Aug 30, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Jamie Harper (23) stretches across the goal line scoring the only touchdown of the game and defeating the New Orleans Saints 10-6 during the second half at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
Week 2 of the 2014 NFL Preseason is underway and New Orleans Saints fans are anxious to pile in under the roof of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and cheer their team on as they host the Tennessee Titans for the first home game of the year. Between the superb food, vibrant music and the sound of a home crowd screaming “Who Dat” until their lungs cave in, there is no better time than football season in the Big Easy. Well, that time is now, so let’s take a quick look at tonight’s exhibition matchup.
With an emerging receiving corps, a renewed backfield and a rookie quarterback who they hope is the future of the organization, the Titans travel to the Crescent City to face one of the most stacked rosters in the NFL. At 7-9, the Titans finished second in the AFC South in 2013 with the No. 22 overall offense and No. 14 overall defense. We’ll see if the newly acquired and respectable Coach Ken Whisenhunt can turn things around.
Rookies like LT Taylor Lewan, RB Bishop Sankey and QB Zach Mettenberger look to be the future of the organization — they will likely be the center off attention for Tennessee tonight. Of course, Saints fans are eager to see what the former LSU quarterback can do at the next level. Some other notable rookies to keep an eye on are fourth-round pick DT DaQuan Jones, safety turned cornerback Marqueston Huff — he had solid performance against the Green Bay Packers last week — and ILB Avery Williamson, an aggressive, tackling machine out of Kentucky.
The Titans acquired the speedy Dexter McCluster over the offseason after a Pro Bowl campaign as a kick returner in 2013. It will be interesting to see if he can add a spark to the offense as a running back and receiver out of the backfield. Signing Shaun Phillips at outside linebacker was one of the bigger offseason moves in the NFL — he should add a solid presence as a pass rusher.
After a nice little offseason and draft, Tennessee has some intriguing young talent. It is preseason, but if they can execute and come away with the win in the Superdome where New Orleans went undefeated in 2013, it would be a big boost of confidence.
The Saints are coming off a victory against the St. Louis Rams last week and look to continue their success tonight. Coach Sean Payton has his team ready after the Black and Gold returned to New Orleans last night from training camp at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, WV.
Guys like Mark Ingram and rookie WR Brandin Cooks highlighted the Week 1 win. Ingram, who averaged 10.4 yards on the ground with 83 and a touchdown, looks to do it again tonight against a favorable matchup. The team has nothing but high hopes for the versatile Cooks — another big game would be no surprise. We all want to see if QB Ryan Griffin can put on another show. He has quickly become the fan favorite to take over backup duties behind Drew Brees.
Keep an eye on undrafted rookie S Pierre Warren tonight. The Jacksonville State product has been quite a pleasant surprise at training camp so far and is coming off a nice performance against the Rams. Other notable players to watch are rookie CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB Trevin Wade, DE Tyrunn Walker, and undrafted rookie RB Derrick Strozier.
Jean-Baptiste is looking to bounce back after a couple of mental errors last week while Wade is fighting hard for a final roster spot and looking good doing it. Walker, who is fighting for an extended role in 2014, produced a sack and led the team in tackles last week. Strozier, from New Orleans’ own Tulane University, has upside as a receiver out of the backfield.
Let’s see how these teams match up when the New Orleans Saints host the Tennessee Titans for the Big Easy’s first football game of the year.
My score prediction: Saints 27, Titans 17
Check out our game time information for everything you need to know about tonight’s contest.