The Saints put up a strong fight against the Patriots on Sunday, but ultimately fell short. There were some takeaways from the game that could be seen as signs of progress for the Saints.
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With a solid Week 3 win against the New England Patriots, the New Orleans Saints moved to 2-1. Following a 26-7 defeat to the Carolina Panthers, the Saints put on a fantastic comeback effort. With a strong offensive and defensive effort, the Saints defeated the Patriots 28-13 to get back on track.
With Drew Brees’ retirement in the summer, the Saints were a question mark heading into the season. Brees’ replacement, Jameis Winston, has been reasonably effective thus far. The Saints have made it clear that they need standout receiver Michael Thomas back in order to make this offense exceptional.
With that in mind, here are three key lessons from the Saints’ impressive Week 3 victory against the Patriots.
3. The Saints’ defense is a force to be reckoned with.
With the exception of a defeat to the Panthers in week two, the Saints’ defense has been outstanding. They’ve been successful in putting pressure on quarterbacks and forcing turnovers. The Saints defense intercepted Mac Jones three times and recorded two sacks against the Patriots.
The Saints’ defense is well-balanced, with a strong mix of pass rushers, linebackers, and secondary players. Marshon Lattimore, Malcolm Jenkins, and P.J. Williams all had interceptions, demonstrating the secondary’s talent.
2. The Saints need a new weapon.
The Saints offensive improved today, but it is still far from being a top-flight team. Today, star running back Alvin Kamara took up the slack for the Saints, but they’ll need more weapons in the future. Michael Thomas, their top wide receiver, will be sidelined for at least a couple more games.
The Saints have had to depend on Marquez Callaway as their top wide receiver thus far this season. After being undrafted in the 2020 draft, the club signed Callaway last season. He has glimpses of brilliance, but he is not yet ready to play wide receiver.
Callaway led the Saints in receiving yards and touchdowns this week with four catches for 41 yards and a score. Even if Thomas recovers, they’ll need to consider acquiring another offensive weapon.
1. The attack must be led by Alvin Kamara.
While acquiring another weapon is the long-term objective, Kamara must bear the burden in the meantime. Kamara is a danger on the ground and in the air, making him tough to stop for opposing defenders.
In week two, he only had eight carries and four catches, thus he didn’t have many opportunities. The Saints made it a priority to get him the ball against the Patriots this week. Kamara rushed for 89 yards on 24 attempts and caught three passes for 29 yards and a score.
If Ne Orleans wants to remain competitive, it must continue to feed Kamara. Until Thomas returns, Kamara is a matchup nightmare and the only consistently dependable weapon.
If the Saints want to reach the playoffs, they will have a difficult road ahead of them. They’re in a tough division with the Carolina Panthers (3-0), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (defending champion), and Atlanta Falcons. New Orleans’ prospects of reaching the playoffs will hinge on the divisional matchups. Their defense should remain unrivaled, but whether or if their offense can develop will be the deciding factor.
Winston has a difficult job with a limited arsenal of weapons at his disposal. Next Sunday, the Saints will play the New York Giants in a game that they should win. They must win next week to go to the next round, when they will face more dangerous opponents.
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