Strength on strength
The Saints had the fourth-best run defense in 2019 and the second-best run defense in 2018. That’s an impressive statistic regarding the injuries that have mounted up front.
Starting defensive tackle, Sheldon Rankins, and starting defensive end, Marcus Davenport missed a combined nine games last season. They both are expected to be healthy and starting the year. The saints re-signed defensive tackle, David Onymeta.
Onymeta also missed time due to a suspension in one game last year.
This prolific run defense is led by first-team All-Pro linebacker Demario Davis and second-team All-Pro defensive end, Cameron Jordan. The run defense will also get some more help. They drafted Zack Baun in the third round to make an immediate impact, and fellow linebackers Kiko Alonso and Alex Anzalone, will return healthy.
It will be hard for the Raiders bruising run game led by Josh Jacobs to boast the first running back to run over 100 yards since the Saints haven’t allowed a 100 rushing yard individual performance since 2017.
The raiders will try to beat the Saints upfront, control the ball, and try to set up the play-action game to their speedy tight end, Waller and blistering fast wide receiver, Ruggs.
Josh Jacobs is the featured running back for the Raiders, and he ranked 8th in rushing yards last year, despite missing three games. Jacobs could look to crack the top 3 this year with another year of development under his belt, as he aims to stay healthy.
The Raiders boast the top center in the NFL, Rodney Hudson. Hudson will look to overpower the Saints defensive tackle unit (Sheldon Rankins and Malcolm Brown), who are two first-round picks and a third player, David Onymeta, who has overachieving play.
Raiders guard, Richie Incognito and Rodney Hudson are very powerful, but they are a little stiff, and the Saints defensive line can get off upfront.
The key matchup in this game will come from the Raiders left tackle, Kolton Miller facing off against Saints defensive end, Davenport. Davenport will look to have a breakout season, and he’s a force to deal with coming in at 6-foot-6, 260 pounds.
Expect the Raiders attempt to run the ball away from Cameron Jordan, and that match up could have a big result on the game. Let’s take a look at the most significant match up between these two playoff hopefuls.