Again, this defense is turning heads. The Saints came off a great defensive outing on Monday Night, as they forced 4 turnovers, and had 4 sacks on Dolphin QB Ryan Tannehill. The Saints defense is now ranked 6th overall in Total Yards/Game with 304.5, T-12th in the league with 12 sacks, and are 7th in the league in takeaways with 10. The best thing perhaps? They rank 5th in total points allowed with 55.
Perhaps one of the biggest things to watch here is the dynamics of Matt Forte. He is very versatile in how the Bears use him, and can run or catch on you to give the opposition fits. I’d love to bring attention to the fact that David Hawthorne & Curtis Lofton are playing great on the inside, and they’ll be ones to watch for Forte. I’m more impressed with Hawthorne, who faced a great deal of skepticism in the offseason after he was brought in to Seattle for 2012 on a hefty paycheck to help the Saints defense. Through all that adversity, Hawthorne is responding accordingly by playing some great football.
Getting pressure to Jay Cutler is another huge key, as disrupting him has proven to be very effective over the years. Last week, Cutler was sacked 3 times, lost a fumble, and picked off twice in Detroit. Some Bears fans were calling for his blood/removal at the end of the game, and no, I’m not joking. Aaron Kromer, the former Saints interim & offensive line coach is not a stranger to to the Saints. He helped pry away Jermon Bushrod (and that whole money thing) to help protect Cutler, and rebuild the Bears line. How we solves for the Rob Ryan scheme will be quite interesting to see. The Saints front seven stay & play hungry, and we’ve seen a various combination of players to sack opposing quarterbacks this season. Force Cutler to make a mistake early, and rattle him for the rest of the game.
Keep an eye on Keenan Lewis’ status on Sunday morning, as he will likely line up opposite to Brandon Marshall, assuming he plays. I’m also interested to see if Vaccaro or Jenkins will be paired up against Martellus Bennett.