The New Orleans Saints (6-2) return home to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome after a dominant 38-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 9. Up next for New Orleans are the defending NFC champions, the San Francisco 49ers (4-5). The two teams met last season in the NFL's game of the year, where the Niners came out on top 48-46. In the 2020 edition of the renewed rivalry, the Saints enter as favorites over the depleted 49ers. Below the Saints News Network Krewe shares their keys to a Saints victory in Week 10.
Kyle T. Mosley
Saints Offensive Keys
- Drew Brees' Consistency - The effectiveness of Brees spreading the football to various targets was on full display against Tampa Bay last Sunday. Twelve different receivers caught the football for the Saints. This variance will prevent Kyle Shanahan's defensive squad from keying-in on one or two main targets like running back Alvin Kamara or wide receiver Michael Thomas.
- The Big Homies - The Saints offensive line has been maturing and dominating opposing defensive lines in the first half of 2020. The 49ers are beat-up and lost without star defensive end Nick Bosa. Expect a heavy dose of the run game with running backs Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray slashing and gashing the Niners' defensive interior.
Saints Defensive Keys
- Edge Rushers Creating Havoc - Surprisingly, New Orleans defensive end Trey Hendrickson is ranked 3rd in the NFL with 7.5 sacks and not Cam Jordan or Marcus Davenport. Davenport's return from an early-season toe and elbow injuries has been the most significant impact player on the edge. He and Jordan's QB pressures, tip balls, arm redirections, and speed rushes have resulted in several "turning points" in Saints games. PFF has New Orleans at #1 with a 48% pressure rate since Week 5. The Niners banged-up offensive line will have to watch these three Sunday afternoon.
- The Entire Secondary - The one word which comes to mind for this unit is FOCUS. The Saints corners and safeties are prone to mental lapses during contests. By doing so, they have allowed teams to climb back into contention with "chunk plays" to receivers and tight ends. Cornerbacks Marshon Lattimore and Janoris Jenkins tend to play down to the level of competition. On Sunday, they cannot allow themselves to have an undisciplined game against the 49ers receivers.
Biggest Key to Saints Victory: Don't Buy the Hype
Everyone across the NFL saw what the Saints did to the Bucs last week, and have quickly changed their tune as to who one of the favorites is to rep the NFC. We have a lot of season left to go, but New Orleans spoke volumes with their performance. Facing a favorable back half of the schedule, it's going to be a test of not overlooking the opponent directly in front of them.
Sean Payton will have his team focused, and the Saints know they haven't accomplished anything yet. Use the motivation and remember what the 49ers did last year inside the Superdome, and let that fuel how this game goes.
Biggest Key to Saints Victory: Maximize 49ers Offensive Mistakes
The New Orleans Saints continue to March towards their postseason goal of another Super Bowl. This week’s focus should be to capitalize on the injury-ravaged 2020 San Francisco 49ers. Week 10 is not an automatic win for the Saints, though the 49ers are not the powerhouse team fans are accustomed to this year. The Saints should not have a problem defeating San Francisco without Richard Sherman, Deebo Samuel, Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle, Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, Jeff Wilson Jr,, K’Waun Williams, and Jaquiski Tartt to name a few.
The Saints must not underestimate their former NFC West rival because anything can happen. The remaining schedule should be easily managed, but the Black and Gold must remain consistent and focused. Maximize 49ers' mistakes, continue to flex defensively, guard against injuries, and continue to build the arsenal of offensive weapons. The Saints are on a winning roll and should continue the season with a win this week.
Biggest Key to Saints Victory: Control the Tempo / Run the Ball
New Orleans is coming off of a blowout victory in Week 9 over Tampa Bay and while all facets of their play were top-notch what allowed them to pull away early was their controlled offensive tempo. To find similar success against a top-10 defense in San Francisco, New Orleans must run the ball early and effectively with the "Bayou Backfield" of Murray and Kamara.
Though it can be tempting to become pass-happy with the return of Sanders and Thomas to the lineup, discipline play calling will result in sustained drives that usually lead to points. Controlling the time of possession, creating and sticking to a balanced attack, and running the football will lead the Saints to victory in Week 10.
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