many improvements in that facet of the game. As long as the pass rush doesn't come out flat, the Saints should be able to get after Ryan Tannehill early and often.

Overall, if the Saints can have an average showing against Derek Henry and the Titans rushing attack, they should be able to slow down the passing game enough to march out of the Dome with a win. I would like to see the Saints force at least one turnover in this game since they struggled at creating extra possessions last year, but even if they can’t, they should give the offense a good chance to go out and win this football game.

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