The New Orleans Saints don't have long to reflect on their loss to the Bengals as they're now preparing for a Week 7 Thursday night tilt against the Arizona Cardinals.
Both teams are 2-4 on the year and this loss could spell the end of their 2022 season. It's been a disappointing start for both squads, as the Saints expected more from their new additions and the Cardinals recently extended both Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury, who have both struggled this season.
Fortunately for Murray and the Cardinals offense, the team will get DeAndre Hopkins back from suspension this week. Hopkins is where we'll start when it comes to Cardinals players who could make Week 7 miserable for New Orleans.
If you're one of those people convinced that the NFL hates the Saints, this is another thing you can add to your list of reasons why. Of course Hopkins returns from his six-game suspension and his first game back is against the Saints.
Hopkins might be a tad bit rusty but that's about the only thing Saints fans can lean on. Two years ago, he and Murray tore it up together with Hopkins averaging 87.9 yards per game. NOLA's defense has had problems allowing big plays and Hopkins is one of the best in the league at big plays. He's a terrifying matchup for a defense that's been on the rocks over the past few weeks.
Kyler Murray (but mostly for his running ability)
This hasn't been a good season for Murray so far but the kid can still do damage with his legs, evidenced by his 100 yards rushing last week in a loss to the Seahawks. Murray averages 38.8 yards on the ground each week and the Saints have been vulnerable against the run this season. It's also worth noting that Murray leads the Cardinals in rushing yards, which should speak volumes to how their run game has been performing this year.
Entering this one, New Orleans had allowed for two running backs to rush for over 100 yards and they got gashed by Marcus Mariota in Week 1. Mariota is also a running quarterback and the Saints struggled to contain him. If Murray takes off with the football, it's going to be a struggle for the black and gold to limit him.
The long-time Houston Texan still has it. Despite missing time earlier this season with an injury, Watt leads the Cardinals in sacks with 2.5 on the year. It is worth noting that Watt hasn't recorded a full sack since Week 3.
The Saints o-line has performed better in recent weeks but Watt is a wrecking ball. He's absolutely someone who could make this a long day for Andy Dalton or whoever plays quarterback for the Saints on Thursday night.
The Saints and Cardinals have a lot in common entering this game. Both teams have disappointed despite having decent-sized expectations and injuries have been a big factor in the 2-4 starts. Hopefully, the Saints can overcome these three players and get back into the win column this week.