The New Orleans Saints have now won three games in a row, that’s right, three! After starting at a lowly 1-4, the Saints seem to have dug themselves out of the hole they created. They will take on the Tennessee Titans who are currently sitting at 1-6. After scoring a mind-blowing 52 points last week, the Saints will look to continue to roll.
The Titans are coming off of a 20-6 loss to the Houston Texans. That loss seemed to be the final straw for the Titans’ ownership as they fired head coach Ken Whisenhunt. This firing came as somewhat of a surprise for the rest of the league as Whisenhunt had not been with the team for long. (And had not had his rookie quarterback long enough on the field to make a difference). Mike Mularkey is serving as the head coach for the time being.
As usual in this physical sport, both teams are suffering from some notable injuries. Unfortunately, DB Damian Swann suffered from yet another concussion as his head hit the ground with great force. The Saints will also be low at linebacker as Hau’oli Kikaha, Dannell Ellerbe, and Ramon Humber will not play in Sunday’s game. It is worth noting that QB Luke McCown has also been ruled out. For me, the most concerning injuries are those of Hau’oli Kikaha and Dannell Ellerbe. Rookie Hau’oli Kikaha has done a great job of getting to the quarterback; he has four sacks and three forced fumbles. Ellerbe has struggled with staying healthy. He has only played in four games this year, and some of those games he has been on a snap count. Luckily, the Saints aren’t going up against a dominant offense; hopefully the absence of these two won’t affect the outcome of the game. (It should be noted that the Saints have signed JoLonn Dunbar and Michael Mohamed, both experienced linebackers to add depth. Saints coach Sean Payton said Mohamed “brings value to the team. He is smart (and) he is tough. There were a lot of things that we liked about the player and now we have the opportunity to see him here practicing.”).
This game should be interesting. The Titans have a new coach, and the Saints are coming off of a historic win against the Giants. Second overall pick Marcus Mariota will be returning from an injury that kept him sidelined (and will be wearing a brace on his knee for this game). The Saints will need to make him uncomfortable; they need to get in his face. Zach Mettenberger was sacked seven times last week against the Texans. Luckily for the Saints, their pass rush is really starting to gain some momentum. Cameron Jordan has been terrorizing quarterbacks and offensive linemen the past few weeks. This will need to continue in order for the Saints to be successful. Getting pressure on Mariota should give the secondary some chances to make a play. Delvin Breaux struggled slightly last week, but I fully expect him to return to his great self. Keenan Lewis also appears to be getting healthy. I can see the secondary picking Mariota twice. (It should be noted the Titans offensive line has been reconfigured this week–but is it enough time for the line to gel. Additionally, Kendall Wright will also be out).
Offensively, the Saints will have a tough time matching their last performance. Brea threw for 505 yards and 7 touchdowns. He was intercepted twice; however, it could be argued that one of those interceptions was indeed a fumble. Veterans Benjamin Watson and Marques Colston had big games last week. I don’t quite expect them to play the way they did last week, but they should have an impact. Brandon Cooks and Willie Snead looked in-sinc with Drew Brees. The two prove to be a dynamic duo. They’ll definitely have the opportunity to make plays once again. It seems as if the run game is finally producing for the Saints. Mark Ingram ran for 80 yards on 16 carries last week, that is an average of 5 yards a carry. The unfortunate injury of Khiry Robinson should mean more snaps for Mark Ingram.
Don’t expect this game to have a total anything close to the one last week. According to ESPN, the Saints’ offense has the 2nd most yards, and their defense has allowed the 30th most yards. On the other hand, the Titans have the 3rd best defense and 32nd ranked offense.
I have the Saints winning this game. They have played reasonably well the past few weeks, and the Titans are undergoing a lot of transitions. My final score is 24-10 Saints. For some reason I believe the defense will step it up this week despite the injuries. Hopefully the Saints win this game and get above .500. Go Saints… WHO DAT!!!