Saints X-Factors in Week 2
The NFL debuts this weekend in Las Vegas as the Raiders host the New Orleans Saints. In an offseason like no other, this will be the first time either side takes playing field on MNF this season. There will be several surprises in a game of this magnitude, including players who step up into the role of the "X-Factor." Below are three X-Factors for the New Orleans Saints in their first away game of 2020.
RB Latavius Murray
In the Saints News Network’s Pregame Show for Week 1, I told John Hendrix the biggest key to a Saints victory was patient on offense and content getting a tough two or three yards on the ground. Latavius Murray did just that, averaging 3.2 YPC and finishing with just south of 50 yards on the ground.
While his numbers do not jump off the screen, Murray’s production and the Saints’ willingness to run the ball (34 carries in Week 1) bodes well for Week 2 against the Las Vegas Raiders, who surrendered 120+ yards on the ground to Carolina.
Prediction: 70 Rushing Yards, 1 TD
DT David Onyemata
Round of applause for the Saints defense in Week 1. As a group, they were outstanding. The front seven will have their hands full yet again will RB Josh Jacobs on Monday. The 2019 first-round pick gained 129 scrimmage yards and scored 3 TDs a week ago in Charlotte.
New Orleans’ defensive line rotations throughout Monday’s matchup will be key, but none more important than David Onyemata. The space-eating defensive tackle earned a big pay-day this summer and is reunited with his running mate Sheldon Rankins this season. The pair will have the responsibility to plug the A gap forcing Jacobs to bounce outside against an athletic Saints defense.
Prediction: 3 Tackles, 1 TFL
Wild Card X-Factor:
QB/TE Taysom Hill
The Jack of All Saints was just that in Week 1, racking up 13 rushing yards, 14 receiving yards, and 38 passing yards en route to a 34-23 Saints victory. Signing a two-year extension this offseason, Hill returns to New Orleans a fan favorite in 2020 after seeing an uptick in his offensive production last season.
An ace up the sleeve for Sean Payton, the BYU product should see more opportunities within the flow of the offense Monday night after an injury to star WR Michael Thomas and Payton calling last week “as bad of a game as I have had as a play-caller.”
Expect Hill to be used more in the passing game as down the stretch of 2019 it was apparent he became more and more comfortable as a pass-catcher. This “Go-Go Gadget” player will help the Saints “go” after a lackluster Week 1.
Prediction: 4 Receptions and 55 scrimmage yards
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