Coming out of a much-needed bye last week, the New Orlean Saints are gearing up for the Seahawks in Seattle. The task at hand is to leave Lumen Field on Monday night with a win and intact, given the Saints’ present injury disparity.
Thankfully, the Saints injury luck seems to be trending upward as they’ve elevated a few key players up from injury reserved — some of which may catch some playing time on Monday. This should bolster their chances against a hurting Seattle team that will be without its superstar quarterback, Russell Wilson for another week, and is dealing with their own slew of injuries.
At 3-2, New Orleans is sitting in second place in the NFC South behind the 5-1 Buccaneers and ahead of the reeling 3-3 Panthers. If they can leave Seattle with a win, they’ll create some distance from the Panthers, who currently hold the tiebreaker between the two, and will remain on the heels of the Buccaneers, who they’ll play in Week 7.
With five games played so far, the Saints have yet to carve out an identity and their ever prevalent inconsistency shows it. They started off the season with a dominant stomping against the Packers in Week 1 but were spanked by the Panthers in the following week. They picked up wins against New England and Washington in Weeks 3 and 5, respectively, but had no business losing to the Giants in Week 4.
Being the five-point road favorites, the Saints hope to come out of their break at the best of their prowess against a battered Seahawks team. Here are four matchups to pay attention to in the Saints versus Seahawks matchup on Monday night.
4 key matchups to watch in Week 7 MNF matchup: Saints vs Seahawks
4. Saints Receivers against Seattle’s Secondary
The Saints have not been a very good passing team at all this year — they average 180 passing yards a game, 31st in the league. And that should come at no shock — they haven’t had their best two receivers, Michael Thomas and Tre’Quan Smith all season.
While Thomas was elevated from PUP, he’s still some weeks away from being ready to play. Smith, on the other hand, can finally take the field and should be an effective option for quarterback Jameis Winston.
Saints receivers this year make up 647 of the team’s 847 total passing yards for an average of 129.4 receiving yards a game. So far, the leading receivers have been Marquez Callaway and Deonte Harris. They’ve been okay but not as promising as one could hope.
Against Seattle, the fifth-rank passing defense, Winston and his receiving core might pan out to have their best aerial attack all season. Seattle coughs up 292.3 passing yards again and has only two interceptions on the season. Despite having former Pro Bowlers at their safety spots in Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs, there hasn’t been a defining moment for this secondary.
Additionally, Seattle’s linebackers cannot cover anybody. Their two best, Bobby Wagner and Jordyn Brooks have allowed 505 yards on 53 catches. The Saints should find plenty of opportunities in the middle of the field if they can isolate any of the Seahawks’ backers or with quick slants.
The table is set for Winston and head coach Sean Payton to pull out a lot of creative sets against this fragile pass defense.