Cleat Geeks

Patriots @ Saints Week Two Preview; Keys For The Saints

Week 1 of the 2017-2018 NFL season did not start well for both the New Orleans Saints (0-1) and the New England Patriots (0-1). The defending Super Bowl champs in the Patriots lost the first game of the season in primetime on Thursday Night Football to Kansas City Chiefs 42-27. The New Orleans Saints lost their primetime Monday Night Football matchup against the Minnesota Vikings 29-19. This game will be redemption/rebound for two different teams with future Hall of Fame Quarterback in Tom Brady and Drew Brees.


Saints offense must find the Running Back that will sting the Patriots defense

The Patriots fell apart on defense all across the field as they gave up 537 total yards from the Kansas City Chiefs a week ago. One of the most surprising factors for the Chiefs was rookie RB Kareem Hunt rushing for 148 yards on 17 carries (an average of 8.7 yards per rush) and 1 touchdown. Hunt also had 5 receptions for 98 yards and 2 touchdowns. For a rookie who was named a starter for less than a week due to an injury to Spencer Ware, Hunt decimated the Patriots defense with his fast and elusive run style. New Orleans can replicate that same measure of production from the run game, but they’ll have to find then proper Running Back in order to do so.

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Last Monday, the Saints played 3 different Running Backs at least 6 times including newcomer Adrian Peterson. The future Hall of Fame Back ran for 18 yards on 6 carries while previous 1st string Back Mark Ingram ran for 6 carries for 17 yards and rookie Alvin Kamara ran for 18 yards on 7 carries. This is a Saints offense that still does not have an identity in terms of who will be the most productive in the backfield. Ingram and Kamara have many of the same characteristics that Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt had but Peterson has the most intensity and eagerness with his time in the NFL coming to a close soon. Regardless of who will be the main Running Back for the Saints, they’ll have to make a decision and start with it instead of switching around your offensive pacing and mentality in order to beat New England.

Better pass coverage must be made for New Orleans

One of the keys for the Saints to better this season than the previous was to cover the opposing Wide Receivers and Tight Ends better through pass coverage. This past weekend was just another lesson needed to be learned for the Saints. Of the Vikings’ 470 total yards, 341 of them were from the passing game of Vikings QB Sam Bradford. WR Adam Thielen accounted for 9 receptions for 157 yards and WR Stefon Diggs accounted for 7 receptions for 93 yards and 2 touchdowns.

This was done by Minnesota’s great play-calling and Sam Bradford’s ability to sharply read the zone coverage of the Saints Defensive Backs. Even with the Saints in zone coverage against the short passing game, Bradford will threw accurate throws to his Receivers. Of the 32 passing attempts by Bradford, only 5 of them were incomplete with the majority of those being drops by rookie Running Back Dalvin Cooks. Saints Defensive Coordinator enacted a pass coverage scheme fit to help his DB’s defend the pass and they still were brought down.

With Bradford being able to tear apart the Saints defense and their pass coverage, imagine what New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady can do against the Saints. Brady is well known for being one of the best current play readers in the league. Playing better zone coverage only will not help the Saints defense, they will be playing a Patriots passing game that is so diverse and dangerous. Former Saint WR Brandin Cooks (acquired through a trade in the previous offseason) has already shown to run past main zones and account for long receptions. RB James White and TE Rob Gronkowski are two receivers who are hard to bring down in different ways once they catch the ball in the middle of the field. Danny Amendola is a slot Receiver who can make great catch-and-run plays from slant or crossing routes. The Saints defense will have to be smart and play more man coverage defense if New Orleans wants to stay in the game longer.


Brees vs. Brady – part: V

Image result for Drew Brees and Tom Brady

This game between the New Orleans Saints and the New England Patriots is always a highly anticipated and high-scoring game whenever Drew Brees and Tom Brady are the Quarterbacks. Surprisingly, Saints QB Drew Brees is leading the head-to-head matchups with Tom Brady and the Patriots 3 to 1. The last game between the two teams was in 2013, the Patriots won 30-27 in New England, giving the Saints (5-1 at the time) their first loss of the season. This was also the last time the Saints had a winning record. Each of the 4 games between Brees and Brady have gone into high-scoring shootouts.

Likely this game will result in a shoot-out like it has been in the past seasons with Brees and Brady as the Quarterbacks. The Patriots have the Receivers to create a high-scoring affair but the Saints are still looking for more reliable Receivers outside 2nd year WR Michael Thomas. Willie Snead is still suspended by the NFL for his DUI arrest arriving in the year. Newcomer Ted Ginn Jr. has the potential to fill the void of the departure of Brandin Cooks. RB Mark Ingram and TE Coby Fleener are the team’s reception yard leaders with 54 yards each. Look for a more balanced passing attack from Drew Brees if New Orleans wants to win the high-scoring game. The Saints (0-1) will host the Patriots (0-1) on CBS at 12 pm central to see which team will get their first win of the season.

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