Saints: This could be the toughest player matchup vs. Washington
By Kristen Wong
The New Orleans Saints may have thought Davante Adams would be their most dangerous wide receiver opponent through five weeks of the season, but there’s an emerging star in Week 5 against the Washington Football Team.
Terry McLaurin is entering his third season with Washington and he’s just as “scary” as his nickname suggests. The 26-year-old has caught 25 passes for 354 receiving yards and three touchdowns, averaging 88.5 yards per game. He nearly had two back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons to start his NFL career but came up in short in 2018 with 919 yards.
McLaurin will be Washington’s No. 1 wideout come Sunday, and he’s trending right up there with Cooper Kupp and Deebo Samuel as the league’s most prolific receivers in 2021.
Just how can New Orleans contain McLaurin?
For starters, the Saints secondary unit has no room for mistakes. Marshon Lattimore, Bradley Roby, Paulson Adebo, and others must be ready to handle a wideout who’s currently playing his best game.
McLaurin and Lattimore actually share a bit of history together, as both played for Ohio State back in their college days.
Terry McLaurin could be the most dangerous WR threat the New Orleans Saints face this season
The respect the two players have for each other makes this matchup all the more competitive.
Part of McLaurin’s recent success stems from an improved overall passing game headed by quarterback Taylor Heinicke and the Washington receiving corps. But McLaurin’s catching ability has always been elite as he holds the league’s longest active streak of targets without dropping the ball (190).
So far this season, New Orleans hasn’t handled wide receiving threats very well. They’ve conceded 294.5 yards in the air per game, placing them 26th in the league’s pass defense rankings.
After a good start in which the Saints limited Green Bay’s Davante Adams to 56 yards, they struggled to contain Carolina’s D.J. Moore, New England’s Jakobi Meyers, and most recently, New York’s Kenny Golladay.
Now, the Saints face one of their toughest challenges in defending Washington’s Terry McLaurin, who is finally getting the consistent quarterback play to make him an elite wide receiver in 2021.
Following a week in which the Saints defense got routed by Giants running back Saquon Barkley, New Orleans will hopefully be better prepared for Washington’s running dynamo, Antonio Gibson.
But heading into Week 5, McLaurin is the best wide receiver the Saints didn’t see coming.
There’s a whole lot of crazy prop bets out there with McLaurin recording over 100 receiving yards or scoring three touchdowns or even posting a long of 40. The only bet we’re certain about is that McLaurin will come out ready to torch the Saints’ defense. Our prayers to New Orleans’ secondary.