It's been four years since the Saints and Broncos saw each other, and it should be an interesting test for a red-hot New Orleans team. This week starts a three-game road trip series for Sean Payton's team, as they'll travel to take on the Falcons and Eagles after Sunday. The Saints are in the driver's seat in the NFC Playoff race, and look to increase their lead in the conference.
What to Watch For
Taysom Hill, Part Deux. Hill's first outing as the starting quarterback for the Saints went over pretty well, which surely didn't please the masses. While he wasn't perfect, he was efficient overall, going 18-of-23 for 233 yards (108.9 rating), adding 10 rushes for 51 yards and 2 scores on the ground. He looked much better in the second half than he did in the first half, and overcame an overwhelming amount of emotions leading up to the game. His second start should be even better, and the dynamic he brings to the table for the Saints offense is exciting to watch.
RedemptSean. Sean Payton hasn't beat the Broncos in his head coaching time with the Saints, as he's 0-2 against Denver. Overall, New Orleans is just 2-9 against them, with back-to-back wins in 1988 and 1994 (shout out to Torrance Small and Jim Everett). Everyone probably remembers how the last matchup went down in 2016, which saw the Saints lose in heartbreaking fashion on a very controversial call. The Saints are looking for a different type of end result this time around.
Defense, Defense, Defense. It's no longer a secret, but the Saints defense is one of the hottest units in the league right now. It hasn't just been one particular area that has helped a resurgence for Dennis Allen's squad. Their turnaround has seen the defense be tops in the league in sack production (32 is T-3rd in the NFL), getting better in red zone efficiency, total points and yards allowed, as well as a tremendous improvement in third down defense. If this defense keeps playing at this type of level, it's very difficult seeing many teams beating them. The Saints run defense will be tested, as Denver just put up 189 rushing yards against the Dolphins.
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The big guns. Alvin Kamara had a relatively quiet game for the Saints, but was obviously effective in his touches (13-45-TD). He didn't tally a catch for the first time in his career, and that is sure to change this week. On the other hand, Michael Thomas had a killer game for New Orleans, finishing with 9 catches for 104 yards on 12 total targets. He had one uncharacteristic bad drop, which he called 'ugly' after the game. Much has been made about the Saints not having Drew Brees, but the support cast around whoever plays quarterback is appealing for anyone. Look for big games from the big two for New Orleans.
It'll be a 3:05 p.m. kickoff for this one, as Adam Amin and Mark Schlereth will handle the call on FOX.