Our New Orleans Saints versus Houston Texans gameday review will look at how the Saints expect to rebound in the state where everything is bigger. Hopefully the Saints’ defensive statistics don’t get any larger. The Saints will take on the Texans who are sitting at 5-5; they are tied for first place in the AFC South.

The thing most Saints fans are anxious to see is the defense. Over the bye week, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan was fired, and Dennis Allen was moved from the senior defensive assistant position to defensive coordinator. Quite frankly, it was time for the Saints to move on from Rob Ryan. The Saints brought in Dennis Allen prior to the start of the season to be a potential replacement for Rob Ryan.

New Orleans Saints Versus Houston Texans Gameday Review

Rob Ryan, Sean Payton, Dennis Allen

New Orleans Saints Versus Houston Texans Gameday Review – The Saints Defense

The Saints defense has been horrific at best. The defense is ranked last in the league. They are allowing an average of 424.3 yards a game. They’ve also allowed 31.5 points a game. It is hard to say what impact Dennis Allen will have on the defense. It is unlikely there will be any major changes as two weeks is not enough time to make changes to the scheme. Injuries certainly haven’t helped the Saints. Keenan Lewis has been placed on the injured reserve; his season is over. Rookie CB Damian Swann will sit out yet another week as he has suffered two concussions this season. LB Dannell Ellerbe has proven to be an impactful player when healthy, but he has also been ruled out. Luckily for the Saints, it appears LB Hau’oli Kikaha will be returning to the lineup. He has been incredibly significant to the pass rush.

The Houston Texans offense has been average at best this year. They’ve averaged 20.8 points a game. They have also used three different quarterbacks this year. The Saints will deal with Brian Hoyer. He has 13 touchdowns and four interceptions this season. The Saints secondary will also have to deal with one of the best receivers in the game. DeAndre Hopkins has played at a very high level this season. He has 1,045 yards and nine touchdowns thus far. First-year CB Delvin Breaux will likely be assigned the task of covering DeAndre Hopkins. Breaux has done incredibly well for a player out of the CFL, and he has quickly become a fan favorite.

The Texans have allowed 21 sacks this season. If the Saints wish to walk out of this game with a victory, they’ll have to establish a pass rush early. Houston has won three straight games and the home crowd will be into it. Sacks early on will likely quiet the crowd and pump up the Saints defense. I’m eager to see how the defense comes out. Will they be energetic and aggressive or will lack desire?

New Orleans Saints Versus Houston Texans Gameday Review

New Orleans Saints Defense

New Orleans Saints Versus Houston Texans Gameday Review – The Saints Offense

The Saints offense has been rather good this year. They rank second in yards a game. Despite talks of his decline, Drew Brees has played at an elite level. The Texans boast one of the best defenses in the league, and they have played incredibly well in their last few games. The Saints’ offensive line will need to hold off the Texans’ ferocious pass rush. They have 27 sacks on the season. J.J. Watt, arguably the best defensive player in the league, will look to wreck havoc. He currently has 11.5 sacks. I don’t expect the Saints to completely stop Watt, but he most be limited. If he was going up against LT Terron Armstead, I would have more confidence. Unfortunately, he will line up across Zach Strief a large majority of the time. The Saints will likely use tight ends Benjamin Watson, Josh Hill, and Michael Hoomanawanui (Hoo-Man) to provide support against Watt. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a running back linger near Brees to provide a block if needed. (Additionally, Andrus Peat has been given the nod to start over Tim Lelito who has struggled with injuries as of late).

New Orleans Saints Versus Houston Texans Gameday Review

New Orleans Saints Offense

Second-year WR Brandin Cooks will look to keep his role going. He has played at a very high level the past few games, and he is finally starting to play like the receiver everyone expected coming into the season. He currently has 701 receiving yards. Screens may be more common than normal in Sunday’s game. Brees may need to get rid of the ball more quickly against this Texans team. Mark Ingram, C.J. Spiller, and Brandin Cooks are the likely recipients of these screen passes. (Hopefully, Willie Snead will have a great game).

This game will be very important for both the Saints and Texans. Winning this game could make the Texans the sole owners of first place in the AFC South. If there is any hope of making a playoff run, this game must be won. In all honesty, I don’t see the Saints making the playoffs. Unless something has dramatically changed over the bye week, the Saints don’t have the defense to make the playoffs.

Once again, I am going to go with the Saints this game. There truly is no good reason for me to choose the Saints after the way their defense has played, but I just don’t feel confident choosing the Texans. I believe there will be a much needed boost to the defense, and Drew Brees will do what he is best at–scoring. I see Delvin Breaux having a big game against DeAndre Hopkins. My final score prediction is 26-23 Saints. Go Saints!

New Orleans Saints Versus Houston Texans Gameday Review

New Orleans Saints Versus Houston Texans Gameday Review