Three Bold Predictions For The Saints Matchup vs Cardinals

October 19, 2022

The Saints are 2-4. All margin for error is gone, there are no more what-ifs. They have to win this game if not, the chance of this season being any kind of success. It’s time for the Saints to be bold, so I will be too.

Saints Defense 5+ Sacks

The defense was knocking on the door on Sunday if Burrow held the ball for more than 2.5 seconds, he would have been sacked far more than the three times he was.

At times Burrow was getting the ball out in under two seconds, which is not enough time for the pass rush to be able to home. 

This week against Kyler Murray I think that changes at the front seven dominates. Arizona is down their starting LG Justin Pugh, who is believed to have suffered a torn ACL.  The Cardinals’ o-line hasn’t been hugely inspiring, and this injury will test some shaky depth behind Pugh.

Per PFF, the Cardinals’ o-line has given up 80 overall pressures this season so far, that’s 28 more than the Saints o-line. Granted those 80 pressures have only converted into ten sacks. That’s a testament to Kyler Murray’s escape abilities.

After allowing Joe Burrow to escape two certain sacks on Sunday and both turning into huge plays (19-yard TD run and huge third-down conversion late in the game). The Saints’ front seven need to be on their A-game to make sure the even more elusive and athletic Murray beat them on broken plays.

I think the Saints find a way this week and get home, converting more of their pressures into sacks, with Murray holding the ball longer than Burrow did on Sunday.

Chris Olave 100+ Receiving Yards

Chris Olave is off the injury report, which means he should be a full go following his missed game on Sunday with a concussion.

Olave has been the Saints’ best wide receiver so far this year and looks like a bonafide number 1 WR and home run draft pick for the Saints.

The Saints will still be without their two other stars WRs this week, with Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry not expected to be back until the Week Eight matchup with the Raiders.

That leaves Olave to have a massive share of the targets, against an okay group of Cardinal CBs. Jalen Thompson and Budda Baker are a really good safety duo, so plays over the top might be more difficult. Olave has shown the ability to get open at all three levels, not just deep balls. Olave will still be able to make the most of his short and intermediate routes, on route to a seven+ catch, 100+ yard day.

Saints

Tyrann Mathieu 1+ Forced Turnover

So far needless to say the Tyrann Mathieu signing hasn’t gone to plan. The expectation would be that letting Marcus Williams leave and replacing him with a mixture of Marcus Maye and Tyrann Mathieu would result in a few more big plays being given up, but to balance that, there would be more playmaking ability from having two completely interchangeable safeties.

The giving up big plays was absolutely correct to a dire degree, but what has not been shown so far is much playmaking threat. Yes, Mathieu has the team’s only interception right now (YIKES!!) and he showed great range on the play which shows this ability is still there, but there should be more playmaking on display.

Per PFF Murray has three of his four interceptions when throwing 20+ yards downfield and is only completing 26.7% of these throws. He also has only completed 37.9% of his passes when under pressure, with two of his interceptions coming when he’s been under pressure. Couple these stats with my belief that the front seven will make Kyler’s day miserable, I think interceptions will be there to be had.

I think Mathieu changes the narrative a bit on Sunday with a much more complete game and manages to force at least one turnover. I’m banking on a late throw from Kyler that Mathieu reads the whole way and picks it off.

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