Last week, Marshon Lattimore put on a clinic, and now the Saints’ No. 2 cornerback, Eli Apple, must step his game up as well.
The New Orleans Saints were awarded with a stellar week from Eli Apple in Week 3 and then a dominant performance from Marshon Lattimore in Week 4. In Week 5, they’ll need them both at the top of their game.
It’s seemed almost like they’re trading off star performances. That said, after being shredded by Deshaun Watson in Week 1, the Saints haven’t necessarily played too many teams with multiple elite threats out wide.
Week 2 was the Los Angeles Rams, who have three top-tier threats. Aside from the Rams, they’ve played the Gallup-less Cowboys and the Seahawks, who respectively boast Amari Cooper and Tyler Lockett.
Lockett tore up Lattimore for over 100 yards while Russell Wilson neared a career-high with 408. Apple played well in their Week 3 victory. This past week, Apple was fine out wide, but Lattimore was put in the limelight as Cooper had been scorching hot, scoring in all three games. Lattimore held him scoreless with under 50 yards, stepping up to the challenge.
Week 5 will be where the two former Ohio State Buckeyes must both ball out. They’ll be taking on arguably the league’s best-receiving duo, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.
Godwin has averaged 97 yards per game and has scored four touchdowns. He’s coming off a 172-yard performance in Week 4 as well. As for Evans, the two-time Pro Bowler is averaging 92 yards and also has four stars, just one week removed off a 190-yard performance.
Surprisingly, the Saints’ inner-division rivals, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, are still just 2-2.
The Bucs will want a high-scoring game. The Saints will want the opposite. An elite offense clashes with an elite defense, and a mediocre defense clashes with a struggling offense. The Bucs scored 39 more points than the Saints yet have also given up over25 more.
Lattimore and Apple can not let that happen. This is the matchup where they have to lock-in and limit the two star receivers. At least one of Evans or Godwin has had a 100-yard game over the last three weeks.
Limiting Jameis Winston’s big-time, game-changing plays will be crucial for New Orleans if they plan to keep this game under 25 points. While it’ll partially be up to Lattimore and Apple, the defensive front must also put on a show.
Apple is clearly the weaker link of the two and will battle most of the night with Godwin, leaving Lattimore on the 6-foot-5 Evans. This is going to be a tough, season-defining matchup for the two young corners.
The Saints’ defense must be a force against the Bucs, who have scored the most points in the NFC South so far.